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Thread: Problem with spa jets

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    Problem with spa jets

    I recently purchased a new house with an inground spa/pool. I just had the single speed pump replaced with a Jandy VS FloPro 2hp. We used the spa for the first time and the jets did not draw air/make bubbles. I drained the spa and pulled off the eyeballs and the jets worked (the pump is running at full speed). If I replace the eyeballs, the jets no longer make bubbles. I tried leaving the eyeballs out. This worked until the jets went below the waterline, at which time they stopped making bubbles (it worked after the first and second jet went under, but stopped after the third). I tried blowing out the jets with a shopvac, but this made no improvement. I do not know the size of the old pump (the label was ripped off), but judging from the physical size, it was probably 1.5-2 hp. The run for both the air intake and pump to spa is about 50' (2" line).

    Any ideas on what could be wrong? Do I just need a stronger pump or is there something else i could try?

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Problem with spa jets

    Hopefully some with more experience will be along but are you sure the pump is running full speed? It sounds like it's not running at 3450 rpm.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
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    Re: Problem with spa jets

    It is turned up to 3450 rpm

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Problem with spa jets

    A few troubleshooting questions:

    Since this is a new house, did you ever try the spa with the old pump and did it work ok?

    Is the pump running through the filter and pad equipment?

    What is the filter pressure and is it about the same as it was with the old pump?

    How many jets do you have and do you know what the nozzle size is?

    Do you have an spa jet air blower installed?


    50' runs of 2" pipe are going to be very restrictive and if the jets are run off of a pump going through the filter and heater, that will also add a lot of restriction so you can't expect a lot of spa jets with that kind of design.
    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: Problem with spa jets

    I did not try it with the old pump (unfortunately). My guess is it probably worked the same as now, but I am not sure. The pump goes through both the filter (a Pentair cartridge unit) and a new Jandy Legacy heater. Not sure about the filter pressure, I will check it the next chance I get. There are 4 jets. I am not sure about the nozzle size; I pulled one out when I was working on it but did not measure the hole. I used a 9/16 socket to get it out (if that helps). I would guess it is 3/8". There is no air blower, just an intake pipe located near the filter pad. The filter pad is at one size of the pool area and the spa is all the way on the other side (hence the 50' run).

    Another possibly meaningless observation was that after I slowed the speed of the pump, I heard a "glugging" type sound come out of the air intake pipe. Don't know it that means anything. The overall install is about 23 years old. I have no idea if it ever worked.

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Problem with spa jets

    With only 4 3/8" jets, we should be able to get the spa to work ok but with an air intake that long, it probably needs a blower. One thing I forgot to ask is if the flow rate feels fairly strong out of the jets. If so, then it is probably just an air issue which can be solved by a blower. One way to see if a blower would help is to use a shop vac's exhaust and blow air into the air intake line. You will need to seal around the shop vac hose with a rag or towel. Just don't let the rag get sucked into the line or you will have a serious problem so a large towel will work best.
    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: Problem with spa jets

    I will give the blower idea a try this weekend. The water flow in the jets seems pretty strong. I expect the blower will work, but shouldn't the system work as is? Since the jets work when they can flow freely (no eyeball, shooting into air) it tells me either the flow rate is not high enough (need more hp) or there is something restricting the airflow/broken in the air system such that air is not being drawn in as efficiently as it should. Can the air intakes get partially filled with water and cause this kind of problem?

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Problem with spa jets

    The issue is probably the length of the air pipe. In most spa installations, you can get away without a blower if the air pipe is less than 15-20 ft away. However, at 50' there is a lot of restriction in the air movement due to just the length and size of the pipe so this is probably inhibiting the venturi from working properly. Water can partitially fill the air pipe when the jets are off but that is usually not a problem if the pipe is short enough so that the suction in air pipe will be able to clear it out. However, in a long air pipe, a blower is required to help clear out the pipe as well as to overcome the friction loss of the pipe.
    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: Problem with spa jets

    I checked the pressure gauge on the filter and it is reading ~21 psi at full speed. Does this indicate that the filter needs cleaning?

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Problem with spa jets

    Without knowing what your "normal" filter pressure should be, it is hard to be sure. You could clean it anyway and just see if the pressure drops. However, based on your plumbing description, I would have expected much higher pressure (~28 PSI) with only 4 3/8" jets. This could mean the suction head is much higher than anticipated and could be caused by some sort of suction side blockage or something else in the plumbing. At full speed, is the pump drawing in a lot of air?
    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: Problem with spa jets

    From what I can tell, the pump draws no air. The strainer basket window is full of water. Note that the pump is actually below the level of the pool by about 1'.

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    Re: Problem with spa jets

    I have the same problem with my spa, no bubbles. I used a shop vacuum to push air down the pipe and that works for a while until you turn off the spa and back on again. I have no blower on my system. I switched out the jets with new ones and they were a little different and it didnt work at all. I had to go back to my old jets to get any bubbles at all. There is no debre caught anywhere and I have dissassembles everything I can. These are very sensitive systems I must find a way to tune it. Any help?
    18k gal, 60sq. ft. DE filter, in ground, pebble, 2.5 HP pump, SWG Hayward Aqua Rite T-CELL-15, Barracuda G3 suction cleaning tool

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Problem with spa jets

    Quote Originally Posted by Fordtechman
    I have no blower on my system.
    You may need a blower. How far away is the air pipe from the spa?



    Quote Originally Posted by mas985
    The issue is probably the length of the air pipe. In most spa installations, you can get away without a blower if the air pipe is less than 15-20 ft away. However, at 50' there is a lot of restriction in the air movement due to just the length and size of the pipe so this is probably inhibiting the venturi from working properly. Water can partitially fill the air pipe when the jets are off but that is usually not a problem if the pipe is short enough so that the suction in air pipe will be able to clear it out. However, in a long air pipe, a blower is required to help clear out the pipe as well as to overcome the friction loss of the pipe.
    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: Problem with spa jets

    I did several things this weekend and the system works, kind of. Things were not done as systematically as I would have liked, so there may be many false leads in this. I started by hooking up my vacuum (blower) to the air intake pipe (eyeballs removed). This worked. The jets started making bubbles. When I removed the vacuum, the bubbles continued. I was going to put the eyeballs back in, but the guy showed up to clean the cartridges. After he cleaned everything, the pressure dropped slightly, but not much (a few PSI). I put the eyeballs in, and the bubbles did not work. When I hooked up the vacuum, I only got bubbles out of two jets. Note that the eyeballs here are basically reducing tubes. Two of them have rings inside that reduce diameter even more (not by much, maybe 1" for the big ones and 3/4" for the small ones). Bubbles were only coming out of the large ones. When I took away the vacuum, the bubbles went away. I removed the eyeballs, turned everything on, and the jets worked. It took a little bit of time for them to work, but eventually they all came on. Today I tried it again. Two of the jets came on right away, and then slowly the others did too (maybe over two minutes). After I turned the pump off, it definitely sounds as if there is a lot of water in the air pipe. My conclusion from all of this is the system is operating on edge and increased restriction (installing the eyeballs) pushes it over the edge. Is it possible to get the system working better? Specifically:
    1. Am I lacking hp? Would a 3 hp pump be expected to work better than my 2 hp?
    2. Will changing the nozzle size help? I measured them and they are 3/8"
    3. Is a blower the answer? Is there a recommended product for this?
    4. Could something be damaged/blocked in the jet body? Anyway to clean this?
    5. Is water in the air pipe normal? Would sticking a hose down the pipe and trying to pump out the water be helpful?

    Thanks for all the help.

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Problem with spa jets

    1. Probably not. The pump is sized for the number of jets and size of jets and increasing the size with your current plumbing would not gain you very much
    2. Increasing the size of the nozzle will reduce the exit velocity of the jet and make them feel weaker. If the water stream feels strong, then you probably don't want to change this.
    3. Based upon the distance to the air vent, I think the blower is probably the answer. It will be much stronger than the shop vac and will help clear out the air line when the jets first start up.
    4. Possibly but if you remove the nozzles and run the pump, it should clear out anything.
    5. A little water is normal, but because the run is so long, the installer may not of put in a hartford loop to prevent the water from filling the pipe. If you have access to the air pipe near the pad, you could just bring the air vent up at that location and shorten the air pipe run. However, if you want to keep the air pipe near the pad, you will most likely need a blower. That is what they are for and what should have been installed in the first place.
    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: Problem with spa jets

    Could you recommend a particular blower make and model?

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Problem with spa jets

    I don't have any specific recommendations but I think Airsupply and Polaris both make fairly good blowers. As for blower sizing, each has a description on how to size the blower:

    Airsupply Blower Sizing

    Polaris Blower Sizing
    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

  18. Back To Top    #18

    Re: Problem with spa jets

    Dissassembled all I could this weekend. My system did not come with a blower and should work without it. Changing the eyeballs to different sizes causes the system to not work, but the real magic happens before the eyeballs. I think I need to change the length of the jet INSIDE the pipe before the eyeball. When I removed the eyeball assembly I found a long jet behind it in the center of a larger, say 3inch pipe. That jet is where the water is squirted out, the surrounding pipe is for the air. As the little pipe squirts water it causes a "vacuum" for the air, which results in the bubbles. The longer jet inside the pipe simply unscrews and I can remove it. I just need to find someplace to purchase the parts and build smaller pipes behind the eyeballs giving the system enough umph to pull air thru. Wish me luck.
    18k gal, 60sq. ft. DE filter, in ground, pebble, 2.5 HP pump, SWG Hayward Aqua Rite T-CELL-15, Barracuda G3 suction cleaning tool

  19. Back To Top    #19

    Re: Problem with spa jets

    Found a picture of the system and a place to buy them, will have to see if that inner pipe part is cut to fit.
    http://www.aqua-man.com/schematic.asp?kc=S2490
    part # 217-1060 must be cut to fit? Thats where the water comes out first and sucks the air out around it.
    18k gal, 60sq. ft. DE filter, in ground, pebble, 2.5 HP pump, SWG Hayward Aqua Rite T-CELL-15, Barracuda G3 suction cleaning tool

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    Re: Problem with spa jets - follow up and solution

    I thought more about this problem and finally found the issue. My spa is located at a level above the pool and the pool is located above the ground/pump (the pool is built into an upslope property). Since the shopvac could get the system to work, it seemed as if the problem must be water getting in the air pipe and choking off the flow. Upon investigation I realized that the air pipe goes consistently downhill from the spa for about 50' before turning uphill and exiting. Water that slowly leaks from the nozzles into the air pipe flows all the way down to the low point and collects there. I could clear it with the shopvac, but it just would fill up again. To stop this from happening, I drilled a drain hole at the low point. This theory was confirmed as water drained out. Once the water drained out, the jets started up by themselves, no blower necessary. I will install a proper drain valve at the low point and I think this problem is fixed.

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