Accurate Industries Steam, Sauna & Bath Glossary

The Accurate Industries steam, sauna & bath glossary of terms has been compiled as a result of your questions and our desire to keep you informed while designing, building and servicing your steam bath generators, steam showers, steam rooms, sauna heaters, sauna rooms, infrared heat therapy saunas, showers, tubs and bathing environments.

AC (Alternating current) - An electric current that reverses direction in a circuit at regular intervals.

Acrylic - A thermoplastic sheet vacuum-formed into a mold.

ADA - The acronym for the Americans with Disabilities Act, issued by the Department of Justice, as published in the Title III regulations (28 CRF Part 36, revised July 1, 1994) which, sets the standards for accessible design in appendix A of the Title III Regulations

Adjusted Cubic Feet (ACF) - The adjusted size (in cubic feet) of a particular steam shower enclosure determined by a calculation which considers many variables including construction materials, unique room features and actual cubic footage to arrive at a corresponding Kilowatt rating and model of a steam shower generator

Älykiuas - A Finnish word that refers to an electric sauna stove or heater.

Ambient Room Temperature - The inside air temperature of the enclosure when not in use

Ampere - (AMP) The basic unit of electric current.

ASME - The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) is a professional organization of over 120,000 people worldwide which promotes advances in engineering safety. Founded in 1880, ASME has created hundreds of codes and standards which are meant to increase the safety of everything from boilers to boats. Over 600 standards are published by the ASME, and many of these standards have been adopted as legal codes in nations all over the world. The ASME also has a product safety and testing division, and extensive research labs to explore new developments in mechanical engineering. The organization's vision is to become “the premier organization” for mechanical engineering all over the world.

Avanto - A Finnish word meaning a hole in the ice of a frozen lake or sea.

Avantouinti - A Finnish word loosely meaning “ice hole swimming”, describing the process in which swimmers cut a large opening through the ice (avanto) and either take a quick plunge or swim for a few minutes.

Backdraft Dampers - Allow air to pass in one direction and restrict flow in the opposite direction.

Base Cubic Feet - The resulting cubic feet of an enclosure when calculating length, width and height only (see Adjusted Cubic Feet above)

Bather - A user of a steam bath or sauna.

Bather Load - The number of bathers combined with bathing duration and frequency.

Blind Fastened - A term used to describe an invisible method of joining or attaching two or more items. Where in woodworking, a fastener (screw, nail or other) is not visible

Board Joints - The visible area or space created by the joining of two or more boards

Brownout - A condition in which the supply voltage is insufficient to power the load.

BTU - Abbreviation for British Thermal Unit. The amount of heat necessary to raise one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit.

CE - Existing in its present form since 1993, the CE marking is a key indicator of a product's compliance with EU legislation and enables the free movement of products within the European market. By affixing the CE marking on a product, a manufacturer is declaring, at their sole responsibility, conformity with all of the legal requirements to achieve CE marking and therefore ensuring validity for that product to be sold throughout the European Economic Area. This also applies to products made in third countries which are sold in the EEA. The CE marking does not indicate that a product was made in the EEA but states only that the product has been assessed before being placed on the market and thus satisfies the legislative requirements (e.g. a harmonized level of safety) to be sold there. It means that the manufacturer has verified that the product complies with all relevant essential requirements (such as safety, health, environmental protection requirements) of the applicable directive(s) or, if stipulated in the directive(s), has had it examined by a notified conformity assessment body.

CAN-Bus - The Controller Area Network (CAN) is a serial communications protocol, originally developed by Bosch for automotive applications such as anti-lock braking and other high-reliability uses, which efficiently supports distributed realtime control with a very high level of security. Its domain of application ranges from high speed networks to low cost multiplex wiring. It is cost effective to build into electronics, etc. to replace the wiring harness otherwise required.

Circuit - A closed path followed or capable of being followed by an electric current.

Combustible material - A substance that can be burned

Contact Chatter (Contact Bounce) - Occurs when an electromechanical switch is in the process of making connection in a circuit; for a brief time period, the contacts will bounce together until they are fully seated.

Contacts - Electromechanical components that make or break a connection between two conductors that permit a flow of current.

CSA - Canadian Standards Association. (Testing Laboratory for products sold in Canada.)

Cubic Feet - The three-dimensional volume measurement of a lineal foot

cULus - The UL Listing Mark is one of the most common UL Marks. If a product carries this Mark, it means UL found that representative product samples met UL's safety requirements. These requirements are primarily based on UL's own published standards for safety. The optional C-UL-US Mark indicates compliance with both Canadian and U.S. requirements. UL encourages those manufacturers with products certified for both countries to use this combined Mark, but they may continue using separate UL Marks for the United States and Canada.

Current - amount of electric charge moving in a conductor past a specified circuit point within a given time. The basic unit is the Ampere.

Cycle - A single complete execution of a periodically repeated event or a periodically repeated sequence of events.

Delay - To postpone an event until a later time.

Delay On Break (Off Delay) - A particular type of timing function whereby the OFF event is delayed after a start circuit is opened.

Delay On Make (Delay on Energize, On Delay) - A particular type of timing function, which delays the ON event upon initial application of power to the timing device.

Direct Current (DC) - An electric flowing in one direction (constant polarity) as opposed to Altering Current.

Door Jamb - The material and/or area a door is hung or hinged to (see diagram below)

Double Pole Double Throw (DPDT, 2 form C Contact) - A type of contact configuration, which consists of two isolated sets of contacts opening simultaneously. Each contact set consists of a: Common contact, Normally Open contact and a Normally Closed Contact. In relay nomenclature, the states of the contacts are given with the relay coil unenergized.

Finished Opening - A final or completed opening resulting when the finishing steam shower wall materials such as ceramic tile or natural stone have been applied

Framed Room Dimensions - Measurements of interior sauna room wall framing material (rough dimensions) used for the purpose of ordering a custom-cut sauna room (e.g., measured from stud to stud, furring strip to furring strip, etc.)

Frequency - The number of replications within a given time of a complete waveform, as a common Line Voltage with typical frequencies of 50 or 60 cycles per second. See Hertz.

Furring Strips - Strips of wood applied to wall studs to provide a level mounting surface to attach sauna boards to

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) - A device that interrupts the electrical circuit whenever it detects the presence of excess electrical current going to ground.

Handrail - A tubular steel or plastic device that can be gripped by bathers for the purpose of steadying themselves.

Heat Loss Factor - The ability of an elements presence in a steam shower to affect the heat loss associated with the environment

Heat Sink - A device which possesses low thermal resistance in order to effectively transfer dissipated heat to the ambient temperature.

Heat Sink Compound - A compound which is used to assure a good thermal connection between a heat dissipating device and a heat sink.

Hertz - A unit of frequency named after Heinrich R. Hertz (1857-1894), which is equal to one cycle per second.

Horizontal Wall Board Direction - Parallel or in the same plane as the sauna room ceiling (see diagram below)

Infrared (IR) - Electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths greater than those of visible light

Inikagapi - A Navajo word which means to make alive.

Inipi - A Lakota word which means for their life.

Inrush Current - The peak value of current, which a load requires when first being energized. Certain types of loads (i.e. lamps, motors) will draw a larger initial current because their impedance is lower at startup than during steady state operation.

Insulating Factor - A value assigned, and used in a steam room sizing calculation, for a materials capacity to lessen or prevent the leakage of heat from a steam shower environment

Insulator - A material that insulates, particularly a nonconductor or electricity, heat, or sound.

Kauha (kippo) - A Finnish word that refers to a ladle used to throw water on the hot sauna rocks.

Kiln Dried - Drying by means of an oven. A process to reduce the moisture existing in wood

Kilowatt - 1000 watts and the universal distinguishable measure (power) of the electric steam generator

Kilowatt Rating - The unit by which steam generator, steam heat (power) capability is measured

Kiua - A Finnish word that refers to a sauna stove or heater.

Kiuaskivet - A Finnish word that refers to the stones in the sauna stove.

Kiulu - A Finnish word that refers to a small pail or bucket that contains the löyly water. It is usually made of wooden boards secured with wooden hoops.

Kiulu - Small pail or bucket to contain the löyly water. Usually made of wood: boards tied together with wooden hoops.

Lakeinen - A Finnish word that refers to the opening in the ceiling of a smoke sauna through which the smoke escapes during heating.

Lautee - A Finnish word that refers the elevated platform or benches in the sauna.

lauteet - Elevated platform to sit on in the hot room (the physical fact is that warm air rises)

LED - Light emitting diode used in information displays and as status indicators.

Line Frequency - Frequency of electrical service provided by local utility, typically 50 or 60 Hertz.

Line Voltage - Nominal voltage of electrical service provided by local utility, typically 120 or 240 volts AC.

Load - Any device which consumes power to do work.

Load Rating - A specification of the output capability of a particular controller. Typical parameters for load rating are: controllable current range, maximum AC and/or DC voltage, Horsepower or Power Factor and maximum inrush current.

Low Voltage - Voltage, which is typically less than 30 Vrms.

Löyly - A Finnish word for the steam or vapor created by throwing water on the heated stones. Also, the heat, humidity and temperature in the sauna in general. A wave of hot, moist air which envelopes the bather after water is splashed on rocks.

Löylyhuone - A Finnish word for the hot room.

Make - A term used to denote the action of completing an electrical circuit.

Mass - The extent of a material's bulk, size and weight

Momentary Switch - A spring loaded set of contacts which, when the actuator is pressed, the contacts either close or open depending on contact configuration. When the actuator is released the contacts will resume their normal state.

Natural Stone - A surface material that forms naturally and is not man made

Noise - An undesirable electrical phenomenon, which is generated by various means (i.e. switching large loads, light dimmers, electrical storms). The phenomenon consists of random voltages and currents induced into electrical circuits which, if severe enough, erratic operation of these circuits can result.

Nominal Voltage - The middle point of two extremes of voltage as defined by the tolerance.

Normally Closed Contact (N.C.) - The condition or position of a particular contact with respect to a common contact in its normal or quiescent (unenergized) state. The normally closed contact represents a closed circuit.

Normally Opened Contact (N.O.) - The condition or position of a particular contact with respect to a common contact in its normal or quiescent (unenergized) state. A normally open contact represents an open circuit.

Ofuro - The Japanese word for steam bath.

Ohm - A unit of electrical resistance and impedance named after Georg S. Ohm. A conductor has a resistance of one ohm when a current of one ampere flows through it with a potential on one volt across its terminals.

Operating Temperature - The range of ambient temperature in which a controller is designed to operate within its specifications. May be stated in Fahrenheit or Celsius.

Operating Voltage - The range of input voltage in which a controller is designed to operate within its specifications. Usually, it is stated as a nominal value with a maximum and minimum tolerance (i.e. 120 VAC + 10%).

Organic Waste (bather waste) - All of the soap, deodorant, sunscreen, makeup, cologne, body oils, sweat, urine, etc. brought into the water by bathers.

Parallel - A type o circuit connection in which loads are connected side by side across a common voltage source.

Pesuhuone - A Finnish word for the washing room.

Phase - The instantaneous angular position which a sine wave occupies in its cycle. The position is usually measured in degrees as referenced to zero and referred to as a phase angle.

Polarity - The positive and negative orientation of a source of power or signal.

Potentiometer (POT) - A three terminal device which consists of a fixed resistor with terminations on each end and a moveable contact (wiper) that can travel between the two terminations. Also called a variable resistor.

Pukuhuone - The Finnish word for dressing room.

Quick Connect Terminals (Faston) - A solderless friction type termination used in industrial controls to facilitate easy field wiring of electrical control systems.

Radio Frequency - A frequency in the range within which radio waves may be transmitted (10 kilocycles/second to 300,000 megacycles/second)

Resistance - The opposition to electric current flow. All conductors off some resistance and the basic unit of resistance is the ohm.

Rheostat - A variable resistor having one movable contact (wiper), and one terminal fixed at one end of the resistance. A potentiometer can be connected as a rheostat by connecting the wiper to either one of its other terminals.

Rough Opening - 1. The opening provided for the installation of a pre-hung sauna door consisting of wood framing and located in the exact area where the door is to be installed. Commonly referred to by the construction industry and in print as R.O. 2. The overall width of a door including its jamb material

Räppänä - A Finnish word that refers to the duct or vent on the sauna wall close to the ceiling. The size of the opening is usually adjusted with a simple slideboard.

S4S - An Industry acronym for “Smooth four sides,” which is commonly used when referring to wood characteristics. If a piece of wood is referred to as S4S, it will have four, finely sanded sides

Sauna (sow nah) - A Finnish-style sweat bath or the room where the bath occurs.

Savusauna - A Finnish word for a smoke sauna, which is the original form of sauna, with no chimney. While being heated the smoke from the burning wood under the stove fills the sauna and escapes through a hole in the ceiling (lakeinen) and through the door which is usually kept slightly open during heating.

Sento - The Japanese word for public bath.

Series Circuit - Loads connected end to end across a voltage source.

Serviceable Area - An acceptable and appropriate steam generator installation location which considers convenient access to the front and two adjacent sides including the plumbing, electrical and steam generator’s service access panel

Single Pole Double Throw (SPDT) - A type of contact configuration, which consists of a Common contact, Normally Open contact, and a Normally Closed contact. In relay nomenclature, the states of the contacts are given wit the relay coil unenergized.

Steam Generator Reservoir - The assembly inside the steam generator that houses the heating element and necessary water to make steam

Temazcalli - The Aztec word for steam bath.

Thermal Conductivity - The ability of a material or substance to transmit or diffuse heat

Tiku (kisu, kitku) - A Finnish term for unpleasant fumes in a smoke sauna right after heating. These disappear in an hour or two after which time the sauna is ready.

Tongue & Groove - A term used to describe a wall materials type interlocking/mounting system. Board Tongue slips into adjoining board's groove upon installation

UL - (Underwriters Laboratories) is a premier global safety science company with more than a century of proven experience, from the public adoption of electricity to new breakthroughs in sustainability, renewable energy and nanotechnology. Established in 1894, the company is headquartered in Northbrook, Illinois, and has offices in 46 countries. UL certifies, validates, tests, inspects, audits, advises and trains for a range of diverse stakeholders including manufacturers, retailers, policymakers, regulators, service companies, consumers and built environment professionals.

Vapor Proof - Impervious to the vapor associated with a steam shower environment

Vasta (vihta) - A Finnish word for a thick bunch of birch twigs used to swat oneself to promote blood circulation and cleanse the skin. A whisk, made of birch (or similar) twigs. Used for beating the body in the hot room to stimulate the feel of the löyly.

Vertical Wall Board Direction - Upright or perpendicular to the sauna room ceiling (see diagram below)

Voltage - The difference in electrical potential, or electromotive force between the terminals of a source of electricity. It is usually measured in volts.

Volume - The three-dimensional measure of the size of a space

Wall Framing Materials - Material used and arranged for the purpose of rough construction of a room (e.g., studs, furring strips, etc.)

Water Feed System - The system by which water is metered into a steam generator reservoir

Water Level System - The system by which the water level inside the steam generator reservoir is maintained

Water Proof - Impervious to the direct spray of water and vapor associated with a seam shower environment

Watt - A unit of power equal to one joule per second or about 1/746 horse power

Sauna Room Construction Specifics

Door Hinge (Left/Right)
All sauna doors must open out. Facing the door from the outside of your sauna room, note the side (right or left) the hinges should be installed on to achieve your desired door swing direction.

Interior Ceiling Board Direction
You have a choice of ceiling board direction when building your custom sauna room. Accurate Industries recommends installing ceiling boards the same direction of the most commonly used sauna bathing bench - this will minimize the view of board joints (grooves) while you're bathing. In the figure to the left, boards are installed parallet to the front, or door wall.

Interior Wall Board Direction
You can also choose to install your wall boards vertically or horizontally. We recommend installing wallboards vertically because in our experience most people simply prefer this appearance. Note: when installing wall boards vertically, you'll first need to install horizontal 1” x 4” pine furring strips on 21” centers to nail the wall boards (not provided with custom cut room).

Measuring Door Jamb Width
An exact door jamb width is not necessary, but it is recommended and makes for very simple installation. Provide us the actual thickness of your exterior sauna door wall material, sauna wall framing (studs) and firing strips (only when interior sauna wood is to be installed vertically) and we will custom cut a door jamb for your exact application.

Selecting Board Width
Your choice…3-1/2” or 5-1/2” wide Cedar ceiling and wall boards. Accurate Industries recommends selecting 5-1/2” boards for any sauna room larger than 4’ x 5’. We suggest this size board for no other reason than we unanimously agree wider wall boards look better in medium to larger rooms! For smaller rooms, select 3-1/2” boards. (5-1/2" boards shown in sauna cut-away diagram to the left)

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