Every wonder if cloudy water in your hot tub is just the way it is? Feeling frustrated by not being able to keep your water clear? There is a solution and it may be easier than you think – clean or change your filter(s)!
A big part of keeping your hot tub water clean is water chemistry and your filter.
You’ve no doubt been to your local spa dealer and gotten detailed water tests and done it all to the letter only to have zero progress. You’ll be asked, “Did you clean your filter?” to which you answer yes… either a few months ago or not at all. When asked how – the common reply, “with water of course”. That likely won’t help except in extreme cases where a lot of debris has been collected in the pleated cartridge filter but by cleaning, we really mean degreasing! Keep in mind filters mainly trap hair, debris, greases, body oils and cosmetics and detergents from bathing suits. They all inevitably come off in the tub.
How do you degrease your filter? By soaking your filter in a cleaning or degreasing solution.
*Note – this is post is referring to re-usable filters and not one-time-use disposable filters.
METHOD: Use a degreasing solution or filter cleaner product. First remove the filter from your tub (*Helpful Hint: turn off the pumps first, because when they are running, even at low speed, they create suction making it harder to remove the filter.) Hose off or rinse the filter under the sink tap or hose to remove loose debris or heavy greases. Don’t use a pressure washer, the pressure is too strong and can actually rip or shred the delicate filter media. Mix your filter cleaner solution such as SpaGuard’s Filter Brite or T.S.P. (Trisodiumphosphate) with cold water in a bucket. *Always add the cleaner to the water and not the other way around as it can cause some intense chemical reactions as well as splash into your face. (Protective eye wear and gloves is also a safe idea!) Allow the completely submerged filter(s) to soak for at least 8 hours, usually over night. Then remove the filter(s) from the old solution and rinse thoroughly to remove all trace of the cleaning solution.
Now, for best results you should allow the filters to dry on a shelf or counter, this tightens up the fibers creating better performance. But this can take a few days, so if you choose this route it’s best to have a second set of filters so your tub does not have to run without filters for a prolonged period. Remember filters keep debris from going into the rest of your tub lines and equipment such as pumps and heaters where it can cause damage and a costly repair bill.
The other alternative is to just re-install your now cleaned, but wet filters into your tub, even wet they will do a better job than without any.
A common question is – “How often should I clean my filters?” Well, that depends on many factors such as temperature the water is kept at, water volume of tub, number of bathers, frequency of use and of course water chemistry. But general rule of thumb is at least every two to three months you should remove and degrease filters or swap out for clean filters. This may have to be done more often if there is higher usage or water quality is suffering. This is usually evident with cloudy water, scum lines, excessive foam, foul odours, although the filters are not always the root cause of these issues, clean filters will reduce the problems. When in doubt, better to clean the filters than assume that is not a part of the problem.
Filter manufacturers may vary in their suggestion as to filter lifespan, but a well maintained filter can be re-used for up to two years and with a second set on hand to swap, this means you can likely go up to three or four years before having to purchase new ones.
Filter care is one of the most often overlooked maintenance steps. They do a great deal of work behind the scenes to keep your water quality pristine, but if neglected they can magnify problems.
Written by Phil Tanguay – Manager – Sani-Sol Pool & Spa