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pool valve repair

Replacing Multiport Valve Spider Gaskets

Swimming pool Multiport valves are common to both Sand and D.E. filters. A simple sweep of the handle directs water to 'Filter', 'Recirculate', 'BackWash' and 'Rinse'.

It's when water doesn't go where you want or continually drips out of the waste line that you know something is wrong with the valve.

Chances are, it's a blown spider gasket that's causing the problem. And it's a good chance that the pool operater is the one who blew it.pool repair filter

The quickest way to ruin a spider gasket is to move the multiport handle while the pump is running. If you doubt the veracity of this statement, try it now.

You need a small hammer, large and small phillipshead screwdrivers, pocket knife, waterproof grease and the appropriate gasket (conforms to the make and model of valve or you can take the old one to the pool store with you). This procedure works for both top and side- mounted multiport valves.

Replacing a spider gasket takes less than thirty minutes, the second time. Start by removing the handle. (right) The handle is held on with a steel pin, removable by tapping one end with a hammer and something solid of lesser diameter, like a thin wooden dowel or skinny Phillips head screwdriver.

Multiport caps are held on with 6- 8 stainless steel screws. Remove them. If the screws seem particularily tight, place the screwdriver in position on the screw head and gently tap the butt of the screwdriver handle. And a gentle tap is all it takes.

pool valve repairWiggle the cap loose and set aside. Be aware that there's a large spring directly under the cap that adds resistence to the handle. There is also a teflon washer that allows easy handle movement.

Note the position of both these components as you remove them. (The washer separates spring and valve body).

The spider gasket is aptly named; it's two circles connected by five legs. An original gasket is set with a lubricant/glue that, in a newer installation is difficult to remove but breaks down with age. Avoid using any solvent-based glue removers (like Acetone) to break down the glue; almost all solvents dissolve plastic. Older installations peel easily with a pocket knife or small, flat screwdriver. I found an antique, curled, kitchen chisel at a garage sale that just fits gasket channel and will extract a gasket with a few quick strokes, but I've had no luck in locating either the manufacturer or another one like it or even identifying its name or original purpose.

Bed the new gasket in a generous application of waterproof grease; Aqua-Lube or Petroleum Jelly.

Some countermen advise embedding this gasket in SuperGlue or other powerful adhesive. They can say this because they don't actually have to do the work. Strong, solvent glues melt and distort Cycolac plastic and you risk not only making the valve completely inoperable but unrepairable, as well. Just be generous with the grease and you'll have no problem with this gasket.

Fit the lid to the filter, lining the largest gap in the gasket up with largest gap in the valve body . Reset the teflon washer and grease it. Set the cap, lining up the screws; there's only one way it will fit. Assuming you still have grease available, lubricate the cap gasket now. Fit the handle and bump the pin back into place and you're done. Can it really be that simple? Yes, it really can.


For less than $20.00, you've just completed a $90 (parts and service) procedure and repaired it the right way, the first time.

This is only one of hundreds of pool repairs explained on our Pool School PRO CD .

Read more Excerpts below.

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