Hot Tub Filter Care
Laura Robson - June 2014
It can be easy to forget about your spas filter cartridge – hidden inside a skim filter or, if you have an in-line filter, it’s tucked away where you can’t see it at all. But in order to keep your spa water and equipment in good condition, the maintenance your hot tubs filter cartridges is very important.
The basic steps to filter cartridge care are frequent rinsing, routine cleaning, and regular replacement of the cartridge(s). Over time, your filter is designed trap contaminants from your spa water: lotions, skin cells, body oils, dust, etc. It will reach a point where it will be so covered in particulates that it takes more pressure to pass water through the filter. This pressure means your pump has to work harder, and it will require more electricity to circulate your spa water. Removing these built up contaminants and debris from the filter regularly will allow optimal water flow. Soaking your cartridges in cleaning solution will then remove the microscopic particles that block the pores of the filter media, ensuring clear and well-filtered water.
The frequency and amount of care your filter cartridges require will depend on the regular bather load that your spa has. If you are an occasional or weekend spa user, you will find that you will need to do basic maintenance only. If you use your hot tub every day or the bathers introduce sunscreen or body lotion into the water, you may find that your cartridges require a little more attention.
Ideally, your cartridges are rinsed every 2-4 weeks. Rinse your filter of any debris or scum that has collected between the pleats with a water stream at a 45 degree angle, either with a garden sprayer or a Filter Flosser that concentrates the pressure of your garden hose perfectly. (Do not use a pressure washer to clean your filter cartridge, as it can damage the filter material, or even tear it, leaving your cartridge unusable.) This manual cleaning keeps buildup from forming on your filter between cleanings, and allows high flow of water through the filter to your pump system.
We recommend that your filter cartridges are cleaned every 3-4 months (with each water change). This involves soaking your removed cartridges in a solution of cleaner in a plastic bucket, often overnight. (The cleaner can react with a metal bucket.) We offer several effective filter cleaners in our product lineup, including Filter Free and Filter Tabs. The cleaner will remove scum, minerals and bio-film, which is what bacteria produce and live in, which re-opens any blocked pores in the filter media. (Reminder: Always follow the use and safety instructions found on your filter cleaning agent/solution. Keep all of you spa chemicals out of children’s reach, including filter cleaner.) The filter then needs to be rinsed, and if possible dried, before it can be replaced. Ensuring that your filter has dried out completely will help to eliminate unpleasant odours and will make it difficult for bacteria to survive the cleaning process, but it is not required.
Having a clean spare filter cartridge is a good idea. Swapping your dirty filter out for the clean ones will mean no spa down-time, allow dry-time for your freshly cleaned filters, and rotating your filters also extends their life. Generally, filter cartridges should be replaced every one to two years. The length of their useful lives depends heavily on how well they have been maintained, the regular bather load of the spa, and whether the filters have been rotated or used continuously.
Using an oil and scum absorber will give you a little extra help with your filter cartridge maintenance. We carry both the Zorbie, and the Scum Bug. These float in your spa water and collect the oils and contaminants that bathers introduce to the spa water, keeping your filter clean and clear for longer.
In some situations, a filter that is not properly cared for will need to be replaced as often as every 3-6 months. If you prefer to skip the maintenance, we carry disposable filters that last for 6-12 months and require no maintenance at all.