By Colin Taylor, B.Sc.
One of the most memorable hot tub water care questions this author has ever received involved the topic of filters. Years later, the conversation is just as relevant today partially because it not only highlighted the importance of proper filter care, but also the integral role they play in helping keep hot tub water clean and the jets flowing at the proper water pressure.
The call came from a dog owner who adored her pet so much she would let it use her hot tub almost as much as she did. This practice is not necessarily rare for pet owners who own pools; however, sharing 1500 L (396 gal) of relatively confined water with ‘man’s best friend’ had never crossed this author’s mind.
The customer, who had only owned her hot tub for a month, called to ask why the jets in her hot tub were not providing the same hydrotherapy she had come to enjoy during the first couple of weeks of hot tub ownership. She also mentioned the water was cloudier than she desired.
The slow water flow issue immediately begged the question, “When was the last time she took her filter out and rinsed it?”
Her response was equally informative: “What filter?”
As it turned out, she did not know there was a filter in her hot tub that worked to assist in keeping the water clean, nor was she aware that it should be removed and rinsed regularly. With so many chemical options available for hot tub owners to concern themselves with, the filter is often overlooked. There are likely many more scenarios such as this one; therefore, it is important to educate customers about hot tub water care and the importance of filter maintenance. Both go hand-in-hand in keeping hot tub water clean and clear, as well as experiencing hydrotherapy to the fullest.
The importance of keeping hot tub filters clean
Clean water is necessary to experience the full enjoyment of a hot tub. This means chemically balancing the water and checking the sanitizer level. For some hot tub owners; however, this is where it stops. If everything checks out, they think they are ready to go.
However, this is not the case if the filter has been disregarded. In fact, filters are one of the most important parts of the hot tub system. When bathers use the hot tub, particulates such as sand, dust, lint from clothing, and soils from surrounding surfaces are often carried into the water. These particulates need to be removed to ensure water clarity. This is where the filter comes into play.
Remove the filter regularly
If the hot tub is used frequently, the filter should be removed and cleaned weekly. If it only sees occasional use, filter maintenance should be performed every two weeks. In doing so, service professionals should use a high-pressure, fresh-water stream to rinse the filter. In most cases, the colour of the filter will change as the captured dirt is washed out.
If left ignored, the hot tub filter will eventually become clogged with particulate (e.g. dirt, organics, and even dog hair). Some debris can be so minute that it cannot be removed simply by washing or rinsing. This will result in a lower flow rate, as well as place a larger workload on the pump to circulate the water.
The hot tub filter also does a great job of reducing foam caused by residual laundry soap from bathing suits. If this type of foaming is experienced, the filter should be rinsed more than once a week and the soapy bubbles should dissipate naturally and at a quicker rate—all without the need to introduce more chemicals such as a foam decreaser.
Other types of foam are the result of organics (e.g. body oils, sweat, hair, food/drinks, dust, leaves, rain, etc.) that are introduced into the hot tub water. The filter, along with the addition of a water conditioner, can also reduce this type of foaming.