How to Clean Hot Tub Filters

This article is divided into four sections:
– Why Clean Your Hot Tub Filter
– When to Clean Your Hot Tub Filter
– How to Clean Your Hot Tub Filter
– Helpful Tips for Hot Tub Filter Maintenance

Why Clean Your Hot Tub Filter
Your hot tub’s filter traps debris, contaminants, and metals in the hot tub’s water. By doing so, the filter helps to ensure that your hot tub is operating properly and efficiently and that the water is sanitary and clear (sanitization chemicals, such as chlorine, bromine, or salt, are still required). Continuously operating a hot tub with a clogged filter can lead to larger problems: unfiltered debris can damage your hot tub’s circulation pump and unfiltered contaminants can cause unbalanced and unsafe bathing water.

When to Clean Your Hot Tub Filter
The industry standard for hot tub filter maintenance is as follows:
Rinse once a month
Clean with a filter cleaning solution every two to four months

However, with that said, the duration and frequency at which a filter is cleaned will differ for hot tub owners. How much and how quickly a filter collects debris is dependant on several variables, including usage, whether bathers rinse prior to entering the hot tub, the hardness of the source water, how well the chemicals are maintained at recommended ranges, the environment where the hot tub is located, the make and model of the hot tub, and the type of filter. (See Helpful Tip #1)

For example, some manufacturers recommend that a hot tub is drained and refilled every 50 to 90 days; whereas, Watkins® Manufacturing recommends every 120-180 days for Hot Spring® models (dependant on variables and type of water care accessory-EverFresh® system, FreshWater® ozone, silver ion cartridge, ACE® salt water sanitization system). In areas with higher levels of calcium in the water, hot tub owners may need to change their water more frequently than hot tub owners in areas with low calcium levels in the water.

You should adhere to the manufacturer’s guidelines, but understand that you may be able to, based on your experience with your hot tub, adjust the frequency at which you drain and refill your hot tub. If you have not been following manufacturer or industry recommendations for filter maintenance, here are a few signs that it may be time to clean or replace your hot tub’s filter:
Diminished water clarity-water is becoming cloudy
Decreased jet pressure
Decreased ozone (if installed on your hot tub)-fewer ozone bubbles (Note: this may be a sign of a clogged ozone injector)
Alert on control panel-blinking, dotted, or dashed lights (reference your hot tub manual)
Dirty filter-if the filter has a cracked end, torn or frayed pleat, collapsed core, or is worn out and dirt stains can not be cleaned, you should replace the filter (See Helpful Tip #2)

How to Clean Your Hot Tub Filter
The steps outlined in this section are to be used as a guide and should not replace the instructions in your hot tub manual.
1.Remove the filter from the filter compartment. (Follow the steps outlined in your hot tub’s manual). (See Helpful Tip #3)
2.Rinse the filter (rinsing your hot tub filter should be done once a month). Using a garden hose placed at a 45 degree angle to the filter, gently spray any debris from each filter pleat (make sure the water stream is forceful enough to knock away debris, but gently enough not to tear or damage the filter).
3.Clean the filter using a filter cleaning solution (this should be done each time you drain and refill, at minimum, and with a cleaner that is specifically designed to clean hot tub filters). There are two filter cleaning methods:
Spray cleaning: Using a filter cleaner with a spray nozzle, spray down each pleat on the filter. Let filter sit for at least 15 minutes. (Follow the directions on the filter cleaner bottle).
Soak cleaning: Using a bucket/container, soak the filter in a cleaner/water mix (follow the mix ratio on the filter cleaner bottle-usually a 1:5 cleaner to water ratio). Let filter sit for at least 1 hour. (Follow the directions on the filter cleaner bottle).
4.Rinse solution and remaining debris from filter by repeating Step 2.
5.Place the filter into the filter compartment and replace any hot tub components that were removed during Step 1. If your hot tub has more than one filter, it is a good idea to rotate the placement of your filters (similar to rotating tires on a vehicle). (See Helpful Tip #4)

Note: If you have a Tri-X® (ceramic filter), it is recommended that you rinse and run the filter through a rinse cycle with no soap in your dishwasher once a month, and that you clean your filter using a filter cleaning solution each time you drain and refill your hot tub.

Helpful Tips for Hot Tub Filter Maintenance
Tip #1: Keeping the cover on your hot tub while it is not in use and rinsing off before entering your hot tub will reduce the amount of contaminants and debris that find their way into your hot tub, which extends the life of your filter, water, and chemicals.

Tip #2: When it is time to replace a filter, ensure that you are purchasing the correct filter for your hot tub model. There are numerous shapes and sizes of filters-make sure you purchase one that is designed to fit in your filter compartment and that has a square footage capacity that matches the gallon per minute flow rate of your hot tub.

Tip #3: Your hot tub should be set to circulate the water for at least one hour each day. If you have a Hot Spring spa, your hot tub is designed to circulate your hot tub’s water 24 hours a day. This 24-hour silent filtration process uses less energy than a 40-watt light bulb.

Tip #4: It is useful to have two sets of filters-you can use the hot tub while one of the sets is being cleaned.