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55-60 SAUNAS STEAM ROOMS:SPN Master pages 14/09/2009 13:10 Page 6
spnfeature
can’t be ignored
There was a time when saunas were labelled as potentially lethal. Defects,
broken lights, worn timber and poor electrical fittings got the sauna a bad
reputation. But proper servicing can solve the problem
Broken and cracked bench timbers can
splinter and affect heaters and sauna stone
elements which in turn can cause real danger
ix months ago a sauna used in a has been left so long and got into such as “The more obvious are things like
S
North London gym complex burst state. However, if you are using a facility broken lights and shades .The problem
into flames. There was no-one in it day in day out it can be difficult to see what here is where live wiring can be exposed
at the time – something the is happening around you and it is therefore and be within reach of the user.
investigators said had been a miracle as it so easy to miss things. “Other problems are caused literally
was normally heavily used. “Broken and cracked bench timbers and through users simply not being aware of
The likelihood is a piece of damaged support frames can happen through water their surroundings. Materials such as
wood fell into the heater and started a fire abuse and normal wear and tear. The towels, newspapers, plastic cups and even
which overtook the sauna. It was a perfect benches can then start to splinter which bathing costumes are often left close to
illustration that often customers who can catch the skin of the user. Bench the heater, creating an obvious fire risk.
install sauna think that’s it – no need to supports are not always clearly visible and Basic checks that should be carried out
service or maintain. therefore should be checked regularly. As include:
The fact is saunas are pretty much the word suggests, these are supporting Before switching on the sauna, check for
ignored when it comes to servicing. With the benches and if they fail the benches items left in the vicinity of the heater
commercial saunas being in constant use can become unsafe and possibly collapse. Make sure benches and supports are
there are maintenance issues which can “Over time, the interior sauna timbers will secure
easily be put right if and when they arise. char. This condition is called Pyrolysis and is Regularly check condition of the sauna
However, if ignored and left un-repaired the result of chemical decomposition of the stones and top up or change if necessary
these defects can cause a sauna to become wood caused by prolonged exposure to Check light fittings and temperature
dangerous and potentially quite lethal to heat. The condition usually manifests around sensor for signs of tampering
users and the property in which it is housed. and above the heater position In really The sauna must be switched off at the
Pam Sadler, Managing Director of Viking severe cases, flakes of the affected timber close of business
Saunas explained what can happen if can drop onto the heater and instantly ignite
saunas are still used in such conditions and allowing fire to spread rapidly outwards All the sauna examples pictured are from
why it is so easy to avoid taking risks. across the walls and ceiling. commercial saunas across the UK that
“The defects that we see range from what “Sauna stones set around exposed live were still in use when Viking Saunas visited
you may consider as being a rather obvious heater elements have a shelf life of about the site prior to replacement or
problem to ones that possibly haven’t two or three years. After this time they refurbishment. spn
registered with the owner as it maybe a begin to disintegrate and compact through
deterioration that is happening slowly over being constantly exposed to heat. If water
VIKING SAUNAS
time. Coming into a situation cold does is applied in these conditions there is a risk
( 01257 427019
: www.viking-saunas.co.uk
sometimes strike us as to why something of exploding the elements.
60 Swimming Pool News October 09 Digital edition available at www.swimmingpoolnews.co.uk
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