Homeowners along the coasts often take steps to protect themselves and their homes during hurricane season. Shutters are in place to secure windows, emergency kits are put together and stored, and trees are trimmed. However, many homeowners overlook their pools when preparing for hurricanes, which can lead to expensive damages and tough clean up.
Though your pool may be the last thing on your mind when a hurricane is approaching, there are some effortless steps homeowners can take to protect their pools and their wallets.
Anthony & Sylvan Pools has created a list of tips and tricks so that homeowners can protect their outdoor oases before and after a storm.
Before the Storm
Turn off Electricity to the Pool
Pools contain various electrical parts including lighting, filters and pumps. When expecting a storm, turn off all electrical power at the circuit breaker. When a pool pump is submerged in water the motor is at risk of damage, so make sure to store that away in a safe place. You will also want to disconnect any wires, cover exposed wires and equipment, and store everything securely.
Don’t Drain the Pool
It seems logical to drain your pool before a storm to prevent flooding, but before a hurricane, it is of the utmost importance to keep your pool filled. An empty pool leads to pressure imbalances underground, and thus when a hurricane hits it could quite literally “pop” your pool out of the ground. This can lead to serious pool damage, patio damage and possible flooding. At most, you can remove 1-2 feet of water when expecting heavy rains to prevent mass flooding.
Store Loose Items
When prepping for a hurricane, make sure to collect all loose items including chairs, tables, toys, coverings, and other pieces that may be picked up by wind. If an item cannot be stored in a covered area or designated safe area, then we recommend tying the item down, so it does not break, fall over, or blow away.
Pool covers are recommended to be stored as well. Even though they may reduce clean up after the storm by protecting the water, often these covers are blown away, torn, and destroyed.
Treat the Pool
It is crucial to treat your pool prior to a storm, as hurricanes are known to stir up and add debris, bacteria, pollen and other unwanted particles to your pool. To prepare, make sure to check pH, CYA and your total alkalinity levels. You can even pre-shock your pool by adding chlorine and algaecide to the water to prevent a buildup of algae.
After the Storm
Don’t Drain the Pool
Just like before the storm, you should not drain the pool after. Rainstorms bring up soil and particles from the earth, putting pressure on your pool. If the pool is drained, the pressure will become too much for your pool to bear and the pool’s foundation is at risk of damage. Unless there are drainage issues in or around the pool, you should not lower the water level.
Clean up Debris
Branches, dirt, leaves, bushes, and other miscellaneous items can be tossed around during a storm and end up in less-than-ideal places around your yard and in your pool. Before treating your pool water, it is crucial to discard as much debris as possible. You can do this by hand or with a net or skimmer.
It is also important to note that using a pool vacuum or running the filter pump could lead to clogging due to debris, so it is important to minimize debris before running those items.
Reset Electrical Devices and Systems
As mentioned earlier, water and electricity do not mix, so it is important to make sure all electrical devices are dry after the storm before resetting your power. Once you have confirmed that all electrical equipment is dry, then the circuit breaker may be turned on. After electricity is restored, you can reset any timers or automated systems you may have had in place. Keep in mind that after a storm it is important to monitor your pool systems to ensure the safety of yourself and others. If anything is not working properly or if there are suspicions of electric current, do not touch the water; call your pool professional immediately for assistance.
Balance Water Chemistry
Now that debris has been cleaned up and your electrical devices are dry and in working order, it is time to retreat the pool. It is important to recheck all the chemicals before entering your pool, readjusting the total alkalinity, pH and CYA levels as needed. Pool chemistry should also be monitored after a storm to for the safety of swimmers.
It is also recommend shocking your pool again to rid the water of any contamination. It is suggested that homeowners purchase and use phosphate remover chemicals, as storms tend to increase phosphate levels in the water due to flooding, excess soil, and debris.
These tips and tricks will help homeowners protect their pools, their bank accounts and themselves when hurricanes hit. While they may not prevent damage to your pool, following these steps will decrease the likelihood of costly repairs and injury.
If you are ever not comfortable taking these steps or suspect dangerous chemicals or electricity in the water, please contact your local pool professional as soon as possible.