I want to replace my sauna heater coils with water heater element coils.

Thread Starter

Slavik Fed

Joined Feb 14, 2017
4
Hi,

I have a Telo Type: 1712-80-17 electric sauna heater. It is a 240V 8kW producing model. It is connected to my house via a heavy duty cable using 8-2 wire. The sauna in the 240V 1 Phase operation is rated for 33.3 Amps. I placed a 50 Amp circuit breaker on my house's breaker panel outside with the wires going from there to a outlet box mounted near the panel. When I use the sauna, I just plug it in and it has worked great for 2 years but now the sauna isn't heating up. When I took it apart, the internal electrics were clean but one of three of the sauna's heating coils were corroded. I cleaned it and it worked but only for another 2 months. I want to replace the coils but they are not easy to find. Each element is 2670W. I am wondering if I can use the screw in water tank immersion coil elements as a replacement. Any ideas? Some noted differences, the coils on the sauna are insulated and the immersion coils are not.

Thanks
 

Reloadron

Joined Jan 15, 2015
6,704
This is only a guess but my guess is no you can't use a water immersion type element to heat air for a dry heat sauna. The water immersion designed to have water sink heat from it will get too hot in air environment and burn up. Water heater elements need a load to heat (the water it is immersed in) where an element designed to heat air uses air as the load. That is pure speculation on my part. Most air heaters also have some form of airflow sensor or overtemp sensor to shut them down if air is not moving over the element, a good example is a hair blow drier.

Ron
 

#12

Joined Nov 30, 2010
18,223
A water heater element will melt in less than a minute if it isn't under water.
A thousand people have turned on the power to their new water heater before they turned on the water, and the heater melted.
 

Thread Starter

Slavik Fed

Joined Feb 14, 2017
4
Yes, the water heater coils will burn out if they are not in water.

What do the sauna coils look like?
Standard type. A piece of metal about 1 meter long flat coiled into what looks like 4 prongs with two terminals at the bottom. It's coated in some sort of ceramic like material.
 

Thread Starter

Slavik Fed

Joined Feb 14, 2017
4
How much room is there for the heater element -- height, width, depth?
The unit is wall mounted. The controls and thermostat are in a box at the base. The wiring leaves the unit here out and through the back of the sauna. The heating elements are arranged in three rows lengthwise in a metal cover. This is also where the rocks go. They directly touch the rocks. As the rocks heat up, you pour water over them making steam. The rock and heating element box is about 16" tall and wide and 10 " deep.
 

crutschow

Joined Mar 14, 2008
30,107
Okay.
I was thinking if it just heated the air, you could perhaps just use some type of room heater but, since you pour water on it, you need a heater coil especially designed for that.

You could perhaps use calrod type stove top elements but I don't know how they would last with water being poured on them.
 

Thread Starter

Slavik Fed

Joined Feb 14, 2017
4
Ur right. The sauna heater elements seem to be calrods. A heating wire inside an insulator that conducts heat but not electricity and covered in a steel tube. Same goes for electric stoves and indeed hot water heater screw in heating elements. So I should be able to use the $15 screw in heater elements w/o getting electrocuted. I'll try a small scale model using a stove coil and go from there. You're right though. These elements burn out fast. Within a year. Yes you pour water over them making them expand and contract a lot but u also pack them vertically w rocks in bw them. The rocks wiggle over time and stress the elements. Now knowing that they are indeed tubes, it makes sense why a small bend in them that is held for awhile will cause it to crack. Previous to the sauna I arranged 4 electric smoker coils upright in a smoker shell and packed it w rocks and sent the 4 power cords out the back of the sauna to 4 different circuits in my house. It worked great but the heat from the sauna melted the power cords eventually. Thanks for the direction. Time to experiment.
 
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