Everything you need to know about choosing, ordering, and installing HUUM in the UK.
How does Brexit affect deliveries?
Updated March 2021:
Deliveries to companies in the UK is now very smooth. For private individuals, however, it has become increasingly difficult to deliver our pallets as couriers are not interested in handling this process, which comes with significant additional costs and hassle. For the timebeing, we strongly suggest anyone ordering to do so through a company if possible. We are still finding alternative solutions for private buyers, however.
Updated February 2021:
We'll keep delivering to the UK and keep helping sauna enthusiasts across Britain build their saunas. The end of the Brexit transition period was a bit chaotic for everyone involved in moving goods across the EU/UK border, but we've now figured out most of the new processes and want to keep hassle to a minimum going forward for anyone ordering from us. We did originally plan to set up a UK warehouse before the end of the transition, but - as silly as this sounds - delivering pallets across Britain is actually more expensive than sending them directly from Estonia. Don't ask us why!
So here's how ordering Estonian sauna design and technology is different post-Brexit. Firstly, we've removed the VAT from all our shop prices. You'll be paying that directly to the UK government now. Once your goods are on the way, our import agent will email you a quick form to fill out confirming that you are the receiver and that you are liable for any duties and VAT. The good news is that there aren't any duties under rules of European preferential origin (as everything is entirely made to a high quality in Estonia with no cheaper imported parts) and the VAT rate remains the same as before at 20%. As the VAT won't be on the invoice, here's a VAT calculator you can use to check the final amount. Just add 20%. If you are a VAT-registered company then you can claim back that tax on your next VAT return by using the HMRC deferred payment scheme. So you'll fill out the form and make the payment to the import agent for VAT and a small processing fee. They will then be able to get your goods across the border and to your door. We'll specify here exactly what those small processing fees are, but we're just waiting for more information about that. If you have any more questions, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1.Introduction to HUUM
1.1. Where in Britain you can try before you buy 1.2. Which British sauna builders already integrate HUUM stoves
2. The Story of HUUM
3. How to choose your HUUM wood-fired stove or electric heater
3.1. Calculate the kW output power you will need to heat your sauna (electric & wood-fired) 3.2. Measure your sauna safety distance requirements (electric & wood-fired) 3.3. Investigate your sauna wiring and input power (electric only) 3.4. Choose your stones (electric & wood-fired) and air tunnel (electric Hive online) 3.5. Choose your UKU sauna control system (electric only)
4. How to order HUUM products in the UK
4.1. Confirm your order 4.2. Pay your invoice 4.3. Receive your HUUM delivery
5. How to install an electric HUUM sauna stove and UKU sauna control system
5.1. How to install an electric HUUM sauna stove 5.2. How to install an UKU sauna control system with a WiFi, GSM, or local connection 5.3. How to place the stones into the heater
6. Final questions to consider when buying a sauna stove from an online retailer
6.1. Check what’s included 6.2. Check if there’s extra fees 6.3. Beware of non-transparent sellers
1. Introduction to HUUM
Across Britain, a great sauna resurgence is taking place. Saunas are becoming not just more popular, but also more authentic and built to a higher quality. And a rapidly increasing number of Brits are enjoying saunas not just at their local gym, but also inside their homes.
The pandemic has certainly created a surge in home sauna building in the UK, but this trend was already on the rise in the lead up to 2020. Celebrities like David Beckham have helped popularise home sauna bathing, but the real story is about how saunas have become more accessible to everyone, not just the rich and famous.
If you’re one of these new sauna enthusiasts then make sure you check out the British Sauna Society and get involved with the great work they are doing to improve British sauna culture.
At the heart of this sauna resurgence, HUUM has emerged as one of the most popular modern sauna brands.
Here at Estonian Saunas, we’ve delivered HUUM stoves to a wide range of customers across Britain from luxury spas to pop-up beach saunas, from country estates to small apartments, and even an English Premier League football club, which has it alongside their training pitch (we’re just not allowed to say which one!) We also work closely with quality sauna builders who are helping others fulfill the dream of owning a home sauna.
HUUM combines ancient sauna building principles with contemporary Nordic design and cutting-edge technology.
Their electric heaters and wood-fired stoves don’t just look good in the sauna, but are carefully designed with minimal metal to hold a large number of stones that provide the best possible heat and steam.
HUUM has also designed a smart control system called UKU for electric heaters, which includes a wall-mounted controller and a mobile app so you can control your sauna with improved safety and convenience from anywhere — like while travelling home or out exercising.
For the past few years, we’ve been delivering HUUM products directly from their factory in Estonia to the doors of customers across the UK.
However, we are currently setting up our warehouse in Birmingham during December 2020 so we can deliver more easily across the UK, no matter what happens with EU trade negotiations. As a customer, you won’t notice any differences except quicker delivery times and the option to collect it in person if you wish.
We just want you to sweat in the sauna, not sweat about Brexit!
1.1. Where in Britain you can try before you buy
Most of our deliveries of HUUM stoves are to private homes, but some are open to the public so, if you wish, you can experience the full heat and steam experience before ordering your own.
Our top recommendation is Beach Box Spa on Brighton Beach in Sussex, which is run by Kate and Liz.
They first created this wonderful pop-up sauna as a temporary experience, but it has since become enormously popular and expanded to accommodate more people. You can get a very authentic sauna experience here with a wood-fired HUUM stove in their larger sauna then cool off in the English channel.
We have other customers currently setting up saunas to visit so we’ll update this section with more opportunities soon.
1.2. Which British sauna builders already integrate HUUM stoves
We deliver HUUM stoves not just to customers directly, but also to quality sauna builders around the UK. If you would like to partner with us as a sauna builder then get in touch with us at email@example.com.
If you would like someone to construct a sauna for you with a HUUM stove then here are our recommendations. Say hi to them from us.
Heartwood Saunas builds luxury saunas at their workshop in the middle of the lush Esgair forest in Wales. The wood is sourced sustainably from the forest around them. They even let their clients walk through the forest to select the wood that will be used. You can read more about Heartwood Saunas on our blog here and you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to offering quality sauna experiences to visitors, Beach Box Spa build bespoke saunas for clients too, often in their quirky and ingenious style of regenerating horse boxes. You can enquire about their availability to build a sauna for you at email@example.com.
2. The story of HUUM
The founder of HUUM, Siim Nellis, comes from a family of sauna stove builders over several generations in Estonia.
Following years of technical development, Nellis turned to the Estonian Academy of Arts in 2011 and challenged students there to help design a more efficient electric sauna heater that combines traditional Estonian sauna building knowledge with modern design and smart technology. They decided that modern sauna stoves are too industrial and that the design focus should be returned to the stones, as it has been for thousands of years, which provides a superior heat and steam.
The winning design was the Drop, a wall-mounted electric stove inspired by the shape of a water droplet.
Despite taking up very little space in the sauna, the Drop design holds 55kg of stones, which is far more than many wood-burning stoves. After further development, the Drop was launched in 2014 and immediately received positive feedback from sauna enthusiasts, as well as several design awards.
As a result, HUUM has continued to grow and invest in further product development, including the UKU smart control system that would provide sauna users with added convenience and safety.
The company established its primary presence in Tartu, the academic and cultural heart of Estonia, but it also relies on skilled expertise from metal workers across Estonia who individually work on different elements of the production, much of which is too creative for automated process lines so it requires handwork.
Their second design was Hive, a larger free-standing stove that is available as both an electric and wood-fired version.
This was launched in 2016 and has already proved popular in public saunas and spas, as well as larger home saunas.
The technology has evolved too, including the HUUM mobile app which is under continuous development. This was originally only controlled through an inbuilt SIM card that requires a connection fee, but HUUM then launched their WiFi-connected UKU controllers at the start of 2019.
As for us, we created our own company, Estonian Saunas, to help export Estonian sauna design, technology, and traditions — which is why we’ve enjoyed a long and close relationship with HUUM.
We installed the first WiFi-connected sauna stove at our own home in Tallinn and have been exporting them ever since. We also invested in HUUM ourselves to support their expansion.
We are also currently developing another sauna with a HUUM wood-fired stove — although this one is inside a ZiL-131 Soviet Army truck!
At the end of 2019, HUUM launched two new heater designs, Steel and Cliff, with smaller safety distances and lower power input requirements in response to the growing demand for home saunas — especially in smaller spaces such as apartments.
Demand for HUUM sauna stoves and WiFi controllers has surged as more people spend more time at home and thinking about their health. After global lockdowns began, total HUUM sales increased more than three times in March. Fortunately, the production is relatively small scale and spaced out already so it is able to continue safely.
The biggest issue has merely been sourcing enough stones to meet the increased demand.
3. How to choose your HUUM wood-fired stove or electric heater
As mentioned, there are now four main types of HUUM stoves.
Drop is an elegant wall-mounted stove in the shape of a drop. Hive is a curvaceous free-standing stove for larger saunas. Cliff and Steel are both upright stoves with shorter safety distances suited for smaller saunas. They are all available as electric heaters, while Hive is also available as a wood-fired stove that can be heated either in the hot room or through the wall from the next room.
There are five steps here to understand when choosing a HUUM stove:
Calculate the kW output power you will need to heat your sauna (electric & wood-fired)
Measure your sauna safety distance requirements (electric & wood-fired)
Investigate your sauna wiring and input power (electric only)
Choose your stones (electric & wood-fired) and air tunnel (electric Hive online)
Choose your UKU sauna control system (electric only)
3.1. Calculate the kW output power you will need to heat your sauna (electric and wood-fired)
This first part is for both electric heaters and wood-fired stoves. You’ll need to determine how much output power you’ll need from your sauna heater or stove in order to heat your sauna hot room properly.
HUUM heaters and stoves can be used in sauna hot rooms ranging from 3 to 35 cubic metres in size. The output power is measured in kW (for both electric heaters and wood-fired stoves).
As a very general rule, you will need about 1 kW of power for every 1 cubic metre of room that you are heating, although slightly more if you have more non-insulated surfaces (like windows and a glass door) or if you have more heat-storing surfaces (like brick, concrete or large logs) You’ll also need slightly more power output if you are using a wood-fired stove.
Most modern sauna hot rooms are built to a fairly standard style, however, with almost all wooden surfaces and one glass door. Based on that, this table shows what output power can comfortably heat what size of room:
Electric sauna heaters 3.5 kW: 3 to 6 cubic metres 4.5 kW: 3 to 7 cubic metres 6 kW: 5 to 10 cubic metres 9 kW: 8 to 15 cubic metres 10.5 kW: 10 to 17 cubic metres 12 kW: 12 to 25 cubic metres 15 kW: 15 to 30 cubic metres 18 kW: 18 to 35 cubic metres
Wood-fired sauna stoves 13 kW: 6 to 13 cubic metres 17 kW: 8 to 16 cubic metres
If you have any doubts about the power you’ll need then HUUM has also a great sauna calculator on their website here.
3.2. Understand your sauna safety distances (electric and wood-fired)
In this guide, we’re not going into details about sauna construction as we are focused on the stoves, but you do at least need to ensure that the construction of your sauna meets these minimum safety distances.
Here is an overview of them for every HUUM stove based on type and kW size:
Drop 4.5 kW A: 100 mm B: 590 mm C: 435 mm
Drop 6 kW A: 120 mm B: 630 mm C: 455 mm
Drop 9 kW A: 150 mm B: 690 mm C: 485 mm
Hive 6 kW A: 60 mm B: 580 mm
Hive 9 kW A: 90 mm B: 640 mm
Hive 12 kW A: 120 mm B: 800 mm
Hive 15 kW A: 150 mm B: 860 mm
Hive 18 kW A: 180 mm B: 920 mm
Cliff 3.5 kW A: 60 mm B: 390 mm
Cliff 6 kW A: 60 mm B: 390 mm
Cliff 9 kW A: 120 mm B: 510 mm
Cliff 10.5 kW A: 180 mm B: 920 mm
Steel 3.5 kW A: 50 mm B: 420 mm
Steel 6 kW A: 60 mm B: 390 mm
Steel 9 kW A: 100 mm B: 520 mm
Steel 10.5 kW A: 100 mm B: 520 mm
Hive wood-fired 13 kW A: 250 mm B: 900 mm
Steel 17 kW A: 500 mm B: 1000 mm
Steel 17 kW LS (through the wall heating) A: 500 mm B: 1000 mm
3.3. Understand your sauna wiring and input power (electric only)
If you are planning an electric sauna then you’ll next need to know the power of your main fuse to ensure it matches the input power required for the heater. You also need to know whether you have 1-phase or 3-phase wiring.
If you have 1-phase, which is standard in UK homes, then you’ll need to choose a HUUM sauna heater that has up to 9 kW output power. If you have 3-phase wiring, which is standard in UK commercial premises and most places across Europe, then you can choose any HUUM sauna heater.
As it happens, when we built our own first sauna with a HUUM heater, we had an apartment with single phase wiring that couldn’t even handle the kettle and washing machine being on at the same time! However, we were able to upgrade from 1-phase to 3-phase fairly easily so that is also an option if you need more power.
If you have any doubt at all about the correct wiring for your property, check your electricity bill or box — or speak directly to your electricity provider. And always use a certified electrician for any electrical installation.
3.4. Choose your sauna stones (electric and wood-fired) and Hive air tunnel (electric Hive only)
This step doesn’t actually apply to our online shop at EstonianSaunas.co.uk because we include all stones and an air tunnel as standard.
HUUM stones are carefully selected grey rounded volcanic stones gathered in Finland and known as olivine dolerite to Brits (or olivine diabase in American English). These stones are recommended for HUUM stoves for both their visual aesthetic as well as the quality of the heat and steam that they produce.
In addition, if you choose an electric Hive stove then you have the option of adding an air tunnel. This is inserted into the mechanism to increase air circulation among the stones, which helps care for the stove and also improve the quality of the sauna experience. If you do add an air tunnel then this reduces the number of stones you will need.
So here are the quantities of stones required to fill each HUUM stove:
Drop electric stoves (all): 60 kg of 5 to 10 cm diameter stones.
Hive electric stoves (6 & 9 kW) without air tunnel: 120 kg of 10 to 15 cm diameter stones and 30 kg of 5 to 10 cm diameter stones.
Hive electric stoves (6 & 9 kW) with air tunnel: 80 kg of 10 to 15 cm diameter stones and 30 kg of 5 to 10 cm diameter stones.
Hive electric stoves (12, 15 & 18 kW) without air tunnel: 220 kg of 10 to 15 cm diameter stones and 30 kg of 5 to 10 cm diameter stones.
Hive electric stoves (12, 15 & 18 kW) with air tunnel: 180 kg of 10 to 15 cm diameter stones and 30 kg of 5 to 10 cm diameter stones.
Hive wood-burning stoves (13 kW): 90 kg of 5 to 10 cm stones.
Hive wood-burning stoves (17 kW): 100 kg of 10 to 15 cm stones and 30 kg of 5 to 10 cm stones.
3.4. Choose your UKU control system (electric only)
If you have chosen an electric stove then you’ll also need a control system for it. For this, HUUM has developed UKU.
The UKU sauna control system by HUUM include a wall-mounted controller, which is placed outside the sauna, and available in a range of colours. That colour is your first decision. We provide a black wall-mounted controller as standard, but you can pay slightly more for one in white, sand, metallic, olive, or wood.
Your second choice is how the control system is connected. There are three options: a local connection, a GSM connection (though a mobile network with an with a embedded SIM) or a WiFi connection (which we recommend and has no annual fee).
If you choose to have a GSM or WiFi-connected sauna then you will also have access to the HUUM mobile app, which includes the same controls as the wall-mounted controller and is being continuously developed with new features. Both the wall-mounted UKU controller and the app will enable you to not just switch your sauna on and off, but also see the current temperature, choose your target temperature, and set a timer. The control system also includes safety features, including an automatic stove shutdown for overheating or when the door is open.
4. How to order HUUM products in the UK
Confirm your order
Pay your invoice
Receive your HUUM delivery
4.1. Confirm your order
In our online shop, you can either make a direct bank transfer in our online shop or select payment by invoice. We’ll then email you an invoice with our UK bank account details.
Let us know if you are paying as a company and whether you have a VAT number. If so, we will remove the VAT charge. The UK stays in the EU’s VAT regime until the end of 2020, which means VAT-registered UK companies do not currently need to pay VAT on EU cross-border business to business transactions. This may change in 2021 — and we don’t yet know how.
By the way, we only use the information you submit at this stage to deliver your order then check back with you once in future by e-mail to see how happy you are with your sauna. We don’t give anyone else your data or use it for any future marketing. Our entire marketing strategy is basically just to make content for sauna enthusiasts that’s genuinely interesting so we don’t bother with email marketing and all that stuff.
4.2. Pay your invoice
If you’ve selected payment by invoice then we will issue an invoice to either you or your company so you can make the payment directly to our UK bank account, which is with TransferWise.
Once the payment is received, we’ll dispatch the order as fast as possible.
Fun fact: TransferWise is also a British-Estonian company and has a sauna with a HUUM stove in their London office! The company was created by former employees of Skype, which yes was also an Estonian company! You can read more about the saunas of TransferWise on our blog here.
4.3. Receive your HUUM delivery
We always use reliable couriers and add insurance to the delivery. So if anything goes wrong with your products on the way to you then we will fix it as fast as possible. That’s very rare though.
We’ll pass on any specific delivery instructions to the courier and also give you the tracking number so you can see when it’s arriving. The delivery driver will have your phone number in case there are any issues on arrival finding you. That’s the only reason we ask for your phone number when you order.
5. How to install an electric HUUM sauna stove and UKU sauna control system
We worked with HUUM to make these videos for them about how to set up an an electric stove with an UKU sauna control system, and also how to add the stones. This is based on a Drop stove, but the principles are the same for other electric stoves.
Our most important bit of advice here is to always use a qualified electrician for the installation of electric home products like this. Most electricians should find the process fairly straight forward but you can show them these videos if they have any issues (and you can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional questions).
First, here’s how to install the Drop electric stove:
And here’s how to install the UKU sauna control system by HUUM and connect it to the Drop stove:
And here’s how to place all the stones inside the Drop heater:
Oh… and don’t forget to send us pictures of your sauna! We love sharing them on our @estoniansaunas social media accounts. They are inspiring to other sauna enthusiasts and also loved by Estonians who want to see where Estonian sauna design and technology ends up around the world.
6. Final questions to consider when buying a sauna stove from an online retailer
6.1. Check what’s included
Most sauna stove retailers sell all items separately. A stove might look like a great price, but you’d need to buy the stones and the control system separately. And those stones certainly add to the shipping cost!
We believe in selling the stove and the stones together to give a clearer price. We don’t mind providing a special quote to someone who wants to use their own stones (and even put together this guide for collecting sauna stones), but in our experience this is rarely the case. HUUM has already selected the optimal type of stone, which is then polished and rounded to compliment the overall look of the stove and supplied at good value-for-money.
Like everyone else though, we do sell the UKU sauna control systems separately because there are different options for the type of system and also the colour of the wall-mounted controller. Also, you can combine stoves and control systems from different manufacturers.
6.2. Check if there are extra fees
British buyers will be used to ordering goods across the EU without the hassle of additional import fees. That’s going to change from January 2021 when the Brexit transition phase ends. The exact details of new arrangements are still unclear while negotiations with the EU go down to the wire, but consumers will likely be compelled to pay their own import fees. Most online sellers have this policy.
We like to keep things simple for customers though, as well as having clear pricing. This is part of the reason for why we’ve set up a UK-based warehouse. We’ll update this article when we get a better understanding of new rules after the Brexit transition phase ends.
6.3. Beware of nontransparent sellers
As saunas increase in popularity, so too do the range of online sellers and the potential for things to go wrong.
HUUM products are very high quality so customers have rarely had any problems after receiving them. They all come with warranties too. We’ve had occasional mishaps with deliveries, but we’ve always fixed any issues as fast as we can.
The best way to assure customers is by being as transparent as possible. You should expect any online seller to clearly display the legal name of their company and where it is registered. This is good business practice and a basic courtesy to customers who should be able to conduct due diligence on who they are ordering from. At the very least, they should also be able to verify that info on official state business registries.
We go much further. In fact, in my previous life working for the Estonian government, I helped support the development of our transparent, trusted business environment and continue to speak out publicly about the importance of this for improving trust in business. We believe transparency is good for everyone: legitimate entrepreneurs, consumers (especially online), and wider society.
So here’s some things you might want to know about us:
Our business is an Estonian company, registered as Estonian Saunas OÜ (LTD). Our registry code is 12986006 and our VAT number is EE101870812. The owners and directors are Adam Rang (that’s me) and Anni Oviir. We’re both Estonians, although I’m also a dual citizen of the UK. I grew up in Sussex as I have family that fled from Soviet persecution.
Our company’s legal address is Tondi 22–4. That’s actually the address of one of one of our saunas that we own and offer as accommodation. Our operating address is our home in Tallinn where we offer our own smoke sauna experience. We’ve got no office because we have a very lean operation. However, our home address contains Estonian letters that confuse the keyboards of our UK partners, which is why we chose the other sauna address for our company.
On top of all this, a lot of data about our company is publicly available, including financial information and things like how much tax we pay. And all public data about Estonian companies, including everything mentioned above, is verified by our state through the use of our secure digital identities.
We try to keep our business as lean as possible and our prices as fair as possible so we would be surprised if anyone is able to beat us in the UK on value for money sauna stoves. However, let us know if you see anything different.
Thanks for reading
If you are ready, you can choose your HUUM products to be delivered to you in the UK through us at EstonianSaunas.co.uk.
You can also just send us an email at email@example.com. We get a lot of emails that begin ‘Hi Tere’, but tere is actually just ‘hi’ in Estonian! Myself or Anni will reply to you as soon as we can.
We really enjoy helping more people enjoy good saunas so we export not just Estonian sauna design and technology, but also our traditions as much as possible too! If you’d like to learn more and follow our own adventures, you can check out the rest of this Estonian Saunas blog or follow us on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. We also have a Facebook group for Sauna Builders & Explorers.