Something in the world of floating have you stumped?
Graham and Ashkahn offer some helpful tips to keep in mind when planning out the electrical framework for your float rooms. How many circuits you should plan for, where to place outlets, GFCI compliance, just to name a few.
Definitely an essential episode for anyone to listen to before going into their build-out phase.
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Transcription of this episode… (in case you prefer reading)
Graham: Alright, welcome.
Graham: I’m Graham.
Ashkahn: I’m Ashkahn.
Graham: And today’s question is “what sort of electrical do I need to run to each room. Each and every room.”
Ashkahn: Each one.
Graham: Every one.
Ashkahn: Every … Well not every one. Just the float rooms, I’m assuming.
Graham: Oh. Yeah that is good. But every single float room.
Ashkahn: Every single float room.
Graham: They didn’t say that but it was implied.
Ashkahn: I think it’s what they meant.
Graham: It was in their tone kind of.
Ashkahn: We can kind of see … We have little videos of people as you type each question.
Graham: We’re watching all of you.
Graham: Every single one of you.
Ashkahn: Well not every single … Just the one submitting questions.
Graham: So yeah. You know, most tanks need some electricity, you need lights.
Ashkahn: Yeah. Yeah, or some steam-powered ones.
Graham: And those need governors. So yeah, you need some electrical in your float rooms.
Ashkahn: Pretty … I mean at a minimum it’s the float tank and lights.
Graham: Yep. Float tank and lights. Often it’s nice to leave enough room to put a wall heater in even if you don’t have one immediately.
Ashkahn: Yeah. So I mean this really gets down to the fact that all these electrical components take a certain amount of amperage to run, so your float tank is going to be your biggest consideration and like the craziest one.
Graham: Yep. And that definitely needs its own dedicated circuit running to it.
Ashkahn: And you need to talk to your manufacturer to figure out if it’s 120 or 240.
Graham: Yep. And you need to figure out whether it’s 20 amp or 30 amp.
Ashkahn: So basically like don’t … Like you just have to know the float tanks just require kind of all variations of things we just said.
Graham: Yep. And the float tank manufacturer can tell you exactly what it needs. And sometimes there are conversions too between Europe and the US, so depending on your region the same float tank can actually have some different power as well.
Ashkahn: And some get hardwired directly in rather than plugging into an outlet, and some want like a special type of kind of waterproof cover for the outlet, and so there’s different considerations there too. So that one’s like the most kind of up in the air and specific.
Graham: Yep. And again should just be resolved by a quick phone call. We also have another episode where we talk a little more at length about wiring float tanks directly into the wall or using these different types of waterproofing, so definitely feel free to check that one out too. And other things, so like you mentioned a light in the room. I mean at the very least the float tank should be on its own dedicated circuit, so right there you at least need two circuits, just for a float tank plus light.
Ashkahn: And that’s pretty much in my mind like the minimum-minimum. Like if you were to just like nail everything and you never had any issues or had to add anything to the room or change anything in the future, and like your HVAC system worked perfectly and all this sort of stuff, like you would have a float tank and on your other circuit would be a light and another outlet in the room for you to plug in certain stuff, charge the phone or whatever like.
Graham: Yeah like user stuff, yeah.
Ashkahn: But you know. It’s probably not good to plan for the absolute minimum assuming everything will be perfect and you’ll never want to change anything in the future.
Graham: Yep. And that one also assumes that all of your air conditioning, heating, cooling, stuff like that, is being accomplished with your HVAC system. So totally separate from …
Ashkahn: Yeah so that’s kind of getting everything totally solid and perfect and …
Graham: … from the room, yeah. It’s assuming that you’re not doing any kind of like fancy lights or more advanced stuff that might require their own circuit in the room. It’s assuming you’re not doing a hair dry … Like you have a hair drying station. People aren’t ever going to be bringing in a hair dryer or plugging in anything else in the room like that.
Ashkahn: Yeah, so these are the other things that-
Graham: Assuming that you’re not doing any heavy power stuff, like when staff are just going in there and doing cleaning it kind of assumes that you’re not going to be plugging in big machinery inside the room or something like that, that might need its own electrical supply.
Ashkahn: Like an electrical pressure washer or something.
Graham: Yeah, like pressure washing the inside of the float tank. Just spitballing here man.
Ashkahn: One of those water jet pack things. Like get up into the creases. Yeah I mean so the most common one … I think most people have built kind of like vanity room, put yourself together station things with hair dryers and stuff.
Graham: Yeah. God I wish we had one of those.
Ashkahn: Yeah I think we’re the only center that’s messed this up at this point. So I’m sure that’s not the most common thing in the world, but it is very common for people to have some sort of a wall heater or heating device inside of the room, and those take a lot of energy. And it’s just because it’s really expensive to build an HVAC system where your individual rooms have individual control over temperature. And it’s an easy thing to not get as perfect as you want. Even if you try to do it and you realize you didn’t quite … Like the difference between redoing your entire integrated HVAC system and like buying some wall heaters and plugging them into the room it’s just vastly, vastly different. So I do feel like that’s a much more common scenario that people end up in.
Graham: Yeah, even if you don’t end up using it, putting in a separate circuit for a wall heater just in case I think is a good idea going into construction. And yeah, for exactly what Ashkahn was saying, which is your best intentions might be that you have this kick-ass HVAC and everything’s maintained in the rooms and reality often just doesn’t live up to our plans. So planning at least for some compensation or some fine-tuning on that front is a good idea.
Ashkahn: So that takes us up to three circuits for the room. Which is now, now you have like some buffer and a little bit more flexibility if things need to change on you in the future.
Graham: And that’s kind of it. Like three, three I think is recommended. I wouldn’t say to build a float tank room with any less than three circuits, personally. And yeah, you know if you want to have something else in there like a fourth for planning for the future for anything else you might want to add, if you don’t have your vanity area and people might need to be plugging in higher voltage electronics than just a cell phone or something then yeah. A fourth circuit is great.
Ashkahn: Just one of those things where like you know, we’ve said this before but your walls are so expensive and like the finishing materials are so expensive and the idea of just like putting some extra stuff in there to begin with versus the idea of having to retrofit anything is so drastic that I think it’s, for all this sort of stuff we tend to lean on the “give yourself extra” side of things. Just like hey you know, throw another one up there. Just have extra room in the future, and like maybe you’ll never use it but maybe you will and it’ll be so much nicer that you thought of this than having to redo anything.
Graham: It’s the kind of advice that comes from people who have had to tear open their ceilings on multiple occasions to rewire things.
Ashkahn: Over and over again.
Graham: Yeah, man. Having an extra circuit at different points would have been absolutely amazing in those rooms. I guess the last thing is just like low volt stuff, so speaker wire, the actual communication Like Cat5 cable or whatever is going to your float tank.
Ashkahn: Yeah, there’s a couple other things. I mean obviously yeah, so with that sort of stuff I think what we’ve done that’s worked kind of well for us is putting in kind of like an oversized pipe that can get to the different rooms.
Ashkahn: Conduit. That’ll get there and giving yourself extra space in that conduit will mean that if you do need to run another cable to a room from your lobby in the future, it’s a lot easier to run it when there’s just existing space in a conduit already.
Graham: Another protip from people who have had to tear into their ceilings to replace conduit.
Ashkahn: That’s right. So this also is tank-specific, but some float tanks are hardwired to their controls in your lobby and that ranges from two connections one, that actually kind of allows the kind of controller to communicate with the float tank which is … Most often I see is like a Cat5 or Cat6 cable. And the other one is speaker wire so that the music you’re playing from your what controls in your lobby can connect to the speakers in the float tank. And some float tanks just need one of those and some float tanks need neither one, and do wireless communication.
Graham: Yeah. So another thing to check in with your manufacturer but even if don’t have your float tanks when you’re building out your rooms, make sure that you’re running the correct wire to eventually plug your float tanks in is a really good protip. I think it’s really easy to get your float tank, have built out your entire rooms, all your electrical is already in and then you realize you have this really long wire you need to run from your float tank to your lobby. And that’s another one way that, yeah, float center owners get tricked early on and they have to cut back into their ceiling and rerun it even though they did run four circuits or whatever and went overboard on their initial wiring.
Ashkahn: I mean it’s not a terrible idea to do even if your float tank is wireless, because it allows you to change float tanks at some point. If you want to buy a different float tank at some point and that float tank does require a hard connection, like if you already have a conduit in place your life is going to be so much easier than having to figure out how to punch holes in things and run that wire through your space all of a sudden.
Graham: Yeah. And it can be as simple as yeah, again, running a Cat5 cable along with a speaker cable and just have that planned for the future.
Ashkahn: Couple of the small ones, I mean not small in how important they are, but most people know stuff like this, but you want everything to be GFCI.
Graham: Oh, yeah.
Ashkahn: The whole room should be considered a wet environment.
Graham: Ground fault current interrupter.
Ashkahn: Yeah, or
Ashkahn: Circuit interrupter or current interrupter?
Graham: Whatever. It cuts off the … It’s like a built-in fuse, or like a built-in circuit breaker basically, into the outlet itself, so that it can kill … It’s within 1/40 of a second, is how fast it can shut off electricity if it sees a surge, so.
Ashkahn: So you see these like, If you’re not familiar with this, go into your bathroom and look at the outlets in there.
Graham: And you’ll get very familiar with it if you-
Ashkahn: And it’s the one with like the little buttons and green light telling you everything’s okay. That’s a GFCI outlet.
Graham: Yeah. Used in wet environments, again just because the risk of water getting into the outlets and that somehow electrocuting people is greater, so of course where there’s tons of water and humidity in your float rooms these are exactly what you want to be using.
Ashkahn: Would also recommend having all of your outlets high up on the wall. Normal-
Graham: Above four feet.
Ashkahn: Yeah normal outlet placement is down near the ground but we don’t like that in our float rooms. We don’t want anything that is at risk of having electrical damage be near the ground because again the whole thing is really a wet environment, so some of our outlets are at a minimum four feet up and even the ones we put in for our wall heaters are basically right up at the ceiling.
Graham: Yeah like nine feet up, or something like that. Yeah that’s really good. Another good tip too if you’re using, I guess even arranging your wires for your float tank itself, but using drip loops. So when you arrange your wire, making sure that that wire goes down into kind of a U-shape and then back up, so if water gets on it near the electronic it’s plugging into, like your wall heater let’s say, it has to drip down to the bottom of this little U-shape and then it’ll fall down there and then the U-shape goes back up to the outlet. So then if water gets on the cord near the outlet it also slides down towards the bottom of the U. Whereas if you’re pulling a wire kind of just taut from left to right and then water gets on one side it can just slide directly down, right into the outlet, or directly down right into the electronics.
So yeah again small just ways to arrange wire can actually go a long way towards preventing potential problems too.
Ashkahn: And that’s like a precautionary step, if you’re getting water on your cables to begin with something’s wrong. That’s just one extra like hey, just in case …
Graham: Can’t be too safe.
Ashkahn: … here’s a nice way to arrange them but don’t … If you’re seeing water and your drip loop is working don’t be like oh everything is fine. No that’s not good. Like you shouldn’t have water consistently running cables or it being in a spot where a drip loop is necessarily the thing saving you.
Graham: Yeah don’t just daisy chain your extension cords across the room either. Very ill-advised.
Graham: Is that it? We done? We powered through that one? Huh? You like that?
Ashkahn: Yeah it was electrifying. Maybe shocking to some people.
Graham: You can’t just take all of them. Alright well –
Ashkahn: Light and fast, that’s why …
Graham: Plug in next time for another episode of Daily Solutions and …
Ashkahn: What comes outlet our mouth. Alright that’s … Okay. Maybe we should finish then.
Graham: Come on down to floattanksolutions.com/podcast and yeah. Relay some more questions our way. Alright, bye everyone.
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