How a Multiport Valve Operates

Written by:  Danny Rhodehamel

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.

Tips & Warnings


Step by Step

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 (81 to 120 of 165)

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User: InyoPools

LynneB - Not sure where the water is coming out and going all over the floor. If it's coming out of the waste port, you should have waste water hose attached to the waste port to take the water out to a drainage area.

User: LynneB


Our instructions to do a backwash are as follows:

Turn off power switch
Close water valves
Empty filter basket and rinse
Open water valves
Set dial to backwash and flip power switch for 4 minutes
Turn switch off
Set dial to recirculate and flip switch for 1.5 minutes
Turn switch off and set dial to rinse for 30 seconds
Turn switch ff replace filter and close cap.
Tuen to filter and turn on switch

Are the valves supposed to be open duing the back wash?
The water comes out of the filter all over the floor.

Is this normal?



User: InyoPools

BrandonJames - This sounds like you may have reinstalled the valve backwards. Check that the water line from the pump is going to the top input port on your valve and the water line from the valve to the pool is coming from the bottom return port.

User: BrandonJames

Hello I have a Hayward 7 way sand filter. I recently replaced the diverter valve. When I turn on waste and backwash it operates normally. When on backwash nothing comes out of waste and a few bubble come out of return. On filter water comes slowly out of the return but after a few seconds it looks like what should be going out waste on backwash is going into the pool.. Any ideas. Thanks!

User: InyoPools

Jamie - It sounds like you may be having problems with the parts around the handle. See our guides on how to replace the valve handle or how to replace the valve handle spring for information on repairing that part of your multiport valve.

User: jamie

hi, just purchased a homw with a pool that has sat unused or taken care of. During the process or trying to recover the pool from this state, the sand filter started to leak from the top of the handle of the diverter valve. While I have researched the replacement spider gasket for the diverter, as it seems to be a common problem. But I am curious as to if there could be something else going on because what started as a small leak has turned into water gushing and literally spraying from the handle in all modes of operation. Also there in no leak to waste when divertor isn't set to flow there. Thanks.

User: InyoPools

Larry - Air in your system is usually caused by an air leak on the suction side of your pump. The filter is on the pressure side. See our how to guide on checking for air leaks.

User: Larry

I'm getting air bubbles from return to pool. I think I can hear water rushing in the Hayward multi valve. Does the valve need some attention? What can I try? Thank you for any advise.

User: InyoPools

Sand in filter mode - Your filter should operate in filter mode when filtering your pool water. If it is blowing sand, it sounds like your spider gasket is blown and will need to be replaced.


Ok so i got a sand filter pump from a friend and i do not know what to put it on is it recirculate or filter? When i do filter it shoots out sand like crazy what am i doing wrong?

User: KiminSpain

My partner ran the filter with all the valves in the off position - after a while the pump cut out - it comes back on again but cuts out again after a few minutes. If it is overheating, what can we do about it? Thx for any info

User: InyoPools

Dave - Still sounds like a spider gasket issue. Do you turn the pump off each time before you move the valve handle to a new position? If not, you may be damaging the gasket. Also check the handle spring to make sure it is placing enough pressure on the spider gasket.

User: Dave Spoonemore

brand new sand filter hayward s244 300lbs sand properly put in. problem is in backwash and rinse and waste out it still runs small amount into pool also out waste hose but dont seem to have as much pressure as needed sand sound like its sucking by or something in top filter seems fine plenty of pressure back to pool tookk back they put new seal but same issue

User: InyoPools

donna - Most of the filters have tabs that fit into groves so that there is only one way to reassemble the filter top assembly.

User: donna fouts

need to know how to put valve back in the proper position to put back together after replacing spider gasket

User: SpokaneSam

I have a Sta-Rite Swimquip Level Push-Pull Backwash Filter.

I am getting slow flow from the discharge tube after the backwash has been complete and the push-pull valve is closed.

I have tried to open and close the push-pull valve several times ... but there is still a slow flow into the discharge pipe.

Can you help?

User: InyoPools

You may have a weak or broken spring under the handle and possibly a broken bearing washer. See our guide on replacing a valve handle.


Water is leaking out the backwash while in Filter mode thus draining my pool. How do I tighten the valve handle it seems loose in each setting. Plus there are two white tablets that turn with valve handle. Should those be there or can they be removed? It seems like that could be keeping the handle from going all the way down in each setting.

User: InyoPools

Kim, Check that there are no cracks in the lower body of the valve. And I have to ask, do you shut off the pump each time you change the valve setting? If you don't, it will blow your new spider gasket.

User: Kim

We had leaking from our ports when we had it on filter, water was still coming out of our waste pipe. We had the spider gasket replaced and we have now replaced the top of the multiport valve but we still have water coming out when it is on filter. Any suggestions?

User: Keebler1029

Hi... I have a Hayward Dial a Flo multi port valve. The settings are 1/2 port, full port 1, full port 2 and closed. I don't know what I should set it at for everyday filtering or vacuuming. Thank you

User: InyoPools

Valve leaking - Generally this is an indication that you spider valve is worn or not seating in place properly and may need to be replaced. Also check that your handle spring is strong enough to provide a tight seal at each valve setting. Remember to turn your pump off every time you change your valve setting.


water is leaking our of the waste port in filteration mode. How do I stop this or is this normal

User: InyoPools

samantha - I'm trying to get a collection of pictures of valve labels from the vendor that should help you. Most valve manufacturers do not sell replacement labels. On the most common Hayward multiport valve, the setting sequence starting at rinse and going clockwise is: rinse, filter, waste, winter (notch raised), closed, backwash, and recirculate.

User: InyoPools

amber - - I'm trying to get a collection of pictures of valve labels from the vendor that should help you. Most valve manufacturers do not sell replacement labels. On the most common Hayward multiport valve, the setting sequence starting at rinse and going clockwise is: rinse, filter, waste, winter (notch raised), closed, backwash, and recirculate.

User: samantha

my labels are completely worn off the top of my hayward sand filter. the top left ends with an ---se so I believe it is "rinse", the top notch is blank, the top right notch is "waste", the next is blank, the next is "close", the nxt is blank and the next is as well. the next would be back to the rinse notch. I cannot find any serial #s or model either. can you help me figure this out? i cannot find a picture or anything from that view. Thank you.

User: amber

The label on my mpv is gone. I just bought my house and need to know which positions are which. I have a Hayward sand filter, model s244s.

User: InyoPools

carebear - Something is clogging your filter. If you just opened your pool and it has a lot of debris, you may have to backwash several times to repeatedly clear your filter. Also check your instructions for adding DE. You might have too much in the system.

User: InyoPools

No recirculate - I guess your only option is to agitate the water manually with your net for a while to spread it around.

User: InyoPools

Ralph - I'm trying to get a collection of pictures of valve labels from the vendor that should help you. Most valve manufacturers do not sell replacement labels.

User: InyoPools

Kandy - I'm trying to get a collection of pictures of valve labels from the vendor that should help you. Most valve manufacturers do not sell replacement labels.

User: carebear

I have a DE hayword filter, I have a high Psi reading after the filter runs more than 30 minutes then pressure is gone. I clean the filters (8 of them) really well, put in my DE and within no time the Psi jumps to 30. Is there any reason why this happens? When I backwash it goes back down but then within 10 minutes its back up to 30 and there usually is no power to run a vacuum crawler. The vacuum crawler if I put that in will drip it even faster leaving almost no suction. Is my filter holding tank bad. I have recently replaced all my cartridges and there really isn't anything going back into the pool so it has to be something else. HELP!! Also, just FYI it only looses pressure when in Filter, when on backwash it does its job and recirculate it does its job.

User: InyoPools

barneye - There is a spider gasket inside your valve that is used to control the flow between the valve's chambers. See if that needs to be replaced.

User: barneye

I have a Hayward multiport valve on a DE filter. When I backwash I can see media being pumped into my supply lines via a 2" clear tubing (Ecosmarte) When the valve is set to filter, it delivers the media that has accumulated in the supply line to the pool. Is there a gasket or something I can replace to fix this?



My multiport sand filter does not have a recirculate setting, what would you recommend I do in order to add floc to pool?

User: Ralph

I have the same problem as Pam and can't find the paperwork to identify the specific model....I know I have a purex triton DE filter...and it is probably 2" DE multiport valve if that helps. can you email a pic of a possible pentair valve that shows the settings please?

User: Kandy

I just moved into a house with a Jacuzzi TC-450 and the label is gone. I have no idea how to find the different positions. How can I get a new label or how do you know what the positions are.

User: InyoPools

Pam- Can you give me the make and model of you filter and your email address so I can send you a picture of the label.

User: pam

my valve position label has deteriorated to the point I can't read it. do you have a replacement label or a diagram so I can use my filter?

User: InyoPools

Mike - Check to see if your spider gasket is still functional. Also check that the spring that pushes against the handle is not broken or weak. It might not be applying enough pressure to seal the spider gasket.

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Tips & Warnings

Continue backwashing until the water shows clear in the sight glass on the side of the valve.

Don't backwash excessively. Contaminates in the sand actually help the filter work more effectively - to a point. Monitor your pressure gauge for an 8-10 psi rise.

Never move the valve handle when the pump is on.

Don't vacuum your pool in backwash mode. You may clog the collection pipes (laterals) at the bottom of the filter.

Please Note:

Inyo Pool Products is not responsible for any injury or damaged equipment
while using our guides. Using our guides is doing so at your own risk.
These guides are suggested use of your pool or spa equipment and may vary
depending on which product you are using.