Swimming Pool Return Jet Position

The simple act of aiming the return jets in your swimming pool has more than a few advantages. Your pool filtering system will operate more efficiently and you will end up saving money on electrical energy and pool chemicals, and your pool water will look great! What is the best swimming pool return jets position?

In the Deepest End of the pool
turn the Return Jets (eyeballs) located on the pool walls angled down towards the bottom of the pool at a 45° angle

In the Shallow End of the pool
turn Return Jets clockwise to about 8 o’clock at a 45° angle so the return water to the pool is mixing in a circular motion.

In order for your swimming pool to look great, your filtering system needs to be able to clean it and mix the pool properly using simple hydraulic tips. In this article, I will show you the advantages of simple water hydraulics you can use in your pool.


Swimming Pool Return Jets


Improving circulation in your pool will help improve the overall condition and efficiency that will pay off in money throughout the summer season. A small thing like proper backpressure and direction of flow back into the pool through the effluent lines can make your swimming pool simply work better.

Turning over the water in your swimming pool can seem like a simple action but in fact, this simple action can save money on energy usage and chemicals that are consumed constantly once you open your pool.

To observe your swimming pool circulation, try using a ping-pong ball test. This involves tossing at least a dozen ping-pong balls into the pool and watching where they travel. The way the balls travel in a clockwise or counter-clockwise pattern and eventually how they end up in the skimmer basket is basically showing the direction in which the filtered water in the pool is traveling and the mix of the swimming pool. 

After years of running my inground pool, I found the best way to mix your pool’s water for the best kind of results. You can up the size of your pool pump’s motor in horsepower to improve the hydraulics which will cost more money or you can improve the circulation by simply adjusting the direction of flow at your returns jets. 


Water safety for kids is an extremely important issue, especially during vacation time when public Pools and Spas are available at all hotels and campgrounds. One dangerous issue is called Circulation Entrapment that now, is a preventable issue.  It can be rectified in all pools, Public and Private, and spotted in other pools and spas that your kids are using. Read my article called What is an Anti-Entrapment Pool Drain Cover?


Swimming Pool Return Jet Position


  • In the Deepest Part of the pool- turn the return jets (eyeballs) located on the pool walls and angled down towards the bottom or floor of the pool. This position is the most efficient, theySee the source image should be angled down at 45 degrees.
  • In the Shallow Ends of the pool- turn and angle the return jet down deep at around 8 o’clock clockwise so the return water to the pool is mixing in a circular motion. If you can see movement on the top surface of the pool then the direction of return flow is not deep enough.
  • You shouldn’t see any movement on the top surface of the pool 
  • Add chemicals like Shock Chlorine at night with the Pool light on and you will see the complete picture of how the return jets are mixing the pool water. Then adjust as necessary.



Aiming the jets to the bottom of the pool has a few advantages. There will be less heat loss with less evaporation and less burn-off of the chemicals in the new water. Also, as the water is shot into the deep sections of the pool, there’s more water turnover meaning it’s helping cycle the pool water more efficiently. Surface tension or turbulence can agitate the pool water and create a deficiency in Chlorine kill. 

If you aim the jets straight, or up toward the surface, the effects on the pool water will be the opposite more heat loss, evaporation and burn-off, and less efficiency in the turnover of the water. When adding chemicals like chlorine at night with the pool light on you will see the coverage that the mix creates.

If you point the return jet on the pool wall at a 45-degree angle aimed at the deepest part of the pool the water in the pool will “flop” over hydraulically and naturally turn the pool over without concaving or pulling air down from the surface of the pool. Take a little time and find that sweet spot for the best mix.

By positioning the eyeballs downward at 45 degrees, it allows the filtered water to mix with the deeper water. This creates dilution and stirs up any debris on the pool floor. The resulting flow sets debris on a path toward the skimmer and/or the main drain.

A basic high-rate sand filter is just that basic and the parts that operate it are replaceable and can easily crack or break after hours of usage. There are signals to look out for and one is sand on the floor of your pool which is noticeable sometimes at the return lines which should indicate something broken inside the filter that will answer the question. Read my article on MyWaterEarth&Sky called Why am I getting sand in my pool?


How To Increase Pool Circulation


Water is naturally looking for the path of least resistance, in this case, the quickest way to get to the pool skimmer. For this reason, return jets that are far away from the skimmer not only need to be properly directed but also need to shoot a stronger current of water compared to those that are installed close to the skimmer. These two things will end up turning your pool water over in a more efficient manner using less energy.

After you get the right direction with the wall jets, (which you’ll be able to see when you put the chemicals in at night with the pool light on) you can increase the pressure of the effluent jets by decreasing the size of the Eyeballs holes you’ll find are ⅜”, ½”, and ¾”. For far-away placement, you’ll want to go with a smaller size, as this will create more back-pressure than mid or large-sized eyeballs.

Don’t forget to add white Teflon tape to threads of the wall jet if you are reducing the size to increase the pressure. You want to take advantage of the smaller hole size and don’t want any leaks from the unit. Also, keep your basket at your pump clean so the flow is not obstructed. Here is a good video that will show you how to take the Pool’s Return Jet apart. 





Today, many homeowners do not have a traditional deep end-on one side of a swimming pool which is needed for adding a diving board as in Schools and Public pools where diving competitions are becoming a very popular sport around the country. What are the standard diving board heights in private, public, and swimming pools used in Olympic competitions? Read my article on MyWaterEarth&Sky called Diving Boards Heights 



JimGalloway   Author/Editor

References: Aquatics International-Good Circulation 




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