Something in the world of floating have you stumped?
Graham and Ashkahn give the skinny on the foibles one my encounter when purchasing a float tank. These aren’t specific to any one manufacturer, but they are useful things to look out for when shopping around for a tank.
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Transcription of this episode… (in case you prefer reading)
Graham: All right.
Ashkahn: Hey welcome everybody.
Graham: Yeah. Hey everyone.
Ashkahn: This is Daily Solutions over here.
Graham: It’s a podcast over here and we’ve got a question which is, “what are some common issues with float tanks themselves in print (not the room construction question mark)?”
Ashkahn: Well punctuation there on.
Graham: Three, I guess it’s like three times as much as usual, but, yeah, so problems, common problems to run into with float tanks.
Ashkahn: Yeah. So there’s definitely problems. There’s definitely, I feel like every float tank’s got its own kind of little subset of nuanced things that come up. Just a little weak points in their systems and there’s like overlap and things like that. But, there’s almost nothing you can say universally is going to be a sticking point with every single float tank out there, but there’s some that are, I think are more common than others.
Graham: So yeah, let’s just kinda start going through some of them one by one. And again-
Ashkahn: Spontaneous tank explosion.
Graham: I was gonna say spontaneous tank hydro-plosion, accidentally electrocuting clients. That’s a-
Ashkahn: Yeah accidental guillotines.
Graham: So, I’ll just hop right in, I’ll just go right for it.
Ashkahn: Go for it.
Graham: And I’ll say not being able to skim the entire surface of the water easily in between clients.
Ashkahn: Yeah, for sure. A lot of float tanks.
Graham: Like there’s some things that don’t seem like power horses or is that the right word? Power horses. It must be right.
Ashkahn: There’s some sort of phrase like that.
Graham: Yeah workhorse.
Ashkahn: Workhorses. Powerful workhorses.
Graham: That it seems like-
Ashkahn: I think you’re Combining horsepower to workhorses.
Graham: That’s exactly what I was doing. These power horses that they’ll just take everything off the top and skim them like it’s no one’s business. And then there are others that don’t do as good a job so.
Ashkahn: At least a lot of hand skimming.
Ashkahn: Not like with your hand, like a hand, you get like a skimming-
Graham: You gonna just go in with your hand scoop.
Ashkahn: You’ll scoop, scoop.
Graham: Scoobi doop. Right. So it means you have to have a little skimming net or a pool net thing. You kind of run through there in between everyone, which I don’t know, I mean that’s how you overcome it, but not ideal.
Ashkahn: I feel like there’s definitely a lot in the kind of brain control system of flow tanks that I feel like can go wrong. I mean, one of them is as more float tanks are kind of updating, their systems are coming out new a lot more people are relying on some form of wireless communication or some form of software running on your own hardware, your computer or tablet or something like that. And that’s just more prone to error than hard cabled systems to direct remote control. Things that just have buttons to do things. And so, that’s just a spot that for sure we hit with across a lot of tanks all the time, even as simple as our internet cut out, but when it kicked back on the controller and the tank had trouble re-establishing communication or the tank manufacturer puts out an update and something funny happens or there’s just a lot of stuff like that that is a result of kind of modern technology.
Graham: Yeah. Kind of the more complicated these brains get, the more bells and whistles they get to have the more cool things you can do and monitoring them from your smartphone and stuff like that. But it also means there’s a lot more moving pieces to go wrong and a lot of dependence like Ashkahn was saying on the cloud and on things just being exactly how they should be in your entire network. Which yeah, if you’ve ever been in a professional network manager, you know is not the easiest thing in the world.
Ashkahn: And along that same vein, I feel like the actual hardware inside of the tank brains has given us trouble before, like certain components just kind of failing or we’ve had some that have like had SD cards that just fell out at some point or a little just there’s a lot going on in there and there’s a lot of little spots for something to go wrong. And there’s a lot of complicated stuff in there that it’s hard to problem solve by yourself.
Graham: Buzzing or clicking electronics I’ll say is another issue, and that can be something as simple as just when you’re activating a relay, it has to click on and sometimes these little cliques make noise. Same with heaters or speakers, there’s kind of this like on off switch, which you just have to take a lot of care to not make any sound at all. And then there’s also just sort of persistent hums and that can be everything from if you personally install speaker wire wrong or just if there’s, who knows, like all kinds of interference can happen in speaker lines. I mean, it’s like you have crazy professional audio people to run wires through spaces and yeah, it’s just, it’s hard with all those electronics because none of them are actually made to get down to zero noise. And that’s what we’re demanding of them.
Ashkahn: Yeah, it’s like stuff that you would just never hear in any other context and these things being used and oftentimes it’s stuff that you can’t even hear unless your head is in the right spot in the float tank. If you get too close to a certain wall where something is some component or speaker or whatever that electronic that’s making the noise is like, that’s the point where you’ll hear it and if you just move six inches away from that, you won’t all over sudden.
Graham: Yeah, yeah, for sure. So it’s hard to figure out exactly what’s causing them. It’s hard to test accurately. Installation can affect it as well. So. But yeah, that, that is another one just slight buzzing or just the sound of electronics coming through and you can trace it to something tank related, like you can shut off the power to the building or you can just unplug the tank and you won’t hear that sound anymore. So yeah. But from there it becomes a little trickier to actually fix. Yeah. I’ve got a few more.
Ashkahn: Yeah. I want to say like the, again, like electronic components of your filtration system. So the things that require power, if you have a circulation heater and inline heater or a UV light, I think are more prone to have something up with them occasionally than your filter or something that’s just a little bit more basic.
Graham: Yeah, yeah, for sure. Water going down the side of the float tank and somehow being able to collect under it in a space that’s hard to get to and creating the potential of mold or mildew or something like that. Just kind of like-
Ashkahn: Gaps in your caulking
Graham: Yeah hard nooks to get at the and actually clean is a tricky one and often we’ll overcome that just by consciously building platforms where we’re caulking the bottom of the tank directly to a platform and then we have a gap underneath it so there’s just not room for water to gather anywhere, but it just takes some kind of thinking through. Every float tank’s different and you just kind of tend to have these little areas that are a danger for a lot of moisture to collect. Yeah. Often the solution is caulking those in and just making sure there’s not any nooks and crannies.
Ashkahn: Yeah. I want to just say like weird noises in general, stuffing your filtration system can also lead to like little air bubbles getting in somewhere, a little clicking noises or there’s just some like sound mysteries that happen.
Graham: The popping in the float tank, like fiberglass float tanks will just have this kind of settling noise or expansion contraction, temperatures changing and it’s just you’ll be in there and it’s almost like, I mean, I’m sure what it actually sounds like in real life is like but in a float tank it sounds just CRACK! So loud. It sounds like a gunshot going off in there and those are challenging.
Ashkahn: Yeah. Another one that I feel like we’ve had problems with across a lot of tanks are the actual light buttons, which-
Graham: Yeah, I’ll just generalize that to say lights in general, but yeah, the light buttons specifically yeah.
Ashkahn: Lights in general, but the buttons themselves are, I think by far the biggest source oof repairs and stuff. It’s just because, most float centers have or float tanks have things to keep electronics away from there. So they have these air buttons most often-
Graham: Yeah are really common-
Ashkahn: With tubes fall off things break.
Graham: And it relies on you pushing a button which is then moving, it’s pushing little bladder which then moves air through a tube all the way back to the control box, which then triggers the relay. So there’s no electronics in the float tank near the light button, which is awesome. But it also means there’s this little tube which can now get filled up with salt water. Like the button itself, the bladder can get ripped.
Ashkahn: Stuck onto something or get crinked in a way that will stop the air from going through.
Graham: Yeah. We’ve had problems with the edges things sitting on top of it and blocking the airflow. And we thought we needed these advanced repairs and we had to move a box. So yeah, the air buttons can be a little bit-
Ashkahn: Finicky for sure.
Graham: Yeah finicky is a good word. We’ve also had, I mean going back to the kind of brains of the tank, I guess probably being more of the culprit, but lights not turning off when they’re supposed to, lights staying on through a whole session, lights accidentally coming on halfway through a session. Like there’s definitely just been light related problems.
Ashkahn: This goes hand in hand with the kind of same thing we were talking about before. Like as things get more technologically advanced, it just makes things more complicated. Most of the tanks are starting to ship with these, like sophisticated, programs like, “Hey we’re gonna wait this amount of time, then we’ll fade this in, then we’ll fade that in and we’ll do this, then we’ll do that.” And it’s just a lot easier for something to go wrong when things are that complicated.
Ashkahn: I feel like another thing that’s just worth mentioning is like, I think what leads to a lot of issues is you doing some sort of routine maintenance. I just want to point that out to people that the most common time that you’re going to end up with something broken or pieces leaking because they didn’t fit back together quite right or something like that is going to be because you went to do something like replace the UV bulb or clean the sleeve, the The bulbs in or clean your pump impeller when you’re doing this kind of routine maintenance on your float tanks. You’re just messing with stuff that has got a lot of moving pieces and threading the connection junctions and that’s just, you’re really opening it up to kind of its biggest chance of something going wrong or slim thing that you just may accidentally break in the process. It’s just as common as something kind of randomly happening to our float tanks is us messing something up in the process of maintenance. And just breaking because there’s-
Graham: “Oh you broke the quartz tube again for the UV. Whoops.” Yeah, I guess, yeah, good side lesson to always keep spare parts around for fragile anything.
Ashkahn: Yeah. And we’ve said this before, but we try to only do maintenance on a single tank at a time so that if something breaks we have all our other tanks up and running. yeah we’re not in a huge-
Graham: I will just say another thing to expect as far as issues with the tanks themselves is just expect eventual leaks in the plumbing system. They’re just going to happen. Like Ashkahn said, you’re doing constant maintenance on these things. You’re changing filters, you’re at the very least putting a little bit of torque on the system as you’re pulling out filters and doing different things. So expect the junctions and the little areas where were your pipes are joined with glue and things to potentially get little pinhole leaks or just even when putting a filter top back on the filter, it could be you don’t quite screw it on tight enough that week and all of a sudden you have a drip coming down and huge pile of salt at the bottom.
Basically it’s to be expected. I’ve never seen a pump area of a float tank that didn’t have some amount of salt covering it. It seems impossible to avoid and at some point that will probably become a little more of a like trickle leak that you actually need to deal with, whether it’s re-PVC gluing apart or yeah, coming up with a new gasket for your filter or something like that. But, I think it’s just as a result of pumps for pools and spas are not designed totally leak free. Right? Like if a drop of water comes down once an hour, that’s not a problem in a pool, it evaporates. And when you have a drop once an hour in a float tank center, then it sticks around. Now you have like a pile of salt after a day. So it’s just more noticeable.
Ashkahn: Yeah, I mean it’s kind of helpful. It’s like a one-time salt is helpful is when you’re trying to find the source of leak because you’re like, “Oh, I know exactly where this is leaking from. Here’s a salt trail right back to this spot.”
Graham: “Oh, it’s just a person holding a knife next to the dead body, I can trace this down yeah.”
Ashkahn: That part is kind of nice, but it’s also kind of annoying because you can’t ignore it.
Graham: All right. So that’s a lot of the most common things. I actually can’t think of anything immediately else off the top of my head. But and again, just a reminder, there is no float tank that is totally perfect. And likewise, there is no one of these problems that some float tank hasn’t dealt with really well, it tends to just be a very demanding enterprise to go into manufacturing float tanks. So it’s just kinda the nature of the beast. I mean we’re trying to do something impossible which is get to absolute sensory zero, so in that, of course we have to deal with salt and that plus everything else just produces all of these struggles that come along. So, tired is what I’m saying.
Ashkahn: It’s part of the game.
Graham: It’s not an easy game. Hate the game, not the player.
Ashkahn: Yeah, poor man who blames his tools.
Graham: Poor man who blames the game, no the player?
Ashkahn: All right, we got to go. If you have more question?
Graham: How does truisms work again?
Ashkahn: Send them in to us. Go to floattanksolutions.com/podcast. There’s a spot you can write questions. We’ll see them. It’ll be awesome.
Graham: It’s like a game and you can win.
Ashkahn: That’s it. We’ll talk to you tomorrow.
Graham: Yeah. Bye
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