Top 6 problems with spa pool jets and how to fix them

Noticed that your spa jets aren’t working as they should? Looking for a guide on how to fix spa jets? Read this article to learn the common problems with spa pool jets and to troubleshoot them.

Hydromassage is one of the major benefits of spa pools, and the last thing you want to happen is for your spa jets to stop working correctly. If you haven’t been paying attention to your spa pool jets and you start noticing low water or air pressure, they probably need some love.

In this article, we’ll cover:

How do spa jets work?

The pump, filter, heater, and spa jet work together to provide hydrotherapy and relieve aches and pains. The pump draws the water into the filters, then through the heater, and out of the jets – this process keeps the spa water clean and warm.

Larger valves (known as diverters) control or redirect the water into jets in different areas of the spa to provide various hydrotherapy experiences.

1. Why does my spa smell when the jets are on?

If your spa smells like rotten eggs, fishy, or dirty socks, it’s a sign that you might be neglecting to care for your spa pool. The build-up of bacteria in your spa due to insufficient sanitiser and unbalanced pH levels may produce a pungent smell. While these odours are not uncommon, we recommend not using the spa until you discover what is causing the odour and treat the problem.

If you aren’t cleaning your jets regularly, this can cause a build-up of mould or organic matter in the lines behind your jets, which causes an unpleasant odour.

Solution: How do you get the smell out of spa jets?

There are a number of reasons your spa smells bad. Fixing the problem extends the life of your spa and allows a more enjoyable soak. Here are some steps to get rid of the odour from your spa.

  • Check the pH level - Unbalanced pH levels can result in a pungent and stale odour.
  • Check the sanitiser level - Dosing your spa with the right amount of sanitiser daily kills bacteria and other smelly substances. Ensure you follow the manufacturer's dosage instructions on your sanitising product.
  • Do a spa shock - Shocking the spa is essentially a super dose of sanitiser and helps break down waste and organic contaminants, and quickly kills the bacteria in the spa water.
  • Drain your spa - If you haven’t drained your spa for quite some time, you might want to skip the steps mentioned above. We recommend changing the spa water every four to six months for average users and sooner for heavy users.
  • Check your hot tub cover - Overtime, spa covers trap water. If you noticed your spa cover becomes heavy, it might be the source of the bad smell. You can try to dry out the spa cover, in most cases, you’ll need a replacement.
  • Clean the spa filters - Skin care products, body oils, and other chemicals clog the filters. You can remove the filters from the cartridge and give them a nice clean. Please note that Vortex® Purezone and Jacuzzi® micron filters cannot be cleaned and must be replaced every 3 months.

2. Why do black flecks come out of my spa jets?

The black flecks coming out from the spa jets are usually mould and mildew. These substances are caused by a build-up of organic matter in the spa’s jets and pipes.

Solution: How to clean mould out of my spa jets?

  • Fill the spa pool with warm water. Make sure the water is at least two inches above the highest spa jet.
  • Add a cleaning solution or a pipe degreaser to loosen up the moulds from the pipework. Please follow the dosing instructions on your pipe degreaser and the instructions on the label.
  • Allow the jets to run for at least fifteen minutes and let the water sit for another ten minutes.
  • Drain the spa completely and rinse the spa pool with fresh water to remove any cleaner residue. Then, clean the spa shell with a soft cloth.
  • Refill the spa with fresh water and add water chemicals as instructed by the manufacturer.

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3. Why does my spa pool foam up when the jets are on?

Your spa pool may produce foam if the pH and alkalinity levels of the spa water are out of balance. It is also possible that the water has thickened due to the build-up of a high amount of organic materials like oil, sweat, and other personal care products.

Solution: How do I get rid of foam in my spa?

Spa foam is a common problem that has an easy solution.

  • Test the water and make sure that it is within the ideal range. The ideal pH level is between 7.2 to 7.8, and between 80 to 120 ppm for alkalinity.
  • If the pH and alkalinity levels are within the ideal range, remove the filters from the cartridge and give them a good clean. Please note that not all filters can be cleaned and must be replaced.
  • You may use an anti-foam solution to easily remove the foam.
  • If none of these steps work, draining and refilling your spa with fresh water is necessary.

Watch: How to fix spa foam

4. Why are my outdoor spa jets not working?

There are several possible reasons why spa jets are not working. It may be due to a faulty circulation pump, clogged filter, or water intake issues.

If some jets are working fine, there might be chemical damage or calcium build–up to those that are not working.

Solution: How do I fix my spa jets that are not working?

  • Remove filters from the cartridge and give them a good clean. Clogged filters, can reduce the flow of water through the circulation pump, resulting in less water pressure for your jets. Clogged and dirty filters also put an extra load on your pump, meaning it has to work harder - this can shorten the life of your spa. Please note that not all filters can be cleaned and must be replaced.
  • If the jets aren’t still working after cleaning or changing the filters, the problem might be the circulation pump. To identify if the circulation pump is working, look out for water movement or remove the side panel so you can hear the pump running. You may need to replace the components in the pump or replace the pump completely.
  • If some of the jets are not working, soaking the jets in white vinegar and water solution might solve the problem. Before removing the jets, please make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • If jets are too clogged or worn with age, cleaning them may not be the best course of action. Replacing the jets with new ones is needed.

5. Why are my spa jets weak?

If the jets in your spa pool aren’t as strong as they used to be, they may not be functioning effectively. The possible causes for decreased jet pressure are clogged, worn out, and loose jets, deposition of calcium in the pipes, and airlock.

Solution: How to increase spa jet pressure?

  • Pressure features- Most spa pools have pressure features that enable you to personalise the spa’s water pressure. Before taking any troubleshooting steps, you might want to check the settings or pressure features of your spa.
  • Loose jets - If some of the jets got loose, just slightly twist and tighten the face jets.
  • Clogged jets - The spa jets accumulate dust and debris over time. Giving them a good clean often solves the problem. Please refer to the jet cleaning guide above.
  • Worn-out jets - If there is too much calcium build-up in the jets, cleaning them may not be enough. Replacing the jets might be the best solution.
  • Calcium build-up in the pipes - When the calcium or pH level of the water spa isn’t balanced, the pipes will eventually accumulate calcium that blocks the space for water to flow freely. To determine if this is the case, test the water if the calcium and pH content is higher, if yes, you may use a descaler to soften the calcium that has hardened in the pipes. Please follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using the descaler solution.
  • Airlock - An airlock happens when the air trapped in the pump or pipes prevents the pump from pumping water. You can release the air by slightly loosening the barrel union until the air hisses and water comes out. Then, tighten the barrel union back up. If an airlock happens, your spa controller should show Error 3 or 4.

6. Why do spa jets pop out?

If your spa jets couldn’t stay in place or fall out every time you sit in your spa, this could mean they are broken, worn out, not screwed properly, or not correctly positioned.

Solution: How to fix falling spa jets?

  • Slightly twist the jet face to tighten or fix how the jet body is positioned in the socket.
  • If the jet is still unsteady, remove the jet from the socket and check for wear or chemical build-up around the jet's face and body.
  • If there is a chemical build-up, the fittings of the jets will not hold properly to the socket and that’s what causes the jets to pop out. In most cases, replacing the jet would be the best solution.

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Frequently Asked Spa Jet Questions

How many jets should a spa pool have?

The answer to this question depends on how many pumps your spa pool has. Why? Because the pump is responsible for supplying the water to the jets. To achieve a good hydrotherapy level, look for a spa pool with a single dedicated massage pump for every twenty to thirty jets.

For example, a 5 or 6-seater spa pool that has 55 jets would need at least 2 pumps to supply sufficient water pressure.

Are spa jets interchangeable?

Some spa pool jets are interchangeable, but many are not. Depending on your spa’s brand, you may be able to remove a faulty jet face jet from the socket (known as the jet body) and replace it with another compatible jet.

In many cases, if you can’t find a compatible replacement jet face to suit, you may need to replace the jet body and jet face in your spa.

Talk to one of the Spa Store customer service team if you need help finding a suitable replacement jet face or jet body for your spa or swim spa.

Can I use glue/silicone in my spa jets?

If your spa pool jet is leaking due to cracks, you may use a silicone sealant, epoxy, or a quick set putty to repair the cracks.

Should I have my spa jets on during heat-up?

Your spa water will heat up more quickly when the jets are on as the jets circulate the heated water in the spa and eliminate cold pockets in the pipes. Keeping your spa cover on will also help the water heat faster.

How to fix leaking spa jets?

If the leak is the jet gasket, you can try using sealants like silicone, epoxy, or a quick-set putty. It’s also possible that the rubber gasket or O-ring which seals the jet fittings has deteriorated - therefore, replacing it with a new one is needed.

If none of these works, you will need to replace the jet face completely, or sometimes the complete jet face and jet body assembly will need replacing.

How to fix spa waterfall jets that won't turn off?

Many spa pools have waterfall features to enhance the ambience and spa experience. These waterfall jets are equipped with an on-and-off valve. If the jets won’t shut off, the rubber seal attached to the inverter stem could have disintegrated. The quick solution to this problem is to replace it with a new inverter stem.

What is the difference between swim spa jets and spa pool jets?

Swim spa jets are built-in swim spas that are equipped with pumps that push the water in large volumes that create continuous water resistance you can swim against. While spa pool jets are engineered for the spa seats and are designed to provide hydrotherapy and relieve certain body pains.

Many swim spas such as the Aqualounge™ by Vortex Spas® feature massage seating areas as well as the swim area so you can enjoy the best of both worlds!

How to clean spa jets with vinegar?

Prepare a mix of 50:50 part white vinegar and water solution. Remove the jets from the spa and soak them in the solution for at least three to four hours. Ensure the solution covers the jets completely for the calcium inside the joints to erode.

Periodically swirl each jet around to dislodge any loosened particles. Then rinse with fresh water to remove any traces of vinegar or loose particles before replacing the jets.

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In Summary

Spa jets may be one of the smallest parts of your spa pool, yet they play an important role in your overall spa experience. The jets are what make the spa pool.

We hope this article has helped you solve your spa jet problem. Although most spa jet problems are easy to fix, if you need expert advice please call a spa pool expert to prevent any further damage to the jets and your spa pool itself.

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