Remove and Replace:
Spa Jet Internals
Not all spa jet internals (or spa jet barrels) are removable, but most are - particularly those that have rotating nozzles. Many of these have multiple jet internal options to allow jet barrel interchange in various seating positions. It's important to regularly remove spa jet internals to prevent a build up of sand, etc which will ultimately seize your jets in place. For rotating jets, its very important to clean out the bearings and bearing races to prolong jet internal operating life.
Removal procedure varies with different jet brands and models. None of these interfere with the spa jet seal to the spa shell and can be carried out under water if desired. The most common methods are:
Screw - the jet barrel is simply screwed into place and unscrewed for removal / replacement.
Catch - a few different styles - most push in, but require the use of a screwdriver or other implement to release the catch. The jet barrel is then simply pulled from the jet body. Most have one catch, however there are a few that have two catches requiring a lot of patience or a second person to assist. The catch which needs to be disengaged is usually located in a visible position on the inside of the outer cylinder, others are tricky to locate down inside the jet eyeball and need to be sighted to locate the screwdriver.
Twist Lock - many modern jet internals use this method - these jet barrels are inserted by pushing and twisting into position. To remove, twist the jet internal anti-clockwise to its limit and then one last effort to twist past this point - a click can be felt/heard and the jet barrel can be easily extracted by pulling it out.
Press Fit - A spring loaded ridge holds the jet internal in place. To extract, simply lever the jet internal outwards until it pops out.
Examples of each type that you will find in our on-line store:
Screw - Waterway Poly Jet, Waterway Dual/Quad Flo Jet, Waterway Master Massage, S&P Turbo Jet, Waterway Neck Jet
Catch - Hydroair Magna Jet, American Products Luxury Jet, Onga Classic Jet, Onga Jetset Jet
Twist Lock - Waterway Storm Jets - All types, Pentair Cyclone Jets - All types, Hydroair Adjustable VSR jet
Press Fit - Waterway Mini Jet, Waterway Euro Jet, Waterway Adjustable Neck Jet, Hydroair VSR Jet
Be aware that some jet faces form the spa jet wall fitting - removal will break the seal to the spa shell and the jet body is likely to be dislodged also. If in doubt, contact us with emailed digital photos of the jets in question BEFORE attempting to remove it.
Spa Jet Bodies
After jet internal removal if necessary, the jet body can be removed for the following reasons - its damaged, broken, leaking or you want to upgrade to another jet. The wall fitting is the part located inside the spa, jet body - under the spa. On most twist lock jets and some others, there is no wall fitting - these are easily identified by the lock nut on the back of the jet under the spa. To remove a jet body:
Jets with wall fittings - unscrew the wall fitting with the aid of a proper jet tool or a manufactured tool (which be as simple as 2 x 6" nails in a block of timber spaced to allow nail heads to engage in the wall fitting holes)
Jets with lock nuts - unscrew the lock nut with a strap or chain wrench
Not all jets will be able to be extracted in the normal manner due to damage to the locating holes, the fact that the jet thread may have glue on it, or heavily silicone sealed. In these instances the jet body may need to be removed with force. Never try to twist the jet body by tool or hand - the spa shell could crack. In these instances the use of a grinding tool such as a Dremel is the easiest method. For lock nut secured jets - simply cut through the lock nut. For wallfitting secured jets - cut around the inside of the wall fitting from inside the spa just to the rear of the spa shell (allow 5mm thickness).
Pleated Filter cartridges and Micron filter bags must be cleaned and replaced regularly for proper spa water quality to be maintained.
MicroPure and Sundance Microclean filters are disposable and cannot be cleaned.
Access to remove your spa filter cartridge varies with filter brands and types.
Top Access - unscrew the retaining locknut, lift out the press fit lid, and simply pull out the filter cartridge
Front Access - Threaded - Lift filter faceplate up to slide it out of its locating lugs, slide out the filter basket, unscrew the filter cartridge
Front Access - Standard - Remove the weir door, twist and remove the filter basket, pull out the flow control plate, pull out the filter plug or automatic brominator, pull out the top filter cartridge. Reach down to pull out the second filter cartridge - usually there is a filter removal tag or stick to reach more easily and aid in filter removal. These filters are more easily removed and replaced with an empty spa.
Open filters - Partially exposed filters within the moulded spa shell - usually screwed into filter fittings, or held in place with a threaded locknut.
Spa pillows need to be removed regularly for cleaning the pillow and the spa shell behind them. Most manufacturers actually recommend the removal of pillow when the spa is not in use. Spa pillow headrests are held in position in a number of ways:
Un-retained - not secured with any fixing method, but may be press fit, or wedged in place - simply pull out
Screwed - Actual pillow screwed to the spa shell - a pillow insert is first removed to access the screws
Suction - 2 or more suction cups hold the pillow the spa shell - remove carefully to avoid tearing the pillow
Ball & Socket - Ball Studs are moulded into the pillow and press into sockets in the spa shell - extreme caution should be used as these can often be a tight fit and the risk of damage to the pillows is high - lever the pillow close to the ball to remove safely
Button - A mushroom stud is screwed to the spa shell and the pillow recesses press over them. These are safer to remove but care should still be taken.
Handrails & Grommets
You may want to replace handrails if they rust or handrail grommets if they perish. Handrails are easily removed with a little force. Usually you can remove by hand by simply twisting the handrail back and forth whilst pulling in one direction to cause it to slide out of one end first. Once out, the handrail can be easily pulled the opposite way at an angle to allow it to pass the spa shell - care should be taken to prevent damage to the spa shell surface. If necessary, multigrips or other similar tools may be required - this may result in damage to the handrail. We stock 316 grade stainless steel handrail bar (will not rust). To install a handrail and grommets, grease the inside of the grommets with silicon grease, insert the grommets into the shell first, push the handrail into one grommet, twisting as you go. Once the loose end is short enough to slide back into the other grommet, hold the first grommet in place to prevent it slipping and insert the loose end, twisting until its in at a sufficient distance.
Air Venturi Controls & Manifolds
If an air venturi control valve or attached manifold breaks or fails, the replacement of the entire assembly may be required, as the manifolds often insert into the air control valve. Cut the air control below the spa, unscrew the locknut, or snap the top off the air control, cut all hoses from the manifold.
To replace - install air venturi control valve in spa shell, glue new manifold into air control. glue hoses onto manifold barbs. If hoses are now too short to reach, they are easily extended with 3/8" barb couplings and additional 3/8" hose.
If your main water manifold breaks or leaks, cut all hoses from the manifold, cut incoming pipe away and remove the manifold. If its glued, siliconed or fibreglassed to the spa shell, it can easily be removed. Other than fibreglass - simply pull off the shell. Fibreglassed - cut through fibreglass wrapped over the manifold and peel it away.
Re-install the new pre-assembled manifold assembly into position - relocate slightly so that the now shorter hoses can be reattached without extension if possible. Extend hoses with 3/4" barb couplings and additional hose. Always clamp 3/4" hose to manifold barbs and jet barbs due to them being under pressure and prevent leaks.
If a pump has failed, is blocked or is leaking you may need to remove it. You may need to drain the spa, but if isolation valves are fitted, this may not be necessary. Pumps are usually secured to the spa base with screws or bolts which need to be undone for pump removal - some can be hard to get at, or rusted badly - in these cases, grind the bolt off, or in unreachable cases, the plastic pump foot may need to be broken off.
The pump is attached to the plumbing with screw on barrel unions or rubber couplings. If unable to undo by hand, use as little force with tools as possible to prevent damage. Remember to unplug the power lead, or disconnect if hard wired.
When replacing the pump, simply reverse this procedure. DO NOT overtighten pump unions - if tools are needed to stop union leaks, you should replace o ring seals first, before resorting to tools, and then only minimum force should be used.
Diverter Valve Gate
If you can no longer easily move the diverter valve handle (on spas with diverters) it probably requires cleaning due to sand, etc grinding on the diverter gate. To access the gate t clean it - Unscrew the entire diverter valve cap with the handle still on top and lift away. This exposes the diverter valve gate and shaft. If badly seized, you may need to use pliers to grip the shaft and pull the gate free - do not damage the square top of the shaft. You do risk breaking the gate shaft when doing this, but you have little choice. Once the gate is out, the valve body and gate can be cleaned, or gate replaced. The gate can also be sanded smooth again to get rid of grind marks. When reassembling, ensure the two shaft seal o rings are seated correctly. When the cap is screwed down, ensure the gate is in its correct position so it does not jamb.
Filter cartridges have a finite life of 2-3 years maximum in most cases. To ensure proper spa water condition and filtration and a full filter cartridge life, it's necessary to clean the cartridge properly and regularly.
Every 2-4 weeks - remove and hose out
Every 2-4 months - remove, hose out, and then soak in Alkaline Salts (electric dishwasher powder such as Finish, or Filter Brite or similar). Alkaline Salts degrease body oils, suntan lotion, make up, etc which chokes the filter cartridge. Your cartridge should be replaced BEFORE it starts to perform below its optimum. This ensures maximum filtration and spa jet performance.
MicroPure Depth Filter Cartridges are disposable and incapable of cleaning. Replacement is all that's available.
Simply wipe the acrylic spa shell surface with methylated spirits. This will remove scum lines at water level
Spa covers are enclosed in Marine vinyl. To clean - wash with soapy water and scrub with a soft brush or broom. Treat with a sunscreen protectant such as 303 aerospace protectant for prolonged life.
It's very important to clean all spa jet internal barrels regularly to ensure longer life. The main spa jet fault seen is that the rotation operation fails -in some cases the jets internal nozzle can fall out along with the bearings. This failure is usually due to either poor chemicals or debris 'eating out' the jet bearing races which are plastic. To limit or prevent this damage, the following should be done:
Remove and clean jets at least every time you drain and refill your spa every 3-4 months, if not sooner.
Calcium build up can be dissolved in a diluted Vinegar solution.
To flush the jet bearings: Hold jet barrel in one hand under water in the spa or sink. Move the jet backward and forwards vigorously causing water to pass through the bearings, dislodging debris. Whilst doing this, using your other hand, rotate the jet nozzle clockwise and anticlockwise - this will dislodge stubborn sand and debris. If your jet still won't spin, or is jerky in operation, replacement of your jet internal may be required. Bearings are not available except for Hydroair VSR jets. If you are really keen, and the problem is definitely debris related, it is possible to dismantle most spa barrels down to their bearings. The bearings can be removed from the bearing races and the individual parts cleaned - be warned - this is extremely fiddly to rebuild and is a last resort.
A Spa Bath
Plumbing a bath from scratch is not recommended - it's usually cheaper to buy a brand new one with a new warranty. However if this is desired or you wish to replumb a predrilled spa bath, there are a few rules to follow.
To prevent water pooling in the plumbing after use (maximum of 250ml):
The pump must be a self draining style
The Spa Bath suction must be slightly lower than the pump suction height to allow gravity drainage
The jet plumbing must fall toward the pump or jets without sagging
The jets used must be a self draining style
Do not install the pump too high - this will create an airlock, requiring the use of a built in or extra air bleed valve. Because these can wear out and leak under a spa bath, it's preferable that it never need to be activated or installed - if installed at the lowest possible level (but still maintaining fall to the spa suction) this will usually negate the need for the airbleed.
Ensure all jets are positioned well below normal water level to prevent accidental spraying of the bathroom
Ensure the spa bath is comprehensively wet tested and fully run before installation and tiling to enable any leaks be discovered and repaired before major damage is required to access the leak.
The use of Marine Sikaflex 291 is recommended for jet/spa seals
The use of Chrome fittings will add to the appearance of your spa greatly. We do not recommend Gold fittings - they tarnish badly, and quickly look old. Careful proper cleaning is essential for gold fittings, whereas coloured jets and chrome are much more forgiving and should last forever.
Try to limit plumbing joints to a bare minimum to reduce potential future leak locations. The use of a heat gun will allow pipe to be bent around the bath without the need for unnecessary 'elbow' fittings.
A Spa Pool
Plumbing portable or above ground/in deck spas is different from in-ground spas. We recommend the use of rigid plumbing when pipework is buried to prevent crushing. The use of rigid plumbing on portable spas can be employed, but we prefer the use of manifolds and tubing due to its flexibility and easy installation. There are also significantly more jet options available for this type of plumbing.
Whether you are plumbing a 'clean' shell or a predrilled shell, you'll need to determine how many and what type of jets you are going to install so that the correct pump rating is selected to provide proper performance.
For pre-drilled spas - carefully match replacement jets to suit the existing hole sizes. When adding additional jets or plumbing a clean shell, we recommend the use of various jet types and sizes in various positions to add variety in type and position of the spas massage effects. We are happy to design a jet layout if you provide photos of your spa and details of existing equipment if its to be matched up.
Two safety suctions are required per pump (one or both can be a skimmer or skim filter) to ensure user safety. We encourage the use of isolation valves in the plumbing to allow equipment maintenance without the need to drain the spa.
We can provide detailed diagrams of spa plumbing systems - suction, jet returns, and air venturi plumbing, as well as air blower plumbing
An extra Jet
Adding one additional jet can be easily done in most cases within 30-60 minutes. Simply cut into the 3/4" tubing between the manifold and spa jet, as well as the 3/8" tubing between the air venturi control and the spa jet. Simply insert 3/4" and 3/8" Barb Tee's. The Tee provides the supply to the new jet you are installing without major changes to the plumbing. However, if possible we would recommend using a spare or adding a manifold barb to the manifold assembly. You may need to cut into the pipe between the pump and existing manifold to install an additional manifold segment.
An Ozone System
To install the plumbing for a basic ozone system which operate with the main pump -
Add a new 3/4" hose barb as per adding an extra jet. Install a new ozone return fitting in the spa shell. Install the ozone injector at or above water level to ensure maximum ozone venturi draw. Plumb 3/4" hose from the manifold end, up to the ozone injector, back to the ozone return via an additional 2+ metres of tubing to allow extra ozone mixing before reintroduction to the spa. Plumb the ozone tubing from the ozonator to the ozone injector nipple via a check valve. Ensure a double loop is installed above water level in the ozone tubing to prevent water entry to the ozonator should the check valve fail and the spa be overfilled (same principle as an air blower loop). Ensure the ozonator is powered in conjunction with the pump that supplies water through the ozone injector on multi pump spas.
An Ozone/Circulation System
To install the plumbing for a 24hr circulation pump driven ozone system -
Pick up suction for the circulation pump from the main pump discharge (return) pipe - install a Tee fitting, reduce down to a 3/4" barb, use reinforced tubing for the circ pump suction to prevent collapse. Return hose from the circ pump discharge can be normal clear 3/4" hose up to the ozone venturi injector above water level and return via an ozone return fitting to the spa shell. Ozone plumbing as per above info. For an improved system, suction to the circulation pump can be plumbed via a separate new spa shell suction fitting and filter, or where there are twin filters in a spa, one can be used for the circulation system in some circumstances. Both the circulation pump and ozonator should be powered from the same 24 hr power source.
An Air Blower Loop
The spa air blower 'Hartford loop' is critical on all portable spas where pipes cannot extend above water level by a minimum distance of 700mm.
The purpose of the blower loop is to prevent the entry of back-rushing water to the air blower. There are a number of essential components:
Spring loaded check valve - prevents the back-rush of water
Double pipe loop - to extend up under the lip of the spa shell above water level and down twice.
Drain - a 1/4" or 6mm hole should be drilled in the bottom of the 2nd loop closest to the air blower - this is the final back up - if the spa is overfilled, the check valve fails, and sufficient water leaks enough to fill the double loop, then the drain hole will allow this water to be ejected from the blower line before it can enter the air blower. If water enters an air blower - it will instantly burn out and trip out the power. Very small amounts of water and moisture will lead to rust or motor bearing failure.
A properly qualified / licencedelectrical tradesperson is required to carry out all electrical repairs on spas, pools or any electrical appliance or wiring within your home. Please refer all electrical problems you are experiencing with your spa to such a person. Will will happily assist them in repairing your spa.
A Leaking Spa Jet
Determine the actual source of the leak - spa shell seal leak, cracked jet body, bad hose or pipe seal or joint.
Spa shell/Jet leak - remove the spa jet from the spa and check the seal surfaces on the shell for cracks or damage. Reseal with Marine Sikaflex 291.
Cracked jet body - Remove and replace the jet body, cut and re-attach spa hose or add plumbing pipe, reseal as above.
Bad hose joint - slice hose off the jet barb with a knife - reseal. If hose is too short - use a 3/4" barb coupling and extra hose. Always clamp 3/4" hose.
Bad pipe seal/joint - cut pipe off flush with jet body, plus remove a section of pipe long enough to allow repair. Using a heat gun - heat pipe left inside the jet until it softens - use a screwdriver to pry it in towards the centre, and using long nose pliers twist the pipe out of the jet. To replace the pipe - use a coupling or expand the pipe, extend it long enough to fully seat into jet, heat long section of pipe to allow it to bend and reglue into place. Alternatively use a section of flexible pipe to avoid the chance of kinking with heated soft pipe. Flexible pipe requires IPS 747 flex glue.
A Spa Shell Crack
Using a Dremel (rotary grinder) enlarge the crack to approx 3-5mm wide just beyond the entire length of the crack for the whole thickness of the acrylic down to the fibreglass. For smooth acrylic - fill the crack with IPS 810 2 part repair compound, and sand smooth. Reapply if necessary. Once smooth, the shell is ready for paint. Using an airbrush, spray colour matched paint over the area, including different shades if necessary to match marble swirls.
For granite style spas, an acrylic repair kit compound of the same material is available and requires no painting. Applied in the same way as IPS 810. Once colour matched, cut and polish affected area.
A Leaking Pump Seal
There are 2 main pump seals that can leak -
Mechanical seal - this seal prevents water leaking past the spinning impeller and onto the motor shaft. It comprises a ceramic seal and a carbon seal which is spring loaded sealing against each other. One of the 2 halves is stationary, the other spins with the motor shaft. If the rubber boot perishes or the seal surfaces pit, the seal will leak. Pitting is usually a result of low pH.
Pump Body O-Ring - this o ring seals the pump casing to the rear housing or plate and is usually a compression fit or slip fit design. If the o-ring perishes or compresses too much it may leak.
Repair - undo pump casing screws/bolts and remove pump face. Remove and inspect the body o-ring - replace if leaking or stretched out of proper shape or size. If the mechanical seal requires replacement, once the pump face is removed, to access the mech. seal, the impeller needs to be removed. The impeller is removed by rotating anti-clockwise - this can be achieved by - gripping the impeller by hand and using vise grips or similar, turn the motor shaft at the rear of the motor ( remove the fan or rear cover, and possibly the fan to be able to grip the shaft).
If the impeller is stubborn - the use of wedges or tools to hold the impeller may also be needed. We have impeller wedges and Shaft socket drivers to suit Waterway Executive and Aquaflo XP2 pumps and some others. Once the impeller is off the shaft, the seal is exposed. In some cases the rear pump housing may also need to be removed from the motor to make seal removal/replacement easier. Installation may require the use of silicon grease or silicon sealant - there are many variations.