How To Set Up Pool Diverter Valves For Pool, Spa, Water Features

Written by:  Danny Rhodehamel
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This guide shows you how to set up and operate a set of diverter valves for a basic pool and spa system with water features. This pool system includes a main drain, one skimmer, a suction line, a set of pool return ports and a water feature. The spa system includes a spa drain, a spa fountain/return and spa jets. Water will flow from the pool and spa to the pump, through a filter and back out to the pool and spa.

We should point out that this setup is not the only way you could configure your diverter valves but it is a working solution and it does show you some of the options considered in setting up the diverter valves.

Tips & Warnings

Step by Step

Step 1

SUCTION SIDE SETUP - This picture shows a typical diverter valve configuration for the suction side of a pool with a main drain, a skimmer, and a suction line for a cleaner; and for a spa with a spa drain. This setup uses three three-way diverter valves to control the incoming flow to the pump from the three sources. The following steps show examples of handle positions for controlling this water flow,

Step 2

VALVE INSTALLATION - When installing these 3-way diverter valves, you have to watch how they are positioned. These valves have three ports: two ends and one center. By design you can close off part of all of the water flow from either end ports, but you cannot shut off the center port. The handle will only rotate 180° on the side opposite the center port. If this valve is installed incorrectly, as shown in the Step 4, it is possible to inadvertently shut off all water to the pump and run it dry. In this setup, Valve 1 selects the flow from either the pool drain or the skimmer or both. Valve 2 selects the flow from the pool vacuum line or Valve 1, or both. Valve 3 selects flow from the spa drain or valve 2 or both.

Step 3

ALL SUCTION PORTS OPEN - In this picture all ports are open so that water flows to the pump from all four sources: the pool skimmer, the pool drain, the pool vacuum line and the spa drain.

Step 4

INCORRECT SET UP - Here's an example of how you shouldn't set up a diverter valve. If you glue the Valve 2 in this configuration, you will see that the handle can be rotated to completely shut off the flow of water to the pump. The pump will not run long in a dry mode without damaging the motor shaft seal. Any port that should always be open, in this case the to pump port, has to be attached to the center port of a three-way diverter valve as shown in our other suction steps

Step 5

VACUUM LINE ONLY OPEN - If you want to use your pool suction cleaner and your pool suction is too low to run the cleaner, you may want to close off the main drain and skimmer to direct more suction to the vacuum line. You can also shut off the spa drain for even more vacuum suction. This picture shows flow from Valve 1 completely shut off and Valve 3 set to shut off the spa drain. Water is flowing from the pool vacuum line through Valve 2 to Valve 3 and then to the pump.

Step 6

VACUUM LINE OPEN WITH PARTIAL FLOW FROM DRAIN AND SKIMMER - You may find that in shutting off Valve 1 you have too much suction on the vacuum line or that your pump isn't getting sufficient flow from the one line to maintain prime. In this case, you will have to partially open up Valve 2 to increase flow and reduce the suction on the vacuum line. This pictures shows opening up the flow from Valve 1 by rotating the Valve 2 handle counter-clockwise 45 °.

Step 7

SPA DRAIN CLOSED - If you are adding salt or chemicals and you want greater pool circulation, you may want to close off the spa drain. This picture shows the setting of valve 3 to completely close off the spa drain.

Step 8

VACUUM LINE CLOSED - When adding salt or chemicals that tend to sink to the bottom, you may want to also close off the vacuum line to obtain more suction into the main drain.

Step 9

SPA DRAIN ONLY OPEN - To drain the spa quickly you might shut off all water flow to the pump except the spa drain. This setting is show in the picture at the left. This has to be coordinated with shutting off the spa return flow covered in Step 14. And you have to be careful that you turn the pool flow back on before the spa goes completely dry and you have no water to the pump.

Step 10

RETURN SIDE SETUP - The return side valves control the water flow after the pump and generally after the filter and chlorinator. This picture shows a typical diverter valve configuration for the return side for: a pool with one or more pool returns, a spa return/fountain, a number of spa jets and a wheater feature. This setup uses two 3-way diverter valves and one 2-way diverter valve to control the returning flow after the pump to the four destination. The following steps show some of the main valve settings for selecting the flow of water back to the pool and spa,

Step 11

ALL RETURNS OPEN - In this picture all three valves are open so that water flows after the pump to all four destinations: the pool returns the spa return/fountain,  the spa jets, and the water feature.

Step 12

SPA JETS ONLY OPEN - If you want to divert all the water flow to the spa jets for maximum jet action, you would shut off returns to the spa and pool by rotating the Valve 4 handle all the way clockwise , as shown.

Step 13

SPA JETS WITH PARTIAL RETURNS OPEN - If kids are in the spa and the jets are too strong, or you aren't getting enough flow to maintain prime in the pump, you would partially reopen the pool returns by rotating Valve 4 counter-clockwise 45°.so that it is positioned as shown. Note, in this setup the spray heads and fountain have been turned off.

Step 14

JETS AND WATER FEATURES CLOSED - For maximum circulation in the pool, shut off the spa jets and water features by turning Valve 4 fully counter-clockwise and turning Valves 5 and 6 fully clockwise. This is also the setting you can use with Step 9, to drain your spa.

Step 15

JETS CLOSED WITH PARTIAL SPA FOUNTAIN - To have some flow into the spa fountain with most going to the pool, rotate the Valve 5 handle 45° clockwise.

Step 16

WATER FEATURES - This pool has two water features; two lions heads (spray heads) and a spa fountain. The spa fountain is actually a converted spa return created by inserting a 3' pipe up from the return port in the bottom of the spa.

Step 17

FOUNTAIN AND SPRAY HEADS OPEN - This picture shows the valve positions for shutting off all water to everything but the fountain and lions heads. By rotating Valves 4 and 5 fully clockwise, water flow through Valve 4 to Valves 5 and 6. Valve 6 supplies water to the lion heads and Valve 5 supplies water to the spa fountain. Water to the spa jets and the pool returns is blocked off.

Step 18

FOUNTAIN HIGHER - To increase the height of the fountain from the above setting. rotate Valve 6 45° clockwise. This reduces water flow to the lion heads and increases flow to the fountain. If you wish to increase water to the lion heads instead, leave Valve 6 fully open and rotate Valve 5 45° clockwise.

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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.