Few things can frustrate a technician more than getting ready to conduct routine pool or spa service only to encounter a broken, leaky or jammed backwash valve.When operating properly, the backwash valve keeps water flowing through the filter in the right direction. However, O-rings and seals inside the valve body wear out, leading to a drip, or even a small stream of water running out of the backwash line.

A backwash valve leak can mean a dirty pool, or much worse. Water loss that drains the pool can, over time, run the pump dry, risking burned-up seals and other costly repairs. And if it is an open backwash line, when the pump turns off for the day, water can drain out of the filter, draw air into the line and reverse the flow direction, leading water to run back into the pool and bring dirt and even DE with it.

Fortunately, fixing a backwash valve isn’t all that technical. A variety of valves have been designed for backwash functions, but the repair task is made somewhat easier by the fact that there are only three basic types of backwash valves: rotor, push-pull and multiport.

Before you start

For guidance in backwash valve repair, start with this step-by-step pictorial. Before beginning, take some precautionary steps:

On multifilter installations, isolate the filter in question using other valves available in the system. Open the air-relief valve while the pump is running to release the pressure in the filter tank and eliminate the potential for serious injury.

Buy only correct replacement parts. For more information about the valve, consult manufacturer guides or a representative.

Multiport valves

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The multiport valve, so named because it can perform several tasks in addition to filtering and backwashing, has a drain for removing excess water, a bypass port for waterfeatures, and other options, depending on the manufacturer.

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Rotor valves

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Built-in, rotor-style valves — a design appearing in old Triton filters — are located deep inside the filter, at the bottom. The only way to access them is by removing the entire filter, grids, manifold, tank, etc. Due to the hassle and these filters’ age, many techs advise against repairing them.

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