Water leak - malfunctioning valve?

DoubleJ

Member
Jul 10, 2018
11
Canterbury, New Hampshire
We've been fighting what I had assumed was evaporation all summer. I probably should have done a bucket test much sooner, but I confirmed this morning that our pool is leaking water.

Symptoms:
When our pump is in Filter mode, I can see a steady trickle of water coming out of our waste line.
When our pump is in Backwash mode, some of the waste also comes back through the return lines.

I'm pretty sure this would indicate a problem with our valve (It's a Hayward Vari-Flo Valve).
110975

I'd like to unscrew the valve and take a look at it - I'm guessing I'll see the problem pretty quickly at that point. What do I need to keep in mind before working on the valve? I'll make sure all the power to the pump is shut off first; is there any need to drain the filter and/or the pump?

Anything else I should keep in mind? Any chance there's another problem I should consider first?

Thanks!!
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Multiport valves can be similar, but some are a little different in construction. When you open it up, be mindful of the orientation so that you assemble it the same way. Once open, look at the spider gasket and perhaps valve shaft O-ring. There may also be a spring on that handle shaft which is designed to keep everything tight. Often times it's best to replace all of those at the same time. Pool lube may be required for the spider gasket and O-ring. But also check on the cost. In some cases, it's more cost efficient to just replace the entire multiport.
 

DoubleJ

Member
Jul 10, 2018
11
Canterbury, New Hampshire
Looks like a problem with the spider gasket:
110980

As long as the valve is drawing from the pump's input, a lot of water will leak into the return jets and a small amount will also leak through waste.

I can't seem to get the spider gasket off of this housing though... almost as if it's kept in place with some kind of adhesive. Is that normal? I could maybe try to cut it free with a utility knife but I'm a little surprised it doesn't just come off with a bit of effort.
 

DoubleJ

Member
Jul 10, 2018
11
Canterbury, New Hampshire
Thanks!

I've decided to replace our entire value for two reasons: After an hour of digging at the gasket, I could only get about 1/3 of it off; and apparently the valve handle is supposed to pop back up via the spring :)
My assumption is that even if I could get the gasket replaced, the top part of the valve would probably scratch up the new gasket quickly.

I'm left with what looks like one final problem trying to free the old valve from our plumbing. There's an L-shaped PVC pipe which was connected to the pump output, and there's a T-shaped PVC pipe which led into the return. I can't unscrew either pipe without the other getting in the way, and it almost looks like these might have been cemented in place after they were installed? I know very little about PVC and plumbing but wonder if this type of setup is common.

Also I realize this is getting out of the scope of "pool." I may just need to get some new piping for the new valve...

A photo of the connections:
111009
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Yes, unfortunately, many installers screw the fittings onto the pump then glue PVC to them later which kind of ties your hands later. Not much you can do but cut, unscrew, and start over. But that's fine. When you re-do the lines and connections, consider placing unions in there that will allow for disassembly later as needed. You can route the lines as you see fit since there is no one magical way to run PVC. It's a relatively inexpensive product (PVC), so but some extra, dry-fit them to see if you like how it's going together, then glue. Adapters threaded at the valve may do well with some plumbers dope or Teflon tape.
 

MyAZPool

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
1,541
Arizona

DoubleJ

Member
Jul 10, 2018
11
Canterbury, New Hampshire
Thanks again!

I've cut off that T-junction and freed the L for re-use. Got a bunch of PVC from the hardware store and I think my plan is Valve -> threaded adapter -> pipe -> union -> pipe -> elbow -> hose which leads to the return jets. That union suggestion was particularly great, as without it I'd be stuck cutting the PVC again if I were ever to need to disassemble in the future.

FWIW, the prior setup was a threaded adapter -> T pipe -> some non-standard union design -> T pipe (this one has a nob with an eyeball inside, looks like it's used as an on-off switch, though I think it's stuck) -> elbow -> return hose.

I'll post a photo update when it's all done!
 
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MyAZPool

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
1,541
Arizona
DoubleJ
Sounds as if you got this project "well in hand". Really looking forward to seeing the update photo(s) of the completed project.
Best of luck with it.
r.