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Life is better by the pool.
Life is better by the pool.


A couple of weeks ago, an older man came in the store and handed me a soggy spa filter in a plastic shopping bag. He'd brought it in to get a replacement. I glanced in the bag and saw a rather dirty cartridge... it was a dingy gray with strands of hair visible on the pleats. I'd seen far worse. 
I found his replacement filter and asked if he wanted me to dispose of his old one. Rather apologetically, he said "Yes," then he added, "I just can't get my granddaughter to quit washing her hair in there! That filter just gets clogged up with hair and shampoo!"  
Fortunately, most hot tub owners don't shampoo or bathe in their tubs. But many do overlook the importance of a clean filter in maintaining spa water.  Think about what a filter does - it traps the particles that were floating in the water. Those particles build up unless they are removed by cleaning, and they eventually will build up to a point where your filter is more solid than porous.  Which means it can't, um, FILTER.

FACT: A dirty filter can shut down a spa! A filter clogged with debris and oils can slow or stop water flow. When this happens, a built-in safety mechanism shuts the pump down rather than running dry and overheating. You may see a "Flow", "Filter", or "Overheating" error on your control panel when this happens. 

Keeping your filter clean and replacing it regularly are as critical as proper chemical maintenance. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1) KEEP IT CLEAN. Every two to four weeks, remove and clean the filter. Turn off the spa so debris isn't sucked into the plumbing while the filter is out. Remove the filter. Wash out debris using a water hose. We like Filter Flosser, which attaches to to a garden hose and "combs" the pleats with thin sprays of water. Don't aggressively scrub the filter or wash it in the dishwasher. 
2) DEGREASE IT. Every three months, use a filter cleaner and degreaser to remove body oils, cosmetics, and other greasy substances that collect in the cartridge. This is done by soaking the filter in a bucket which contains filter cleaner and water - follow specific label instructions. Rinse well after soaking. HINT:  You should also be on a three month drain/refill schedule for your spa - why not soak your filter while you're waiting for your spa to refill? 
3) REPLACE IT. Cartridge filters are intended to have about a one year life span. Go beyond the one-year mark and you're likely to fight cloudy water. 
4) SIZE MATTERS. Customers are constantly surprised by how many different filters we carry - and we only carry a fraction of those that are manufactured. Beyond size and shape, some screw in and others just set in. Some have a covered top. Others have a core. And many look similar. Record any numbers on your filter and measure all the dimensions (including the diameter of the threaded extension). Better yet, bring your old filter in to the store to be certain you are getting the correct replacement.  
5) GET A BACKUP. Having a second filter always clean and ready to go can be very convenient for quick maintenance. 
A well maintained filter will help you keep your water clear and flowing smoothly so you can enjoy a hot soak whenever you want it - which is the reason you have a spa, right?
- The NWAPS Crew, 2/21/19