Testing the salty water!
While you may have heard me (Lindsay) grumble about my engineering career in the past, one thing I am incredibly grateful for is my experience as a chemical-environmental engineer. First – it got me to exactly where I am now – FLOATING! Second, it has provided me with the technical, scientific background to perform – and educate our float team on how to perform – daily environmental tests.
It is very important to us that we gain your trust and comfort within a short period of time which is why we take cleanliness very seriously. We do not want this to be something that is on your mind at all and strive to ensure you feel cozy before you step into our floatation therapy tanks.
Each morning, we test for the following parameters: pH, water depth, temperature, Bromine levels (in Rooms 1 & 2), Hydrogen Peroxide levels in (Room 3) and specific gravity. So what are these things and why do they matter?
pH – pH, or potential of hydrogen, is a numeric scale used to specify the acidity or basicity of a solution. A solution of a pH over 7.0 is considered basic while a solution with a pH of under 7.0 is considered acidic. The pH of the human body is approximately 7.3 and we keep our tanks around 7.2 – the same pH of drinking water. We use a basic pool kit to measure the pH (and Bromine levels) of the floatation tank solution.
Water Depth – It’s pretty self-explanatory! We measure the depth of water each morning using a ruler and keep it between 10″ – 11″ deep. When the depth dips below 10″, we add more water to bring it up to 11″ again and more Epsom salt and maintain the buoyancy.
Bromine – While the Floatation Therapy industry isn’t a regulated one, we did reach out to the NS Department of Health and Wellness to share with them our cleaning and sanitizing procedures that we created using the BC Ministry of Health’s Guidelines for Floatation Tanks (2016) for direction. In Canada, the preferred method of sanitization is using Bromine however Hydrogen Peroxide is also used throughout North America. Bromine is easy to measure using a common pool kit!
Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) – Hydrogen peroxide is a weaker sanitizer than bromine but and is generally considered to not be powerful enough to be solely relied on in pools and spas. In fact, it’s typically considered mainly as an oxidizer, meaning it helps break down the bits of microorganisms that are left after they have been inactivated. We use H2O2 alongside UV sanitization in our third float room. Why did we decide to use H2O2 in our third float tank and not bromine? A couple reasons: when we first opened, we had issues with metals in our water which, when reacting with bromine, can leave tiny brown stains on our tank liner that need to be scrubbed away with Vitamin C. The third tank has a white liner, and we wanted to avoid the potential of staining. Second, we really wanted to use H2O2 because Bromine can sometimes leave a faint odour (now… we pretty much have that dialed in so that there typically is no aroma within the float tanks that use Bromine, but I’m happy with the results in all float tanks!). One of the biggest benefits of hydrogen peroxide is that it simply breaks down into water and oxygen!
Specific Gravity – In order to determine how dense (how buoyant) our water is, we use a hydrometer to measure the specific gravity. Specific gravity is the ratio of the density of our salt water to that of pure H2O (which has a specific gravity of 1.00). In our float tanks, we keep the range of SG between 1.23-1.30. If the SG is too high, the salt will begin to crystallize which clogs up the filtration system and cause your pump to seize. Too low and you’ll sink during your float – and that ain’t the name of the game!
Other ongoing maintenance that occurs is weekly filter changes, weekly deep cleans and maintenance, and the weekly addition of plant-based enzymes to break down any oils or products that may have remained on the skin/hair after showering. We annually have our pump and filtration systems inspected to ensure they’re functioning properly & happily!
If you ever have any questions about how we maintain our float tanks or our space, always ask! We love hearing from you!