A traditional Finnish sauna which utilizes sauna rocks in its operation is often known as a stone sauna, and the title aptly implies precisely how important a characteristic of the traditional sauna the stones are. The sauna heater retains and heats the stone, and the sauna bather tosses water on the hot stones to produce the lowly or vapour that increases the humidity in the sauna area. Even in today’s age of far infrared sauna therapy, many sauna fans refuse to be swayed in their view that sauna stones are crucial to achieving the definitive sauna experience.
While sauna lovers are free to permanently debate what defines an authentic sauna bath, it is an absolute must that stone sauna owners always use appropriate sauna stones in their saunas. Many producers and dealers often provide ski using the Finnish-style saunas and kits that they sell, but sauna owners that enjoy regular dips in their stone saunas will likely someday need to replace old stone with fresh ones.
Under the extreme pressure of the sauna’s varying temperatures and humidity levels, even the best sauna stones eventually crack and crumble. Once a sauna stone begins to clot like this, it cannot hold heat and it used to. Additionally, it will create less steam, and it may even clog your sauna heater. Before the day comes when you must replace the stones in your sauna, it is critical that you learn how to differentiate decent sauna stones from bad sauna stones.
For obvious reasons, sauna owners should avoid using stones that could explode from the sauna in addition to those who give off noxious or offensive doors. Neither should stones that contain sulphur minerals with a yellow colour or metallic lustre or asbestos minerals be utilized. Rocks with sulphur minerals do not pose a health hazard they simply wear down very quickly. However, rocks with asbestos minerals do pose a valid risk, as asbestos has been demonstrated to cause cancer.
To avoid putting potentially volatile stones in your heater, follow the recommendations of specialist Mike Aaland, Dip it into a pail of cold water then search for cracks. After the stone is cool, try it further by hitting it with a hammer or from another stone. If the stones cracks or leaves a soft grinding noise when rubbed against another stone, discard it. If it survives, you get a safe sauna stone.
Since the top stones are those least exposed to weather, certain quarried stones are held in high esteem by traditional best sauna fans. Among the most popular is peridotite, a quarried Finnish stone and among the most common rocks in the earth’s upper mantle. Peridotite is a sort of igneous rock, as are olivine and vulcanite which similarly perform well in saunas. Many purists prefer using dark-collared igneous rocks as these stones contain iron and magnesium and for that reason have a relatively higher heat capacity.
Remember to consult with the guides and other literature which came with your unit and heater until you replace your sauna stones. You may inadvertently void your stove’s warranty if you use a sort of rock that is not specifically approved or recommended by the heater manufacturer.
The information packed with your heater should also indicate the quantity or weight of stones recommended for use with the heater. As a rule of thumb, however, you should use enough stones to cover the heating elements of an electric heater. If you heat your sauna with a wood burning stove, the stones should form a small mound that rises above the stove’s rim. In both cases, do not forget to pack the stones loosely to allow for adequate air flow.