Pool Jets Not Working? Here’s How to Troubleshoot Them

Written by Michael Dean
April 3, 2024

swimming pool jets not working

Weak pool jets are a frustrating experience for any pool owner and can ruin the experience of using your pool. There are two primary reasons why pool jets will stop working correctly. Some pool jet issues arise from low pressure in the system, while others result from higher-than-normal pressure.

Those pressure-related issues can each have one of several sources. Below, I will go over a few of the most common reasons pool jets malfunction and provide you with solutions.

Main Takeaways

  • If you have weak return jets and low PSI, your water may be too low, there may be an air leak, your pump may be malfunctioning, or there may be a clog.
  • If you have weak return jets and high PSI, your filter may be dirty or there might be debris in the pool.

Weak Return Jets and Low PSI in Your Pool Filter Pressure Gauge

Most of the reasons pool jets stop working relate to low pressure in the jet system. Your pool jets rely on a system that includes the filter, the pump, and all the components that connect those pieces. When pressure drops, that system can no longer force water through the jets properly. Below are a few common reasons pool pressure can fall below a normal level.

Your Water Level is Too Low

A low water level is the first issue you should look for when your pool jets stop working. The way to check that is to look at the water line compared to the skimmer. If the water level is significantly below the skimmer, that may be the cause of your problem.

At least half of your skimmer opening should be underwater. If more of the opening is above water, that makes it possible for air to enter the pool jet system.

That intake of air can slow the flow of water through your pool pump. Unfortunately, air can also cause your pump to malfunction and become damaged.

The Solution

If your water level is too low, all you need to do is add more water to your pool. Continue filling your pool until the water level rises to the midpoint of the skimmer opening.

There is an Air Leak in the System

Air leaks are another common reason return jets can become weak and ineffective. For water to circulate correctly, all parts of the system must have a complete seal. That seal prevents air from leaking out and causing low pressure.

Air leaks can occur in many places, some of which are not visible above ground. That fact can make it difficult to find the location of the leak. To help you with your search, here are a few common components that can cause a leak:

Each issue can cause your pressure gauge to show a reading below the ideal range of 10 to 15 PSI. When that happens, it is time to resolve your air leak.

The Solution

Fixing an air leak is not a simple task. Your best bet is to accurately diagnose an air leak. Begin with a pressure reading. If the pressure is below 10 PSI and your pool water level appears fine, you may have a leak.

Another clue that you have an air leak is the presence of bubbles. The air bubbles can appear in your pump strainer or come out of your return jets. If you notice bubbles and a low-pressure reading, call a pool technician and tell them you may have a leak for them to fix.

Your Pump May Be Malfunctioning

Occasionally, a faulty pool pump can be why your return jets are weak. Pool pumps are responsible for moving water through the entire system. When they break down, you can expect that your jets will become weaker.

There are two main reasons why a pump will malfunction. The first issue is that the pump may not be properly primed. The second issue that can cause a pump malfunction is a clog in the impeller.

The Solution

The best way to resolve a pump issue is to open the pump and look inside. If you notice debris, clear it away from the impeller. If that is not the issue, you will probably need to address a priming issue.

Priming issues are not all the same, but there is one quick way that often solves these problems. Begin by removing the strainer lid. Then fill that cavity with water. Turn the pump back on, and it may be priming well again.

There May Be a Clog in the System

The final low-pressure pool just issue is a straightforward one. At times, the reason for low pressure in your swimming pool is a clog in one of the pool lines. Debris entering the system can easily form a blockage that prevents circulation. The main symptom of a clog is a lack of water entering the pool pump.

The Solution

If you have a clog, you’ll need some special equipment to get rid of it. The twists and turns common in pool pipes make it so that you can’t use a plumbing snake to remove the clog. Instead, a drain cleaning bladder will work better.

If you find that you need to replace your pump, check out my pool pump comparison chart for specific brand recommendations.

Weak Return Jets and High PSI in Your Pool Filter Pressure Gauge

We have already noted the multiple low-pressure problems that can affect your jets. Now, we’ll look at a few high-pressure issues that can cause the same problem.

Your Filter May Be Dirty

The purpose of your filter is to collect plants and debris so that they don’t enter the circulation system. But if you neglect to clean your filter regularly, you’ll likely end up with weak return jets.

When your filter is excessively dirty, it can cause a rise in overall pressure. That pressure increase will reduce the effectiveness of your jets.

The Solution

The solution to a dirty filter is somewhat obvious. All you need to do is clean the filter. After that, your jets could start working again right away. Check out my research on the best pool filtration system if you need to replace it with a new model.

There is Debris in Your Pool

This problem is similar to the last one because it causes an extremely dirty filter. But unlike the previous entry, this issue does not arise from the typical debris you would find in a pool.

A high volume of debris in your pool can lead to murky water. In some cases, algae can form in your pool. If this happens to you, it doesn’t matter how much you clean your filter. The debris and algae in your pool water will continue to clog the filter for as long as it is in the water.

The Solution

When your pool water is exceptionally dirty, you must deal with the problem’s source. Start by treating your pool with an algaecide to kill any algae in your pool. Then conduct an ongoing pool-cleaning routine until the water is clean once again.

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Final Words

Weak return jets can be a bothersome and confusing dilemma. There are several reasons this problem can occur, and each has a unique solution. Hopefully, this article has given you some ideas on where to start troubleshooting. If you spot any major issues, call a professional; it may be time to replace your pool jets.

Questions? Shoot me a message.

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