Your pool return jets play a big part in the life of your swimming pool. If installed properly, they’re integral to the filtration system, increasing pool water circulation. This prevents debris on the floor and walls of the pool and disrupts sediment buildup. If your automatic floor vacuum setup is on point, jets can influence good movement.
You always want your pool jets doing their job. If it’s not, you need to know how to replace your pool return jets.
How to Know Something’s Wrong
Weak pool jets are a frequent glitch in your pool system. There are two major reasons your jets can go wonky.
Looking at the Overlooked
Low PSI can be hard to gauge because, generally, anything lower than operating PSI is low. Your pool should always be at least halfway up to the skimmer’s opening. Low levels can lead to the pool pump taking in air. That can dry and burn up the pump.
Empty all baskets of debris. Debris makes the pump work harder than it should. It can result in damage.
The number one reason you’ll have problems with your jets is an air leak. Watch for air bubbles spitting out of the return jets. Your pump strainer should be full of water. If you’re unfamiliar with how your air jets work, reach out to a pro familiar with the production.
Here are some other issues that are linked to air leaks.
Over time, the O-rings will deteriorate or expand. This lets air leak into the pump.
With the pump running, wave a burning incense where you think there might be a leak. There’s a leak if the smoke’s drawn in. Cut out and replace faulty fittings.
Diverter valves have internal O-rings. O-rings are easily replaced. If you have bad ball valves, they need replacing if they’re the cause of your leak.
Drain plugs are usually on pumps. They come into play during your pool’s winterization. Inspect the drain plugs and their O-ring. If they look cracked or worn, replace them.
Problems with the Pump
Low jet pressure can be the result of a clogged or damaged impeller. Clogged debris can create this. Your pump also may not be well primed. That may be an issue with the suction.
For more details on common problems, read my full guide on what to do if your pool jets are not working.
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What You Need to Replace Your Pool Jets
- New return jets
- Grip Wrench (with adjustable rubber strap)
There are return jet products that require special tools. Get the 411 on any jet product before you buy. Look for the owner’s manual online, contact the manufacturer, or talk with your pool tech to see exactly what you’re going to need.
Step 1: Getting Out the Fittings
You want to find your pool returns fittings. They’re usually located in the in-ground pool sides. The eyelets come in a variety of sizes. The fitting typically has an “eyeball” installation. It’s adjustable for pointing water where you want it to go. Fitting sizes range between one-half and one inch.
There are male and female fittings. The female has a thread in the jet cover. The male has a thread at the base. If you find them glued into the pool’s wall, it may be difficult to remove and you might have to call in a professional.
Step 2: Get Your Replacement Fitting Ready
Get your replacement return jet fitting ready. Ideally, you want something that uses louvers to draw water and increase the water’s directional flow.
Step 3: Get Out the Wrench
For the operation, you need that grip wrench. I recommend you avoid using pliers. This can potentially damage your pool surfaces.
Step 4: Identify Thread and Diameter Size
It’s time to determine the size of the thread and the diameter of the pool jets. Do this before you buy your new jet.
Step 5: Shut Down the Pump
Turn off the pump. You can do this from your circuit breaker. This will simplify replacing the jets and it’s safer. You don’t want water running through the jets while you’re working.
Step 6: Get the Jet Out
Carefully take the outer fitting of the jet out with your grip wrench. Turn it counter-clockwise. You should be able to remove the fitting should with some ease. If you’re forcing it, stop.
If it’s not moving, check it for defects, it’s likely glued in. This is typical of older pools, and you’ll want to contact a professional tech. They’ll help inspect your return pool jets and decide what to do.
Step 7: Time to Find Your Replacement
The jet’s in front of you. Check out comparable products to find the one for your pool. You can take it to your tech. They’ll help you find the exact new jet product you need.
Step 8: Prepping the Installation
After you receive the new jets, use your grip wrench to take out the old jets. Don’t forget to shut the pump off first!
Step 9: Getting to Work!
Replace all old jets with new ones. Before tightening the parts completely, turn the jets until the stream of water circulates the pool clockwise. Now tighten them. Don’t make them too tight.
Make sure children do not see your pool devices as toys. Screws should be tight enough so that no one can manually adjust them.
Step 10: Finish Up
Simply turn the pump back on, and you’re good to go!
I think you have enough information here to address issues with your return pool jets. If they don’t work, if they’re cracked, or too small or big for your pool, use the above info to remove the old and install the new. If the operation seems complex, reach out to me or your pool tech.