Proper Pool Jet Positioning (Yes, There’s a Right Way)

Written by Michael Dean
June 12, 2024

pool return jet

There are many little things to consider when maintaining your swimming pool. It’s crazy to think about how even the smallest things can affect the health and cleanliness of your pool. Take pool jets, for example. Did you know that there’s actually a right way to position the jets?

Today, we’ll go over proper pool jet positioning, including why it’s important and how to adjust it, in addition to other tips for improving pool circulation and maintenance. Ready to dive in?

Main Takeaways

  • Your pool return jets should angle downward 45 degrees to the side, working together to create a circular flow around the pool.
  • Proper pool return jet direction is important because it promotes water circulation, better chemical distribution, balanced water temperature, and helps with surface tension issues.
  • To adjust the pool jets, you’ll need to shut off your pool pump, remove the fittings, and adjust the direction of the jets.
  • Some other tips to improve circulation include cleaning the pool, cleaning the filter, removing pool toys, getting the right pool pump size, and more.

What Direction Should My Pool Return Jets Face?

The primary goal of your pool return jets is to create a circular or whirlpool-like flow around the pool. I recommend angling the jets to the side, usually 45 degrees from the pool wall, to achieve this. In fact, many pool owners like to point the jets in a single direction, either clockwise or anti-clockwise, to help circulate the water.

In addition, you should position the jets slightly downward to help circulate all the pool water, not just the surface.

Watch out for dead areas once you’ve set up your pool return jets correctly. Dead areas are parts of your pool that don’t have good circulation. By identifying dead areas, you can position your pool jets to better circulate the pool water.

Why Is Proper Pool Return Jet Direction Important?

So, now that you know what direction the pool jets should face, you should understand why it’s important in the first place. There are a few different reasons why proper pool return jet direction is important.

Water Circulation

First and foremost, these jets play a vital role in circulating the water, which, in turn, helps ensure debris is moved toward the skimmer for removal. With better circulation, contaminants are more likely to be captured by the pool’s filtration system rather than lingering in the water. 

The same goes for algae as well. Stagnant water is a breeding ground for algae and bacteria. And since properly directed return jets ensure that water is constantly moving, this helps prevent the growth of these unwanted organisms.

In short, properly directed return jets can enhance your pool’s cleanliness and overall swimming experience.

Chemical Distribution

Thanks to better water circulation, properly directed jets help to distribute chemicals, such as chlorine and algaecide, evenly throughout the pool. This prevents localized areas of high or low chemical concentration, ensuring a consistent water quality that is safe for swimmers.

Balanced Water Temperature

Similarly, better water flow leads to a balanced water temperature throughout the entire pool. Efficient circulation ensures that the pool’s water temperature is uniform throughout, so you won’t have any uncomfortable hot and cold spots in the pool, leading to a much more pleasant swimming experience for you and your family.

Surface Tension Issues

Logically, it might seem to make sense to position the pool jets upward rather than downward to create ripples in the water to aid the skimmer in collecting the debris from the surface. But contrary to what you may think, if there is tension on the surface, it makes it more difficult for your skimmer to do its job. The surface tension can also lead to faster evaporation of the water and chemicals in the water.

Ideally, if your pool jets are positioned correctly, the water’s surface should look really calm with little to zero movement.

How to Adjust Pool Return Jet Direction: Step-by-Step Process

Adjusting the pool return jets is as easy as 1-2-3. Here’s my step-by-step process for adjusting them.

Step One: Turn Off the Pump

Before making any adjustments to the jets, turn off the pool pump to prevent water from flowing through the jets.

Step Two: Loosen the Fittings

First, locate the pool jets; you’ll find them along the walls of your pool.

If the jets have directional fittings or eyeballs, gently loosen them. You can usually do this by hand, but grab a pair of pliers if needed. If using pliers, be extra careful not to damage the fittings!

Step Three: Adjust the Direction

Position the jets to promote optimal circulation. Make sure they are angled down at a 45-degree angle. Ensure the jets are working together to create a circular movement of the water. This helps move debris toward the skimmer and ensures an even distribution of chemicals.

Step Four: Secure the Fittings

Once the jets are properly positioned, tighten the fittings by hand. Ensure they are secure but not over-tightened, as this could damage the fittings.

Step Five: Turn On the Pool Pump

After making the necessary adjustments and putting the fittings back on, turn on the pool pump and check the water flow. Check for even circulation and ensure no stagnant areas or dead zones exist.

Keep in mind that some dead zones are unavoidable, no matter how well you position your jets. These dead areas include:

  • Corners
  • Under pool ladders
  • Around pool steps
  • Under the skimmers

Since these areas won’t have the best circulation, you’ll have to manually brush these areas from time to time whenever you clean your pool.

Step Six: Repeat as Needed

If you notice areas with poor circulation or debris accumulation, follow the above steps once again to adjust the direction of your pool return jets to improve water circulation.

Tips for Improving Pool Circulation

As you can see, good circulation is important for a clean and healthy pool. But besides proper pool jet positioning, what are some other tips for improving pool circulation?

Clean the Pool

It’s important to keep your pool clean to improve circulation. Skim, brush, and vacuum the pool often to get the water moving. By cleaning your pool, you also remove the larger debris that your filtration system would have to work extra hard to remove.

Pay Particular Attention to Dead Areas

As mentioned, your pool will have dead areas where there is less circulation. Therefore, paying attention to these areas and cleaning them manually is all the more important to avoid buildup. These dead areas will be around the pool steps, under the skimmer, and behind the ladder.

Clean the Filtration System

In addition to cleaning the pool, keep your filtration system clean. This includes emptying the skimmer and pump baskets, cleaning the filter, and backwashing the filter.

Remove Toys From the Pool When Not in Use

Remove your pool toys and accessories from the pool when you’re not using them, as they can block the skimmer and affect circulation.

Pool Pump Size Matters

It’s important to get the right size pool pump for your pool. Too small, and your pump won’t be able to properly circulate your pool. Too big, and your pump will use more energy than is needed to clean your pool. Head over to my pool pump size calculator to find the right size pump for your pool.

Maintain the Right Water Levels

The water in your pool should be around halfway up the skimmer opening. Make sure to keep the water levels topped up to avoid your pump running dry. And do not overfill your pool. Otherwise, your filter won’t be able to suck in the debris.

Use a Pool Cover

Using a pool cover can also help improve circulation in your pool. It keeps unwanted debris out, lessening the load on your filtration system.

Need Some Maintenance Help?

Send me a message! I can answer any of your pool maintenance, equipment, or other questions.

Troubleshooting Pool Return Jets

As with anything else in your pool, you may occasionally run into issues with your pool jets, no matter how small. But don’t worry; they’re pretty easy to troubleshoot and fix!

If you have weak return jets and low PSI, this may be due to a too-low water level, an air leak, a malfunctioning pump, or a clog in the system. On the other hand, if you have weak return jets but high PSI, a dirty filter or pool may be to blame.

Want to learn more about how to fix pool return jet issues? Head over to my complete pool jets troubleshooting guide.

Circulate Your Pool Effectively

Without proper pool circulation, you’ll end up with stagnant water that can become a breeding ground for bacteria and algae, leading to unhealthy swimming conditions. Proper pool jet positioning ensures that you circulate the water in your pool as best as possible so you and your family can stay safe while swimming. Don’t ignore how important the jets are; no matter how small, they make more of a difference than you would think!

Do you have any more questions about the pool filtration system? Let me know!

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