DIY Cold Plunge: Methods and How to Build Your Own

DIY Cold Plunge

If you’re itching to dive into the refreshing practice of cold plunging but hesitant about commercial units yet, then crafting a DIY cold plunge could be your perfect solution to try. This guide offers a variety of methods, ensuring there’s a feasible option regardless of your budget or space constraints. 

However, if you’re ready to plunge into the world of premium cold water therapy, especially when you don’t have the luxury of time to do DIY, explore Shym Saunas’ Cold Plunge Tubs. Start your journey with Shym Saunas today and experience the ultimate in cold plunge therapy!

Key takeaways

  • Your current tub or shower can be an easy start for a cold plunge, using ice to adjust the temperature.
  • Converting a chest freezer into a cold plunge offers a long-term solution with a bit of initial setup and regular maintenance.
  • Options like ice barrels, inflatable tubs, and stock tanks provide flexibility but may have higher operational costs due to modification for insulation.
  • Investing in a ready-made cold plunge saves time on setup but will need maintenance as well.
  • Combining a large cooler with a water chiller is a cost-effective, customizable method that offers great temperature control.

Building Your DIY Cold Plunge

Cold plunges are gaining popularity for their potential health benefits, and building a DIY cold plunge at home can be a cost-effective way to explore these benefits. 

Building your own DIY cold plunge can be a rewarding project that brings the benefits of cold therapy right into your home. Whether you’re looking to enhance recovery after workouts, boost your mood, or simply experience the invigorating feeling of cold water immersion, this guide will walk you through various methods to create your own cold plunge. From repurposing what you already have to setting up a system from scratch, let’s dive into the different methods.

1. Using an Existing Tub or Shower

cold plunge tub

Photo Credit: Unsplash

The simplest and cheapest method involves using your existing tub or shower.

If you’re looking for a straightforward way to get started, your current tub or shower can serve as an effective cold plunge. Begin by filling it with cold tap water, and if necessary, toss in ice to lower the temperature.

To be more cost-effective, you can freeze large blocks of ice in aluminum trays. Keep an eye on the water temperature and add more ice as needed to maintain the chill. 

2. Chest Freezer Conversions

Hands-On Meditation | YouTube

Converting a chest freezer is an affordable and effective method but you’ll need modifications: Waterproof the freezer, and include a water chiller and a filtration system to keep the water clean.

Warning: This method is not recommended without supervision. Unplug the freezer before entering and ensure the lid cannot close while inside to avoid hazard.

For a more permanent solution, you can convert a chest freezer into a cold plunge. This method utilizes a freezer with sufficient space and capacity, sealed at its seams to prevent leaks. You can also install a water filter and a sanitization system to keep the water clean. Once filled with water, adjust and wait for the temperature to reach your preference. 

This method is cost-effective in the long run but requires regular maintenance of the chiller and filter system to ensure durability.

What You’ll Need

Materials:

  • Sealant (Marine Sealant is recommended
  • Pond liner (optional for extra waterproofing)
  • Water chiller (1/4 to 1/2 HP)
  • Water pump 
  • Whole house water filter 
  • Flexible tubing and fittings

Tools Needed:

  • Caulking gun
  • Drill with hole saw attachment
  • Screwdrivers
  • Hose clamps

Steps

1. Prepare the Freezer

Purchase a large chest freezer (14.8 cubic feet or larger), You could find great deals on scratched and dented units. Seal all seams inside the freezer using marine sealant to make it waterproof. Avoid regular kitchen and bathroom caulk.

2. Install Components

  • Drill holes in the freezer for water inlet and outlet hoses.
  • Attach the water pump and connect it to the freezer using hoses.
  • Set up the ozone generator and connect it to the water line using a Venturi injector.

3. Set Up and Test

  • Fill the freezer with water and add a water chiller to maintain the desired temperature.
  • Use insulation materials to seal the openings for hoses to retain the cold.
  • Attach an aquarium thermometer to monitor the water temperature, aiming for around 10°C.

4. Operational Setup

  • Use timers to control the operation of the freezer and pump. Run the freezer for 3-4 hours at night to maintain the temperature.
  • Ensure the freezer is turned off when in use to avoid electrical hazards.
  • Run the pump and ozone generator for about 30 minutes several times a day to keep the water clean.

5. Maintenance

  • Regularly check and clean the filter and pump.
  • Use bleach or hydrogen peroxide to sanitize the water, or consider using pool or spa chemicals.
  • Periodically drain and clean the freezer using a siphon hose for faster drainage.

3. Ice Barrels, Inflatable Tubs, and Stock Tanks

cold plunge barrel

These options are simple, but cost can range from cheap to expensive. 

Choosing between an ice barrel, inflatable tub, or stock tank depends on your budget and space. Fill your chosen container with cold water, then add ice to achieve the desired coldness.

To keep the water clean, plan to replace it regularly. Insulating the container can help maintain the temperature, and a fitting lid will minimize heat loss. While this option offers flexibility in size and shape, be aware that insulation might be inadequate, leading to higher operational costs.

Here’s a comparison to help you further choose:

Ice BarrelsInflatable TubsStock Tanks
AdvantagesCompact and lightweight
Effective insulation
Easy maintenance
Highly portable
Quick setup and takedown
Advanced models have chillers/filters
Durable and weather-resistant
Cost-effective initial setup
MaterialRecycled, UV-resistant materialsHeavy-duty vinyl or PVCGalvanized steel or heavy-duty plastic
FeaturesInsulated lids and coversIncludes hand pump for setupLarge capacity for full-body immersion
InstallationRequires minimal toolsCan be set up and taken down quicklyRequires stable, level ground; Can be heavy and difficult to move once filled
SizeSuitable for seated immersionAvailable in various sizesGenerally 100 gallons or more
Compact and space-efficientCan be tailored to fit spaceLarge enough for full-body immersion
CustomizationLimited customizationSome models allow for chiller and filter systemsCustomizable with insulation and chilling systems
Basic aesthetic designCan add advanced featuresCan be enhanced with additional components
MaintenanceMonthly water changesRegular maintenance and cleaningFrequent water changes needed
Easy to maintain and cleanMay require additional equipment for chillingMore manual maintenance required

4. Ready-Made Cold Plunges