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Thread: Very Inconsistent and poor pressure in spa jets

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    Very Inconsistent and poor pressure in spa jets

    Hello, newbie here that just finished construction on an in-ground spa only setup. Quick bit of info on setup: I have a natural rock waterfall that spills into spa/spool, and has another 3' spillover on the front that goes into a small pool of water below (approx 1800 Gals total) I have pumps running the system (two 3hp Intelliflow VS, and one 2hp Whisperflo). I have 10 jets in the spa that is approx 100' away from my equipment. We have had problems with jet pressure since the first time we fired up the system. After approx 2 weeks of troubleshooting we now have 2 jets out of our 10 that seem to have the pressure that we would expect all of them to have. Any help would be greatly appreciated as we are completely new to spa ownership and our contractor is admitting that something isn't right but doesn't seem to know how/want to fix it.
    I have a lot more info and pics of plumbing prior to construction that I can post as I try and work through this frustrating problem. I just didn't want to start the post with all of it or I didn't think anyone would take the time to read it all?

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    Melt In The Sun's Avatar
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    Re: Very Inconsistent and poor pressure in spa jets

    Welcome to TFP!
    I guess the first questions are:
    1. What size is the suction-side plumbing?
    2. What size is the pressure-side plumbing?
    3. Which pump(s) operate the spa?
    4. What brand/model(s) of jets do you have?

    Hopefully we can help you fix this!
    11,200 gal, Pebble-Tec; Tristar 2-speed 1hp - Swimclear 325 ft2 cart - SWG - A & A in-floor cleaner - Heat pump. For the poolside cooking, a Yoder Wichita and a Big Steel Keg!
    TF Test Kits -- PoolMath -- Pool School
    Make each day your masterpiece. - John Wooden

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    Re: Very Inconsistent and poor pressure in spa jets

    Thanks very much for the reply. Sorry but being a newbie, I was unaware that I wasn't notified by email when there was a reply posted. I might be able to change that in my settings? Anyway, to answer your questions:
    1 & 2. As far as I am aware, the suction and pressure side plumbing is all 2"
    3. The way the pumps are setup are one of my 3hp Intelliflow VS pumps is running my waterfall (overkill I know but I wanted the ability to adjust the flow precisely). The other 3hp Intelliflow VS is running 5 of my 10 jets and my circulation. The last pump which is a 2hp Whisperflo is running my other 5 jets directly.
    4. This is a tough question for me as the only time that I actually saw one of the jets was when my contractor quickly showed me one from the back of his truck and it just looked like a generic white PVC "T" with a hole that he stated was for air and another that you thread a reduced "nozzle" into? Sorry but I am not sure of all the terminology here Anyway, I don't recall any name or anything like that on it but I could find out if it would help.

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    Melt In The Sun's Avatar
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    Re: Very Inconsistent and poor pressure in spa jets

    OK, 2" is fine.

    With 5 jets on an intelliflo and 5 on a 2hp pump, that should be plenty. Do the two pumps share a suction line?

    I asked about the jets because some brands/models require a LOT of water to work properly. It's worth finding out, or a picture might help.

    I don't have a spa, so my ideas are being exhausted quickly. Hopefully someone more knowledgeable will stop by.
    11,200 gal, Pebble-Tec; Tristar 2-speed 1hp - Swimclear 325 ft2 cart - SWG - A & A in-floor cleaner - Heat pump. For the poolside cooking, a Yoder Wichita and a Big Steel Keg!
    TF Test Kits -- PoolMath -- Pool School
    Make each day your masterpiece. - John Wooden

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Very Inconsistent and poor pressure in spa jets

    Given that this is a new build, there could be some debris in the jet lines so if you can remove all of the jets including the nozzles inside of the jet body, then the force of the water might be enough to flush out any debris that may be left over from the build.

    Also, is the performance any different between the two pumps?

    As for the plumbing size, 2" is really too small for a spa application and especially 100' from the pump. Did the builder use separate loops for each of the pumps and 5 jets?

    For the pump on the filter, what is the filter pressure when running that pump but not the other pump? What happens to the filter pressure when turning on the second pump?
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Very Inconsistent and poor pressure in spa jets

    Melt in the sun-
    Not sure if the two pumps share a suction line or not. There are two separate pipes coming out of the ground but not sure if they connect to the same one underground. I would have to dig out a little around the piping and check that out. I will try and find out the name of the jets and required flow. Thanks for your suggestions and time

    mas985-
    I have had all of the nozzles from the jet body out and flowed with and without them several times. Initially upon removal of the nozzles for the first time they were blocked almost completely by rock/rocks in the nozzle itself. After clearing them out it helped a small amount but not significantly.

    The difference between the two pumps is quite significant actually. The 2hp is the one that is producing the pressure for the 2 jets that seem to be closest to proper operating pressure. The 3hp Intelliflo has 0 of the 5 jets up to any kind of reasonable pressure even at full 3450 rpm. The contractor states that the reason for the better pressure with the 2hp is that it doesn't have the resistance of the 3hp pump because it is going directly to the jets and the 3hp is going through the filter and the heater.

    Not sure about the separate loops for each pump? Maybe you can tell by pics of plumbing that I took? I will try and post a couple pics of the job prior to gunite

    The pressure for the pump on the filter when running this pump only is 25psi. After turning on the second pump (I am assuming that you meant the 2hp that runs the other 5 jets, and not the other 3hp that runs the waterfall?) the pressure was unchanged and still at 25psi.

    I have about 14 pics or so at different angles of the plumbing that might help? I don't know the best way to share these as I am not sure it would be ok to post all of these? I am following this post with another post describing a little more history/info about the project

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Very Inconsistent and poor pressure in spa jets

    Quote Originally Posted by golfingff
    I have had all of the nozzles from the jet body out and flowed with and without them several times. Initially upon removal of the nozzles for the first time they were blocked almost completely by rock/rocks in the nozzle itself. After clearing them out it helped a small amount but not significantly.
    That is not good news. There could still be quite bit of debris left in the pipe but it won't come out because it narrows down at the venturi tee. Did the PB know about the rocks? That is just sloppy work and may be still be a problem.


    Quote Originally Posted by golfingff
    The difference between the two pumps is quite significant actually. The 2hp is the one that is producing the pressure for the 2 jets that seem to be closest to proper operating pressure. The 3hp Intelliflo has 0 of the 5 jets up to any kind of reasonable pressure even at full 3450 rpm. The contractor states that the reason for the better pressure with the 2hp is that it doesn't have the resistance of the 3hp pump because it is going directly to the jets and the 3hp is going through the filter and the heater.
    The filter and plumbing will restrict the pump quite a bit although being a bigger pump, it should compensate some.


    Quote Originally Posted by golfingff
    Not sure about the separate loops for each pump? Maybe you can tell by pics of plumbing that I took? I will try and post a couple pics of the job prior to gunite

    The pressure for the pump on the filter when running this pump only is 25psi. After turning on the second pump (I am assuming that you meant the 2hp that runs the other 5 jets, and not the other 3hp that runs the waterfall?) the pressure was unchanged and still at 25psi.
    That probably means that they are on separate loops which is what I expect.

    But 25 PSI seems a bit on the low side for only 5 jets, full RPM and 100' of pipe. A few more questions:

    Is it a straight shot from the pump to the spa or are there a lot of bends involved?

    Also what is the relative elevation between the pump and the spa water level?

    Are you seeing any air in the pump basket?

    Do know the diameter of the jet nozzle? Usually 3/8" or 7/16".
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Very Inconsistent and poor pressure in spa jets

    Yes, the builder knew about the debris as he took the nozzles out of the jet body himself prior to me doing so and admittedly removed a lot of rocks before I did the same again. I have now had them on and off several times since to check and there is no longer any in the nozzles themselves. I was worried that there may still be debris prior to the jet body somewhere as they were definitely sloppy in their work. To give you a bit more info/history prior to purchasing the 2hp pump: When the builder completed the job we got in the spa when we were able to get our water prepared properly. We immediately noticed very poor pressure in all 10 jets and couldn't achieve any sort of hydrotherapy without using the air blower. Some of the jets were barely even moving water at all. After notifying him of this problem he came and tried to figure out the problem. He gave me all sorts of excuses that didn't make a lot of sense to me and then told me that he originally planned/plumbed our job for 3 pumps (3 smaller pumps), and had decided to buy only 2 (both Intelliflo 3hp) instead. He used some 3-way valves in order to change from 3 pumps down to 2. He proceeded to turn one of the valves and asked me to check the pressure out of them after he did this. The pressure was excellent when in either position (5 jets only, or 5 + circulation). Once he put it back to full open position with all 10 jets there was again a huge drop in pressure. This test was done using only a single 3hp Intelliflo. He mentioned to me at that time that in order to get that kind of pressure that was felt with 1/2 jets closed I would need to purchase an additional pump. This was when we purchased the 2hp Whisperflo. When this additional pump was installed I was immediately disappointed in the outcome as there was very little change at all in pressure on the 3hp Intelliflo side even with 5 of the jets now put on a separate pump! I also noticed that the pump sounded like it was unable to prime and stayed at full RPM making a lot of noise. I looked into the filter basket and noticed that it was only 1/2 full of water and the suction side of the pump was unable to keep up. He then told me that the suction was unable to keep up and that I couldn't run my 3hp pump at full rpm. I was very angry as what was the point of having 3hp if I could only now run 1 1/2 to 2hp??? I didn't accept that answer and then he finally admitted that there was a blockage somewhere in the suction line. After plumbing the 2hp pump to back flow the drain/circulation lines 2 plastic grocery bags came out of the floor drain along with a golf ball size chunk of plaster! At this time the builder stated that he thought there might have been a blockage prior to me getting him to admit this and that he tried to use the bags to push it out? Obviously, at this point I knew he wasn't being totally honest with us and that he was probably pretty careless. I proceeded to get a second chunk of plaster out that was the same size. Magically, the circulation pump could now prime and keep up with the full rpm's. Once again, the pressure in the jets did not really change a whole lot.

    It is a fairly straight shot to the equipment from the spa. (backyard spa with equipment just around the corner of the back of the house)

    the elevation from the equipment to the spa is approx 3-5' maximum

    Just a couple of small marble-size air bubbles in the top of the pump filter basket area

    Not sure of diameter of nozzle but I will measure tomorrow and let you know first thing in the morning

    Thanks again guys for your time and help with troubleshooting this problem

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    guamguy's Avatar
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    Re: Very Inconsistent and poor pressure in spa jets

    Can you post some pics of the equipment and plumbing?
    12,800 gallon IG plaster kidney-shaped pool, waterslide, 800 gallon spa.
    1HP 2 speed Sta-Rite pool pump, 1.5 HP Sta-Rite spa jet pump. 2 skimmers, 1 main drain
    Purex-Triton TR-60 325 lb.sand filter. 2" Plumbing, Intex SWCG, TF-100 test kit.
    Link to pics of my pool! http://www.troublefreepool.com/my-oasis-t26558.html

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    Re: Very Inconsistent and poor pressure in spa jets

    A few more things that we observed while in the spa were that a couple of the jets that we put our hand over felt like they had a suction feel to them. I am not sure if this is normal or not but I figured that it wasn't. Also we observed a small "vortex" like swirl in the edge of the water that looked like a bathtub when you open the drain to let the water out and it starts to get towards the bottom. It also made a sound that was similar to a draining tub as well. Another thing that we noticed is if we covered a single nozzle with our finger tip that it would vastly improve two other jet pressures. I guess one of the most frustrating things here is the complete inconsistency with the pressure of the jets. One is almost too much pressure and one is just about right and the other 8 are just moving some water but definitely not strong enough to provide any hydrotherapy effect whatsoever

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    Re: Very Inconsistent and poor pressure in spa jets

    Absolutely. Wish I had gotten some more close-ups in hindsight but I am glad that I even took these now that we are having a problem. I will post some different angles as it may be helpful. Just realized that I can only post one at a time I guess?

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    Re: Very Inconsistent and poor pressure in spa jets

    I need to figure out how to get the file size down as they are all approx 700 kb to 1 mb. Looks like the limit is 256kb

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    Re: Very Inconsistent and poor pressure in spa jets

    Hopefully I did this right. Was able to get 2 at a time
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    Re: Very Inconsistent and poor pressure in spa jets

    two more
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    Re: Very Inconsistent and poor pressure in spa jets

    More pics
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    Re: Very Inconsistent and poor pressure in spa jets

    More pics
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    Re: Very Inconsistent and poor pressure in spa jets

    pics
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    Re: Very Inconsistent and poor pressure in spa jets

    Last pic
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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Very Inconsistent and poor pressure in spa jets

    There looks to be three loops since that is what he had planned for three separate pumps but exactly how did he get it down to two? Also, how many jets are on each of the three loops? Can you take a picture of the current pad plumbing?
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Very Inconsistent and poor pressure in spa jets

    Upon further inspection it seems as though there is more air than I first thought
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