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Posted by Pat O'Keefe
Cleaning and Replacing Your Spa and Hot Tub Filter Cartridge
Hot Tubs are typically a source of great relaxation. Whether it’s the daily user experience or a party for a special occasion, owning a hot tub is a great luxury. Maintenance and care are very important things to stay on top of so that you can ensure that your spa is running at optimal levels at all times. Some folks use their spas regularly after exercise, or every weekend, others only occasionally, regardless of usage patterns, there really is two important things to have a firm grasp on. The first one is water chemistry/balance and the second is a clean and fully operating filter.
If the chemistry is off in your hot tub it can eventually cause damage to the system including things like the pump and cover and can also be unhealthy to you. You need to keep the spa filter clean which means daily cleaning and keeping dirt, grime, and blockages. Putting it simple, water cannot flow through a filter that is dirty, and clogged. This issue will also rear its ugly head in the clarity and cleanliness of the water as it will pass right through but won’t be cleaned of contaminants. If it is clear, sparkly, and inviting, then you are probably good to relax but if it is looking dirty and dull you may be compensating for a bad filter by increasing your chemical use or having to run the filter more to achieve the same level as before. A dirty neglected filter puts extra strain on the pump and actually can even shut down your power at the very worst.
The good thing about these tasks is that they really are not that hard especially if you get on a regular schedule and follow it. Cleaning a filter cartridge is as simple as removing it from the spa and cleaning it with a hose. Sure, there are in fact special devices that one can attach to a hose that will use water pressure to get in between the pleats but regardless of how you do it, nothing beats a thorough cleaning. We advise against using a pressure washer or any kind of brush as the filter material is not designed to stand up to some of these harsher cleaning methods.
Removing things like dirt and debris while cleaning the filter are key in but there are many other things as well. Body oils, residue, and bacteria also get captured by the filter and need to be routinely and efficiently cleaned out of the filter. The best way of doing this is to use a cartridge cleaner solution which is a degreasing agent that can handle the buildup and grime that accumulates in the filter by breaking it down and allowing it to rinse away. We would advise to use this at least every 3 to 6 months. Do not use any household soaps, detergents or chemicals to try and accomplish the same thing.
What are the factors that will dictate how often you need to clean your filter you may ask? Really, it comes down to overall usage and the climate that the spa is in. The warmer it is and the more you use your spa are the two biggest factors in the amount of time you will need to dedicate to cleaning. We would advise that getting on a good schedule of once every two weeks would be ideal. All you have to do is remove the filter from the hot tub and provide that thorough rinse getting in between all of the pleats where deposits often build up.
Make sure you change the water in your spa at least once every 3 months. When the spa is empty is a great time to also do a thorough cleaning of the filter. This means performing the general rinsing as previously described but also soaking the filter overnight. You should soak your filter overnight in a solution that is designed specifically for these spa cartridges. Once this is done, make sure you remove it from the solution and rinse again. We would also advise to have two filters available at all times so that when it does come time to clean one, the other is ready to go.
Hot tub filters should be replaced annually at the very least to maintain optimum performance. A general rule of thumb would be to replace your filter every time it shows outward signs of wear and damage. Other indications of the need to replace the filter would be if there is a lack of water pressure moving through it. Another way to look at this is to think that if a filter that is too dirty or way overused will start effecting other systems within the spa that will definitely cost more money in the long run than just paying for the cost of a nice new filter.
How long a filter lasts is certainly something that is subjective. On one hand, every time you clean the filter pleats they are manipulated and stretched but on the other hand, this cleaning process is a necessary one. This is a great example of why you should loosely keep track of the amount of times that you clean your filter and replace it every 12 to 15 times. This breaks down to once a year or just over that. Another way to keep on track is to change the filter at the same time every year, maybe pick a holiday, or a time where the spa is being used a great deal.
Once you get in the hang of it, upkeep on a spa is not very hard nor is it time consuming. Take a look at our video demonstrating some best practices. Our staff is here to answer questions and can also suggest certain products that work to ensure you always have a clean spa to enjoy.