Spa jets stopped bubbling

cbredesen

Bronze Supporter
Jul 25, 2015
35
Orlando, FL
I've searched the forum and found lots of discussions about this topic but none has led me to success. Sorry if I'm missing the salient point of these posts but let me say what's going on:

We had our pool resurfaced with pebble and some time after that was all started back up, I went to turn on the spa jets. Rather than getting air out the jets, we have water bubbling out the feeder tube. There was a drilled cap on the end so I'm pretty sure nothing crawled in there. But there was definitely debris in there, at least small stuff.

I tried two things:

1. Lowering the spa to below the jet level, turn off the pump, turn on the jandy valve to enable the spa jets and applied a shop vac (sucking) to the air feeder tube. I pulled lots of water through there, maybe 3-4gal. I wasn't sure if it would ever end so I just gave up.

2. Under normal operation, I turned on the spa jets and pushed air into the feeder tube from a smaller shop vac that has a high pressure side (mine doesn't). Again, nothing really happened here and after removing the air pressure, water pretty quickly mushroomed back over the top of the feeder tube (from which I have removed the protective cap).

I would estimate the run from the feeder tube to the jets is around 30-40 feet, but we do not have a blower. The spa jets have always worked, however.

The thing is, I'm really not clear of the arrangement of pipes that makes this work (the air tube) so I'm having trouble envisioning what's going on at any point in time. Is there a good diagram of how these things are hooked up? I have also recently removed an old, un-used gas heater as outlined in this post:

Removing unused gas heater

But I'm pretty sure the air jets were not working prior to that.
 

mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
12,785
Pleasanton, CA
Did this start right after they resurfaced the pool? Sometimes, they can be sloppy and plug up the jet nozzles. Have you tried the following?

Remove all of the jet outer fittings and all of the internal jet nozzles. Run the pump and flush out any debris.

There are usually two parts to a spa jet. The outer fittings are the ones you can see from the outside. However, the jet nozzle is deep within the spa wall and cannot be seen unless you empty the spa and look into the hole of the spa jet. It requires a long socket wrench to remove.

Here is one version of a spa jet that may or may not be similar to yours:




Also here is a diagram of how a Venturi Tee works:

 

cbredesen

Bronze Supporter
Jul 25, 2015
35
Orlando, FL
OK those diagrams are really helpful. So if I understand the jets right, then regardless of the position of my jandy valves, I should be able to blow air into the feeder tube and once all the water is cleared, bubbles should come out all 4 jets. This should happen regardless of whether my pump is on or not. Sound right?

Thanks a bunch ... the thing about "when this happened" is that we hadn't used the pool for months since the resurface was in Feb and we probably hadn't swam since Nov. Could have happened at any time but it is definitely coincidental that the resurface took place (and new eye nozzles) and then it stopped working....
 

mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
12,785
Pleasanton, CA
This should happen regardless of whether my pump is on or not. Sound right?
Maybe. Depending on the strength of blower and how much water is in the air pipe, it may not be able to push the water out of the way. Sometimes you need both the venturi's (pump on) and the blower running to clear that pipe. This is why the design is so critical and why so many PBs screw it up.
 

cbredesen

Bronze Supporter
Jul 25, 2015
35
Orlando, FL
So I've just finally gotten around to tackling this and I have a few more questions. There is definitely plaster in one of the aerated spa jets :(

1. I can hand loosen the outer ring but can't seem to pull anything else off/out. The eyball is still on there and trying to jostle it loose with channel locks doesn't work. There's blue goo around the joint, did they use adhesive here? Should they have?

2. I don't have a good air source but I was able to shop vac a bunch of water out with suction. After awhile (maybe 6-8gal), I can't seem to get any more out but it seems there's water in there. Is this simply too much water for the shop vac to pull?

3. This was clearly the plaster guy's fault, I should just call him and make it his problem, right?
 

mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
12,785
Pleasanton, CA
1. No glue should have been used on the eyeball. However, it could be lubricant that just hardened a bit.

2. I am not sure what you are trying to do here. You can't pull water out of the air vent because it will just fill up again when you fill the spa back up. The blower and venturis need to do that when you are operating the spa.

3. If he is incompetent, he could make things worse so it might be a risk. Whoever, if you can't remove any of the nozzles, then you may not have a choice.
 

cbredesen

Bronze Supporter
Jul 25, 2015
35
Orlando, FL
1. No glue should have been used on the eyeball. However, it could be lubricant that just hardened a bit.
OK, good to know. I didn't want to force it.

2. I am not sure what you are trying to do here. You can't pull water out of the air vent because it will just fill up again when you fill the spa back up. The blower and venturis need to do that when you are operating the spa.
I was pulling it through the intake side, in the yard, after draining the spa below the level of the jets. Make sense?

3. If he is incompetent, he could make things worse so it might be a risk. Whoever, if you can't remove any of the nozzles, then you may not have a choice.
I see what you are implying!!!! Hehe. Nah I don't think they are incompetent generally, but I definitely didn't expect this.

Thanks for the reply...
 

cbredesen

Bronze Supporter
Jul 25, 2015
35
Orlando, FL
Not quite. What intake, the air vent? Why?
I was pulling through the PVC pipe that sticks out the ground into which the air would normally flow. I have no blower. When I turn on the spa jets, water bubbles out of that pipe. So given that the idea here is to 1) remove the obstruction and 2) remove the water, I hit up #2 by vacuuming the water out the inlet which seemed to work. But I have not removed the obstruction yet.....
 

mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
12,785
Pleasanton, CA
I doubt that would remove any obstruction. The only way to do that is to remove the jet nozzles and use the pump with water to flush them out.
 

mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
12,785
Pleasanton, CA
Again, it is pointless to try to clear the air line of water manually because once you fill up the spa, that line will fill up too because it is below water level. The only way to prevent that is if the PB put in a Hartford loop in the spa plumbing which I doubt because few do.

The air line should be cleared automatically by the spa jet venturies when the pump is turned on. They create very high suction on the air line and will remove the water. That is what is should happen. However, if the spa plumbing has high head loss, sometimes the suction is not sufficient on it's own to clear the lines and then the PB installs a spa jet blower to help clear the lines and increase the bubbles.