Introduction: Installing a TV in a Sauna

My brother decided he wanted a sauna in his new house so I convinced him to let me also install a TV and sound system in it to make the heat and humidity a little more bearable :)

Step 1:

In the original house plans there was a large storage closet off the garage where the back wall of the closet actually abutted the back wall of the master bathroom so we built the sauna inside the closet sort of like a room within a room concept where we could still access the exterior and roof of the sauna via the closet door in the garage.  We installed the door to the sauna itself inside the bathroom. Here it is before the tile was laid.

Step 2:

I also installed a whole house audio system with a pair of speakers and volume control in every room driven by a central amplifier so I installed an A/B switch in the control panel outside the sauna alongside the whole house audio volume control so you can switch between TV audio and whole house audio.

Step 3:

I bought a Sanyo 19" LCD TV because I really like their picture for the price and also because it had the loudest volume on any other TV in it's class when I turned them all up to full volume at Wal-Mart :)  I needed to know which TV had the loudest, most robust internal amplifier because I was going to use it to drive the ceiling speakers in the sauna.  After I got chased out of Wal-Mart I measured the TV carefully and left exactly the width of the TV between two vertical studs in the center of the wall and nailed in a cross brace between the studs to act as a hidden shelf for the TV to rest on inside the wall.  I then cut and sanded the sauna's cedar planks until I had a nice smooth finish around the edges that completely masked the TV's bezel.  This also covered the TV's infrared input so I installed an IR repeater below the TV cutout that relays the remote control signals back to the TV's hidden IR eye.

Step 4:

Pictured is the TV on the "roof" of the sauna that you can access from the closet door in the garage.  I took the LCD TV apart and disconnected the TV's internal speakers and tapped into the TV's internal audio amplifier with 4-conductor speaker cable and ran that to the wall-mounted A/B switch.  I also hard-wired an IR blaster inside the TV and closed it back up.  I installed all the necessary video cables and wrapped all the cables with cable ties so that it made a fairly hefty umbilical cable as it were.   I had a piece of plate glass cut to fit the opening of the cutout in the sauna wall and slid that into place and then lowered the TV by the umbilical cable into the hole or slot between the studs.  I cut several long shims of varying lengths out of thin wood paneling and slid the first one down behind the TV, then slid a second longer one behind the first one and so on and so forth until the TV was pressed nice and tight against the glass.

Step 5:

Here is the finished product.  We were testing it by watching Casino Royale and the cedar panels were still a bit dusty from the construction because we hadn't had a chance to clean it up yet but it looks and sounds fantastic!  The TV's internal amplifer drives the two 6" ceiling speakers nice and loud and the floating picture effect is very cool.  The cable box DVR sits on a shelf on the "roof" of the sauna and has an IR blaster stuck to the front of it so all remote control commands are relayed to it.  To spare the original remote controls from the heat and humidity of the sauna, we bought one of those cheap $4 universal TV remotes you see at the checkout stand at Wal-Mart so it can easily be replaced when it dies.  If my brother wants to listen to the whole house audio system instead he simply toggles the A/B switch outside the door of the sauna and uses the volume control on the wall to adjust the volume.  The TV is vented from the top so there are no overheating problems and more importantly it is not exposed to the humidity of the sauna.   I have a flip-up LCD panel in the top of the black dashboard of my car and I know that the dash can get up to 150 degrees sitting in direct sun so I expect the TV to survive the sauna just fine.  One final anecdote: The sound is so good in that enclosed, little room that we often go in there without even turning on the heater just to enjoy concert videos.  Thanks for looking!

Here is a brief cell phone video tour of the sauna.  That is Sara Bareilles Live at the Filmore on Palladia.  Sorry for the shakiness of the video.

Comments

author
timotheegeorge (author)2012-08-26

I would really like to see you do an instructables on how to install an all house audio system like you mentioned doing in your brother's place. I want to do this in my house but cannot find any how-to's for this project.

author
replayreb (author)timotheegeorge2012-08-26

I have a friend that wants me to install a whole house audio system in a new house so when he starts building I will document it and post it.

author
juels98 made it! (author)2016-12-02

Funny how I stumbled on your build. About 6 months ago, I installed a TV as well in to my outdoor sauna. I put mine in the changing room, but it can be seen from the hot room as well through the candle window. Before putting the TV in, I was contemplating if it was a good idea for a sauna, but it ended up being great. We gather, watch movies, music videos, or simply landscapes and enjoy the sauna. I have built in speakers in my sauna and the TV just externally plugs in to my sauna stereo which amplifies it through the speakers. I can have it two way-- just the TV speakers, or the whole sauna speakers. Pretty cool. Glad I'm not the only person doing it ;)

Sauna Tv.jpg
author
khf314 (author)2015-01-04

Wow very impressive. I'd be worried about condensation on the window to the TV. How did you avoid it? Or do you only have a dry heat sauna no water on the rocks?

author
ForssFägerström (author)khf3142015-04-21

You should always use PC (polycarbonate, Lexan, Makrolon, whatever-you-want-to-call-it) as the window material. Glass conducts heat rather well, and thus gathers moisture (and heats up the TV), and normal plexiglass most likely cannot handle the heat without long-term deformations and/or toxic fumes.

I, for example, used 8mm PC in my 40" TV setup, and I get noticeable condensation only if the temperature is very low and I throw a s-load of water on the stones (the 'Turkish bath' effect). And even then, the 'glass' clears up pretty quickly. I have a short clip of my setup on YT, with full description of all used components. Search sauna + tv + audio, if you are interested.

author

We never had a problem with the glass window fogging up which was surprising considering it was cheap pane glass and the sauna heater had a steam unit. As long as the back of the TV is exposed to outside ventilation you shouldn't have any problems.

author

You are right, your setup should not pose any significant condensation issues, no matter what the material of the TV 'window' is. You have a quite big sauna, the stove is of the regular kind, and, located on the same wall as the TV. Also, the TV is fairly low, maybe ~50cm from the ceiling.

In my setup, however,

1) the stove is a 6.5kW 'always ready' unit with about 100-120kg of stones

2) the stove is located on the opposite wall of the TV

3) the fresh air intake is directly above the stove

4) the air exit vent is on the TV wall near the floor

5) the TV is only 20cm from the ceiling

6) the sauna is less than 8m^3

In a scenario like mine, you can have quite a low temperature in the sauna, yet massive amount of energy stored into the stones. Throwing water on the stones will (obviously) form hot water vapor that rises up and sucks out cool/cold air from the intake vent. The vapor will then hit the ceiling, traverse it (towards the opposite TV wall, but also to every other direction), and descend. The fresh air sucked from the intake vent will make the condensation effect much more prominent. In fact, the glass door of the sauna, which is perpendicular to the TV wall, will get fogged out all the way to the bottom of the glass (~10cm from the floor), while only the top half of the TV 'glass' (PC, that is) fogs.

All in all, what I am saying here is that, before making any purchases and design/placement decisions, it is probably wise to consider ALL aspects of your plan, including the size and geometry of the sauna, the type, power, and location of the stove, the placement of the TV and the intake/exit air vents, the temperature handling capabilities of all materials, etc., etc. You should also take into account what exactly it is that you (mostly) want out of the setup. Me, for example, nowadays mostly lie down on a bench and listen to some music while the TV is showing e.g. a football match or a MotoGP race. In my case, it is important to be able to set up the the volume of individual speakers so that the 'focus' of the sound is where my head is. Also, being able to dim different parts of the lights separately is crucial, since reflection to the screen is totally different when I am lying down from when I am sitting up. In retrospect, I probably should have installed also a center speaker, but, as I watch movies in the sauna extremely rarely, I don't think this is an oversight I should lose too much sleep about.

author
AlexJ60 (author)2016-03-09

Hello!

Congrats in the first place! Can you please share more technical details about the overall enclosure? how do ypu avoid consensation and over heat? don't you have temp-transfer between the LCD panel and protective glass? if not glass , what do you recommend? I want to install also a LCD in a sauna. please send me some details on alexjaphet@yahoo.com

many thanks!

author
vincent7520 (author)2014-02-07

Sauna was the only place with a roof that was free of all that noise and buzz from the outside world.

Now this is no more …

author
MrNagrom (author)vincent75202015-08-30

it's america. we need tv's in everything.

author
alanabs (author)2013-03-01

Howdy! Love the sauna its beyond gorgeous!

Enough licking your .... I have some questions for ya.

1) Would you ever consider doing a instructable of your or someone else's sauna?

2) How does the TV hold up in the conditions of the sauna?

3) If you were to build another what would you change about it either during construction of in the end product?

THANK YOU!!!

author
flyingpuppy (author)2012-08-20

Serious sauna envy here. Never mind the TV, just gimme that sauna! But the TV is definitely the cherry on the sundae.

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