How Do Hot Tub Filters Work?

(Note:  Picture is from a 2014 Highlife Grandee)

Hot tub filters are perhaps the most important feature for ensuring your hot tub lives a long and healthy life. The hot tub water flows through the filter media, which catches unwanted contaminants. We’ve got all the information you need to know about hot tub filters and how to maintain them.

How Hot Tub Filters Work

All hot tubs have some kind of filter. If they didn’t, body oils, lotions, dirt, and other detritus would naturally accumulate in the water and on the hot tub features. Filters work just as you might expect: as water passes through them, unwanted particles become trapped in the filter media, while clean water continues to flow on.

The majority of hot tub filters today are made to be removed and cleaned, and replaced when necessary. Each filter cartridge features a frame of plastic with a medium wrapped around the core that acts as the filter. Usually the medium is made of polyester or other materials and pleated to increase the surface area. Greater surface area allows for more detritus to be caught.

The only way to rid the filter of the particles it has caught is to clean it. Cleaning the filter increases the length of time you can use it and reduces strain on your hot tub pump. Below, you will find recommended cleaning and replacement schedules.

A Better Kind of Hot Tub Filter

In the past, polyester or “paper” filters were seen as the best option. Today, there are new innovations to choose from. Ceramic fiber technology, optimized by Hot Spring® Spas, has drastically increased the life of filters. Incredibly, the new TRI-X® filter will last two to four years longer than traditional filters. It also offers double the cleaning ability! And there’s even better news – it’s compatible with all Hot Spring spa models, even the ones that do not come standard with the TRI–X® filters.

Your hot tub will run much more efficiently with top-notch filters. You will enjoy:

  • Clearer water
  • Increased jet output and power
  • Less electricity usage
  • More reliable circulation and heating
  • Even easier cleaning and maintenance

There are lots of ways to clean your TRI-X filters. You can hose them down, spray them with dealer-recommended cleaners, soak them in cleaning solutions, or pop them right in your dishwasher (without soap and with an unheated dry cycle). They hold up excellently to regular rinsing, thanks to the advanced ceramic fibers. If properly maintained, they will continue to provide clean and clear spa water for four to six years.

Why Filter Placement Matters

When your spa water is moving, the hot tub should be cleaning it. Unfortunately, not all spa manufacturers offer this level of service. Some hot tubs only have one or two filters, instead of filters at every intake location. Those intakes without filters suck water into the pump and then push it back out through the jets. As you can imagine, it’s unhealthy to have unfiltered water running through the pump.

All Hot Spring spas have filters at every intake point and every return. They can have up to five filters total and 325 square feet of filtration capacity, which is all you need to support powerful jet output and provide clean water.

The video below demonstrates how the combination of Hot Spring filters and pumps provides the best in performance.

How to Clean Your Hot Tub Filter and When to Replace It

Hot tub health is highly dependent upon keeping the filters clean and replacing them when they’re worn out. Fortunately, the filter cartridges of today make hot tub maintenance quick and easy.

Polyester or “Paper” Filter Cartridge

Monthly Cleaning – Each month, rinse your filters and inspect them for wear and tear. Spray them with instant filter cleaner spray, which will help break up oils and particles.

Deeper Cleaning – Each time you drain the hot tub, you should soak your filters in a dealer-recommended cleaning solution.

Replace – Your filters should be replaced every 2-3 years, depending on wear and tear.

TRI-X Ceramic Fiber Filter Cartridge

Monthly Cleaning – Use a garden hose each month to rinse your filters. Inspect for wear and tear, and then spray them with instant filter cleaner spray to break up oils and particles.

Deeper Cleaning – Each time you drain the hot tub, you should soak your filters in a dealer-recommended cleaning solution.

Replace – Your filters should be replaced every 4-6 years, depending on wear and tear.

The schedule on which you maintain and replace your filters will depend on how frequently you use your hot tub, and by how many people it’s used each time. More people equal more contaminants. More contaminants equal more buildup. Once the filter medium is too dirty, it will lose its ability to filter and produce clean water. We recommend making a schedule on your calendar for inspections, monthly cleanings, deep cleanings and drainage days each year.

During your inspections, check for signs of wear, tear, and cracking. Monitor the filter’s quality during each inspection and pay close attention when it’s nearing the end of its life. When you do replace them, be sure to use certified, branded filters that match your hot tub model. Your hot tub’s cleanliness and longevity depends on it.