Can You Run a Hot Tub Without a Filter? 

Hot tubs are complicated machines, and there’s a bit of a science to using them. They aren’t overly complicated, but it’s important to follow proper protocols when running your hot tub. One of these important protocols is to always have a filter installed when using your hot tub. 

You shouldn’t run your hot tub for a prolonged period of time without a filter. Filters are designed to protect your hot tub pump, jets, and water by keeping debris out of them. When junk and gunk get into your pump and hot tub motor, it can lead to costly repairs.

In this article, we’ll look at the importance of using a filter with a hot tub. We’ll also examine ways to circumnavigate using a filter when absolutely necessary. Let’s dive in! 

How Long Can I Run a Hot Tub Without a Filter? 

In general, you shouldn’t run your hot tub at all without a filter installed. If your water is clean and free of debris, you have nothing to worry about. However, if dirt or debris happens to find its way into your hot tub and you don’t have a filter, your hot tub is in trouble. Even a small amount of debris can damage the components of your hot tub. 

Running your hot tub without a filter is an endless cycle of nastiness. Water isn’t properly cleaned and filtered, which means that it will turn green. Water that’s green means that it has bacteria, debris, gunk, and other nasties in it. As the water gets progressively dirtier, so will your hot tub. This then leads to your pump, jets, and other parts jamming or clogging up. The longer you don’t have a filter, the dirtier your water will get and the more damaged your hot tub will become. 

Is There a Safe Way to Run a Hot Tub Without a Filter? 

If you’re determined to run your hot tub without a filter, there are safe ways to do this. Here they are. 

Run the Hot Tub on a Low Setting 

By running the hot tub on a lower setting, it isn’t cycling water as often as on higher settings. This will reduce the amount of debris and contaminants that get cycled through the pump and motor without being filtered. The downside of a lower setting is that your water may not get as hot or circulate as much. 

Make Sure You’re Clean Before Entering 

You should take a shower and wipe yourself off before entering a hot tub, no matter what. However, this is even more important if you don’t have a filter on your hot tub. The best way to keep your hot tub clean is to keep dirt out of it, especially if you don’t have a filter. 

Add More Chemicals if Necessary 

Regularly checking your chemicals and adding them when necessary is paramount at all times. Much like staying clean, checking your chemicals is even more important when you don’t have a filter. Chemicals go a long way at keeping your water clean, and they increase in importance if your hot tub doesn’t have a filter. 

However, no amount of chemicals will protect your hot tub from all the debris floating around inside of it. They simply aren’t meant to be a substitute for a filtration system. 

Don’t Run the Hot Tub for Long. 

It’s also a good idea to spend less time in your hot tub if you don’t have a filter. The less your tub operates, the less likely it is to get clogged by unfiltered water. 

Risks of Running a Hot Tub Without a Filter 

Regardless of whether or not you follow all the steps above, running a hot tub without a filter isn’t a smart decision. Over time, problems will inevitably occur, and you’ll have costly repairs. Here are the risks of running your hot tub without a filter. 

You’ll Use More Chlorine and Other Chemicals. 

Running a hot tub without a filter isn’t just unsafe. It’s also expensive. You’ll go through more chlorine and cleaning chemicals because they’ll have to work harder to keep your water clean. Any money you save by not buying filters will be spent on cleaning agents and repairs. 

Cloudy and Murky Water 

Chlorine is great for killing bacteria and microorganisms in your water, but it won’t do a good job of cleaning it. Without a filter, you’ll soon discover that your hot tub water gets cloudy, murky, and smelly. This will make for an unenjoyable hot tub experience. 

Unbalanced Chemistry in your Water 

Running your hot tub for a prolonged period without a filter will throw off the balance and alkalinity of your water. This will then cause a breakdown in the chemistry between your water and the chemicals you add. 

Dirty Hot Tub

As your water chemistry is thrown off and your water gets progressively dirtier, your hot tub is the next thing to get hit. Dirty water will stain and streak along the surface of your hot tub, and these stains are extremely difficult to remove. 

The only way to avoid dirty water is to have a filter installed on your hot tub. It’s extremely difficult to relax and enjoy yourself in a hot tub that feels more like a pigpen. 

Clogged and Damaged Pipes

If dirty water, a dirty hot tub, and not being able to enjoy yourself isn’t enough, running a hot tub without a filter is also costly. Water is circulated around your hot tub through a series of pipes, a pump, and a motor. Not having a filter on a running hot tub means that dirt, debris, and junk aren’t getting blocked out of the hot tub. This junk will inevitably find its way into your pipes and pump and result in costly repairs. Hot tub repairs cost much more than a hot tub filter. 

What kind of hot tub filter should I buy?

We purchase antimicrobial hot tub filters to ensure they do the best to protect the water chemistry. Also make sure to have an extra on hand as after you clean your filter you will want to let it fully dry. After it is cleaned and dried, store it until you can swap it next time you need to clean your dirty filter and you can instantly put the clean one in.

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