All the glitz, glam, and make-your-skin-peel hydrotherapy of your hot tub doesn’t mean a thing if it is not filtering properly. The number one contribution to a cloudy and smelly hot tub, besides improper sanitation, is a dirty filter. But, you say, “The sales guy told me this spa has the best filtration on the market!” The truth is, all sales people will say that and no matter how good your filtration is, if you are not cleaning your filter regularly your spa will be cloudy. Period.
As the garbage can of the hot tub or swim spa, the filter(s) take a beating. We had a customer who was having trouble keeping his new hot tub clear and he swore that it was the spa’s fault. One day I asked the customer, who had teenage daughters that were using the tub frequently with friends, to pull his filter out to take a look at it, all I heard on the other end of the line was, “....My God.”
Anytime we go into the hot tub, all of the residual skin care products the ladies use go into the water, along with the usual hair, dead skin cells, and body oils (taking a shower before soaking is recommended to reduce the amount of foreign particles entering the hot tub). It is the filter’s job to catch all of these unmentionables and prevent them from circulating, but over time your filter will become clogged and lose efficiency, as well as put a strain on your pumps, especially if your tub filters on a circulation pump.
To ensure your filter is working properly, use a high pressure garden hose attachment to spray in between the pleats at the very least once a month. Every three to four months (when you change your water) use a filter cleaning detergent to clean off the oil and scale that doesn’t come off by spraying it. There are specialty containers sold at spa stores to soak filters in, but most filters will fit into a five-gallon bucket, in if not you can usually just flip the filter to soak the opposite side or use a garbage can.
Taking these steps not only keeps your hot tub clean and user friendly, but it also increases the life of your filter. Sometimes it is a good idea to buy two filters so you can swap them out in between fills and you always have a clean filter. Generally, a filter should last more than a year, especially with good maintenance and water care.