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Spa Filter Problems

Inadequate filtration can lead to water clarity problems.
The Pool and Spa Informational Website

The Quest for Crystal Clear Water Requires Proper Filtration.


Scroll down to browse through some archived SPA and Hot Tub questions and answers.  Please click the Spa Topics Link, on top of every page, to access a complete listing of Spa and Hot Tub Problem subjects, an alphabetized Website Table of Contents, Spa and Hot Tub Equipment Information, About Alan Biographic Material and a Spa and Hot Tub Glossary. Use the other links to access additional subject information. More information about some new and unique products, for Spas and Hot Tubs, can be found by visiting The Website Store. You'll never know what you'll find and that's always fun. Be better prepared and avoid costly problems!

One of the ColorQ all-digital, pool and spa water analyzers. Blaster 1000 automatic filter cartridge cleaner. Nano-Stick Clarifiers, forall types of pools and spas.
METALTRAP Filters remove iron, copper and manganese. Magnetic water conditioner for pools and spas.
ChlorMaker Drape-Over Salt Chlorine Generator, for spas and swim spas. Most spas and hot tubs use cartridge filters.  They are easy to use and clean, especially, with The Blaster.   Accessory products can help enhance water quality. The Blaster automatic filter cartridge cleaner will do a superior job, leaving you with a cleaner cartridge, in less time. Model SV battery-powered Spa Vacuum.

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How to improve and maintain filter performance, in a spa, swim spa or hot tub? Proper filtration is one of the keys to better water quality and clarity. While most spa utilize a cartridge filter for convenience, it is not always the best or most efficient way to filter spa water. The Nano-Stick represents a new type of water clarifier, that does not add chemicals to the water, while enhancing water clarity.  Cleaning a spa cartridge filter has never been easier, with the introduction of Automatic Filter Cartridge Cleaners.  If problems arise, refer to the Spa Problems Page, as a source of problem-solving information, broken down into various categories.  Scroll down the page and click on the linked keywords, catch phrases or images, in the archived answers below, to access additional information, on that topic or product.

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▼     Helpful, Problem-Solving Information, in a question and answer format.     ▼

Seeking The Best Water Quality?

I'm a new spa owner (6 months) with a couple of questions. I have a 425 gallon spa that utilizes ozone for a cleaning agent. I'm also using a mineral sanitizer, placed in one of the filters for additional sanitation. While using my spa at night, which is the only time it is currently being used due the hot summer conditions, I can see quite a bit of little floating particles that seems to miss getting caught in the filters. I keep the spa very clean and clean the filters weekly with high spray water and bi-weekly, by soaking the filters in a cleaning solution. Would I benefit from a Nano-Stick considering my spa remains covered all day. Additionally, does the Blaster automatic filter cleaner do a better job than cleaning the filters by hand. I'm trying to do my best to provide a clean and safe spa experience for my family and friends. I appreciate you taking the time to answer questions like mine.

Rob H., 9/12/2018

BlasterAutomatic Filter Cartridge Cleaners for pools and spas.
The Nano-Stick Clarifier uses some hard-to-explain technology that acts at the nano level to oxidize organic particle to harmless
byproducts It gets activated by Sunlight or ambient light and lasts for 4-6 months. The Blaster Automatic Filter Cartridge Cleaner is a very easy way to thoroughly clean pleated cartridge filters, using high-pressure water jets. The dirt will just roll right off. There may be other methods to clean filter cartridges, but this one is easy and effective. Your best assurance of optimum water quality is to always maintain a proper and adequate level of sanitizer and operate the filter and ozonator for periods spaced throughout the day. And don't forget the importance of having a using a good water tester, such as the ColorQ PRO 7 all-digital water analyzer. I hope that I have provided the solution.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 9/13/2018

High Efficiency Pre-Filtering?

I am debating switching my regular filter to a disposable micro filter. It was independently tested and is 94 % efficient at removing particles at 1 micron. With this filter, you are supposed to get rid of using defoamers, decalcifiers, basically any liquids normally added to the tub. The filters will last 2-4 months and are about $30. Less expensive than using all the other materials. According to the company, it will remove all particles that can cause damage to the hot tub. Of course, you still need to have sanitizer in the tub. Just wondering if you had an info or thoughts on these filters. The spa manufacturer, in my city, sells all their tubs with these filters and has for over 3 years. Thanks in advance of your thought. Cheers.

Derek, Canada, 3/14/2017

Depending upon the quality of your source water, a high efficiency filter can make a significant difference. There is a simple way
MetalTrap 1-Micron Pre-Filter to do this, without using disposable cartridges or replacing your existing filter. The METALTRAP 1 Micron Pre-Filter will remove particles down to 1-micron, many types of bacteria and viruses and more. It you use a small pool cover pump and a garden hose, you can recirculate the water and remove particles of 1-micron or larger. If you use it, when the spa is refilled, think of all of the stuff you'll be keeping out of the spa. Better filtration should improve water quality and reduce the need for some or most of the accessory chemicals. You will still have to maintain a proper sanitizer level and keep the pH, TA and calcium hardness within acceptable ranges. There is no doubt that the METALTRAP 1 MICRON Pre-Filter is better than the standard spa cartridges, used alone. I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 3/14/2017

Needs A VGB Compliant Spa Drain Cover?

I am having a difficult time finding replacement covers for my spa jets.  The current covers have cracked and every one I find on the Internet says that it has been discontinued, due to some law.  It states that the old cover was not VGB compliant.   Do you know how to find a good generic replacement cover?  It's merely a round cover with a screw hole in the middle.  But apparently there is no direct replacement for it and now all my jets are uncovered.  Thanks.

Carl,  11/5/12014

Uncovered intakes are a hazard. Such consequences resulted in the passage of the Virginia Graeme Baker act, prompted by the death of a little girl, trapped by the suction caused by an uncovered drain. The reference to "Not VGB Compliant", indicates that the existing cover does not meet current safety regulations. I suggest that you ask the equipment and or spa manufacturer to recommend a VGB complaint cover, that will fit your spa.  I don't know of a specific VGB compliant cover, that will fit your spa, but I am sure that they exist.  The Federal Law has undergone changes and local laws can be different or updated. It is something that you should take care of, on a timely basis.  I hope that this information will be helpful, if not awakening.

Sincerely.  Alan Schuster, 11/5/2014

Floating White Particles?

We recently purchased a home which has an above ground spa. Unfortunately we were not left any reference materials related to the spa. It has been cleaned, but we are still seeing small black and viscous white particles floating throughout the water, no one has used the spa since we moved in. I assumed that the filter would take care of this, but the particles are still there. Is there something that we can do about this as we REALLY want to use our spa. Thank you for any advice that you can offer.

Angela G., 5/8/2009

What you are describing is the flaking off of scale and copper corrosion deposits from the heater coil. The white particles are cal
Magnetic water conditioners for spas, pools and the whole house.cium carbonate and the dark ones are probably oxidized copper. I suggest that you add a dose of a calcium scale treatment and a metal treatment. These products should help end the problem within a few days. Have the water tested for copper and calcium hardness, as this will provide insight into the problem. If the problems continue, you may want to do the following. Allow the chlorine level to zero out. Lower the pH to about 6.0 and keep recirculating the water. When there seems to be no more white particles, drain and clean the spa. Refill, add a dose of a calcium scale treatment and resume normal operation. Depending upon the type of filter that you have, calcium minerals can be passing right through the filter. Another way to deal with high calcium hardness is to install a Magnetic Water Conditioner. I hope that this information proves helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/9/2009

Filtration vs. Sanitation?

Can I manage with fewer chemicals, if I increase the amount of time, that I operate the filter. I am using bromine now. Just wondering.

Jeff R, Roanoke, VA, 3/12/2012

ColorQ digital water analyzer.
The quick answer is no!!! Bromine does more than sanitize the water. It decomposes and oxidizes the wastes. Just filtering the
wastes out, would still leave the bromine reacting with them, in the filter. While filtering more and cleaning the filter can help reduce chemical use, it will not avoid your need to maintain adequate levels of sanitizer and proper chemistry, as well. I recommend the ColorQ PRO 7, for water testing, as it provides the necessary information, while eliminating all color-matching and guesswork. I hope that this information is helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 3/12/2012

Using Well Water?

I would like to fill a 400 gallon spa with well water. The spa will be sanitized with an ozonator and a bromine floater. I plan on adding some metal treatment before the chemicals. Anything that I should do?

Bill M., 2/4/2006

Have the water tested, to know what you're dealing with. Iron, copper or manganese are commonly found in well water and can
METALTRAP Filters remove iron, copper and manganese. cause staining and discoloration. The best treatment is the physical removal of the metals. While there are chemicals for this purpose, many contain phosphates and can degrade, over time, allowing the staining and discoloration to return. You could use the METALTRAP Filter, as the water is added to the spa. It attaches to a garden hose will help to physically remove the metals that most frequently lead to staining and discoloration.  It is far better than just adding chemicals. After the spa is filled, you should continue to use it, when adding new water. The will help maintain better water quality and reduce chemical consumption, for metal and stain treatment. Installing The Magnetizer is another way to deal with high calcium hardness problems. I hope that this information proves helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 2/4//2006

Cleaning A Spa Filter Cartridge?

What's the best way to clean a spa filter cartridge. And how often?

Jessica, Tampa, FL, 12/6/2013

There are Spa Filter Cleaning Products available: these products are usually acidic, detergent solutions. Hose the cartridge off to
BlasterAutomatic Filter Cartridge Cleaners for pools and spas. remove hair and other debris. The cartridge should be immersed in a plastic container (5-gallon pails are perfect) containing water and some of the cartridge cleaner. Follow directions, as to duration, etc. If the container isn't deep enough, turn the cartridge over to immerse the other end. Hose off to remove all traces of the cleaner when finished. How often the cartridge should be cleaned will depend upon the water chemistry and the amount of bather wastes. Any time that the return flow seems weak is a good time to clean the cartridge. Otherwise, every month or so and whenever the water is replaced. Using The Blaster Automatic Filter Cartridge Cleaner will do it without all the work. It simply attaches to a garden hose and does the rest. Enjoy the spa. I hope that I was helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 12/6/2013

Blue/Purple Deposits In Filter Cartridge?

Wondering if you could help please. On changing the filter on my spa, I found it was covered in a blue/purple deposit, so much so it was slowing water flow and causing the pipes to "bang and rattle" when going through the propane heater. The banging stops with the filter is removed. I balance the spa with chlorine tabs and pH it with Bicarb Soda, Nothing else is used. Help? Thank you.

Nick W., 3/13/2009

ChlorMaker Drape-Over Salt Chlorine Generator, for spas and swim spas.
Chlorine tablets are not recommended for use in a spa, especially not if they are placed in the skimmer basket. Trichlor is far too
soluble, at the temperature of a spa. If you place it in the skimmer basket, its acidic nature will lead to copper corrosion. If used in a floater, it will tend to lower the pH and lead to corrosion.  The blue-purple deposits in the filter seem to confirm that copper corrosion has occurred. I suggest draining and cleaning the spa and restarting using another means of sanitation. Otherwise, your heater might end up needing to be replaced. There are different ways to sanitize a spa. I suggest that you consider the use of a salt chlorine generator.  It eliminates many of chlorine's negative properties, including corrosive, low pH conditions. I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 3/13/2009

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Spa Sediment?

Hi, I have a Spa that over the last month daily has a sediment on the one step in the morning that resembles soft brown sand. I can vacuum it up and within 4 or 5 hours will start to reappear. Do you have any idea what this might be. Thanks.

Walt, 7/16/2017

The sediment is probably waste materials, minerals or dead algae, mold, bacteria, etc. In any event is seems likely that may be
too small to bMetalTrap Dual-Cartridge Filter, for pools and spas.e removed by your filter, even if lifted off the bottom. Start by checking your filter. How old is the cartridge? Adding a dose of a blue clarifier could help coagulate the sediment and make it easier to filter out. Depending upon how the spa is being sanitized, it may simply be a matter of adding shock more often. There is a simple way to remove ultra fine particles for an existed filled spa or from new water being added, without using disposable cartridges or replacing your existing filter. The METALTRAP Dual-Cartridge System will remove particles down to 5-microns, many types of bacteria and viruses and more. It you use a small pool cover pump and a garden hose, you can recirculate the water, removing particles of 1-micron or larger. If you use it, when the spa is refilled, think of all of the sediment that you'll be keeping out of the spa. I hope that these suggestions prove helpful.
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 7/16/2017

Spa Filter/Sanitizer Choice?

Hi. Which is a better spa filter-an ozonator or a micro-filter product?

Roger H., West Sacramento, California, 3/15/2008

SmarterSpa complete unit
An ozonator is not a filter, but helps produce better water quality and fewer chemicals. The addition of an ozone generator is something that
you would be wise to consider, as it will make maintenance easier and produce higher quality water and will reduce the chemical consumption. You might add a mineral sanitizer, as well, since it will provide additional, persistent sanitizing. The combination of the two work well together. All you should need is a lower level of chlorine or bromine, as it will act as confirmation that proper conditions are being maintained. A salt chlorine generator is another viable choice.  It is a complete sanitizer and there are models that are affordable and require no installation.  I hope that this information proves to be helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 3/15/2008

Gray Accumulations?

Since installing a mineral sanitizer, inline system in our hot tub we have noticed this thick grey almost mud like (grey) residue gathering on the water line in certain areas and at the filter of our hot tub when both pumps are on high. Could this mean that the mineral level is set to high? It is set at 6 as instructed but the instructions do not tell you to adjust it at all...why are the other settings an option then? All our other water chemistry is perfect. Do we need to drain our spa and start again. Thank you.

Nova S., 7/26/2009

It is hard to be specific. It could be due to minerals present in the source water, organic bather wastes. body oils or cosmetic r
METALTRAP Filters remove iron, copper and manganese.esidues.  You might consider using a METALTRAP 1 MICRON pre-filter to recirculate the water. It will remove mineral particles, as small a 1 micron. Simply attach to a garden hose and small pump. As it recirculates the water, it removes ultra small particles, including minerals, organic matter, cosmetic residues and even some bacteria and viruses.  The addition of an ozone generator is something that you would be wise to consider, as it will make maintenance easier and produce higher quality water. It will reduce the chemical consumption. You should continue with the mineral sanitizer, as well, since it will provide additional, persistent sanitizing. The combination of the two work well together. All you should need is a lower level of chlorine or bromine, as it will act as confirmation that proper conditions are being maintained. Spas are usually drained about every three months, more or less depending on usage and water quality. I hope that this information will prove helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 7/27/2009

Where Does the Chlorine Go?

Good day, Alan,  We are new to the world of spas here in Florida.  We use chlorine as our sanitizing agent. I don't understand why when you enter a spa and the chlorine and pH levels are where should be, and 30 min. later when you get out, the levels are much lower.  Is this normal? As I said, we are new in this arena.  I didn't realize that you had to add chemicals after, or before, each use.  Guess we can learn something new every day.

Joyce & Jim, Florida, 9/15/2009

The typical pool in your neighborhood has about 60 times more water than your spa. Add to this the fact that the spa is
SmarterSpa complete unit at a much higher temperature and this will produce more bather wastes. This means that the typical spa gets more demands put on its sanitizing system than the typical; pool. Sanitizer levels can be depleted very quickly and it just makes sense to test the water and add more chlorine before and after each use. However, if the spa is equipped with an ozonator or UV sanitizing unit, less chlorine will be used. Ozone and UV units have controllable effects on the sanitation, while chlorine effectiveness rises and falls with its concentration. These alternative means of sanitizing spas are more flexible and provide a higher degree of effectiveness through use of a backup system. Much of the chlorine or Ozone is used to destroy wastes that cannot be removed by standard spa filters. Refer to the archives on a variety of spa and hot tub sanitizers, such as a salt chlorine generator for spas and hot tubs. I hope that I cleared up the mystery.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 9/15/2009

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