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    Pool Storm Prep - What To Do!?!

    May 18, 2017

    stormy weather ahead, istockphoto

    Now that Spring is here and the first half of May is behind us, the focus of pool owners begins to shift from pool opening to keeping the pool looking good and ready for summer fun. It’s also the time of year to keep your eye to the sky and pay attention to weather forecasts, especially if you live anywhere along the Gulf and southern Atlantic coastlines, or anywhere in the Midwest, Great Plains and Southern Plains states.

    For those that do, you are likely well aware that the Atlantic hurricane season officially starts June 1. Now is a great time to think through how to protect your pool, pool equipment, patio furniture and accessories for tropical storms and hurricanes coming in your direction.

    The one positive thing (sort of) about preparing your pool for a hurricane is you usually have some length of time to do the things you need to do. Here’s a list with some explanation to help you come up with your own plan.

    1. Shut Off Power to Pool.

    Just before a major storm hits, turn off the power to your pool equipment. Find the circuit breaker that feeds your pool electricity and flip it to off. This will help protect electrical equipment like your pool pump, timer, heater, and pool lights.

    2. Protect from Flooding.

    If flooding or storm surges are a concern for your pool equipment area, you may want to pull the pump, and store it indoors, or on higher ground. Or shut down pump power and wrap the motor tightly with heavy plastic and duct tape to keep water out. If you also have a heater or other large equipment to protect, build a low wall of sand bags around the pool equipment.

    3. Don’t Drain your Pool.

    Inground pools can succumb to hydro-static pressure in the ground, causing the pool shell or liner to lift up due to the saturated ground and rising water table. If you’re worried about flooding, it’s OK to remove about a foot of pool water to allow space for rain and run-off water, but don’t drop levels below that. Plus, having water in your pool will help protect your pool finish since the properties of water will greatly slow-down flying debris. If you have an above ground pool, keeping it filled can prevent damage to the walls, and it won't be carried off like the house in the Wizard of Oz.

    4. Store your Stuff.

    Protect your cherished pool accessories and outdoor furnishings. Making sure all of your pool accessories like toys, pool cleaners, skimmers lids, and even pool ladders are secured in a safe place like the garage, a shed or even inside the house, will help protect these things so you don’t have to replace them. Securing your pool gear and furniture decreases the chances these items will become flying projectiles that could cause home damage or personal injury.

    If you haven’t the time or place to store all of your loungers and other pool and patio items, you can place some things into the pool itself. Not anything with sharp edges - especially if your pool has a vinyl liner, but plastic pieces like chaise lounges and other pool furniture and even of course a robotic pool cleaner can be kept safely below the surface of your pool. In fact, many resorts do just this when a hurricane bears down.

    5. Don't Cover the Pool.

    Leave your pool cover off your pool. Your instincts may be to put on your pool cover, but if a storm is building leaving your pool cover off could be better than putting it on. Strong storms often arrive with strong winds, and these winds can take down tree branches and throw patio furniture and other debris around. If a branch or other loose object lands on your pool cover, your pool cover is finished where as if a patio chair or tree limb falls into your pool water, most likely not much damage will occur to your pool. Plus, strong winds can rip your pool cover right off your pool and send it soaring like a giant, expensive kite.

    6. Watch the Weather.

    weatherbug logo

    Tune in to your local weather forecasts, or be like me and use WeatherBug for storm path and lightning strike tracking. Track the storm's path as it moves in close, and look out for the Red colored areas coming your way!

    istockphoto hurricane sandy fills a pool with beach sand

    7. Prepare the Pool Water.

    If severe storms are predicted in your area, chances are you won’t be swimming in the pool much anyways, so take a little bit of time to prepare the pool water for possibly having no filtration for several days. Check and balance the water chemistry, shock the pool, and add a large chlorine floater to keep the pool chlorinated. You can also over-filter the water by running the pump non-stop for a few days, when you have advance notice of the storm.

    wanda the whaleHowever, if there’s a tornado approaching, let the pool fend for itself and head for cover. There’s lots of lost pool equipment and gear in the Land of Oz, but life and limb is more important than Wanda the Whale pool cleaners.

    8. Shut Off Power to other Stuff.

    This is a good thing to do for any item that is expensive to replace and plugs into a wall. Power surges can destroy pool equipment like pumps and timers, but also your flat screen TVs, refrigerators, computers, etc. The best way to protect these things from power surges and lightning is to interrupt the electrical current by unplugging them from the outlet or turning off circuit breakers.

    9. Don't Endanger Yourself

    Again, save yourself before you save your toaster, so taking shelter in a storm should always be a priority. If you find yourself huddled in the basement with all your family and pets and look up and see the electrical panel, crawl out from your mattress fort and flip over the breakers to protect your expensive pieces of pool equipment.

    tornado filled this aboveground pool with the garage

    Weather in the Midwest and Plains states offer a different type of challenge when it comes to protecting your pool. Unlike hurricanes that can be predicted days in advance, severe thunderstorms that deliver high winds, large hail and tornadoes pop-up suddenly, and can be difficult to forecast where they will hit any specific area.

    So what can you do to protect your pool and pool equipment from severe weather? The best thing to do is be alert, prepared and proactive.

    There’s no way to really fully protect your pool, pool equipment or accessories from out of control storms. So the final suggestion is, do yourself a favor and put your pool on your home owner’s insurance policy. This way, if a hurricane or other form of high winds blasts through your back yard, you have a way of fixing or replacing your pool and get back to having fun in the sun.

    Blog Author
    Sheryl Somers
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