Pool Care Tips: What to Do with Your Pool
Before and After a Rain Storm
Along with beautiful sunshine and warmer temperatures, the months of summer also bring a fair share of rain. According to the National Hurricane Center, June 1 to November 30 marks the Atlantic hurricane season, while the Eastern Pacific hurricane season runs from May 15 to November 30. (Peak hurricane season runs from mid-August to late October.)
The combination of rain, high winds, and even lightning can introduce an array of dirt, debris, and other unhealthy pollutants into your pool water as well as put a strain on your pool’s equipment and structure. Proper preparation and clean-up is important to ensure your pool remains protected and is safe for you to jump back in once the sun re-emerges. Follow the tips below to keep your pool safe, clean, and protected before and after a rain storm.
Photo courtesy of Pentair Aquatic Systems
How to Prepare Your Pool Before a Rain Storm
Keep the pool full – Never drain the pool before a rain storm. The weight of the water will help hold the pool in place in case the ground around it becomes heavily saturated with rainwater, which could cause the pool to lift out of the ground. If you’re afraid the pool will overflow, lower the water level no more than 2 – 3 inches and close the skimmer valve to prevent damage to the pump.
Remove loose items from the pool area – High winds can blow items such as floats, lounge chairs, and other patio furniture into the pool which can cause major damage. Place pool floats, toys, and other items in a safe place, such as a garage, shed, or storage bin. Cover patio furniture or tie it down if you’re not able to bring it indoors.
Turn off power to the pool equipment – Turn the power off at the circuit breaker for the pump, motor, filter, heater, and lighting to avoid dangerous electrical problems due to flooding.
Protect the pool equipment – Even with the power turned off, your pool’s equipment are vulnerable to damage from high winds and heavy amounts of rainwater. It’s best to remove the pump motor and bring it indoors, or cover it with a plastic tarp and tightly tie it down to prevent water from getting inside.
Balance the water and add algicide – Rainwater carries many organic contaminants from the atmosphere. Balancing the water and adding algicide or extra chlorine before a storm will help ease contamination and save you a lot of trouble during the clean-up process.
If you have a mesh safety cover, put it on – A lightweight solar pool cover can easily be blown off or into the pool during high winds and a solid tie-down cover can tear if it accumulates too much rainwater; in most cases, it is best to leave these covers off of the pool. Mesh safety covers are better equipped to withstand harsh winds since they are tightly anchored to the pool deck with minimal gaps where wind can enter and blow the cover off. The mesh material also allows rainwater to filter through the cover and into the pool, so it will not collect on top. [Cover Concerns: Some pool owners prefer to leave their pool uncovered during storms fearing that fallen tree branches or other harsh debris will destroy the cover; however, these items can cause considerable damage to the pool's interior, which can be more difficult and expensive to replace than a pool cover. Decide which investment is more important to you.]
Photo courtesy of Loop-Loc, Ltd.
How to Clean Your Pool After a Rain Storm
Skim and remove debris – Remove any large branches, leaves, and other debris from the pool with a rake and skimmer.
Check the pump strainer and skimmer baskets – There’s a good chance these have been filled with dirt and debris from the storm. Clean them out to prevent clogging the system once you restore power to the equipment.
Inspect the pool equipment and restore power – Uncover the pump motor and check for water or water damage. If the equipment is dry, you can turn the power back on and start running the pool’s circulation and filtration systems. Do not turn the power back on if the equipment is wet or if there are signs of water damage. Instead, contact a licensed electrician and have him/her come out and inspect the equipment. Never try to clean or dry the equipment without first consulting a professional.
Vacuum the pool – After restoring power to the pool equipment, it’s time to clean the pool. Brush the pool walls and floor to remove any dirt and then vacuum the pool.
Shock and balance the water – Even though you balanced the water before the storm, the organic materials in the rainwater most likely wiped out any residual chlorine levels and lowered the water’s pH and alkalinity. Add enough pool shock chemicals to bring the chlorine level to around 10.0 ppm. (Always pre-dissolve chemicals in water before adding to your pool.) Once the chlorine level recedes to 3.0 ppm, begin balancing the water.
Run the pump and filter – Keep the circulation and filtration systems running for at least 10 hours after shocking the pool to ensure the water is properly sanitized.
Turn on the pool heater – Due to rainwater and wind, the pool’s water temperature is probably a little on the chilly side. Turn on your pool’s heating system so that it has enough time to warm the water to your desired temperature.
Photo courtesy of Pentair Aquatic Systems
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