Hurricane season is at its peak and will remain a threat to U.S. coastal regions until November 30. With the likelihood of severe storms hitting these hurricane-prone areas over the next few months, swimming pool owners should be taking extra precautions to protect their in-ground pools, in addition to securing their homes. Proper preparation before a storm can reduce excessive damage, saving you time and money on expensive repairs.
Following the simple steps below can help you protect your swimming pool before a hurricane or tropical storm.
Do Not Drain Your Pool
It may seem like the correct thing to do, but the water in your pool provides weight to keep it in the ground. An empty fiberglass or concrete pool can float or pop out of the ground due to hydrostatic pressure from excessive ground water caused by heavy rains. Properly built or installed pools should be equipped with overflows that will drain excess water, preventing the pool from overflowing and flooding your property. If flooding is a concern, the water level can be lowered slightly, but no more than one or two feet. Water in the pool also acts as a shield for the finish of the pool, protecting it from the damaging effects of sand and flying debris.
Power Off and Protect Pool Equipment
The pool pump and other electrical components are most vulnerable to storm damage. Turn off all electrical components of your swimming pool equipment to prevent any power surges from damaging the equipment. Circuit breakers at the main electrical panel should be turned off. Pump motors, lighting, chlorinators, and heaters should not operate in the storm. Wrap these exposed items with waterproof plastic and tie securely in place to prevent sand and water from entering. If flooding is expected, disconnect these devices and store them in a dry place.
Add More Chlorine
To prevent contamination from the anticipated debris and excessive storm water, add additional chlorine (or shock) to your swimming pool. This will help prepare your pool for the abundance of rain that will negatively impact the water chemistry in the pool. For best results, lower the pH first to around 7.2, and run the filter after shocking for several hours to circulate. Do not let anyone enter the pool after it has been chlorinated.
Do Not Cover the Pool
Fallen branches and other debris caused by storms can damage pool covers. It is generally easier and less costly to clean out your pool than to replace a cover. However, if you have a safety cover (this cover is attached to anchors in the deck around the pool), put it on. These covers are designed to hold even in the winds of a hurricane. If your pool area is screened, you may prevent costly damage to the frame structure by providing a vent for wind to flow through by removing screen panels on opposite sides of the enclosure, and pulling out the vinyl spine that supports the panels.
Secure the Deck
Be sure to put away anything that is not secured to the deck. Store all pool side furniture, pool equipment, filter house tops, deck lids and other loose items in a safe space inside, away from the storm. Remove the child safety fence from around the pool and secure any loose light posts or signs. High winds can potentially turn those loose items into flying projectiles. Do not put these items in the bottom of your pool. They can move around during the storm and damage the surface of your pool. If storing heavier objects like patio furniture inside is not an option, gently place objects in pool to avoid damage to the interior finish and remove the items as soon as possible to avoid staining. This is not the best option, but it’s a safe way to prevent a loose chair from crashing through the patio door or window.
Taking these steps will help minimize the damage to your pool and equipment, and ensure the recovery process is a bit easier after the storm has passed.