How a Multiport Valve Operates

WRITTEN BY:  Inyo Pools

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There are three major types of pool filtering system: cartridge, sand, and diatomaceous earth (DE). Sand and DE filters use a multiport valve primarily to help clean or backflush the filter media. Cartridge filters do not have multiport valves. These filters are cleaned by removing the cartridge and spraying it with a garden hose. A typical multiport valve has 7 settings: filter, backwash, rinse, waste, closed, recirculate, and winter. This guide explains the function of these setting and shows how they circulate water in a typical sand filter. The operation of a DE multiport valve is very similar.

Video

Step by Step

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Step 1

There are five ports into and out of a typical multiport valve. Three are shown in this picture. The top left port, labeled "PUMP", brings unfiltered water in from the pump. The middle left port, labeled "RETURN", sends filtered water back to the pool. The middle right port, labeled "WASTE", sends water to an external drain hose.

Step 2

The other two ports control flow though the filter. This picture shows the valve as it is connected to the inside piping of the filter. At the bottom of the valve, a pipe port connects to the collection tubes (laterals) on the bottom of the filter. The area around the pipe on the bottom side of the valve directs water to the top of the filter. This picture shows water flow for a "FILTER" setting. Water will flow in the opposite direction with a "BACKWASH" setting. The next series of steps explains how each of the valve setting directs water though these ports. CAUTION. When selecting a valve setting, make sure that the pump has been TURNED OFF and always depress the handle before turning.

Step 3

FILTER. This is the normal setting for filtering your pool water and for regular vacuuming. Water from the pool is pumped into the "PUMP" port to the top of the filter. Contaminates are removed as the water makes it way to the bottom to be pushed back up through a central pipe to the "RETURN" port and back to the pool.

Step 4

BACKWASH. After a period of time, the contaminates start to clog the sand to the point where water flow is significantly diminished and the pressure gauge rises 8 to 10 psi above normal operation readings. To clean out the contaminates, you have to backwash the sand. In the backwash setting water flow is reversed though the filter. Water comes from the "PUMP" port down the filter through the central pipe, then back up through the sand to flow out the top exit of the filter and out the "WASTE" port to an external drain. As the water flows up though the sand, the sand is lifted about 7 inches above its normal height releasing the trapped contaminates to be purged out in the waste water.

Step 5

RINSE. After backwashing, the sand is loose and needs to be reset. Also any dirty water from backwashing has to be rinsed out of the filter to waste to prevent it from returning to the pool. With the valve in rinse mode, water is directed from the "PUMP" port to the top of the tank to compress the sand. As in the filter setting, the water flows down though the sand and back up though the central pipe but instead of going out the "RETURN" port to the pool, the water is diverted out the "WASTE" port.

Step 6

WASTE. This setting is used to bypass the filter when you want to vacuum the pool after an algae treatment or to lower the pool level. The water enters the valve though the "PUMP" port and exits though the "WASTE" port.

Step 7

CLOSED. This setting is used for shutting off all flow to the filter and pool. Water flow is stopped at the "PUMP" port.

Step 8

RECIRCULATE. This setting is used to bypass the filter during certain pool cleanups and chemical treatments when you don't want the water contaminating the sand. Water enters the valve through the "PUMP" port and exits back to the pool through the "RETURN" port.

Step 9

WINTER. Use this setting when you are closing down the pool for the winter. This will allow water to drain from the valve.

Comments

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(1 to 40 of 261)

Inyopools  Posted: 11/29/2016 10:42 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

Mike - Do you know the make of the valve or what filter it is attached to?
And what are the other valve settings? "Drain" is probably "Waste". The others don't seem to correlate.


Mike  Posted: 11/27/2016 13:16 PM 

On my valve I have test, whirlpool and drain. Do these correspond to closed, recirculate and waste?


Inyopools  Posted: 11/27/2016 10:04 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

multiport repair - Generally, a leaking multiport valve is caused by a damaged spider gasket inside the valve. A spider gasket costs around $20 by itself. If it comes pre-glued to the diffuser, it can cost around $45 to replace. See our guide on "How to Replace a Spider Gasket on a Multiport Valve" for more information.


Anonymous  Posted: 11/25/2016 15:23 PM 

how expensive is it to repair a leaking multiport?


Inyopools  Posted: 09/28/2016 11:19 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

open backwash valve - Not sure what you mean by "left my backwash valve open". If you were in backwash mode with the pump on for 24 hours, you must have dumped half your pool water. I'll assume your pump was off and you just had your valve set on backwash for 24 hours. That should not have affected your pool. Just set it back to filter (with the pump off) and wait for the next filter cycle.


Anonymous  Posted: 09/27/2016 11:47 AM 

Hi. I accidentally left my backwash valve open for the last 24 hrs and the pool is cloudy. Checked the water and chlorine and ph are fine. Should I just leave it on the timed cycle or continuous or off?

Thanks
Pete


Inyopools  Posted: 09/13/2016 22:56 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Larry - See our guide on "How To Backwash a Pool Filter With No Valve Label". It should help you determine what your operational settings are.


Larry  Posted: 09/12/2016 14:25 PM 

My daughter just bought a house with an old pool. The equipment runs fine but as we approach closing season I have a problem. The mpv on the old filter has no setting labels. How can I find out the setting positions for backwash, waste, close, winter and rinse? The filter brand is a Citadel Central model P20. Can anybody help me?


Inyopools  Posted: 09/10/2016 16:14 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

Beatle - You should not have to add a sealant between the valve and the tank. There should be an O-ring at that junction. Take the o-ring off and check for cracks in the o-ring, or the top of the tank. Check also for cracks in the flange of the valve that connects to the tank. If your leak in around the handle, check the two o-rings around the shaft.


Beatle  Posted: 09/05/2016 20:34 PM 

Hi, I have a sta-rite 2" multi port valve and I just replaced the spider gasket. However, when I reinstalled the valve cover, it leaks. I did lubricate the o-ring, but that didn't seem to help. Do you recommend any sort of sealant between the cover and the base? Thank you.


Inyopools  Posted: 07/19/2016 19:16 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

loosing water - Recheck the spider gasket. That's the source of most water flow problems. Remember to turn off the pump any time your move the MPV handle. Also, check if the valve spring under the handle is weak or broken. A bad spring will prevent the gasket from sealing.


Anonymous  Posted: 07/17/2016 23:58 PM 

Hi - wondering if someone can help?

When in Filter mode my pool is draining quite quickly - that is I'm loosing water down the waste. I have cleaned the top of the multi-port valve to make sure the lever isn't stuck in a non filter position and checked the spider valve and it looks fine. Any ideas what else I can do? cheers. It is an Astral Pools (Hurlcon) glass media filter RX series.


Inyopools  Posted: 07/05/2016 9:46 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

Josh - This one has me stumped. If you were able to install the MPV 180 degrees off, the other modes would not work. What happens when you have the valve in Closed mode. That's the setting for no flow. See our guide on "How a Multiport Valve Operates II". It explains how the valve works inside. Also looks at Steps 25 and 28 in "How To Replace the Sand in a Pentair Triton 2 Side Valve Sand Filter". Do your valve positions look like the ones in this picture? Some manufacturers have different designs for sand and DE MPV. Lastly, check your spider gasket in the MPV to make sure it's not damaged.


Josh  Posted: 07/01/2016 1:47 AM 

I replaced an old MPV on a Pentair Triton side mount filter and after doing so i noticed when i moved it to recirc nothing is happening...no return of water to the pool and no suction at the skimmer. Backwash, waste, rinse, and filter all appear to be working properly...could i have installed the the new MPV incorrectly? ie, spun 180 degrees etc.


Inyopools  Posted: 06/27/2016 13:36 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

No return on MPV - The Filter and Recirculate setting are the only ones that use the Return port to the pool. Check that the port is not blocked. Then check that the spider gasket in the MPV is not damaged. See our guide on "How to Replace a Spider Gasket on a Multiport Valve". for more information. Also, check that you have the right MPV for your system. There is a difference between a DE MPT and a Sand MPV. See our guide on "How a Hayward Sand Multiport Valve Differs from a DE Multiport Valve".


Anonymous  Posted: 06/25/2016 17:24 PM 

Every mode of the filter works except for the filter and recirculate. Is is possible the valve is bad or just blocked?


Inyopools  Posted: 06/22/2016 10:03 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

Tricia - You have little choice. You will have to vacuum up the bottom algae out the waste port and add water. If your pool is balanced now, you should only have to add the cheaper basic chemicals to rebalance your pool.


Tricia  Posted: 06/22/2016 9:21 AM 

I tried twice to vacuum my inground pool. I watched 3 diff videos on how to do it and I did everything they said. I don't seem to be getting much suction. When I originally did it, it was just a normal job-- settled dirt mainly. Now I have combined chlorine so the chlorine attached to the dirt, which created a huge chemical imbalance and now I have what looks like algae clumps on the bottom of the pool. I went to my local pool store and had the water tested and spent about $100 to correct the water. should I vacuum on the waste setting to remove the clumps? I read on your site that would decrease the water level which concerns me because I will need to add water again and I just got the water balanced again. Please help. This is my first pool and I'm so lost!!!


Inyopools  Posted: 06/12/2016 11:27 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

Jack - RINSE and BACKWASH are the only settings that use the WASTE port. So it would appear that something is blocking the WASTE port either inside the Valve or in the plumbing going out from the WASTE port. Check the outside plumbing first since that is the easiest to access. Then take the top off of the valve (8 - screws) to see if something is blocking the WASTE post from the inside.


Jack  Posted: 06/09/2016 19:48 PM 

Just bought a new Hayward filter head for my sand filter and it won't backwash! Checked the sand in the tank and it's not solid and is actually very loose. Troubleshooting it it pulled the head off and checked its operation and all but the backwash and the rinse will not work. The pump works fine and it works in filter mode but again not backwash or rinse... What the heck?


Inyopools  Posted: 06/06/2016 11:26 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

HOTLAP - The pump should be turned on during the RINSE cycle. RINSE for 1-2 minutes. See our guide on "How To Backwash a Pool Sand Filter".


HOTLAP  Posted: 06/04/2016 14:29 PM 

Should I run the pump motor during the rinse cycle or just let the water naturally flow thru, also how long should I rinse?
Thank You


Inyopools  Posted: 05/31/2016 11:08 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

Julie - You may have too much DE in the filter. Try pulling out the grid assembly and cleaning it. Check that the exit ports are not blocked. Only add about 80 % of the normal DE when you reinsert the grid assembly. See if that improves your water flow.


Inyopools  Posted: 05/31/2016 10:43 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

RPQ - This should not have damaged the valve. It just might have dumped some water where you might not have wanted it.


Inyopools  Posted: 05/29/2016 10:36 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

Dannymac – If you have a cartridge filter, it may be clogged up with oils and chemicals even though it looks clean. If the cartridge is 1-2 years old, you might consider replacing it. If you have a sand filter, backwash and rinse it 3-4 times to get any residue out of the sand. If the sand hasn’t been changed in 5 years, replace it.


Julie  Posted: 05/28/2016 21:09 PM 

WE have a Pentair multi port valve for a DE filter, when we backwash very letter water comes out, and a suction forms on the tube the water is suppose to come out of what might be the problem?


RPQ  Posted: 05/28/2016 19:46 PM 

When I started my pool this year I forgot to move from winter setting to filter. I caught it before the water went below the skimmers (probably a half hour). Will this affect my filter?


Dannymac  Posted: 05/24/2016 13:17 PM 

I am having trouble getting my pool clean, I suspected the filter was not filtering correctly, so I put food dye into the basket filter area, half the food dye come out the return during that same pump cycle, I had a look at the spider gasket, and to me it seemed fine, is there anything else I could look at? Thanks


Inyopools  Posted: 05/16/2016 11:26 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

Maureent - I'm not sure what you mean by tapping the multiport valve head off. I would recommend unscrewing the cover assembly - usually 8 screws. Then, lift the cover assembly off to expose the inside of the multiport valve and the spider gasket. Look at the gasket to see if it is damaged. Most multiport valve problems are due to a bad gasket. See our guide on "How to Replace a Spider Gasket on a Multiport Valve". Remember to turn off the pump each time you move the handle to a different mode.


Maureent  Posted: 05/14/2016 8:18 AM 

We have a new multivalve and sand filter but are having problems with water leaking out. We are assuming (by eliminating all other possibilities)that we are getting grit stuck in the multivalve. However we cannot get the multivalve head off. We understood this should only be hand tight but even with gentle tapping it just won't budge. Any ideas please?


Inyopools  Posted: 05/03/2016 11:17 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

Jose - When you replaced the handle, you may have set it on 180 degrees from where it should be. See our guide on "How To Replace a Pool Multiport Valve Handle", Step 9.


Jose  Posted: 05/03/2016 10:23 AM 

Ok... I have an issue. I set it to filter or any other setting for that matter and my pool drains as if it were on waste or back wash. It also pulls all the water out of skimmers completely. Ice replaced web and handle. What could it be


Inyopools  Posted: 04/25/2016 11:08 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

Emy - I am a little confused about your question, but if you are trying to lower the level of water in your pool, you would want to rotate your multiport valve to the "WASTE" position. Make sure you have a hose attached to the "waste" port to take the water away from the pump.


Emy  Posted: 04/23/2016 4:08 AM 

I have a question I want to know the pipe should be on or off because there are three pipes when I lower the level of the water
Thanks


Inyopools  Posted: 03/26/2016 11:21 AM  Inyo Product Specialist

Terry K - I would recommend buying a vacuum head that attaches to your scrub brush pole and suction cleaner hose. Then manually suction off the white powder with the multiport valve in WASTE mode to keep the powder from going into the filter. You will have to add fresh water when you are done. Here is the link to "vacuum heads".


Terry K.  Posted: 03/24/2016 15:20 PM 

I removed my rhino pool cover today and there was a lot of white DE looking waste sitting on the bottom of our pool. The pool has been covered for the last 3 months.
Question? What's the easiest way to remove the white sediment from the bottom of our pool with or without filter utilization?
When I brush the pool, it cloudy ups the pool water.

Thx.


Inyopools  Posted: 11/12/2015 14:04 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

wrong MPV - Unfortunately, in many cases, a manufacturer will design the DE MPV much differently than a sand MPV. See our guide on "How a Hayward Sand Multiport Valve Differs from a DE Multiport Valve". If this is your case, the only solution is to replace your current DE MPV with a sand MPV. Not all MPVs are different. Check with your manufacturer before buying another one.


Anonymous  Posted: 11/11/2015 12:18 PM 

We installed a de valve instead ofone for a sand pump. How do we correct this?


Inyopools  Posted: 11/03/2015 17:59 PM  Inyo Product Specialist

motor ran dry - If your system lost prime and your pump ran without water for a period of time, you may have damaged your motor. Without water the pump will run too hot and some of the gaskets and shaft seal may have failed and sprayed water on the motor winding. The motor overload protected may have turned your pump off. Fill your pool and try priming your pump. If it runs, watch for sprays around the pump gaskets and the shaft seal. If you see sprays, turn the pump off and replace all your motor gaskets and seals.


Anonymous  Posted: 11/02/2015 19:51 PM 

I have a question. I left my filter on waste and it rain like that all day. It drained the pool about 2 foot below the skimmer. I am filling back up now. I just wanted to know if I have have messed up my pump or the motor. Please help