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Show Highlights

Graham goes solo again to discuss how people perceive temperature in the float tank.

This is an important issue specifically because of a few pieces of technical information that your average customer just isn’t going to know, largely how humidity impacts temperature, but also how easy it is to overheat in an incredibly humid environment.

Show Resources

Heat Index Calculator (A useful tool to demonstrate how humidity affects temperature)

Listen to Just the Audio

Transcription of this episode… (in case you prefer reading)

Graham: All right. Welcome, everybody, to another day of The Daily Solutions Podcast. I am Graham, and I will not be joined by anyone today. But, in a few more days I get Ashkahn back which is really exciting. If you’ve been listening, he’s been kind of gone since before conference time so it’ll be nice to hope back on the mic with my longtime co-host. In the meantime, we have a question today which is, “what’s too hot to float in? Multiple clients with fibro circulatory issues et cetera prefer it hotter, requesting 98 or higher. At the conference this year we heard it can be dangerous, so what’s max temps you suggest??” double question mark.

So, this is something that we’ve touched on a bit in the past but I thought that it was worth delving into this specific part of the question and then kind of the dangers of going too hot. And it’s kind of a complicated one in that there’s not a, just like so many podcast episodes that we have, there’s not actually a single concrete answer that I can give you on this and really it’s this combination of factors that can make floating in high temperatures too dangerous. And basically what you’re trying to avoid is just over heating, quite simply. And one of the mechanisms that human beings use to prevent overheating is sweating and taking advantage of that sweat cooling mechanism, one of our cool mammalian superpowers that we have. And the unfortunate part about that in really humid environments is that our sweat is no longer really able to do its job, it’s why when you’re in really hot, humid kind of heat, it’s more uncomfortable than when you’re in really dry heat.

And there’s actually, if you just look up perceived temperature humidity chart, you’ll find a really cool graph of how humidity affects our perceived temperature and especially as you edge up to 90% humidity, getting close to 100% humidity, the perceived temperature is so much higher than what the actual temperature in an environment is, again, because our kind of sweating mechanisms aren’t able to do what they want. So, there’s a little scientific background for you to get to the answer, which is there’s really, there’s probably more than this, but 3 main factors that are at work here. One is the temperature of the water, one is the temperature of the air, and the other one is just the humidity in the tank. And as you can imagine because the float tanks are basically just these humidity generating machines, the humidity in float tanks gets pretty high on a regular basis.

So, it means that you need to be a lot more cautious about the other temperature, right. If you’re water temperature is getting up above 96 degrees, and your air temperature is likewise up in that area, 96 degrees, and you’re at 100% humidity, you’re now at risk of overheating, but by the same token if the water’s at 98 degrees and the air temperature is much cooler and the humidity is at 40/50%, then you might just be totally comfortable. So, there’s a balance there in that there’s no one temperature you can actually keep your float tank water at, that will either make it dangerous or safe, really. Instead, you kind of rely on those mixture again, of the 3 different types of temperature effects going on here. So, for a lot of float tanks centers, they don’t really have control as much, of the air temperature in the float tank, especially if you have a pod where it’s closed on the inside then your air temperature very much equalizes to what the water temperature is because the heat is just coming up off the water, it’s not escaping very fast even with active ventilation out of the pod and again, because it’s kind of enclosed the humidity starts building up.

And so that’s why you see this concern for hard temperatures of the water and maybe that is around 96, maybe it’s a little hotter. Theoretically, in this kind of wet bulb environment, above that 96 mark, starts to, again, tend in this danger zone. So, but for people who do want the temperature hotter, it just means you need to take a little greater care with making sure that your humidity levels are down, that your air temperature maybe is being controlled a little more. In our case, we have a couple big open tanks, so that really helps with being able to control the temperature in the room a little more precisely but even that gets tricky because again, the open tanks are so big in comparison to the room that they also have this tendency to kind of equalize the room temperature to what’s in the tank. And another part of that is just bather comfort as well. So, if you do lower the air temperature down and leave the water temperature at maybe 93.5 degrees, that’ll probably be too uncomfortable for a lot of the floaters. In our big open pools we have to keep the air temperature somewhere around 92 degrees, for example, just to make sure the people are still comfortable when they’re floating in the water.

So, again, there’s a lot to keep in mind here. There’s no specific answer. I guess one other thing that I will say too is that, often times when people say that they want things hotter, the don’t really understand by how much. They’re used to controlling the air temperature in their apartment or in their house or in their car or something like that where a couple changes, a change of a couple degrees is really what makes a difference in comfort. And in the float tank, the truth is, it’s just such a more subtle environment. If a customer comes out especially a first timer at Float On and they say “hey, can you crank up the temperature 2 or 3 degrees next time I come in?” We just kind of say oh, sure, we’ll put a note on your account to make it warmer. And then next time they come in we might kick it up a half a degree, right, and that half a degree is enough that it’s not only perceivable but is that difference between discomfort and comfort. So, if you are keeping your tanks kind of more around 94.5, and people are coming in requesting that it be like 98 degrees, maybe it’s enough to bump it up to 95 or at most 96, 95.5. And that might just be enough, from their perception, even though they thought they wanted it much, much warmer.

So, there you have it, definitely be careful. It’s one of those things where if your heaters are running a muck, if you are in this really high humidity environment and your temperature is rising in the tanks, it’s one of the few very serious dangerous things that can happen in a float tank is overheating. So, it is worth approaching with a good deal of caution and certainly if you’re pushing the actual water temperature of the tanks over, kind of around that 96 degree mark, just be conscious of that, and make sure that you’re taking some other precautions or at least aware that there is potential for danger there in a way that, with a hot tub, with your head out of the water and with often the night air or something like that cooling off the rest of your body you can comfortably have a lot of you submerged at 102 degrees. That’s not true in a float tank, so.

There you have it. Stumbled my way through another solo episode and if you have questions of your own, cruise on down to floattanksolutions.com/podcast and send your questions our way or just my way in this case. Alright. Have a good one out there and talk to you soon, tomorrow specifically. Okay. Bye.

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