Inserting the new filter cartidge into the Hayward spa or hot tub filter base (C) Daniel FriedmanHot Tub, Spa, Whirlpool Bath Filter Cleaning
Clean the Filter Cartridge Used in Spas / Hot Tubs & Whirlpool Baths

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Hot tub & spa or whirlpool bath filter cleaning procedures:

Here we describe how often to clean the hot tub or spa filter and how to do so.

In these articles we describe the use, operation, maintenance as well as common problems, troubleshooting, & repair suggestions for hot tubs, spas, and whirlpool baths. We discuss hot tub leaks, broken hot tub or spa jets, hot tub or spa water temperature & heater repair, hot tub or spa pump diagnosis & repair, hot tub or spa filter maintenance, cleaning & repair, noisy air pumps at hot tubs, noisy water pumps at the hot tub or spa, and other hot tub, spa or whirlpool bath diagnosis & repair topics.

Page top photo, a Hawkeye Products hot tub or spa installed in Minnesota serving as an example of of repair & maintenance topics in this article. This spa was installed ca 1995 and is still in operation.

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How to Clean the Spa or Hot Tub Filter Cartridge

Filter / screen unit for a hot tub or spa (C) Daniel Friedman

[Click to enlarge any image]

Above: here is the filter unit for this spa. Shown is a Hayward Star-Clear filter model C-250 RE.

Let's take a closer look at the hot tub filter shown here. The clear plastic top dome or cap includes a small black air vent that is opened to bleed air from the system when the pump is first returned to service. This top was found cracked and leaking badly near the air vent when we first turned on the system.
The repair attempt (somewhat successful) is described at SPA / HOT TUB FILTER LEAK REPAIR).

This filter includes a drain valve at its bottom (not visible in the photo) but we found the valve seized and not usable. Below we've removed the filter unit cover and placed the filter top locking knob back in place - it'll have to be removed to get that filter out.

Hayward spa filter with top removed, shows the filter cartridge (C) Daniel Friedman

Above: we removed the (leaky) plastic filter of this Hayward spa filter unit, showing the filter cartridge in place. The filter can and should be removed for periodic cleaning. Use a garden hose and hand sprayer to spray warm water to clean off the filter from both the inside and on its exterior. Removing hair, skin cells, and other crud keeps the filter in service. As we noted earlier, if the filter is damaged it should be replaced.

Spa or hot tub filter cartridge removed for cleaning (C) Daniel Friedman

This filter unit was not installed with the manufacturer's recommended 18" clearance at all sides. So removing this particular filter cartridge requires some careful tipping and maneuvering of the filter top as well as the cartridge as the filter is located where its top is partly blocked by the sides of the tub. Owners have to take care not to damage the filter cartridge or the plastic filter dome when those parts are re-installed.

Watch out: failure to keep the spa / hot tub filter clean may result in reduced system water flow rate and operating pressure that in turn may prevent the spa / hot tub heater from operating.


Replace the hot tub or spa filter cartridge annually or if it's damaged or if you cannot clean it successfully, or for heaven's sake, replace it if it looks black and slimy-gross like the nasty hot tub filter shown at the left side of our photo just below. Basically after cleaning your hot tub filter cartridge should be white like the filter shown at right in the same photograph.

Hot tub or spa filter cartridge inspection & replacement (C) Daniel Friedman


Spa Filter Instruction Manuals

Instructions for Jetted and Soaking Tubs


Continue reading at SPA / HOT TUB FILTER REPLACEMENT, or if your spa or hot tub needs repair see SPA HOT TUB WHIRLPOOL REPAIRS, or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.

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