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Thread: Jets not working after fresh fill?

  1. #1
    Senior Member spishex's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Hillsborough, NC
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    1,377

    Jets not working after fresh fill?

    I make a lot of money every year around this time from people who are unable to diagnose and fix air locks, so hopefully this will reach a few in need! Apologies if this is already written up somewhere or misplaced.

    Whether you're draining and refilling in the middle of the season or filling up for the first time this winter, there's a good chance you're going to run into this problem. Why? Because you're good. You're so thorough at draining your spa that you evacuate every elbow, every little 1/2" line, and every piece of equipment until you know there's not a drop of moisture in the thing. And then you throw your hose in for half an hour, turn it back on and Voila! The jets aren't working! The pump sounds fine, but there's no water moving.

    Why? Air. All up in your equipment.

    When you fill your spa back up, many times the air that's in the equipment has no place to go, and is pinned in on each side by the water you've added. You've got a tub full of water but you've got a lot of plumbing with a lot of air bubbles trapped inside. What to do? That depends.

    Can you access the equipment? Maybe it looks a little something like this:
    [attachment=0:12fija01]air relief.JPG[/attachment:12fija01]

    The red arrows point to unions, the blue arrow points to where there may or may not be a drain plug. If you've got some channel locks or a strap wrench, go for the unions. If not, you may have to use the drain plug or keep reading.

    Each union and drain plug represents a spot in the equipment where we can bleed the air from. With the tub off, find one that's easy to loosen. You should hear air or see water coming from it once it's loose. Keep in mind that there will soon be electricity near you. You want the water to drip from the fitting, maybe pour, but try to use one that will keep water away from the control pack and the back of the pump. DO NOT DISCONNECT IT COMPLETELY. Just enough to let some water or air out. Otherwise you will get more water than you bargained for. Got it? Now tighten it up and let's do this thing for real.

    Turn the spa on and the pump on high. There's no water in it, so don't go inside and make a sandwich. Go back to your union/drain plug and loosen it again. As water begins to flow in toward the equipment you will hear the force of the air and water coming out increase. That's your cue to start tightening. With a little luck, the next thing you hear will be bubbles coming from your jets followed by a fully primed pump. If the air is not purged within 2-3 minutes, turn the spa off, let the pump cool off, and try again.

    Can't access the equipment? Why? Nevermind, this way is just as much fun.

    Find your filter. Does it have a lid with an o-ring that gets clamped down on top of it? If so, remember to take the lid off next time before you refill it. With the lid off, turn the spa on with the pump on low (do not hit the 'jets' button). Take the lid and push it into place, and then immediately take it off again. Do not use the lock ring for this, just the lid. Repeat this process, using the lid like a plunger until water starts to come up at you from the filter housing. If the pump is on low, it won't be a disaster, just a little wet. Turn the spa off, clamp the lid in place, spa back on, pump on high and you should be in business.

    If the filter just sits in a well behind a hole in the wall your life is much easier. Go find the plunger. Take the filter out. Again, pump on low. Then get to plunging on the hole that the filter threads onto or sits on. Once the water gets going put the filter back in place and turn the pump on high to purge the remaining air. If the plunger gets stuck on the hole, turn the spa off and remove it. It will not filter the water, doesn't look good to guests, and will probably stop you from putting the cover on properly.

    Of course, you'd never have gotten yourself into this situation if you'd just closed the valves on either side of the equipment before you drained it. Not a good option if you're going to leave it for a long time, but if you're doing a simple drain and refill close the valves first and you'll always have water in the pump. Just remember to open them again before you turn the spa back on.

    Hope this saves somebody a service call!
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  2. #2
    Senior Member meatloaf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Gilbert AZ
    Posts
    353

    Re: Jets not working after fresh fill?

    Great write-up. This exact thing happened to me when I first filled my hot tub. I loosened the union at the pump, the air escaped and problem solved.
    My pool is a 10,500 gallon (420 Sq Ft ) kidney shape. 15 Quik-Klean floor jets and a hand made sheer decent waterfeature. STA-RITE HRPB30, Sand filter 30" 98 GPM,
    1 HP Maxi-Glas 2 pump, BBB Method, Taylor K-2005 test kit, Tightwatt self adjusting pool timer. http://www.tightwatt.com/
    50 Watt 12V low-voltage pond light illuminates the pool at night for a nice soft glow.
    Pics here, http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v643/MEATLOAF2/Pool/
    250 gallon stand-alone hot tub. Got it FREE! Pics here, http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v643/ ... Hot%20Tub/ I don't press 1 for English.

  3. #3
    Guest

    Re: Jets not working after fresh fill?

    I am going to suggest that this be added to the Pool School!

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    1

    Re: Jets not working after fresh fill?

    thanks for the information! I was able to locate the drain plug on my spa and let enough air out to make the pump actually pump water again!

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    1

    Re: Jets not working after fresh fill?

    We recently drained and cleaned our Sunbelt Spa. Now Jet 1 is not working, but Jet 2 works fine. when you press Jet1 there is a brief sound as if it is trying to start. Any suggestions? We tried removing the filter and using a plunger with no luck.

    thanks

  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    1

    Re: Jets not working after fresh fill?

    Could this problem have anything to do with the fact that our hottub stopped working after we refilled it. We emptied the tub to clean it and it restarted fine after it was refilled. Once we hit the button to turn on the jets the hot tub completely turned off and we cannot turn it back on. None of the breakers have tripped and the fuses all appear intact. Any thoughts?

  7. #7
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    1

    Re: Jets not working after fresh fill?

    I know this is an old post but it saved me repair cost. This person is right about the air being in the way of the pump pumping water. Spot on! Thanks

  8. #8
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    3

    Re: Jets not working after fresh fill?

    What happened to Future just above this post is what we are experiencing - filled with water, water circulating gently no problem, turn on jets but nothing happens, now water will not even circulate and the motor/heater keeps trying to turn on.

    Is this due to air lock described above or something more? The instructions above assume we can get the water circulating.

  9. #9
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    1

    Re: Jets not working after fresh fill?

    Do NOT unscrew the bolts holding a union together...that's what I learned the hard way.

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