Florida residents understand the dangers of heavy weather. Between closing the shutters, raising the plywood, protecting the windows, and avoiding bodies of water—storms and hurricanes require plenty of caution. Your pre-storm prep, however, might not give your pool enough attention. What do you do with a pool during a hurricane? How likely is poolside damage? Are others preparing their pool for a storm during the rainy season?
The sunny state’s wonderful weather isn’t safe year-round. Florida has about 3,500 cloud-to-ground lightning flashes per day. Hurricanes, meanwhile, make an east-coast landfall twice per year. In 2018 alone, Hurricane Michael put 57,000 homes at risk due to coastal storm surge. The storm caused $13 billion in reconstruction cost value across the state.
It’s understandable why Florida residents don’t think to protect their pool. Fiberglass, concrete, tile, and PVC seem sturdy, don’t they? A majority of your pool’s materials are underwater, too. Still, the damage a pool can receive from high winds, flooding, loose material, and even tornados can be extreme.
Prepping your pool for disastrous weather is important. But what do you do with a pool during a hurricane? Check out these steps.
Preparing Pool for a Storm Checklist
To prepare your pool for a storm with a checklist, it’s important to create a solid “foundation” plan. This plan begins with water management.
Step 1: The Water
While emptying your pool’s water might seem like a safe plan, an empty pool is susceptible to more storm damage. Major storms with strong winds create hydrostatic pressure beneath an in-ground pool’s foundation. If your pool is empty, the pressure may even pop it out of the ground! At the very least, foundation cracking can occur. Your pool’s water acts as an anchor. It keeps your foundation intact, reducing underground pressure force. It also protects your pool’s underwater tile, as well as its finish, from flying debris damage.
Understandably, it’s important to consider flood damage. Nobody wants an overflowing pool entering the house, and a pool’s water levels can rise quickly during heavy rainfall. So, how can you avoid flooding without leaving your pool weak to hydrostatic pressure?
Lower your pool’s water level by about two feet. The remaining water will still be heavy enough to keep your pool’s foundation in place—but it’ll be low enough to leave room for plenty of rain. This step is vital when preparing a pool for a storm. If you skip it, you might face costly damages.
Handling the Chlorine
Next, you should add extra chlorine to your pool. This will “shock” its water—killing any bacteria which lands in your pool alongside flying debris. It’ll also fight any chemical pollutants which might end up in your pool.
Remember: Shocking your pool with chlorine will make it inaccessible—as contact with its water can result in skin agitation, or even minor burns. On top of your chlorine shock, consider adding an extra large dose of pool algaecide right before the storm hits. It’ll linger in the water—halting algae growth from the get-go.
Step Two: Prep the Equipment
Once you’ve managed your pool’s water, you’ll need to make sure its equipment is protected from floodwater pressure, electrical outages, lightning, and even temperature changes. Preparing a pool for hurricane weather is no joke: Even equipment built for water contact needs to be protected.
Turn Off the Power
As a rule of thumb, it’s best to cut power from your pool completely. To do this, use your pool’s circuit box. Circuit breakers powering your pool’s main electrical panel must be turned off first. Then, make sure your pool’s lighting, pump motors, heaters, and chlorinators are in their respective “off” positions for good measure.
Protect the Electronics
Even though your pool’s equipment won’t be running, you’ll still need to protect it from physical damage. Wrap your pool pump in waterproof plastic. Then, cover the light transformers, time clock, and electric heaters as well. Tie the plastic ends off firmly.
It’s possible that any flooding can still reach your equipment. In this case, what do you do with a pool during a hurricane too dangerous for outside maintenance? Don’t worry too much: If each electronic is securely wrapped, however, water contact will be minimal.
Step Three: Prep the Deck
Once you’ve protected your pool’s equipment, you’re almost home free. There are still some potential risks to attend to when preparing a pool for a storm, however. High winds can launch loose furniture, pool toys, cooking instruments, and cleaning instruments around the patio. If this happens, the flying objects might damage your patio doors, shatter windows, or rip your pool’s surrounding screen.
Remove the Items
Start with removing any unsecured, small, items around the pool deck. Your chlorine dispenser, pool skimmer, pool toys, and cooking instruments are the first to go. To successfully prepare your pool for a storm with a checklist, you’ll need to be thorough.
Next, remove any tables, chairs, umbrellas, or benches. These items might be heavy, but they can still be tossed around in high winds. Store them in a secured shed, if you can. If there aren’t any available storage areas outside, consider moving smaller furniture items inside. As for the larger items: Keep them away from any glass doors or windows—and keep them as close to the wall as possible.
Protect the Screen Enclosure
If your pool deck is surrounded by a screen, you should provide a “vent” space to allow wind-flow. Doing so will relieve a great amount of pressure from the screen, avoiding rips, tears, or complete separation from its frame. An easy way to create a vent is to prop one of the enclosure’s screen doors open. Just make sure it’s pressed firmly against the screen, and tightly secured, when you do.
Step Four: Prepare for the Aftermath
Sometimes, pool damage is unavoidable. You can prepare your pool for a storm with a checklist, but anything can happen. You can still prep yourself for disaster relief, however. Consider each patio area, factoring in any “weak points” which might see damage. Do the same with your pool’s equipment.
Contact an Expert Pool Company
Having a reliable pool service provider is definitely a good idea. By keeping in touch with expert pool workers before the storm, you can get ideas about possible repair and restoration options. What do you do with a pool during a hurricane, itself? We can’t suggest staying inside enough. If damage happens—it happens. Your family’s safety is much more important.
GPS Pools is incomparable when it comes to repair service, remodeling, and cleaning. We’ve seen just about every type of pool damage, and we know how important a family’s swimming area is. Ever-committed to excellence, the GPS Pools team guarantees the highest value for your money.
Touch base with our Lutz location at (813) 948-9091. Or, if you live near Land O’ Lakes, contact us at (813) 345-8596. GPS Pools serves many locations in Florida, making sure our clients can reach us as soon as possible. When disaster knocks, GPS Pools is here to answer.