Inflatable hot tubs are a great way to relax and get into hot tubbing on a small budget. But since inflatable hot tubs don’t have all the features and equipment of large permanent ones, do inflatable hot tubs have filters?
Here’s what I found out from looking into it:
Yes, just like all other types of hot tubs, inflatable hot tubs do have filters. However, they are much smaller than regular hot tub filters. They are typically located inside the drain grate inside at the base of the hot tub. Unlike regular hot tubs, inflatable hot tub filters are designed to be changed weekly.
But that’s just the beginning.
Above-ground pool filters are also designed to be changed weekly, but I have found with regular cleaning, I can extend that to a month or more. So inflatable hot tub filters are no different.
Let’s explore it a little deeper.
— Barbara Freeman (@BarbaraFreeman0) October 13, 2017
How do you clean an inflatable hot tub filter?
To clean an inflatable hot tub filter, first, turn the threaded cap on the suction drain inside the base of the hot tub. Then, rinse it under warm water at a kitchen sink with a sprayer using your fingers to get in between each of the paper pleats.
Chances are, your inflatable hot tub will have 2 of these filters.
Filters come in the form of cylindrical cartridges. They are made up of folded fabric pleats to provide a large surface area in which to catch the dead skin, hair, insects, and other debris that floats around in your hot tub, un-noticed.
The filters sit inside the suction grates located in the water at the bottom of the hot tub.
Just unscrew the caps on the end of the suction grates and pull the filters out. Unlike filters on portable or in-ground hot tubs which can last a year or more, inflatable hot tub filters are recommended to be changed weekly. But I have a workaround to extend the life of yours.
First, just take the filter to your kitchen sink and clean with warm water using the sprayer on your kitchen sink faucet. Make sure to get in between all the paper pleats, using your fingers.
Don’t have a sprayer in your kitchen sink? Or just want to use the garden hose?
A great product to thoroughly clean your filter is the Filter Flosser (click to see the current price on Amazon). This connects to your garden hose to provide a powerful, evenly dispersed spray that gets in between the pleats of your cartridge filter, working out the dirt and debris.
Then, every 4-6 weeks, you should give your filter a deep clean by removing it and soaking it in a 5-gallon water bucket with a filter cleaning chemical.
There are many products on Amazon, but one I would recommend is Power Soak (click to see it on Amazon). It’s a non-foaming, fast-acting, heavy-duty granular cleaner that you mix with hot or cold water.
It removes lotion residues, body oils, dirt & grime, and contains enzymes to eat up organic contaminants.
If you use cold water, soak it overnight. But for hot water, you can be done in just 1 hour.
How often should you change or clean your inflatable hot tub filter?
Inflatable hot tub filters are designed to be changed weekly. However, if you clean it thoroughly every 5-7 days and do a deep chemical soak every 4-6 weeks, you can extend the life of your filters to 3 months. Simply replace them when they can no longer get clear or the housing starts to break down.
Inflatable hot tub filters are just like the ones on my above-ground pool, which has the same recommendation. They are flimsier and more cheaply made than the filters in portable or in-ground hot tubs.
I just clean mine regularly and then replace it when I can no longer get them clean or the housing starts to degrade. You should clean your filters weekly, and more often if you use the hot tub frequently. Just follow the steps outlined in the section above for all the details on cleaning.
A visual check should tell you when it is time. Don’t wait for problems to arise, such as dirty water or the sound of the pump straining.
Thinking about cleaning your filters in the dishwasher?
Do not clean your filter in a dishwasher or washing machine. I know some say this is OK, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
To find out why, read this recent article on my website. I get into all the reasons why this is a terrible idea, including the 1 reason most people don’t think about.
Just click that link to read it on my site.
Since it got warm I drained the inflatable hot tub, gave it a little cleaning, and now it’s filling back up. I guess once it’s too hot for a hot tub we can just use it as a little pool to cool off in. It’s still been the best quarantine buy decision. #hottubclub pic.twitter.com/CPWss6QsCq
— David Bannister Jr. (@dbannisterjr) May 17, 2020
Do you need a filter in a hot tub?
Yes. All hot tubs need 1 or more filters to remove debris from the water such as skin flakes, hair, body oils, leaves, and residues of lotions, shampoo, and soap from our bodies. The filters, in conjunction with the chemicals, help keep the water clean and safe to soak in.
Ultimately, it would be better for people to shower before taking the plunge.
But even then, you will get the residue of sun-screen, deodorant, perfume, aftershave, and other body lotions floating around in the hot tub. You will also get hair and flakes of skin, and inevitably insects in there too.
All sounds pretty gross, but this stuff has to be removed before it gets into your pump and clogs up the pipes.
You can run your hot tub without a filter, but this should only be done for short periods and certainly not when you are using the hot tub.
Recirculating dirty, unfiltered water is unhygienic and could result in skin and respiratory diseases.
Also, if you alternate between two filters when cleaning one, this will increase the lifespan of both filters and ensure your hot tub always has filtration in place.
— Spa Covers USA (@SpaCoversUSA1) July 14, 2016
How often should you change the water in an inflatable hot tub?
As with any hot tub, you should change the water every 3 to 4 months in an inflatable hot tub. With heavy use, you may even find every 2 months to be necessary. Use a calendar to mark the times, but you can usually gauge when it’s time by the water’s appearance and smell.
As I said, you can usually tell when it is ready for change – the water gets murky, and it starts to smell, but this could also be down to a chemical imbalance, so check your pH level and alkalinity regularly.
But you shouldn’t wait for it to get this nasty.
After a while, you will get to know the optimum time between changes and schedule it into your routine. And don’t add bath salts or anything else to simply cover up the smell.
Ordinary bath salts or Epsom salt are not OK as they cause foaming, which can clog the filter and pump.
However, some aromatherapy products do work for hot tubs.
In this recent article, I get into some of the best bath salt, aromatherapy, and Epsom salt alternatives that work great in hot tubs and won’t damage it.
Just click that link to read it on my site.
— Van Isle Water (@VanIsleWater) November 29, 2016
How long do lazy spa filters last (and other brands of inflatables too)?
Lay Z Spa recommends changing the filter on a Lay Z Spa every 2 to 3 weeks, although they can be cleaned and reused.
Lay Z Spa, to give it its correct name, is a brand of inflatable hot tub widely available in the UK, but not much in America. Filters are sold in packs of 12, and they are much smaller than those used on regular tubs.
A good alternative is the washable and reusable foam-type filter, suitable for the Lay Z Spa and the Intex inflatable hot tubs. These are available on Amazon, and although more expensive than the paper cartridges, they will last longer.
A decent filter should last 3 months, but if you look after it and clean it regularly, you may be able to get even more time than that.
In hard water areas, there are chances you may find that filters get a build-up of calcium, which means they will have to be cleaned and changed more often.
Do not be tempted to use detergent to break down the calcium as this could lead to foaming when you reinsert the filter.
Do not use bleach either, as this will destroy the fibers in the filter.
Cleaning your hot tub filter is a vital part of hot tub maintenance and plays a key role in keeping its water safe and clean.
💧 ✨ To avoid it looking like the one on the left. we recommend rinsing your filters weekly, and cleaning them monthly with Cartridge Cleaner. pic.twitter.com/3nFg5J0HbC
— Artesian Spas UK (@ArtesianSpas) July 8, 2019
Can I use my hot tub without a filter?
No. You should not run any hot tub without a filter for any length of time. If you do run your hot tub without a filter, this should only be done for short periods when troubleshooting or fixing a leak or doing a biofilm cleaning before draining and refilling.
Running your hot tub without a filter could damage the motor, so limit the time to fix the problem or turn the pump off.
You shouldn’t use your hot tub without a filter because all the dirt and debris normally captured by the filter will end up in the pump, potentially causing damage. It will also find its way back into the hot tub where you, your friends, and family are sat – very unhygienic!
Inflatable hot tubs have very small jets – only 3mm diameter in most cases. They can easily get blocked if the filter is not there to collect all the nasty stuff. Also, there are a lot of them – well over 100 – so that’s a lot of jets to clean if you do forget to replace your filter.
If you have a spare filter, there is no reason for you to use your hot tub without one in any case.
Did I cover all you wanted to know about whether inflatable hot tubs have filters?
You should now have learned that inflatable hot tubs have filters, and, as with all hot tubs, they will need regular cleaning and replacement.
Filters can be cleaned easily using a garden hose, but there are tools you can get that make this more comfortable and more thorough.
There are chemicals you can use to help deep-clean your filter periodically, and with regular cleaning, a filter will be good for one to two years.
But if you haven’t bought an inflatable hot tub yet, check out my recent article where I get into all the pros and cons of whether it’s worth it or not. I even give you pricing and my pick for the #1 inflatable hot tub.
Just click that link to read it on my site.