How Often To Change A Hot Tub Filter: Money Saving Tips

I didn’t know much about hot tub filters until I went through the process of buying my first hot tub. One question I asked was how often I needed to change the hot tub filter? This is what I found out.

A hot tub filter needs to be changed once a year. The filter should be rinsed weekly using a garden hose and deep cleaned once a month using a filter cleaner. A proper filter cleaning and water maintenance routine will maximize the filter’s life.

Filters can be expensive but with a good maintenance plan, you will get the best longevity possible. Read on to find out how.

What Is A Hot Tub Filter and How Does It Work?

A hot tub filter is part of the hot tub water circulation system. The pumps pull water from the main tub through the hot tub filter. From there the water passes through the hot tub heater and back out to the main tub through the jetting system. The filter’s primary function is to remove debris from the water. A filter will have a micron rating which simply defines how small of a particle it can trap in its fibers.

Your hot tub may have multiple filters. For example, my Jacuzzi J-385 has 2 filters. If your hot tub has multiple filters and a circulation pump, then one of the filters will generally be dedicated to the circulation pump and the other will be used when the main pumps run.

A typical paper filter is made up of millions of tiny polyester paper fibers that are weaved together so they can trap dirt and debris. The filter media is then pleated to increase the filter surface area. The larger the surface area, the more water the filter can process.

Money Saving Tip 1: A larger filter or more filters will not keep your water cleaner.

A common misconception about filters that you will hear on some hot tub sales floors is that you will have cleaner water if you have more filters or larger filters. This is a misleading statement because adding additional filters or having a larger filter only increases the maximum amount of water that can be filtered. This means you may be able to go longer before your filter clogs assuming you never clean your filter. With a regular cleaning schedule, your filter should never clog until it is time to be replaced. In the end, having more filters or larger filters will just cost you more money with little to no real benefit.

Why Is It Crucial To Keep Your Filter Clean?

As we already discussed, a hot tub filter removes dirt and debris from the hot tub water. Much of what is removed is organic material like dead skin cells, hair, and other material that falls into your hot tub. Organic material is food for bacteria and microorganisms, so the less organic material in the water the easier time your sanitizer will have keeping your hot tub safe for use. This means fewer chemicals are needed which is a good thing for your wallet.

Money Saving Tip 2: A clean filter will help reduce the amount of chemicals needed to sanitize your hot tub.

A clean filter is able to flow more water and therefore capture more material. As your filter gets dirty it becomes less efficient at trapping material which will leave more of it in your water. Over time this will make it harder to manage the water chemistry and cause you to go through chemicals faster.

Eventually, the filter will start to clog and reduce the flow of the circulation system. This puts strain on the components of your hot tub such as the pumps, which will force them to work harder. The extra strain can cause the pumps to wear out faster.

Low flow can also cause errors with your hot tub controller. If the flow drops enough, the hot tub will shut off to protect the heater. I wrote an article about this scenario if want to dive deeper.

All of these issues can be avoided by just keeping your filters clean.

How Long Should A Hot Tub Filter Last?

As a general rule of thumb, a hot tub filter should last at least a year. This assumes average bather load, proper water chemistry maintenance, and routine filter cleanings. Filters can be expensive so you will want them to last as long as possible. If maintained properly, it is possible to have a filter last up to 2 years or longer. Achieving this result will be highly dependent on your specific use case.

Money Saving Tip 3: A regularly cleaned filter will last significantly longer.

A hot tub filter needs to be replaced when it can no longer perform its intended function. This means it will either be too full of material and starting to reduce flow or it might start showing signs of deterioration. If you notice any of these types of signs, it would be a good idea to swap out the filter with a new one.

One technique I have seen used to extend the life of a filter is to always maintain a set of spare filters. During scheduled filter cleanings you can pull the filters and replace them with spares. This gives you the time to thoroughly clean and soak the dirty filters. At the next filter cleaning, you reverse the process by swapping out the spares with the now clean original filters.

How Many Times Can You Reuse A Hot Tub Filter?

There is no set number of times a hot tub filter can be reused. As long as the filter is in good physical shape and has not started to lose performance, it can be cleaned and reused. Eventually, as discussed throughout this post, the hot tub filter will start to lose performance over time and require replacing.

Until that time comes, keep up with the weekly cleanings and monthly deep cleanings and you will get a lot of reuse out of your hot tub filters.

How Do I Clean My Filter?

Cleaning a hot tub filter should be done on a weekly and monthly basis. You don’t need any fancy equipment to do it.

Weekly Cleaning:


  • Garden Hose
  • Rubber Gloves (optional)


  1. Turn off your hot tub power switch.
  2. Remove your filter(s) from the hot tub.
  3. Use your garden hose to rinse up and down the pleats of the filter at an angle.
  4. Flip the filter around and rinse the same way from the opposite angle.
  5. Place the filter back into the hot tub. (Optional: Allowing the filter to dry will improve the the filtration for a period of time)

Monthly Deep Cleaning Soak:


  • Garden Hose
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Bucket large enough to fully submerge filter
  • Cleaning Solution


  1. Fill up a bucket with water and pre-mix your filter cleaner solution.
  2. Turn off your hot tub power switch.
  3. Remove your filter(s) from the hot tub.
  4. Use your garden hose to rinse up and down the pleats of the filter at an angle.
  5. Place the filter into the bucket with cleaning solution.
  6. Leave filter to soak for 24 hours or per the manufacturer’s instructions.
  7. Rinse the filter thoroughly before placing back in hot tub. (Any remaining cleaner will contaminate the hot tub water and cause foaming)
  8. Place filter(s) back into hot tub.

You can use your filter cleaner of choice, but if you are looking for one, Spa Depot Power Soak is the #1 rated cleaner on amazon.

Can I Run My Hot Tub Without A Filter?

You can run a hot tub without a filter, but you definitely shouldn’t. The filter is there to clean the water, but it also protects the pumps, heaters, and other components of the hot tub from damage caused by gunk and debris. Running without a filter increases the risk that the pumps will suck in something that will clog a plumbing line or worse damage a pump impeller causing a costly repair.

There are a few times when you should run your hot tub without the filters installed. One of those times is when you are using a product like Ahh-Some Hot Tub Cleaner (Click the link to see it on Amazon). This product is the best hot tub cleaning product I have come across. It will visibly remove biofilm from your plumbing lines and can be used every time you drain your hot tub. When using this type of cleaning product you will want to remove your filters to protect them.

Can I Use My Dishwasher To Clean My Hot Tub Filter?

No, you should not clean a hot tub filter in a dishwasher. The harsh soaps and high temperatures will damage the media of your hot tub filter. You should stick to cleaning your hot tub filter with a garden hose once a week.

There is one filter on the market that is advertised to be dishwasher safe. Those are the Hot Spring Tri-X Ceramic filters. They only fit Hot Spring models and are pretty expensive. However, per the manufacturer, they can be placed in a dishwasher and run on the normal rinse cycle without soap.

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