While we live for swimming laps, relaxing in the spa, and hosting outdoor gatherings with family and friends, coping with major storms and other natural disasters is an unfortunate but important aspect of pool ownership as well. While Mother Nature will always throw surprises our way, this article will cover some steps you can take to minimize the impact of the storm before it hits. We’ll also help you assess the mess after the storm, and give you an overview of the cleaning and remediation steps needed to return your pool to healthy swimming conditions.

Leave Your Pool Uncovered

It may be intuitive to cover up your pool to avoid as much debris falling in as possible. However, professionals recommend leaving your pool uncovered. Trees or other objects from neighboring yards may find its way into your pool. If the cover is on, these objects will undoubtedly drag your cover underwater causing damage to anchors that secure the pool cover. The cover itself can sustain damage due to rips or tears from sharp objects. Avoid damage to your pool cover and anchors by leaving the cover off. Store it in a secure dry place. Without a pool cover present, clean-up will be quicker and achieved with more ease.

Store Away All Equipment

Speaking of rogue equipment, take the time to gather all items and furniture in a safe, secure space to avoid them ending up in your pool and causing more damage. You also help your neighbors by doing so, as your property won’t fly off and cause damage to your neighbor’s car or home. Ladders, patio furniture, grills, and water hoses should be placed where there’s less chance of getting caught up in high winds. Storing equipment also protects your property from damage and possible replacement.

Prep Your Pool Chemically

You may think emptying your pool is best in situations where you expect flooding or heavy rain. However, keeping your pool filled is vital for holding it’s structure in place. Some gunite or fiberglass pools that have been emptied run the risk of being “popped” out of place by rising groundwater. This is also important for those who have a liner installed. If the pool liner is not weighed down it may rip or tear more easily than if it was full. A filled pool is also easier to clean than an empty one, and refilling your pool would carry an additional expense.

Alongside keeping your pool filled, you may need to add extra chemicals to prepare for the polluted water. Add extra chlorine, and other chemicals as recommended by pool chemical company Bioguard. The extra chemicals will help to combat the bacteria and algae growth from the polluted water. With extra chemicals in place, overall clean-up after the storm will be manageable.

Power Off

We all know that with storms comes the possibility of downed power lines and dangers involving electrical shock or fire. To protect your family and home from the dangers of wet electrical pool equipment, disconnect your pumps, generators, and heaters. Cover the equipment and, when possible, store it away where it’s less likely to be a hazard. If these items are not properly disconnected and stored you may encounter damage that causes safety concerns.

Large Scale Storm Cleanup

Above, we touched on how to prep your pool before a major storm or natural disaster. However, you may be wondering how to proceed once it’s over. It’s important to first make sure it’s safe to move about your pool, backyard, and home. Check for downed power lines, smoke, or sparks. If you have downed lines, inform the proper authorities of the safety hazard. Once the hazard is removed and you have ensured it’s safe, you can begin to clean out your swimming pool.

The same reasons mentioned above for keeping your pool filled before a storm, are the same for after the storm. Cleaning in this case will require a little elbow grease and a few extra repeated steps. While cleaning your pool check for any damage to the walls, foundation, or decking area. Address anything that may need repair.

Keeping the filtration system off during initial storm clean-up will allow debris to settle to the pool floor, making it easier to clear out with a vacuum. You want to be as thorough as possible during the cleaning process. Brush the walls and the floor of your pool to kick up any remaining dirt or algae. After cleaning off the walls you can use a vacuum to remove the smaller particles you weren’t able to get during the first round. This process may need to be completed several times, cleaning out the vacuum periodically. Clear all baskets and skimmers to ensure the filtration system will work properly once started.

Balance Your Levels

Before you turn on your filtration system, balance the chemistry of your pool. Due to the extra waste and bacteria, you may need to add extra chemicals. Check all of your equipment to make sure it is all in working order before you run the systems. Check for any damage to the filter. Clean out any debris that were trapped during the storm. You may need to repeat the cleaning process more than once, as you would be filtering more dirt than normal. You will want your equipment to run until the water is clear. Once the water is running clear test the levels again and adjust as needed.

Knowing the steps to take to prepare your pool and backyard space can go a long way when you have to move quickly. If you have a couple of days’ notice, you have more time to prepare and work your way down the checklist. A well-prepared swimming pool and pool area can drastically reduce the overall clean-up and damage after the clearing of a storm. If you feel your pool clean-up requires a few extra hands, inquire about the services of a pool professional to help you get your pool up and running.