How to Maintain Your Filter to Keep Your Spa Clean

Here is what you need to know to keep your spa or hot tub’s filter working perfectly

Key takeaways:

  • Running a spa or hot tub without a filter will clog your pump
  • Neglecting your filter can cause health issues
  • Clean filter cartridges will extend your filter’s life
  • There are easy ways to tell when your filter cartridge needs to be replaced
  • There are simple weekly, monthly, and every 3–4-month steps for proper filter care
  • With proper care, your filter should last a year or longer

Buying a swim spa or hot tub is a wonderful investment. It will bring you, your loved ones, and your friends years of relaxation, comfort, and stress reduction. 

To keep your investment operating properly, there are simple maintenance tasks you need to keep up with. Chief among them is caring for your filter since it maintains your water quality.

Your filter is not just important for your spa or hot tub – it also keeps you healthy and safe. We reveal what happens when you neglect your spa’s filter, how to tell when it needs to be cleaned or changed, and simple steps you can take to extend your filter’s life.

A filter protects your health and prevents your spa’s breakdown 

You never want to run your spa or hot tub without a filter. Your pump will quickly become clogged and unable to sift out the dirty particles that can cause health problems. 

Your pump and other equipment could also malfunction, resulting in costly repairs. Many hot tub manufacturers warn that running the unit without a filter will void the warranty. That’s how serious filters are.

There are more than just mechanical issues, too. Your filter protects you from bacteria and other irritants. Running your spa without a filter can result in skin rashes, infections, and even a costly hospital stay. It simply shouldn’t be done. 

How to tell when your filter needs to be cleaned or replaced

The easiest way to maintain your filter is to stick to a maintenance schedule. However, other factors can cause your filter maintenance needs to shift, causing it to require more frequent care. 

How often do you use your unit? How many people use it each time? Do you shower before getting in? Everyone’s spa usage will be different. Below are three simple ways to determine if your filter needs to be cleaned or replaced. 

  • Water flow – This will likely be the first thing you notice. If it takes longer to fill up your tub compared to when you first bought your unit, that’s a sign it’s time to tend to your filter.
  • Water color – Is your water muddy or gray? Not only is it gross, but it’s also a sign your filter is no longer keeping you safe.
  • Water scent – Give your water the sniff test. If it smells off or like you are swimming in a creek, your filter needs some attention. 
  • Water filter decay – Take a look at the filter itself. Does it look like it’s decaying? As a filter begins to break down, pieces of it may break off. If you see blue flakes in your water, change your filter immediately.

To prevent any of the above issues, inspect your spa or hot tub filter at least once a week. When you see signs of breakdown, or bits of the filter medium flaking off, change it.  Regularly checking your filter will help extend its life. 

How to extend your filter’s life

Want to extend your filter’s life? These simple tricks will enhance its longevity, protect your spa’s equipment, and keep you safe.

  • Cover your hot tub’s return outlets with pantyhose – This seemingly silly hack keeps dirt and other debris out of your filtering system. You’ll find it easier to balance your water chemistry, too. The result? Longer-lasting equipment and happier bathers.
  • Take a shower – Hair products, perspiration, and a person’s natural oils can wreak havoc on a spa’s filtering system. Dead skin cells, deodorant, and other products make your filter work harder. This reduces the life of your filter.
  • Have spare filters handy – Keep a few extra filters with your supplies. When it’s time to clean the one in use, replace it with one of your spares. This way your spa’s “downtime” is shorter, and you’ll have more time to give your filter a proper cleaning.

Keep a simple filter maintenance schedule

You’ll extend your hot tub or spa’s overall lifespan by taking a few precautions. Sticking to a regular maintenance schedule is the easiest way to protect your investment. Here’s what you should do weekly, monthly, every three to four months, and annually:

  • Weekly inspection – As mentioned before, take a look at your filter once a week. By doing this, you’ll avoid many of the issues that plague malfunctioning or filthy filters. Is yours discolored? Are there large bits of debris, rocks, sand, or other contaminants in it?
  • Weekly rinse – Turn the power to your unit off. Remove your filter. Using a hose, rinse it between the pleats. This won’t remove body oils or liquid contaminants like hair products. But it will get rid of loose rocks and other solids that might clog it.
  • Monthly cleaning – Repeat the weekly cleaning steps, but add in a spray cleaner. After rinsing off the main debris, spray the filter with a manufacturer-approved spray cleaner. Let it rest for 10-15 minutes. Gently scrub it with a brush. Rinse it completely. Let it sit to dry out. This is where having a spare you can rotate in really comes in handy!
  • Every 3-4 months – Give your filter a good soak. After turning off the power, remove it and give it a good rinse to remove larger, loose particles. Fill up a bucket with your hose, adding in a “soak solution.” Be sure to check the solution’s bottle for the correct amount to use. Let your filter soak in this solution for at least eight hours. Once the soak is complete, rinse your filter thoroughly. Get in between each pleat. A thorough rinsing means you avoid a bubble bath! Let it dry completely. Reinstall it and enjoy your spa once again.
  • Annually – Some experts claim you can extend the life of a filter by two to five years. However, for optimum performance and health safeguards, change it every year.

The guidelines above are just suggestions. Your unique usage will dictate rinsing, cleaning, or replacing your filter more or less often. The annual replacement and suggested cleaning schedule are subject to change based on your needs. 

Regardless, keep a good spa first aid kit on hand. This way, you’ll always be prepared for when something unexpected happens.

Maintaining your filter is essential 

Filters are big deals in our lives. We’ve got them in our air ducts, car engines, air conditioning units, water pitchers, and more, so we know they’re important. Your spa’s filter keeps your water clean, your body healthy, and your unit running well. 

You can set reminders on your cell phone to stick to the maintenance schedule that works for you. Keeping your filter operating at peak efficiency isn’t very hard. Follow a few easy steps and you will get the most out of your unit. You and your loved ones will stay safe and enjoy your beautiful spa or hot tub for years to come.

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