"If you've recently acquired a cold plunge or ice bath, or are considering getting one, you probably have a myriad of questions regarding water quality, cleaning, maintenance, water drainage, temperature, operational duration, and more. To address these common inquiries that I've received through messages and social media, I've compiled these 10 tips to provide useful insights and guidance."
Number 1 tip and the simplest… Before getting in the cold plunge or ice bath, take a shower. If you aim to reduce the frequency of water changes, consider using soap to thoroughly cleanse your skin, removing any oil and sweat. This practice enhances hygiene, especially when multiple people share the same tub."
Number 2, If you employ chlorine or bromine for sanitization, it's crucial to routinely test the water pH since they can significantly affect it. In the case of Hydrogen Peroxide usage, pH testing is not as imperative due to its neutral nature. Nevertheless, be mindful that Hydrogen Peroxide has a shorter half-life, necessitating more frequent dosing in the water."
Third, "If your chiller is equipped with an ozone generator, it's recommended to operate it for approximately 45 minutes daily. For example, the ozone generator in my chiller activates every 15 minutes. If your chiller runs continuously 24 hours a day, you can configure the ozone generator to produce ozone for one minute every 15 minutes. However, if you opt for a shorter operational period, such as 6 to 8 hours a day, you may consider setting it to generate ozone for 3 minutes every 15 minutes."
"Let's talk about insulation. If you reside in a colder climate and keep your ice bath or cold plunge outdoors at around 15 degrees Celsius, insulation may not be a significant concern. However, if you're in a warmer location like the UAE, proper insulation becomes crucial. Inadequate insulation can lead to higher electricity consumption, as the chiller works tirelessly, causing increased wear and tear. A poorly insulated tub may struggle to reach your desired temperature, depending on the chiller's power and the ambient temperature. To address this, I suggest considering inflatable tubs with a thick layer of air as insulation or tubs equipped with multiple layers of insulating material around their main body. It's not advisable to use metal cold plunges or acrylics in hot climates due to their limited insulating properties."
"I frequently receive the questions from cold exposure enthusiasts, 'Should I run my cold tub 24/7, or can I switch on the chiller occasionally?' If you run the chiller continuously, your water will stay clean for an extended period, but it comes at the cost of energy and electricity, particularly if you don't use the plunge daily. Additionally, constant operation contributes to more wear and tear on your system. On the other hand, sporadic chiller activation is not ideal due to the potential buildup of algae and bacteria in stagnant water. A reasonable compromise is to schedule your chiller to run for 6 hours each day, irrespective of whether you plan to use it. This approach minimizes energy waste and system wear. For instance, using the TECKWAVE app, I set my chiller to activate at 12 pm and deactivate at 6 pm. By the time I get home, the cold plunge is ready for use."
"Never operate your pump without water, as it can cause damage and burn out the pump. If you've recently set up your cold tub or are performing maintenance tasks like changing the filter, and you switch on the chiller only to find no water flowing through, immediately power off the system. Place the water hose in front of the tub outlet, usually the lower hole, to manually introduce water into the system. Additionally, when changing the filter, ensure you fill up the filter housing to the top with fresh water. Despite my chiller having a self-priming pump with a secondary suction pump to draw water into the system, the layout of the pipes can sometimes prevent proper water filling. Therefore, it's essential to monitor this aspect consistently.
"Monitor the flow rate of your cold plunge, and for my chiller, it should ideally be maintained between 16 and 20 liters per minute. A drop in the flow rate suggests a potential issue with your filter, indicating the need for replacement. Many chillers feature a secondary filter; some have a small mesh filter accessible from outside. Due to its size and position in the filtration process, it tends to clog frequently. In contrast, this chiller incorporates a larger mesh filter accessed from behind the main filter, requiring less frequent cleaning. However, if you observe persistently low water flow rates even after changing the main filter, it's advisable to clean this secondary filter as well. Additionally, consider that extremely dirty water might prevent the flow rate from reaching the original values of 19 or 20 liters per minute, even with clean filters.”
"If your cold plunge and chiller are situated outdoors, it's advisable to position them under a shade, particularly in hot climates. While these tubs are constructed with PVC material designed for outdoor use, prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can accelerate material degradation. Additionally, take precautions to shield your chiller from heavy rain. Although these chillers are splash-proof and well-insulated, it's prudent not to place undue trust in electronics when they are in close proximity to water."
"The next tip concerns water temperature. While these chillers are capable of cooling the water to as low as 3 degrees Celsius or 37 degrees Fahrenheit, it's not essential to immerse yourself in these temperatures to experience the benefits of cold exposure. Personally, I recommend a range between 7 to 10 degrees Celsius or 44 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit for an effective experience. If you wish to intensify the challenge or extend the benefits, consider prolonging your time in the cold. For instance, I do 30-minute sessions at 7 degrees Celsius, but I strongly advise against such durations for people new to cold exposure or cold therapy. Setting your water temperature within these recommended ranges not only conserves energy and electricity but also minimizes wear and tear on your chiller."
"A handy tip for draining the water. If your ice bath is conveniently located outside or near a water drain, simply disconnect the tub outlet hose from the chiller and direct it into the drain. However, if you're at a considerable distance from a drain, you can utilize the chiller pump to facilitate the draining process. Disconnect the plunge inlet from the tub, place it in a bucket, and turn on the chiller. Just ensure the water level doesn't drop below the lower hole in the plunge to avoid running the pump without water. Alternatively, use a longer hose, connect it to the chiller outlet, and direct it to the bathroom or any available water drainage."
In conclusion, whether you're a new ice bath owner or considering getting one, I hope these insights on water quality, maintenance, temperature, and more prove valuable in optimizing your experience. Remember, a thoughtful approach to care and operation ensures not just efficiency but also longevity for your equipment.