With Hurricane Harvey quickly approaching the Texas coast, and the Katy and overall Houston area anticipating heavy rainfall anywhere from 15-25+ inches, it’s time to do some hurricane pool preparation to protect your investment and get things back to normal quickly and easily.
Do NOT Drain Your Pool
First thing’s first… do NOT drain the pool. This applies before AND after the storm. Depending on the amount of rain or flash flooding that occurs in the area, your pool may overflow. Let it. The water in the pool will help to reinforce the walls and floor against any outside pressure caused by overly saturated ground.
Shock it Beforehand
Give your pool an extra dose of chlorine to “shock” it and let the system run for a few hours for good circulation. This will prep the pool for the extra rainwater. You’ll want to get it more toward a 7.2 pH level.
Clear the Pool Area of Items
As most people would naturally assume, clear the area of any patio furniture, floats, toys, etc. that could be damaged in the storm or find their way falling into the pool. If you can’t bring them inside, see if you can weight them down or move them to a more sheltered area, such as under a patio cover, close to an outside wall.
Cover at Your Own Risk
Depending on the severity of the storm, covering your pool to keep out debris could cause costly damage to the cover itself. In many respects it will be easier to simply remove any debris that enters your pool versus risk damaging an expensive pool cover.
Disconnect Power and Protect Your Pool Equipment
The easiest method would be finding the main breaker dedicated to the pool and turning it off. Once you have safely disconnected power, you can do a combination of things to protect your pool equipment. Use a waterproof wrap to cover your pool pump and any exposed equipment. If possible, you could remove your pump and bring it indoors to protect it from damage. If your pool’s pump is submerged in water, it could lead to permanent damage.
After the Storm Passes
Whether it’s a hurricane, tropical storm or just a major series of downpours, you’re going to be faced with some pool cleanup. You’re going to want to get started soon in order to avoid any potential staining due to debris and imbalances in the pool’s chemistry.
As stated above, leave the water in the pool. Also keep the power turned off to your pool equipment for the time being.
Next, start with any large pool debris, such as branches, leaves, your neighbor’s patio umbrella, etc. Use a leaf rake skimmer to get leaves and such off of the pool’s floor.
Dry Out Your Equipment before Turning Back On
Uncover your pool equipment and let it air dry for a day before restoring power to the system. If you removed your pump, go ahead and reinstall.
Once dry, turn the filter pump on and let it run for most of the day. It will take a few days to get everything nice and clear again. Backwash the filter as needed to keep things flowing efficiently.
Restore Chemical Balance and Add Chlorine
At this point, you can work to adjust the pH and other levels to get them back to their normal points. Check levels daily.
Another shock will be due to protect against the storm water. If your water is discolored due to dirt and debris, you can use a flocculant to draw the solids to the floor for vacuuming. A phosphate remover will also help counteract the effects of soil in a flooded pool.
Alternatively, you can have a professional come out and perform a thorough check of your pool equipment and begin treatment to restore normal operation.
As with any major storm, the safety of you and your family and friends is the most important part. If you are uncomfortable or unsure of how to handle the preparation or clean up of your pool, especially with regard to the electrical equipment, consult a professional or experienced person to either guide you through the process in detail, or perform the work themselves.
Be safe out there!