Sand filters – Why all the settings?


So lets say you got yourself a brand new vinyl liner in ground pool, and along with that pool you got

the standard sand filter with a top mount multi port valve.  These valves will typically have several different settings.  You may know that each setting does something different but you are just not too sure as to what each setting does specifically.  Some of these may be self explanatory like the setting that says “filter”.  Okay that is the setting that cleans the water being delivered to the filter by the pump.  What about the other settings?  What do they do?  Well that is the purpose of this post.  I want to shed some light on this topic because I feel that sometimes people act like they know whats going on because they are too embarrassed to ask.  Trust me, when it comes to something that you have spent a substantial amount of money on then there is no shame in asking what does what.  That being said let’s get started.

Being that I have already mentioned “filter” or “filtration” I will start there.

(Please note that it is important that you shut off the pump before switching the multi port valve settings.  Failure to do so can cause damage to the valve and filter)

“Filter” – This setting is used for filtering the pool

-The incoming water from the piping system is directed by the multi port valve to the top of the filter bed.  As the water is pumped through the filter sand, dirt and debris are trapped by the filter bed and filtered out.  Then the filtered water is returned from the bottom of the filter tank, through the multi port valve and back through the piping system to your pool.

“Backwash” – This position is for cleaning the media (sand)

Water flow is reversed by the multi port valve through the filter bed so that water flow is directed to the bottom of the tank and up through the filter bed, flushing the previously trapped dirt and debris out the waste line.

“Rinse” – This is the position for flushing the filter system

The water flow is directed by the multi port valve through the filter bed and out the waste line. This process settles the filter media bed into place and ensures that any dirt or debris is rinsed out of the filter, preventing any possible return to the pool.

“Waste” – Position for bypassing the filter bed for waste

Water flow is directed by the multi port valve straight to the backwash outlet, bypassing the entire filter bed.  This position is used for lowering the water level or for vacuuming water with high dirt loads.

“Recirculate” – Position for bypassing the filter bed to the pool

The multi port valve recirculates the water flow directly back to the swimming pool, bypassing the filter.

“Closed” – Position for closing all flow to the filter

This position is not to be used while the pump is running.  This setting closes all ports, not allowing the water pass through.  Operating the pump while on this setting could result in damage to the filter, pump, or yourself.

“Winter” – This setting is to be used when closing the pool for the winter

This position will allow water to continually drain from the multi port valve.  This is to prevent water from staying in the multi port valve.  Water left in the valve could freeze and cause damage.

If you have wondered about this I certainly hope this helps.  I know that when I first started in the swimming pool industry I had no clue what these different settings did.  As always if anyone has any questions, concerns, or comments please feel free to speak your mind.  After all that is how we learn.
For more information on vinyl liner in ground swimming pools please check out my other blog posts.  I have written about almost every topic that I can think of so if you are wondering about something related to pools then chances are I have a post about it.  If you can’t seem to find what you are looking for let me know and I will do my best to cover it in a future post.