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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.
Above: here is the filter unit for this spa. Shown is a Hayward Star-Clear filter model C-250 RE.
Clean the spa or hot tub filter on the schedule recommended by your tub manufacturer (typically every two weeks), or if you notice a decrease in water flow or pressure, or if on inspection the filter surface contains visible deposits of hair or other debris. Cleaning the filter is easy: you remove the filter cartridge, hose it off with a sprayer, and replace it. You may enjoy using a hot tub filter wand or cleaning tool that attaches to your garden hose to make the job easier. Products to remove scum, sludge, and oil from the hot tub filter are also available.
A more thorough cleaning of the hot tub filter every 90 days is also recommended by some manufacturers. This procedure involves soaking the filter overnight in a cleaning solution.
Replace the hot tub filter annually or you cannot clean it successfully or if it is visibly torn or damaged or dark in color. We'll say more about this below. See SPA / HOT TUB FILTER REPLACEMENT for details.
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.
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.
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.
Clean the hot tub cartridge filter element by pressure washing inside and out using warm water and a short length of garden hose. After washing the canister, let the filter element dry, then brush its exterior with a soft brush to remove remaining hair or loose debris.
Watch out: Hayward warns not to strike the filter and not to smash the filter against a surface during cleaning or you will ruin it. Also, local experts recommended rinsing this filter with warm water only.
If the hot tub cartridge filter has been clogged by oil from sun tan lotion or other oils you may need to purchase and use a cartridge filter element cleaning chemical from your hot tub or spa supplier. Soaking the filter in a cleaning solution for an hour and then washing it off thoroughly may restore an oil-blocked filter cartridge.
If the hot tub / spa filter cartridge has become clogged by mineral deposits (from hard water that you should have softened), Hayward recommends soaking the filter in a 20% muriatic acid solution diluted by adding the acid product to water (never add water to acid) in a 1:1 ratio. Use a clean plastic container. Alternatively you might try soaking the filter in white vinegar - a less dangerous chemical.
Watch out: acids can cause dangerous burns to skin and eyes and may be fatal if swallowed. Keep these and all chemicals and cleaners out of reach of children.
Remember to also clean any sludge or debris from the bottom of the spa / hot tub filter canister container itself. If the filter drain valve is not operable it will be necessary to scoop out water from inside the filter canister and then use a clean cloth to remove any sludge crud from the filter bottom.
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.
Hayward Industries: spa, hot tub, pool supplies: Website: http://www.hayward-pool.com/shop/en/pools, Hayward Pool Products, Inc., 620 Division Street, Elisabeth NJ 07207, USA, in Canada: 2880 Plymouth Drive, Oakville, Ontario L6H 5R4 Tel: (908) 355-7995 (U.S.) Letter: Hayward Pool Products
Attn: Technical Services
One Hayward Industrial Drive
Clemmons, NC 27102
(Hayward pool and spa products are sold locally in major cities in various countries)
Hydro Systems - www.hydrosystem.com
Jacuzzi Whirlpool Baths - www.jacuzzi.com
Jenkins, Kevin, "Hot Tub Care", Leslie's Blog [web page], 17 Oct 2014, retrieved 2016/03/13, original source: http://www.lesliespool.com/blog/hot-tub-care/
National Electrical Code (NEC) Article 680, at Mike Holt's Forum: original source: https://www.mikeholt.com/mojonewsarchive/NEC-HTML/HTML/SwimmingPoolInstallations~20021227.htm
This text includes the contents of Article 680 of the U.S. NEC along with author's comments that help interpret the code.
Trouble Free Pool [pool care website], retrieved 2016/03/13, original source: http://www.troublefreepool.com/threads/84-How-do-I-use-Bromine-in-my-spa-(or-pool)
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