Proactive Hot Tub Filter Care: A Year-Round Approach

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Proactive Hot Tub Filter Care: A Year-Round Approach

Proactive Hot Tub Filter Care: A Year-Round Approach

Often overlooked is the simple but essential hot tub filter.  It is responsible for keeping your water clean and clear and preventing debris from entering your equipment. Let’s learn how to get the most out of your hot tub filter and maximize your hot tub health and water clarity.

As you read through, I will answer these questions about Hot Tub Filter Care

Proactive Hot Tub Filter Care-Post Navigation

A clean or dirty filter can make or break how your water looks and how your hot tub performs.

Did you know that only some water goes through your hot tub filter? Which is confusing because you would think that’s what they are for. Next time you open your tub cover, look at the bottom of your hot tub inside your foot well. You will see large grates on the sidewall. Those are called bypasses. Any water flow restricted by your filter goes through those by-passes, and they lead directly to your pump and go right out of the jets without ever being filtered.

When this happens it can damage your hot tubs, pumps, jets, and waterfalls. If you have ever cleaned a hot tub filter, you know it gets pretty dirty. Now imagine what’s getting back into your hot tub and has gotten stuck somewhere, and now you need service to remove it.

Bypass Intakes Found In Most Hot Tubs

hot tub bypass


To minimize this potential problem, you need to keep your filters clean. I recommend inspecting your filters weekly. If the filter is dirty, rinse it with a garden hose or in a laundry sink. When you are cleaning a filter, start at the top with the water flow pointed at a 45-degree angle to the filter and rinse downward. Try to get in between each of these pleats. Once you have completed a full circle, flip it over and repeat. I have a  YouTube video below for a demonstration. When removing any filter, you should turn off your hot tub.

When you inspect your filter, if it is not dirty, leave it and check again in a week. When the filter starts to look dirty, Clean it. Once you have done this a few times, you will know how often you need to clean it based on your usage, and you can set a regular cleaning routine based on that. To make cleaning easier. There are some tools out there that can help speed up this process. When you use any of these devices, always follow the 45-degree rule. You want to avoid spraying straight into the pleats as it will push the dirt further into the fibers rather than remove it.

I would not recommend using your dishwasher or a pressure washer for the same reason. They can damage the filter fibers or push the debris in further, making your filtration system less effective.

One of The Best Tools to Get Between The Pleats of Your Filter

cleaning filter

Hot Tub foam

Sometimes, your hot tub will get overrun with foam, which can clog up your filter. If this happens, rinse off the filter and use a quick clean cartridge spray.  These sprays are suitable for a fast surface clean and will get you back to soaking quickly. Rinse the filter thoroughly before returning it to the hot tub.  Any residual cleaner may cause a temporary foam problem.

Maximizing your filter

In addition to regular cleaning, I recommend a deep filter soak every three to four months when you perform your regular water change. Just rinsing and surface cleaning will keep you soaking, but as time goes on, what is left behind in the filter will keep building up deep inside those filter fibers, reducing effectiveness and causing more water to go through the bypass.

I prefer any cleaner that directs you to soak the filter for several hours or overnight. These products will do the best job, especially on the soaps and oils that are hard to get out of your filter.

As The Filter Gets Older

As your filter ages, watch the top and bottom rings for cracks. As the plastic ages, it will start to break down, which is a sign you need a new one.  Another sign to watch for is the pleated ring used to separate the pleats. When the pleated ring starts to break down, the pleats stick together, and now you have less surface area, and more by-passing will occur. When more than 25% of the pleats are no longer connected to the pleated ring, it’s time to replace the filter. 

The last thing to watch for is the polyester fibers that make up the body of the filter. When the filter is new, they are woven tightly together. As the filter ages, the fibers start to separate. Dirt and debris will then pass through and back into your hot tub. When this happens, toss the filter and get a new one.

swim n soak spa filter
dirty filter

additional thoughts

My last thought on filters starts at the Beginning when shopping for a new hot tub. How many filters does that tub have, and how many square feet does it have? Remember, a filter is measured in sq feet of surface, so the more sq feet of filtration you have, the less by-pass.

Generally, higher-end hot tubs will have plenty of filtration or filters, and most others will have a little less and must be cleaned more often.

YouTube Filter Care Video

In conclusion

Hot tub filter care is crucial for maintaining your hot tub’s health and water clarity year-round. The often-overlooked hot tub filter prevents debris from entering your equipment and keeps the water clean and clear. It’s essential to be aware of the bypasses in your hot tub, where unfiltered water can flow and potentially cause damage to your hot tub components.

Regular inspection and cleaning of your filters are essential to preventing potential issues. You can ensure the filters operate at their best by rinsing and adopting a regular cleaning routine based on usage. Utilizing tools designed for filter cleaning is recommended, following the 45-degree rule to avoid pushing debris further into the fibers.

Addressing foam issues promptly with a cleaning product and thoroughly rinsing the filter before returning it to the hot tub can help maintain optimal performance. Additionally, a deep filter soak every three to four months, especially during regular water changes, is recommended to remove buildup deep within the filter fibers.

Monitoring the condition of the filter, such as cracks in the top and bottom rings, breakdown of the pleated ring, and separation of polyester fibers, is crucial. When signs of aging become apparent, it’s time to consider replacing the filter to ensure effective filtration.

When shopping for a new hot tub, consider the number of filters and the total square feet of filtration. Higher-end hot tubs typically offer ample filtration, reducing the frequency of cleaning, while others may require more frequent maintenance. By adopting a proactive and comprehensive approach to hot tub filter care, you can maximize the longevity of your hot tub and enjoy consistently clear and clean water.

Next Steps

Follow these simple yet effective steps to ensure your hot tub remains a sanctuary of relaxation and crystal-clear water:

  • Inspect Regularly: Make it a habit to inspect your hot tub filter weekly. Look for dirt and debris, and act promptly if your filter looks dirty.
  • Clean with Care: Clean your filters diligently, following the 45-degree rule. Use recommended tools and avoid harsh methods like dishwashers or pressure washers to preserve filter effectiveness.
  • Quick Fixes for Foam: Combat foam issues swiftly with a rinse and a cartridge spray. Explore the recommended products for a fast and efficient solution.
  • Deep Soak Routine: Enhance your regular water change routine by incorporating a deep filter soak every three to four months. Choose a quality cleaner for an overnight soak to eliminate deep-seated impurities.
  • Monitor Filter Health: Keep a vigilant eye on your filter’s condition. Cracks, breakdown of pleated rings, or separated fibers are signs that it’s time for a replacement.
  • Consider Filtration Size: When selecting a new hot tub, consider the number of filters and total filtration square footage. Opt for a higher-end model for less frequent maintenance and a consistently clean experience.

Don’t let overlooked filter care disrupt your hot tub oasis. Act now to preserve the longevity of your hot tub, ensuring it remains a source of relaxation and rejuvenation. Embrace the proactive approach – your hot tub deserves it!


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