What is a Spa Jet?
For many, the spa jets along with the bubbles, pressure, and massaging actions they create are the best part of enjoying a hot tub. But what really is a spa jet? How do they work? And if they break, how do you fix them?
There are multiple parts that make up a hot tub jet. The body is the part that seals the back wall of the spa with a locknut ring. It connects pipe connectors for water and air lines. The body is what houses the jet internal including the diffuser insert, escutcheon, and the eye of the nozzle. In today’s market there are literally hundreds of jets available for purchase. Many of these available jets have several different configurations for things like: type of jet, eyeball type, color, and size.
It's true that your spa could in fact come with several different types of jets and over time, these jets could incur some chemical damage having to do with their plastic components and causing them to crack or break. Also, a calcium scale buildup could lead to a jet failure. To replace a jet, you will need to know your machine’s make and model but obtaining jets directly from that manufacturer isn’t needed.
What Makes Up a Spa Jet?
The back of the jet is attached to the interior side of the shell of the spa and accepts various jet inserts. A jet insert is the front of the jet and the part you see in the spa. At the back of the jet, the body is attached to the water line that usually comes from a manifold which is in charge of dividing up the water as it flows from the spa pump. Also located at the back of the jet is another connection for air. It is here where both of these things are mixed.
The spa jet effect happens when the diameter of the water flow is squeezed and reduced as it is pushed out the nozzle which is usually only around 5/16” thick. Because the size of the pipe gets reduced the water flows faster but at a lower pressure. This lower pressure actually causes the Venturi effect and draws in air through the port and contributes to a great massaging action. Some manufacturers actually connect an air blower to the air line which enhances the effect providing controllable air flow that’s boosted. Even spas that just use the venturi effect can control some of the air flow with a valve that seems to turn jet groups higher/lower/off.
Over time, some of these elements can break. Rotational spa jets could utilize ball bearings that could find their way into your spa while other jet inserts have tabs that break off and the jet could be found floating in the water while other times a jet could be stuck open or shut. If the air input becomes clogged, then the venturi will no longer work correctly and the jet may appear weak or non-functional.
Finding a Jet Replacement
Need to replace an unknown hot tub jet? Here’s a list of things that may be helpful in accomplishing this.
- 1.)Jet Type: Snap-in or Thread-in.
- 2.)Measure the diameter of the jet. (Measure across the jet)
- 3.)Type of Jet Nozzle.
- 4.)Color of the Jet.
- 5.)Style of the jet and how it looks from the front.
- 6.)The manufacturer if known.
- 7.)Check for any numbers on the back of the jet face, or the body would also be helpful.
Turn off your hot tub. You do not have to drain the tub before removing and replacing your jets. Reach into the tub and grasp the outside edge of the damaged water jet. Twist the jet counterclockwise to release the damaged jet from the jet housing. Pull the jet from the tub. Place your water jet face down on a level surface.
If you are looking to replace or change out a jet in your spa or hot tub, the first thing that you will need to locate is the diffuser. The diffuser is the back-plastic section of the jet (usually white or gray) that protrudes out the back of the jet face/nozzle area. Typically, diffusers are snap-in or thread-in. You can usually find a part number stamped on the top of the diffuser. This information is crucial because this is the part that goes into your hot tub or spa.
If you are unable to locate the make and model of your hot tub, measure the jet height from the face of the jet to the tail. Measure the width of the jet’s diameter from outside edge to outside edge. Use these measurements along with the make and model of your hot tub to obtain replacement water jets. Carry the damaged jet with you to assist with finding a replacement jet.
A leak in one or more of your spa jets can originate from a crack in the housing, or from a glue joint right behind the jet. Maybe the jet gasket needs to be replaced. Sometimes adding silicone around the outer edge of the jet housing will do the job. Note that it is best to apply silicone in stages rather than make a mess by trying to go all the way around the jet body in one swoop. Jets with a lock nut on the back may stop leaking if the lock nut is tightened more, but don't over tighten as you also run the risk of cracking it. Also, if you are replacing a jet insert make sure there’s no pieces left from the last insert still in the jet body. That can prevent the new jet insert from locking in.
Jet bodies may also come with retaining rings or gaskets included with them, or sometimes not so best to read the product description. There are many reasons why jets can fail, but chemical degradation of the diffuser in back of jet is one cause. Tabs can also become worn and break off, causing the jet not to stay in the jet body. In both of these cases, replacing the jet insert should do the trick.
How to Clean Your Jets
How to clean your hot tub or spa’s jets seems to be all over the board. Some companies suggest removing them all and cleaning annually while others suggest semi-annually. There are in fact products on the market today which will efficiently clean but you could also decide to go with a combination of white vinegar and water which will get the job done in an overnight soak. You may also elect to use a stain and scale treatment. It’s also true that not all spa jets are removable so the most efficient way of cleaning could in fact be flushing out all plumbing lines annually or when you change your water out.
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