How do I measure the temperature of my infrared sauna?

In summary: There is no such thing as an infrared sauna. Without a means of tossing water onto a surface hot enough to turn it to steam, it is not a sauna.
  • #1
oversight
4
0
Sooooo... I have a Far infrared (FIR) sauna. It has large flat 'carbon' panel heaters. They get warm to the touch and won't burn you if you touch them. My non contact infrared thermometer zapper says that they get to about 70 degrees C. They are meant to be producing lots of FIR.

A regular mechanical dial thermometer at the top of the sauna (above the panels) shows that the temperature up there (after about 20 minutes of the sauna warming up) peaks at about 50 degrees C. I am assuming that while the direct radiant energy of the panels is FIR that is also striking the wood interiour of the sauna, heating it, and the wood in turn, is releasing / emitting IR, somewhere else on the spectrum.

The FIR is 'said' to penetrate the body and warm you up producing an intense sweat even though the temperature of the room stays lower at only 50-60 deg C, as opposed to a conventional Finnish style sauna that heats up to 80-90 degrees with many people unable to handle the heat and sit comfortably for very long. I say yes it does make you sweat, whether this is because of the FIR, or because you are sitting in a box at 50 degrees, I can't say.I don't really see why the other parts of the IR spectrum would not penetrate you as well.

My sauna wasn't 'feeling' hot enough for my liking so I retro-fitted a couple of conventional bar heaters (the old kind of glowing red, long quartz glass tube, with a tungsten filament inside). Now these make the sauna (or rather me!) feel a whole lot hotter, but they don't move the dial thermometer that much. They glow and are said to produce more near infra red (NIR). Obviously the bulbs are very hot (100's of degrees) and produce a lot of IR/heat, which decreases the further you get from them.

Please, what's the right way to go about measuring the temperature at the position where I am sitting in the sauna with the NIR falling upon me?
 
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  • #2
The temperature of what?

The air? The mechanical thermometer should measure that somewhat accurately, it gets more precise if you shield it against direct radiation.
Your skin? That will be much lower, as your body cools the skin.
oversight said:
I don't really see why the other parts of the IR spectrum would not penetrate you as well.
The human skin, like everything else, reacts differently to different wavelengths.
As rough trend, longer wavelengths reach deeper.
 
  • #3
I think you are asking the wrong question...

When you sit in a room that has a certain air temperature and humidity it produces a certain physiological response in the human body. The question is can that same response be reproduced when sitting in a room with a lower air temperature using direct IR heating?

I don't know that it can. It would certainly be quite hard to avoid some parts of the body being in an IR "shadow".
 
  • #4
Sorry to interject here, but you hit on a pet-peeve for me. There is no such thing as an infrared sauna. Without a means of tossing water onto a surface hot enough to turn it to steam, it is not a sauna. You may have a box in which gets warm inside and causes you to sweat, but that does not make it a sauna.
 
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  • #5
mfb -Yes the mechanical thermometer does measure the air temperature, and does not react much to the increase in IR in the sauna. The thermometer is a round dial type with a shiney metallic exterior that probably reflects a lot of the IR. I don't want to measure air temperature. As you know IR passes through the air without heating it a lot and it tends to heat objects it reaches even through a vacuum.

mfb said:
As rough trend, longer wavelengths reach deeper.
-OK but I would have thought that the shorter higher energy wavelengths reach deeper.
 
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  • #6
CWatters said:
I think you are asking the wrong question...

When you sit in a room that has a certain air temperature and humidity it produces a certain physiological response in the human body. The question is can that same response be reproduced when sitting in a room with a lower air temperature using direct IR heating?

I don't know that it can. It would certainly be quite hard to avoid some parts of the body being in an IR "shadow".

Thank you CWatters, I think your right and I haven't asked the right question, which is why others might find it difficult to answer. I guess I am looking to equate the amount of energy that is falling on me in the IR sauna with the energy in a conventional sauna ? (lets put humidity to one side as you can have very dry conventional sauna as well)

Is the heat/energy in a conventional sauna is mostly in the air? Certainly the air temperature is very hot and a mechanical thermometer is used to measure the temperature in these saunas accurately. Although I think that if the air is at 90 degrees C. Then most of the available surfaces will be quite hot as well and producing some IR in their own right?

But if I sit in front of an IR heater then air temperature is no longer a good guide...is temperature a good guide?
 
  • #7
oversight said:
But if I sit in front of an IR heater then air temperature is no longer a good guide...is temperature a good guide?

Not on it's own.

Air temperature, humidity, light (visible, IR and UV) and wind speed all effect our comfort level. I don't think you can use anyone as a proxy for the overall experience. I suppose you could subject a large number of people to varying conditions and ask them to rate the "quality of the sauna experience". You might find there are several combinations that give similar answers. However as post #4 suggests not everyone will agree on what the best set of conditions is.

Google seems to suggest that the air temperature in an infra red sauna should be around 110-130F...

https://www.evolutionhealth.com/Infrared_Saunas/infrared-sauna-FAQs.html

http://rockymountainsaunas.com/lower-temperatures-in-infrared-saunas/

To measure the air temperature correctly you should probably shield the thermometer from direct radiation from the IR heater. Just as you shouldn't put the thermometer directly above a convection heater.
 
  • #8
oversight said:
-OK but I would have thought that the shorter higher energy wavelengths reach deeper.
For x-rays, but not for infrared.
 
  • #9
So conclusions...

Temperature is something measured in substances (solids/liquids/gasses)?

While I can measure the temperature in the IR sauna with a mechanical thermometer this will only show air temp.

The temperature that I feel sitting in front of the NIR heaters in the sauna (which I find to be very hot!) is best categorised by subjective assessment. I can tolerate a 100 deg Celsius conventional sauna for say 10min. I can tolerate this IR sauna for about the same amount of time.
 
  • #10
I think that just about sums it up. Humidity also effects your comfort level.
 
  • #11
Yes, they aren't lights but rather a carbon based thin panel that emits radiation in the IR spectrum. To get full IR impact you should be very close to them, but mine has a total of 14 heaters including the floor so not too hard to get close. For stretching the heat is all that matters. I got mine, one of those infrared portable saunas, after reading Pollack's book and listening to Jack and was amazed at the energy (electrons) it gave me. If you live in a northern climate, I'm in Canada, it really shows you how much we miss the sun in the winter.
 
  • #12
oversight said:
So conclusions...
Temperature is something measured in substances (solids/liquids/gasses)?
Not necessarily: even void can have a temperature (cmbr, for example).
While I can measure the temperature in the IR sauna with a mechanical thermometer this will only show air temp.
The temperature that I feel sitting in front of the NIR heaters in the sauna (which I find to be very hot!) is best categorised by subjective assessment. I can tolerate a 100 deg Celsius conventional sauna for say 10min. I can tolerate this IR sauna for about the same amount of time.
You can also evaluate the "mean radiant temperature":
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mean_radiant_temperature
What about using a "black globe thermometer"?

--
lightarrow
 
  • #13
This is tricky. Infrared can pass through some gases without heating them up much. Infrared on your skin in the same environment can warm you up quite a bit. Any thermometer will give you the air temperature. You can do a fun infrared project by making a "black box". It won't be rigorously accurate, bit it will give you an idea of what the infrared radiation is doing. Take a closed box (or a basketball) and paint the exterior flat black. Cut a small hole, insert a rod-type thermometer. Put it in the room, wait a bit. Compare the air temperature with the indicated temperature inside the "box". Note that this is just an approximation of the heating effect of the IR. Any flat black paint has some reflectivity. You can extend this by calculating the IR effect per irradiated unit area. Again, just fun, not terribly accurate.
 
  • #14
oversight said:
My sauna wasn't 'feeling' hot enough for my liking
Why were you expecting any particular sensation? It's a different environment so you can't predict what the result could be. All you can do is to note whether you sweat or not.
The effect of the hot air / water vapour on your skin will be due to conduction whereas the effect from the FIR will be from narrow band radiation - very different. Our appreciation of radiant heat is based on a continuous (near-black body) radiation source so even that could make a big difference to what the 'pseudo sauna' does for you.
oversight said:
whats the right way to go about measuring the temperature at the position
Temperature of what? You have already had this response and it's highly relevant. You could measure the temperature of your skin (or just underneath the surface), perhaps, under an insulating layer of plastic. But you would need to compare that measurement with what you get inside a regular sauna. You could measure the temperature of a black bulb but even that is not necessarily indicative of any 'real' temperature.

Assuming that the heaters you are using are not unsafe, I think all you can do is to note how you feel after a session and then judge whether it's near enough to the real post-sauna feeling. Then think of the money you saved, not having the real thing in your home.
 
  • #15
This thread was resurrected by a spammer. Probably best to just let it die.
 
  • #16
Lesson: read the dates of the posts! I hardly ever bother, of course.
 

Related to How do I measure the temperature of my infrared sauna?

1. How do I accurately measure the temperature of my infrared sauna?

To accurately measure the temperature of your infrared sauna, you will need a thermometer specifically designed for infrared saunas. These thermometers are equipped with sensors that can accurately measure the temperature of the sauna's infrared rays.

2. Can I use a regular thermometer to measure the temperature of my infrared sauna?

No, regular thermometers are not designed to measure the temperature of infrared saunas. They may not be able to accurately measure the temperature of the infrared rays, resulting in an incorrect reading.

3. Where should I place the thermometer in my infrared sauna?

The thermometer should be placed in the middle of the sauna, at about chest height. This will give you the most accurate reading of the overall temperature of the sauna.

4. Is there a specific way to use the thermometer in my infrared sauna?

Yes, there is a specific way to use the thermometer in your infrared sauna. Make sure to turn on your sauna and let it heat up for at least 10-15 minutes before taking a temperature reading. This will ensure that the sauna has reached its optimal temperature.

5. How often should I measure the temperature of my infrared sauna?

You should measure the temperature of your infrared sauna at least once a week to ensure that it is functioning properly and maintaining the desired temperature. It is also recommended to take a temperature reading before each use to make sure the sauna is at the desired temperature for your session.

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