Hurricane season is here, and while homeowners may be starting to prepare their homes for any potential storms, pool owners have an additional layer of concern. Although taking care of a pool understandably is not always a top priority when planning for a storm, appropriate planning likely will save time, money, and effort when the storm has passed and the time comes to restore a pool to pristine swimming conditions.
Don’t know where to start? With these tips, homeowners can be prepared for whatever comes along.
Before the Storm
Turn Off Electricity to the Pool
We all know that water and electricity do not mix. Before a storm, we recommend turning off all electric power at the circuit breaker. If possible, cover any exposed equipment with waterproof plastic or disconnect it completely and store it in a safe place. Keep in mind that if your pool pump is submerged, it could ruin the motor and create a problem that can be costly to fix.
Don’t Drain the Pool
Severe storms tend to bring high amounts of rainfall. It is a common misconception that draining a pool is appropriate to avoid flooding. However, draining a pool creates a pressure imbalance and can cause the pool to “pop” out of the ground. Not only does this destroy the pool itself, but it can also cause damage to the pool deck.
If you are expecting a torrential downpour, we recommend removing one to two feet of water to avoid overflowing. Those with working drains and skimmers can leave pool water at its normal level.
Store Loose Items
In case of high winds, it is important to store or secure any lose items in or around your pool. While some suggest placing deck furniture in the pool itself, this can stain and damage both the furniture and the pool. We recommend storing toys, chairs, tables and equipment in a covered area if possible. Otherwise, try tying down anything that could fall over or fly away.
We also suggest storing your pool cover. While many think a pool cover can reduce clean-up, debris can rip and damage the cover. Instead, we recommend leaving your pool uncovered; while it may take a little longer to clean up, it will cost significantly less.
Treat the Pool
Storms can stir up debris, pollen, bacteria and more, which can throw off the chemical balance of a pool. To prepare, make sure to adjust total alkalinity, pH and CYA levels accordingly. Sometimes, it may be appropriate to “shock” the pool by adding more chlorine to avoid algae build up with algaecide.
After the Storm
Don’t Drain the Pool
Just as before, do not drain the pool. After a heavy rainstorm, rainwater can yield a high-water table as the soil around your pool swells. This creates pressure imbalance and causes a similar outcome, damaging a pool’s foundation. Unless there is reason to believe that there is a drainage problem, there is no need to lower the water level.
Clean up Debris
Storms can leave debris strewn across yards and pools – from large branches to clumps of dirt to shreds of plants. It is important to take care of any debris before treating the water. Try manually cleaning as much as possible with a net or a skimmer; be aware that running the filter pump or using a pool vacuum with too much debris in the water can cause clogging.
Reset Electrical Devices and Systems
Before switching the electrical equipment back on, make sure that all devices are dry. Only then is it safe to turn on the circuit breaker. After that, reset timers and other automated systems. Since electricity and water can cause a dangerous situation, carefully monitor pool systems to ensure everything is working safely and properly.
Balance Water Chemistry
Although the pool may have been treated before the storm, make sure to recheck all chemical levels before dipping into the water. If needed, re-adjust the total alkalinity, pH and CYA levels, and carefully monitor them for a few days. It also may be necessary to “shock” the pool again to prevent any water contamination. For pools that flooded, soil and debris can raise the phosphate level. In that case, a phosphate remover chemical can assist in restoration.
A swimming pool is a big investment that homeowners should treat as an extension of their home. When a storm approaches, it is easy to forget about the potentially damaging effects a big storm could cause. Pools bring people together, and proper care can help the pool stay pristine for years to come. Do not hesitate to contact a pool professional to assist.
By taking these necessary precautions, pools will be ready for swimming, relaxing and splashing around in no time.
For more information, visit anthonysylvan.com.