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Pool valves are essential for keeping your swimming pool running smoothly. They control the flow of water, directing it through filters, heaters, and other equipment. 

Understanding pool valves, such as when pool valves should be open or closed, helps maintain the pool properly. This guide covers various types of swimming pool valves, including well-known brands like Pentair pool valves. 

It explains how pool valves work and the role of pool check valves in preventing backflow. With this knowledge, pool owners and professionals can ensure their pools stay clean and efficient, highlighting our expertise in pool maintenance.

Importance of Pool Valves

Pool valves are crucial in a swimming pool's overall functionality and maintenance. They regulate water flow, ensuring it moves correctly through filters, heaters, and other essential equipment. 

Proper management of pool valves, including knowing when to have pool valves open or closed, helps maintain optimal water quality and extends the life of pool components. For example, pool check valves prevent backflow, protecting your system from potential damage. 

Understanding how pool valves work, including those from reputable brands like Pentair Pool Valves, is crucial for any pool owner or professional. This knowledge ensures the pool operates efficiently, remains clean, and provides a safe environment for swimmers.

Types of Pool Valves

Swimming pool valves come in various types, each serving a specific purpose in managing water flow and ensuring the pool's overall functionality.

  1. Ball Valves

Ball valves are one of the most common types of pool valves. They feature a spherical ball with a hole through the center. When the valve handle is turned, the ball rotates, aligning the hole with the pipe to allow water flow. 

Turning the handle further blocks the flow by positioning the solid part of the ball against the pipe. Ball valves are known for their simplicity and reliability, making them popular for many pool systems.

  1. Check Valves

Check valves are designed to allow water to flow in one direction only. They prevent backflow, which can cause contamination and damage to the pool system. Inside the valve, a flap or ball moves to permit water flow in the correct direction and blocks it if it tries to reverse. 

Check valves are crucial for maintaining the proper functioning of swimming pool valves and protecting the equipment from potential issues caused by backflow.

  1. Diverter Valves

Diverter valves are used to direct water flow to different areas of the pool system. They can change the flow from the pool to the spa, a waterfall, or other features. 

By adjusting the handle, you can control where the water goes, allowing for efficient management of different pool functions. Diverter valves are essential for pools with multiple features, ensuring that water is directed exactly where it is needed.

  1. Multiport Valves

Multiport valves are typically found on pool filters and come with multiple settings. These settings can include filter, backwash, rinse, recirculate, and waste. 

By turning the valve to the desired setting, you can easily switch the function of the filter without needing to change any plumbing. Multiport valves are versatile and simplify maintenance, making them a key component in many pool systems.

  1. Gate Valves

Gate valves use a gate or wedge that moves up and down to control water flow. When the gate is lifted, water flows freely through the pipe. When the gate is lowered, it blocks the flow completely. 

Gate valves are straightforward in design and can fully open or close the flow. While less common in modern pool systems, they are still used in certain setups due to their simplicity and effectiveness.

  1. Butterfly Valves

Butterfly valves have a disc that rotates on a central axis to control water flow. When the handle is turned, the disc rotates to either allow water to pass through or block it. 

Butterfly valves are particularly useful for regulating the flow rate and are often used in larger pool systems. Their design allows for quick and easy operation, making them a practical choice for managing water flow in swimming pool valves.

Popular Pool Valve Brands

Choosing the right pool valve brand is important for ensuring reliability and performance in your pool system. Here is an overview of some popular pool valve brands:

  • Pentair

Pentair is a well-known name in the pool industry, offering a wide range of high-quality pool valves. Pentair pool valves are recognized for their durability and efficient performance. 

They are designed to withstand harsh pool conditions and provide long-lasting service, making them a trusted choice for many pool owners and professionals.

  • Hayward

Hayward is another leading brand in the pool market. Hayward pool valves are known for their innovative designs and robust construction. They offer a variety of valve types to suit different pool systems, ensuring smooth operation and ease of maintenance. Hayward's commitment to quality and customer satisfaction has made them popular among pool enthusiasts.

  • Jandy

Jandy specializes in premium pool equipment, including reliable pool valves. Jandy valves are praised for their precision engineering and user-friendly features. 

They are designed to handle high flow rates and provide excellent control over water circulation. Jandy's valves range includes options for residential and commercial pools, ensuring optimal performance.

  • Waterway

Waterway provides a wide selection of pool valves known for their affordability and reliability. Waterway valves are built to last and perform well for various pool applications. They are designed to be easy to install and maintain, making them a practical choice for many pool owners. Waterway's commitment to quality ensures their valves deliver consistent results.

Choosing the Right Pool Valve

Selecting the right pool valve is crucial for ensuring the efficiency and longevity of your pool system. Here are some important factors to consider:

  • Material (PVC, CPVC): Choose between PVC and CPVC. PVC is durable and corrosion-resistant, while CPVC handles higher temperatures, ideal for specific conditions.

  • Size Compatibility with Pool Plumbing: Ensure the valve matches your pipe size to prevent leaks and ensure smooth water flow. Measure your pipes before selecting a valve.

  • Specific Needs (e.g., Prevention of Backflow): Identify your pool's needs. Check valves prevent backflow, while diverter valves direct water to different features. Multiport valves offer multiple settings for various tasks.

Maintenance Tips for Pool Valves

Proper maintenance of pool valves is essential for smooth operation and longevity. Here are some key tips:

  • Regularly inspect pool valves for wear or damage.

  • Clean valves periodically to remove debris and buildup.

  • Check seals and gaskets to prevent leaks.

  • Lubricate stiff valve handles for smoother operation.

  • Inspect for blockages if water flow is reduced.

  • Ensure pool check valve function to prevent backflow.

  • Replace damaged or worn valves promptly.


Understanding and maintaining pool valves is essential for keeping your swimming pool in top condition. Pool valves regulate water flow, ensuring it passes through filters, heaters, and other equipment efficiently. 

Knowing how pool valves work, including when to have pool valves open or closed, helps in proper pool management. Brands like Pentair pool valves offer reliable options for various needs. Regular inspection and cleaning, especially of pool check valves, prevent issues like backflow, ensuring a smooth-running system. 

By choosing the right swimming pool valves and keeping them well-maintained, pool owners can enjoy a clean, safe, and well-functioning pool environment. Proper care of pool valves is key to a hassle-free swimming experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Pool Valves?

Pool valves control the flow of water through the pool's plumbing system. They help direct water to filters, heaters, and other equipment.

How Do Pool Valves Work?

Pool valves open or close internal pathways to allow or block water flow. This ensures water moves efficiently through the pool system.

When Should Pool Valves Be Open Or Closed?

Pool valves should be open during normal operation to allow water flow. Close them for maintenance or specific tasks like backwashing.

What Are Pentair Pool Valves Known For?

Pentair pool valves are known for their durability and reliability. They offer efficient performance and long-lasting service in pool systems.

What Are Pool Check Valves?

Pool check valves prevent backflow in the pool system. They ensure water flows in one direction, protecting the pool equipment from damage.

Why Is Regular Maintenance Important For Swimming Pool Valves?

Regular maintenance prevents leaks, blockages, and other issues. It ensures smooth operation and extends the life of your pool valves.

How Can I Troubleshoot Common Pool Valve Issues?

Check for leaks, blockages, and stiff handles. Clean, lubricate, or replace parts as needed to keep your pool valves functioning properly.

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