Something in the world of floating have you stumped?
When setting up your float tank, it can be tempting to look at the spa pack and imagine how much more convenient it would be if the pieces were rearranged a little bit. So… is there a particular order to the filtration equipment? Why or why not?
Fortunately, Graham and Ashkahn have painfully researched this issue and know all the ins and outs of water treatment systems for float tanks and why they are the way they are.
Listen to Just the Audio
Transcription of this episode… (in case you prefer reading)
Graham: Today’s question is, “I was looking at all of the stuff attached to my float tank, and wondering if the order that the filtration equipment goes in matters? Is there a reason the pump is coming before the filter?”
Ashkahn: Okay, yes.
Graham: There totally is. Don’t mess with that yourself, you know? Leave it to the professionals.
Ashkahn: Yeah, like are you going to be rearranging it? What’s going on here? Yeah, these things are generally placed in a specific order, and you typically see them in the same order when you look at not just float tanks, pools, spas, hot tubs, all that sort of stuff.
Graham: And it’s totally arbitrary, there’s actually no reason for those, just everyone kind of decided to do it one day.
Ashkahn: One dude did it the first time, and then everyone’s been doing that, so.
Graham: No, That’s not true.
Ashkahn: So here’s how it goes: you guys ready?
Graham: Yeah, lay it down, Papa Kahn.
Ashkahn: Basically, the water’s being sucked out of your float tank at some place, and often, the first thing you see is the pump. Sometimes, the only thing you see before that is that little like strainer basket thing. Sometimes, these are connected to pumps, sometimes, they’re plumbed as a separate piece. They’re called hair and lint pots or leaf traps, or all sorts of different names like that, referring to.
Graham: Yeah, depending on whether they’re used indoors or outdoors, I guess.
Ashkahn: And that’s basically, you know, to catch big things so that they don’t go through your pump and the rest of your filtration system, so that obviously wants to come before the pump.
Graham: Hair, earplugs, pine cones.
Ashkahn: There are like leaves and rocks, are what they’re used for in other settings. So, you know, that’s kind of the first thing in line to try to grab big stuff, if that makes sense. And usually, the next thing you see is the pump. And pumps, their kind of force is in a suction side of things. Like they’re sucking water in, is kind of the way they’re doing things, and that force is pushing it through the rest of the system. And so they typically don’t like to have to suck water through too much other stuff. So, as a result, you usually see the pump be the first thing so it can get, you know, the water moving, and push it through the rest of the system.
Graham: And I was also surprised at that when I was first learning about the order of things. Because it really seems like you’d want the pump after the filter, if that’s at all possible, right? Like it’s like a big hair and lint trap, right? Like throw in the pump after the filter if you can, just means everything gets filtered before it goes in there.
Graham: Less chance of things getting stuck.
Ashkahn: Less hair, specifically going in.
Graham: Yeah, yeah, yeah exactly. But, yeah, that’s not.
Ashkahn: It just seems to put too much, a little bit of strain on the pump if it has to suck through a filter media or something like that.
Graham: It’s like sucking out of your glass through a really long straw.
Graham: Like it’s just not as smooth, yeah.
Ashkahn: We have a piece of cotton at the end of it. So, you have the pump, sometimes you have the hair and lint trap if you have one of those, then it goes the pump, and then, often what you see after that if you have a flow meter is the flow meter. Certain flow meters really wanna go directly after the pump, other ones wanna go in different places, other ones don’t care about where they go. But, that’s kind of the most conventional place you see it, is right after the pump. You see, if you have one, a flow meter. And then, you get into the actual, at this point, like all that’s happened is we’re moving water. And if you, have a flow meter, you’re seeing how fast it’s moving. Like that’s all that’s going on so far. So now, we’re actually getting to the point where the solution, or the liquid, is being cleaned in some way. And basically, you have two different types of cleaning. You have an actual filter that’s filtering physical stuff: hair, skin cells, oils, things like that. And you have some sort of treatment system that’s dealing with microorganisms.
Graham: UV, Ozone, bromine feeder, something like that.
Ashkahn: Right, killing things like E. Coli. And so, generally, the way that you see it is that treatment system goes after the physical filter. And that’s just because you want your treatment system to be as effective as it can be. So, if you’re trying to treat the solution before the filter, then, you’re trying to kill all sorts of stuff that’s just about to be caught in a filter. Or it’s kind of dirtier than it needs to be. The hair can obstruct, the oils can obstruct things like UV penetration, the chlorine can be eaten up by trying to get onto all that stuff. Hydrogen peroxide, all that sort of stuff. So it’s kind of like filter first, get as much of the gunk that the filter can stop out of the way before we start hitting it with kind of these treatment systems to deal with these different microorganisms. And then, at the point that you’re there, with the treatment system, depending on what you have, you kinda want to do things in different orders. So, often if you’re using UV and Ozone together, people like to put the Ozone in before the UV system. Because, you know, if there is any hydroxyl radicals being formed from the Ozone and the UV interacting, then, you obviously want the Ozone in the system when it’s in the UV chamber. So that’s kind of the method they’ll go about doing it.
If you have chlorine or bromine that you’re using and you have a UV unit, a lot of times, mostly what you see, is people putting in the chlorine or bromine after the UV because UV can actually eat up some chlorine. So kind of ideally, what you’re doing is hitting the UV and then injecting it with chlorine so you’re not kind of diminishing the chlorine you’re putting right into the system.
Graham: Yep, and I think that actually the chlorine and bromine feeders tend to go the very last in the system, almost regardless. Like that’s kind of the last thing that you want to happen at the end of all the equipment.
Ashkahn: Which makes sense because they’re a residual. You kind of just want them out, mixed into the whole thing, doing what they’re doing out in the whatever, pool, spa, if it’s in a float tank, in the float tank. That kind of logic makes a little bit more sense for pools and spas, where there’s actually a big body of water that needs a residual.
Graham: It’s not getting sucked back up immediately three minutes later, yeah, yeah.
Ashkahn: Yeah, exactly. But that’s the general idea, you wanna filter everything, then you wanna put the chlorine in so that it’s kinda, it’s not being used up by anything else as it’s passing through the system. So, even things like heaters, a lot of pools have heaters. Some float tanks have in-line heaters. We’ll often go before injecting chlorine or bromine. And you know in kind of most float tanks, that’s pretty much all of the equipment, and then it just plumbs right back into the system.
Graham: Yep, that’s the bulk of it. I couldn’t even, I was trying to think of some joke of something else we could catch on there, you know? But nothing was coming to mind, so I guess we can just let it slide this time.
Ashkahn: So yeah, I think that’s generally the order here. You have the pump, is the first thing, with maybe something before it to catch big objects, the flow meter typically after it to kind of track how fast the liquid is moving. Then, you’re doing the physical filtration to try to kind of do a first pass, get a bunch of gunk out, then you’re doing your treatment system in a specific order, depending on what combination of things you’re using. Then, you get that right back in the float tank.
Graham: Alright, and if you have other questions, shoot ’em over our way. Go to floattanksolutions.com/podcast, and I mean you, if you’re listening to this, you go over there right now. You go over there, and you send us a question.
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