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    Pool Storm Prep - What To Do!?!

    May 18, 2017
    Sheryl Somers

    stormy weather ahead, istockphoto

    With warmer temperatures upon us, the primary focus of pool owners is 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. This time of year can bring some intense storms, especially for those living along the Gulf and southern Atlantic coastlines, or anywhere in the Midwest, Great Plains and Southern Plains states.

    For those that do live in these areas, you are probably well aware of the damage a severe storm can bring. Now is a great time to think through how to protect your pool, pool equipment, patio furniture and accessories from tropical storms, hurricanes, thunderstorms and other severe weather heading your way.

    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. When it's a pop-up storm, as is common in most areas, you may not have as much time to prepare. Here's a list with explanations 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 the OFF position. 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. You can also 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, skimmer 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 also 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. Don't put anything with sharp edges into the water, especially if your pool has a vinyl liner. But plastic pieces like chaise lounges, other pool furniture and even robotic pool cleaners can be kept safely below the surface of your pool. In fact, many resorts do exactly 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 the cover. But if a storm is building, leaving your pool cover off could be better than putting it on in the first place. Strong storms often arrive with substantial 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, and you'll have to buy a new one. On the other hand, if a patio chair or tree limb falls into the pool water, it isn't likely that much damage will occur to your pool. In addition, strong winds can rip the 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 use an app like WeatherBug for storm path and lightning strike tracking. Track the storm's path as it moves in close, and keep an eye out for any severe weather heading your way.

    Hurricane Sandy fills a pool with beach sand

    7. Prepare the Pool Water.

    If severe storms are predicted in your area, chances are good that you won't be swimming much anyways. Take a bit of time to prepare the pool water for the possibility of 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 if 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 plenty of lost pool equipment and gear in the Land of Oz, but life and limb is more important than a Wanda the Whale pool cleaner.

    8. Shut Off Power to Other Stuff.

    This is a good thing to do for any item that plugs into a wall and is expensive to replace. 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. Taking shelter during a storm should always be the number 1 priority. If you find yourself huddled in the basement with all your family and pets, and you happen to look up and see the electrical panel within reach, go ahead and flip the breakers to protect those expensive pieces of pool equipment.

    tornado damage to swimming pool

    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 it can be difficult to forecast exactly where they will hit.

    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 this: do yourself a favor and put your swimming pool on your home owner's insurance policy. This way, if a hurricane or strong storm blasts through your backyard, you have a way of fixing or replacing the pool, and you can get back to having fun in the sun.

    Blog Author
    Sheryl Somers
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