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When Should I Replace My Filter Cartridge?
Spa filter cartridge and pool filter cartridge media will clog up over time due to oils, dirt, bacteria, algae, and other micro-organisms that adhere to the cartridge elements. Spa and pool filter cartridges do not have a specific life span and can vary widely depending on bather loads, natural elements, chemical balances and proper cleaning methodology. Each time you clean the cartridge you need to inspect it carefully for remaining dirt or debris.

The following are seven reasons that may indicate the need for a new filter cartridge:

1. Filter cartridges are made of a fibrous material, generally 100 % spunbond polyester, which gradually wears and loosens becoming more porous over time.  Look for small tears in the media material. If small tears or holes are present, this is allowing larger particles to pass through the filter and back into the pool or spa water. This lessens the effectiveness of pool or spa sanitizers which will cause more chemical expense to maintain proper sanitation.  If tears or holes are present, discard the filter and replace it with a new one.

2. The ends caps have become brittle, cracked or discolored which indicates age.

3. You notice that you have to clean the filter cartridge more often than normal or you seem to be spending more money than normal on chemicals. This is a major indicator that it may be time to replace the cartridge element.

4. The water flow rate has been reduced due to a clogging that cannot be cleaned or if the water flow rate is still low after cleaning your cartridge.

5. If the pressure on your pool filter remains or climbs back quickly (within two or three days or so) to about 8-10 pounds over normal operating pressure after you have cleaned the cartridge then it is defiantly time for a new cartridge.

6. The center core (if applicable) of the cartridge is misshaped, collapsed, separated from the media or any combination of these, then it is time to replace your cartridge filter.

7. Hot Tub motors are expensive and the best way to protect them is by protecting the water that passes through them as much as possible. As larger unfiltered particles pass through the filter on a spa they have to pass the motor, these particles can clog and build up on the pump’s impeller over time and wear them out prematurely. A new cartridge filter is definitely less expensive than a new spa pump.
If any of the above are present, it is highly recommended that you discard your old or damaged filter cartridge and replace it with a new one.

NOTE: It is always a good idea to keep a backup filter hand. Then, while you are cleaning your current cartridge you can put the backup cartridge in the pool or spa. This can be very beneficial! If you detect a problem with your filter cartridge you already have a backup available immediately. There are major benefits to allowing the cartridge to dry thoroughly between cleanings too – see "How Do I Clean My Pool or Spa Filter Cartridge?"