Frequently Asked Questions

What makes a Nippa® wood heater better than others on the market?

Leo Nippa® (formerly Leo Niippa) began making Nippa® sauna heaters over 78 years ago in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, using a technique which promoted strength and lasting quality that even in today’s high tech world remains unmatched. By rolling the firebox (to prevent the ever-so-common warping found in cheaper made heaters), fewer welds were needed during manufacture which created the strength of his stove. He also use a baffle system so you didn’t lose your precious heat up your chimney. Although newer innovations have been incorporated in the heaters throughout the years, the uncompromised original techniques are still used today.

How is Nippa® correctly prounounced?

NEE-pa. Leo Nippa changed the spelling of his last name when he moved to the United States, from Niippa to Nippa, but the pronounciation remaines the same.

The glass on my wood stove is really dirty. How can I clean it and keep this from happening?

Your glass gets a film on it from the gases that are released during burning of your wood. It is actually creosote build-up. The mistake most folks make when building a fire is that they load up the stove, close the dampers and let it sort of smolder all day and night. The best way to use your stove is to burn it hot during the daytime, and close it up only at night, when you need to keep the fire going for long periods of time. To build a proper fire and get the best use and cleanliness of your stove, which will bake off the build-up not only on the glass but your stove pipe as well, is to load your stove and leave the dampers opened either fully or partially. You will be creating a very hot fire, which will remove the film. Short, hot fires are much better for your stove and chimney than long, smoldering ones. The other way of cleaning the glass is to make a paste out of ashes and white vinegar, just rub it on the glass and it will clean off most if not all the residue.

Where can I find more information on fire and building safety?

Click this link to visit the NFPA website: National Fire Protection Association

How do I “season” my wood or gas Nippa® stove and why should I do this?

Seasoning your stove does two things, it cures the paint to the steel and seals the pores of the steel, providing a much longer life for your stove. To season a stove is quite simple. The first time you build a fire in your stove, just build a very small fire and burn it at a low temperature for 4-6 hours. For a gas stove keep the flame low and burn for 2-4 hours. This should also be done if you re-paint your stove!

Where can I find rocks for my stove?

We offer rocks for sale with all our gas and wood heaters, and we include them at no additional cost with our electric heaters. Yes, rocks are expensive to ship, but there are alternatives. You can find rocks at home centers, landscaping centers and at most construction/building centers. Make sure you ask for “hard” non-porous rocks if you are going for a decorative look. Do not use lime or slate. Volcanic rock is readily available.

Why do I have to use rocks in my stove?

Rocks are needed to store heat and to create steam when water is poured over them. Place your rocks all around the heater elements making sure to cover completely. If done correctly the stones will filter the heat from the heater elements for a softer more comfortable bathing experience and provide better steam. If you just place rocks on top of a grill or basket they will not get hot enough to produce a good steam and you will notice a much harsher heat.

How high should my sauna ceiling be?

Seven Feet – maximum. To heat your sauna quickly and allow the sauna to retain the heat, the ceiling height should be no higher than seven feet. Remember… heat rises. You want the heat you create with your stove to stay near the floor, where you are sitting comfortably on your bench.

How is a Sauna different from other baths?

A Sauna must have a special, insulated room built of softwood; a heater which is capable of heating the room to about 180° F; and stones which get hot enough to produce a good steam when water is poured over them. Anything else is not a Sauna. Also, a Sauna is not a steam bath. Steam is 100% humidity while a Sauna is relatively dry at about 20-25% average humidity (when water is used).

Should a Sauna have a waterproof floor? Is a floor drain necessary?

A Sauna must have a waterproof floor so that it can be easily washed and kept clean and sanitary, and free of odor. We recommend washable floors such as tile, sealed cement/concrete, or heavy duty vinyl. Commercial Saunas should have a floor drain to remove excess water by bathers and for cleaning purposes. Most residential Saunas do not need a floor drain, unless a water hose is used for cleaning. Wooden flooring is not hygienic in a Sauna as it absorbs perspiration, facilitates odor causing bacteria, and it cannot be thoroughly cleaned unless bleach is used.

Should a Sauna be insulated?

Yes, insulation prevents heat loss. We recommend R-11 or R-13 fiberglass insulation, standard paper faced. All the walls and the ceiling should be insulated. Vapor-proof barrier insulation is not recommended, as a sauna room needs to “breathe”.

Why must a Sauna be built of softwood?

The humidity must be absorbed into the wood to keep the atmosphere relatively dry, which also allows the wood to “breathe”. Softwoods have this property and are cool to the touch. Hardwoods absorb heat and become too hot to sit or lean against. The wood must be kiln dried to within 9-11% moisture content to prevent shrinkage and warping.

Is an infrared or far infrared a Sauna?

No. The only similarity to the Sauna is the wood lined room. An infrared cabin uses exposed heated elements to produce “infrared” heat. These elements are located on the back wall, front wall, and usually under the benches. Only the parts of the body that are closest to the elements get hot enough to perspire, similar to a spot heater. Saunas, on the other hand, are meant to heat the entire body via the heated air from a single heater filled with stones. Infrared rooms average about 125° F, whereas Saunas average 175-185° F. Infrareds have no means to create soothing steam or humidity because they do not have heated stones. Use of water is not an option. Some infrared companies claim that their infrared heat penetrates up to 3″ into your body. Even if this claim was true, one should be worried about anything penetrating that far into the body. Saunas safely heat the outside of the body and do not penetrate into it. Are infrareds better for you or do you sweat more in an infrared room? No. Saunas are known to provide the deepest cleansing of any bath in the world. Much of the information being provided by infrared companies is misleading and not factual.