How to Prepare Your Swimming Pool for Severe Weather
You’ve been monitoring the forecast and notice severe weather on the horizon. Thankfully, you know that with the proper precautions, you can prevent unnecessary damage to your inground or above ground swimming pool or hot tub no matter what kind of severe weather or storm is brewing.
Below we offer some tips for how to prepare your swimming pool or hot tub for severe weather including freezing conditions, wildfires, floods, hurricanes and droughts. We also list helpful products and clean-up solutions to help you reduce the chance of damage and get back to enjoying your backyard.
Freezing conditions can cause damage to your swimming pool’s equipment and plumbing if not properly prepared for. When water freezes and expands in pipes, they can burst – destroying both your pipes, equipment and decking. If possible, you should keep your pump running during freezing conditions so that the water is constantly moving – preventing it from freezing.
You should always lower the water level of your pool before a deep freeze. If your pool is still frozen, do not attempt to lower the water level until the ice and snow melts. This may cause damage to your pool cover or liner. A good way to lower the level is by placing a small pump in the pool skimmer.
It is always best to close your pool for the winter if you live in areas that are prone to freezing temperatures. In warmer climates, keep the pool pump running as you normally would. For more detailed information on how to protect your pool from freeze damage, check out this helpful infographic.
In many cases of a wildfire, the water has been contaminated with oils, household chemicals, algae, sewage, and possibly floating debris or foreign objects. While you can begin draining a pool as an option, we highly recommend that you should first contact your local pool professional to make sure that the pool structure would not be damaged in the process.
If your pool professional determines that your pool cannot or should not be completely drained, then you and your pool professional may want to consider the following suggested treatments to help clean the water and surface.
- Backwash the filter per the manufacturer’s directions
- Vacuum the pool floor (“to waste” if possible).
- Balance your pool water.
- Flock/clarify your pool. We recommend using one of the following products per label instructions:
- Balance pool water once again.
- Shock/chlorinate your pool to sanitize and oxidize, using one of the following products:
- Brush your pool walls after shocking.
- Return to normal sanitization program.
- Test your water and add the appropriate balancing chemicals per label instructions.
Hard Rain / Floods
Without the proper precautions, severe storms can cause a lot of damage to your pool. From debris to wild animals, there are many ways your pool can become contaminated. Even if you are lucky enough to receive no damage, it is also important to reactivate your pool safely. Follow these steps to reduce the likelihood of damage from storms and eliminate headache when cleaning up after.
Swimming Pool Preparation for Severe Storms, Hard Rain and Floods:
- Do not cover your pool. Although this seems like a simple solution for protecting your pool, it can lead to even more damage. Pool covers can be lifted out of your pool by strong winds or become damaged by flying debris. It’s much easier to rebalance and clean a contaminated pool after a storm than it is to deal with a cover full of water and debris, or to replace a damaged one.
- Turn off power. Circuit breakers at the main electrical panel should be turned off. Pump motors, lighting, chlorinators, and heaters can be damaged by large amounts of water, so it is important to leave them off during the storm.
- For fiberglass and vinyl liner pool owners, do not drain your pool. As tempting as it may be, the water in your pool provides the necessary weight to hold the pool in place. An empty pool can pop out of the ground during heavy rains, especially in areas where the water table is high.
- Remove or secure yard and pool deck furniture. Give yourself plenty of time before the storm hits to store away your pool chairs, equipment, toys, and any other loose objects that could potentially damage your home. Regularly trim overgrown limbs to prevent rogue branches that might fall during bouts of high wind.
- Balance your water chemistry and add necessary chemicals. It’s inevitable that your pool will accumulate debris during a storm and become contaminated, but you can pre-emptively add extra chlorine or “shock” to your pool and an algaecide to save yourself a lot of effort during the cleanup. Refer to the instructions for each product prior to use.
- If your pool is enclosed in a screened area, you can create a vent for wind to pass through to avoid damage to the screen and structure.
Swimming Pool Care After a Storm:
- Remove major debris from your pool. Doing this as soon as possible prevents further contamination and avoids staining.
- Don’t drain your pool. Check and balance your water chemistry. Shock your pool and run your filter until the water is clear. Do not allow anyone to swim during this time.
- Dry your equipment. Before turning your power back on, make sure electrical equipment is completely dry before starting it back up or plugging it in. Refer to your owner’s manual for specific instructions.
Swimming Pool Products for After Storms, Rains and Floods
There are several products that we recommend to get your pool up and running again following a flood in your area:
- PoolStyle® Fresh Start
- Super SHOCK-IT 73®
- Regal® Filter Cleaner & Degreaser
- E-Z Clor® Enhanced Filter Cleaner
- Pool Season® Filter Cleaner
Need help deciding on products, or ready to find chemicals in your area? Find pool stores and service here.
A hurricane is a powerful, rotating storm that originates in warm tropical oceans and creates strong winds and heavy rain. Hurricanes can cause catastrophic damage as they can produce winds exceeding 155 miles per hour as well as spawn tornadoes. Hurricane season may depend on the area you reside in. For the Atlantic, hurricane season is June 1st through November 30th and May 15th through November 30th in the Eastern Pacific.
If you live in an area prone to tropical weather, you should always prepare your home well in advance of the season – and your pool area is no exception
Before the storm
When preparing for a storm, it is highly important to evaluate the area around your swimming pool to see what you need to do. For basic coverage we recommend lowering the pool water, secure equipment and take a survey of the surrounding landscape.
If you are concerned about your pool flooding, you can lower the water level 1-2 feet, but never drain it completely. Remember that the water will serve as a barrier to protect your pool’s finish from debris that might be thrown into the pool.
Another step is to take precautions for your swimming pool equipment. Your pool pump can be removed and be stored away for security. Make sure the circuit breaker is turned off before removing and wrapping tightly in plastic. Look around your pool area for other loose pool parts and secure them.
Finally, survey your landscape. Pay attention to close trees and shrubs and make sure they are pruned year-round so that there will be less debris to clean. You also want to be sure to put away patio furniture, toys, pool cleaning equipment, plants, etc. Ensure that all items are safely inside so that they don’t get blown around during the storm and possibly damage your home or pool. Be sure to secure heavier objects with rope or chain.
After the Storm
Once you have safely returned to your home after a storm, you should eventually assess any damage to your backyard and your swimming pool area. Here are four recommendations we have to get you started:
- To prevent stains, you will want to clean out debris as soon as possible.
- You will want to be sure the pH of water is balanced. You will also need to chlorinate or possibly shock your pool and run the filter until the water is clear.
- Do not drain your pool. Even if it’s somewhat of a disaster, it can still be remedied.
- You will need to check your pump and filter for any damage. It is a good idea to remove the motor of your pump and let it dry out for 24 hours. If your equipment sat underwater, you will want to get it checked out by a licensed pool repair professional.
If you are not sure what damage your pool may have received, get your pool inspected by a pool professional.
After a storm, pool water can contain salty seawater, algae, sand, phosphates and even sewage. Instead of draining your pool, it can be treated using clarifying solutions, filtration and flocculation. We recommend brushing your pool, using an automatic cleaner, and sanitizing with pool chemicals.
Brush and clean your pool
Before using an automatic cleaner, we recommend using a brush to manually scrub your pool. This can remove algae, dirt, debris, and other films away from your pool walls and pool floors that can’t be removed by vacuuming. We recommend products from:
- PoolStyle brushes and accessories
After a light cleaning, you can then run your automatic cleaner to get the rest of the debris. There are three types of automatic cleaners - suction side pool cleaners, pressure side pool cleaners, and robotic/electronic pool cleaners. Major manufacturers we recommend are:
Sanitize using Pool Chemicals
To fully clean your pool, carefully use pool chemicals to sanitize, shock, maintain a pH level, phosphate control and clean your filter. Begin with sanitizing your pool and bring the level between 1-2ppm. Be sure to look for products that do algae control and provide water clarity. Next add shock, but only if needed. This will help sanitize and oxidize your pool water. Once your pool has cleared after using the shock, work to maintain the pH level of 7.2 to 7.4. This will help protect pool surfaces, plumbing and equipment from corrosive conditions while improving chlorine efficiency. From here, test for phosphates use commercial strength phosphate remover if phosphate levels are over 3,000 ppb. For phosphate levels 3,000 ppb or below uses phosphate remover can be used weekly throughout the season to keep phosphate levels low, manage water clarity and keep oils out. Lastly, clean your pool filter and run the water until it is clear. We recommend these products to help:
- PoolStyle Fresh Start
- PoolStyle Multi Performance Shock
- E-Z Clor pH UP
- pH Down from E-Z Clor
- E-Z Clor Enhanced Filter Cleaner
If you live in an area where drought is common and water conservation is a way of life, you’ll want to read the below list of tips, products and resources to help you understand and manage drought’s impact on swimming pool usage.
Swimming Pool Water Conservation Tips for Drought Conditions
The good news is that you can still enjoy a swimming pool in times of drought! Statistics have shown that a properly maintained pool can use less water than a lawn of the same size would. With the correct chemical balance, pools can go for years and years without needing to be refilled. Use the tips below to help you save water and enjoy your pool to the fullest. Or download this infographic and keep these tips with you on the go!
- Have your water tested regularly. Maintaining a properly balanced pool saves water and prevents evaporation.
- Have your pool checked for cracks and leaks.
- Use a pool cover to reduce evaporation by as much as 90%.
- Lower your water level to one inch above the bottom of a standard 6” tile line to reduce “splashout.”
- Use caution when using water features like fountains. The aeration of these features increases evaporation.
- If your pool is heated, lower the temperature to reduce evaporation.
- Install automatic timers or controls to open your cover, maintain water temperature and turn off features.
- Use cartridge filters that can be cleaned manually and don’t require backwashing.
- Reduce water volume with built-in pool features like steps, ledges, beach entries and swim up bars.
If you live in an area prone to drought, reach out today to find service and supplies to prepare your backyard.
Recommended Drought-Friendly Swimming Pool Products
There are several products that you can use to promote water conservation in your swimming pool not only during times of drought, but year-round.
Swimming Pool Automation Systems & Timers
Control temperature remotely, turn fountains and water features on and off with timers, and open and close automatic covers. Reducing the temperature of pool water reduces water loss to evaporation, an important part of water conservation. Here are a few of our top product recommendations to help you manage water temperature and conserve water:
- OmniLogic by Hayward
- IntelliConnect by Pentair
- iAquaLink™ 2.0
- MultiWave™ Wireless Control Systems by Intermatic®
Safety Covers / Automatic Covers / Winter Covers
The average uncovered pool loses one inch of water per week. Covering your pool can save up to 30 – 40% of water lost to evaporation! One simple way to reduce the amount of maintenance water that is needed to fill the pool is to install an automatic safety cover. Not only will a cover keep your pool warm and reduce the amount of debris that falls into the water, it also reduces evaporation, keeping more water in your pool. Below we list a few of our recommended safety covers:
Solar Covers / Blankets / Rings
Solar covers, blankets and rings work with the sun to catch and retain heat. They raise the water temperature by absorbing sunlight during the day and retaining the heat at night, resulting in a warmer pool, energy and water conservation and lower operation costs. In the following list we recommend several solar heaters:
- PoolStyle Heating Blanket with Thermo-Tex
- Solar Sun Ring™
Liquid Solar Blanket/Cover Products
Liquid solar blankets work to spread a very thin layer over the surface of the pool to prevent the excessive loss of water from evaporation. The layer is one molecule thick and can’t be seen nor felt by swimmers. However, it saves water and money by dramatically decreasing evaporation and heat loss and reduces the frequency of water adjustments. Below you will find a list of Swimmingpool.com’s Liquid Solar Blanket recommendations:
Water-Conserving Swimming Pool Filters
In comparison to sand or DE filters that use water to backwash, cartridge filters do not require the use of water. Therefore, conserve water by using a cartridge filter. Here are our brand recommendations:
- Pentair Clean & Clear® Cartridge Filters
- Pentair Clean & Clear® Plus Cartridge Filters
- Pentair Clean & Clear® RP Cartridge Filter
- Pentair Dynamic® Filter Series
- Pentair Posi-Clear™ RP Cartridge Filter
- Hayward large-capacity cartridge filters
Swimming Pool Chemical Maintenance Products
Properly maintaining your swimming pool with chemicals saves water and reduces evaporation. By using sanitizers, shock, balancers, clarifiers and metal controls as part of your regular maintenance routine, your pool should remain clean and not need to be drained. Therefore, we recommend the following products to keep your pool water sparkling clean: