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The short answer is that you should replace them once a year. Here’s why:
1. Your filter protects other internal components.
When your filter is brand spanking new, it is a very fine mesh. Almost nothing that isn’t water gets through it. But, as your filter gets older, larger and larger holes get opened in it.
These holes still aren’t large enough to see with the naked eye. However, they are still there. They let bigger pieces of grit or bacteria stay in your hot tub water. As this grit gets circulated, it will eventually get caught in your hot tub’s internal components.
If grit builds up in your pipes or jets, it will increase the pressure on the manifold. If your manifold cracks, you will be out $200.
But that’s nothing compared to if the grit gets caught in the pump. The pump is a delicate piece of machinery and even a small quantity of grit can break it. Then, you’re out $300-$500.
So, you can avoid a lot of maintenance costs in the long run by replacing your filter at least once per year.
2. Your filter protects your health
Your filter collects all the grime and slime that bacteria need to live. This includes globs of body oils and cosmetics, skin flakes, hair, etc. This keeps bacteria out of the rest of your hot tub. Unfortunately, it also turns your filter into a breeding ground for bacteria.
Soaking your filter in a cleaning solution like The Cover Guy’s Filter Free will go a long way towards removing all of these bacteria. However, it can’t do everything. Stubborn deposits of grime will still build up, and these become breeding grounds for bacteria. If, despite your best efforts, you still can’t manage to make your filter look clean, then it is time to throw it out. Allowing this grime and bacteria to stay on your filter will lead to skin, lung, or eye infections.
3. Your filter’s components wear out
The filter element will gradually come loose from its casing. Depending on your luck, this can have one of two effects:
- It will open a hole, allowing dirty, gritty, bacteria-laden water to flow freely through it.
- It will close over the intake, increasing the amount of pressure needed to filter your water. Over time this can lead to catastrophic failure of your pump and heater mechanisms.
Both of these situations are terrible. If your hot tub filter element feels loose, throw it out.
Similarly, if the caps on the end are brittle or discolored, the plastic has degraded and they are about to fail. Throw it out.
You should need a replacement filter about once a year. We stock replacement filters for most hot tub models.