How to Clean Hot Tub Filters

Filters are an essential part of keeping your hot tub clean and pleasant. Although they cannot sanitize the water, filters do capture debris that’s too small for the filter basket, such as hair, dust and oil.

To ensure your filter is doing its job you’ll need to clean it on a regular basis (every two to four weeks) and occasionally replace the cartridge (every three to six months).

Filters are made of compressed fibers that decompress over time, and the filter cartridge eventually becomes too congested with dirt and oil to do its job. The end result is debris that stays in the hot tub, potentially damaging components and straining the pumps.

You’ll know your filter needs to be cleaned or possibly replaced when you see:

  • Reduced flow from the jets.
  • Hazy, discolored or cloudy water.
  • More frequent running of the heater but uneven, abnormal heating of the spa water.

Clean your filter every two to four weeks depending on your typical use of the hot tub.

Removing the Filter Cartridge from the Filter Housing

Before beginning the disassembly and cleaning process, ensure that power to the hot tub is off. You can remove and clean the filter if the tub is full of water or empty, but if it’s full, the power must to be off to prevent water flow through the housing while the filter cartridge is being accessed.

The filter comprises a housing and basket that hold and cover the filter cartridge itself. The cartridge is the part that needs to be removed and cleaned. Follow these steps:

  1. Turn the filter housing lid counter-clockwise and remove it from the filter housing.
  2. Line up the flat section on the filter basket with the tabs on the filter housing and remove the filter basket.
  3. Pull out the filter cartridge for cleaning or replacement.

Reverse the process once the cleaned or new filter cartridge is in place.

Cleaning the Filter Cartridge

Clean your filter cartridge every two to four weeks, depending on the use. It is important to understand that filtration is not sanitation – you’ll need to treat the hot tub with chemicals even with a strict filter cleaning and replacing schedule.

Once the filter cartridge is out of the housing (directions above), rinse it with a high-pressure garden hose spray nozzle, making sure to spray between each pleat. Then put it back by reversing the steps in the last section.

You may need to occasionally deep clean your filter cartridge to remove dirt and oil that don’t come out with regular rinsing. For this you’ll need an appropriate filter cleaner (available in our spa care kit) and these steps:

  1. Following the instructions for your particular filter cleaner, prepare the deep cleaning solution in a bucket large enough for the cartridge.
  2. Place the filter cartridge in the cleaning solution and allow it to soak as long as the cleaner instructions dictate.
  3. Remove the filter cartridge and rinse thoroughly, making sure to get between each pleat.
  4. Let the filter dry completely and then brush between each pleat with a fine hair brush.
  5. Place the clean, dry filter in a bucket of water or in the full hot tub until it is saturated.
  6. Replace the filter cartridge in filter housing and reassemble according to the instructions above.

To preserve your filter cartridge, never:

  • Use a wire brush to clean it.
  • Put it in the dishwasher.
  • Place a dry cartridge back in the filter housing.

In general, we recommend replacing a filter over deep cleaning, especially as a regular habit (every three to six months). While deep cleaning a filter cartridge is effective if the hot tub saw excessive use in a short period of time or if there is more debris than usual, it does take time and additional chemicals.

If done improperly, deep cleaning might not even remove everything caught in the filter, though remaining debris may be difficult to see. Ultimately, if you think your filter is clean after a deep cleaning and leave it in place when it’s not effective, it could allow strain on the pump and damage to the components.

At Aqua Living, we suggest keeping a supply of replacement filters on hand for convenience and unexpected need. In the long run, they are far more affordable than replacing components damaged by poor filtration.

If you have any questions about your filter housing or maintaining your filter cartridge, please browse our support information page or contact your local Aqua Living dealer.

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