With summer in full swing, we can't rule out the chance of severe storms unleashing their wrath. Preparing your pool for a storm is essential in protecting your investment and reducing your stress once any storms have passed.
Here are some important tips that will help you in keeping your pool protected and secure before (and after) a storm.
Before the Storm
- Water Level –Contrary to what we may think, maintaining a normal water level in our pool before a storm is acceptable, since most in-ground pools will likely have a built-in overflow that allows water to safely drain off. If you feel you need to lower the water level, it's advised to drain no more than one foot. It's important to note: You should NEVER drain your pool before a storm. Not only does the water act like a defense for your pool's finish against storm debris, but draining too much water can increase the hydrostatic pressure in the pool, causing it to "pop" out of the ground.
- Protecting and Preparing the Filter System –Pool owners have discovered (the hard way) that damage to their pool pumps and filter systems is among the most common casualties during a severe storm. Here are a few suggestions for keeping your equipment safe and secure during a storm:
- Turn off all circuit breakers that power any of the pool equipment (such as the motor, pool pump, chlorinators and lights).
- Remove the pool pump from the system if you fear there's a chance it may become submerged in water during the storm, and bring it inside to higher ground to keep it safe and dry. Another option is to wrap the pump's motor tightly with strong plastic and secure it with strapping tape or rope.
- If time permits, remove all loose pool items (such as filter house tops, the deck lid of the filter and cleaning supplies).
- Keep the Cover Off –As tempting as it may be, keeping the cover off your pool during a storm could actually save you money and a huge headache. Unless you have a mesh cover that allows water to flow through it, standard vinyl water bag covers require a submersible pump to remove the water that accumulates on top. With the strong possibility that your electricity might go out, there will be no way to pump the water off your cover. The weight of the water can cause it to collapse, causing more damage to your pool.
- Remove Outdoor Furnishings and Plants –In a severe storm, strong winds can pick up loose items and turn them into projectiles, causing serious damage (and even possible injury). Bring all patio furniture, potted plants, gardening equipment, outdoor pool toys, pool cleaning equipment and any other loose items indoors until the storm has passed. If you have heavier items that can't be easily removed, you can anchor them to something solid using rope, bungee cords, chains or any other securing device.
- Grills and Barbeques –Bring gas or charcoal grills indoors, if possible, but NEVER use them inside your home or in your garage. Be sure to secure propane tanks outside in an upright position and away from you home. Never store them in your home or garage.
- Prune Trees and Shrubs – Your regular yard maintenance hopefully includes pruning dead or weak branches throughout the year, but if you notice any limbs that look like they may break away with a strong wind, it would be a good idea to prune them. Check with your local sanitation service on when they pick up lawn clippings. If you already missed the pickup, bag up your clippings and store them in the garage until after the storm.
After the Storm
Once the storm has passed, we realize that you may have more pressing issues to face, like assessing any damage to your home and checking in on loved ones. Here are a few things to do when you're ready to take check in on your pool:
- Check the Equipment –Make sure all the equipment is dry, undamaged and working properly. If you removed the pump, make sure it's replaced properly and that the motor and chlorinators are dry. If you notice that the electronics did get wet, it is strongly advised to call a pool professional to determine if any repairs or replacements are necessary.
- Turn the Circuit Breakers Back On
- Remove all Debris from the Pool –Use the skimmer to remove debris that was blown into your pool. Be sure to remove as much as you can since left over debris will not only permanently stain your pool but can also clog the pump.
- Shocking Your Pool Back into Play –Once you've determined that your pool equipment is in safe working order, and that all debris has been removed, it's time to get the water back up to speed. Balance the pH by super-chlorinating or shocking your pool with chlorine. Some pool owners find it necessary to use additional products to stop any algae from continuing to grow. It will most likely be necessary to run the filter longer than usual until the water is clear and free of contaminants. It's advisable to stay out of the pool for at least 24-48 hours (after the initial shock to the pool has been made) since the harsh chemicals can be harmful.
We hope these helpful tips will be useful in helping you to prepare your pool in the event of a storm. Wishing you a happy, healthy and safe summer!