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Pools and Weather

Hurricane – Tips for Storm Preparation and Reactivation

 

PREPARATION

Should I drain my pool?

The number one rule: Do not empty your pool.

Keeping sufficient water levels in your pool provides the important weight to hold the sides and bottom in place, especially when heavy rains that accompany most storms raise the local water table. Pools which have been emptied may experience serious subsidence problems and could even be lifted off their foundation.

Should I lower the water level in my pool?

If your pool is properly equipped with adequate drains and skimmers and the surrounding area is properly drained, the water level can probably be left as it is.

In cases when surrounding structures might be damaged by the water before it can run off naturally, the experts recommend lowering the pool’s water level by one to two feet.

Should I do anything to the pool water chemistry?

Yes, it is recommended that you super chlorinate the pool water. You should “shock the pool” in your normal manner.

Should I leave my automatic equipment and electrical systems turned on?

It is important that all electric power be turned off at the circuit breakers before the storm hits. Any exposed electrical equipment such as motors for the pumps should be tightly covered with plastic wrap (if flooding is expected they may be disconnected and removed).

Should I take any special precautions with my decking and screens?

Some damage to the frame of your enclosed screen structure may be avoided if you provide a “vent” for wind to escape through. Panels in screens may be removed on either side of the pool area. Doors, which are especially vulnerable, might be removed completely.

Should I throw my pool furniture into the pool?

No, but the key word is “throw.” Never throw or drop anything into a pool that could damage the pool walls or bottom (especially vinyl lined or fiberglass). It is best to remove any and all loose object such as chairs, tables, pool equipment and even toys which can become dangerous projectiles in high winds. If you cannot store them inside a building, carefully and gently placing them in the pool will help shield them from the winds. Be very careful in doing so, and remember, pool chemicals may damage them. This is not recommended.

Should commercial pool facilities take any additional special precautions?



Specialists in commercial pools remind owners / operators of the following points:

Stored chemicals should be removed to a safe, high and dry location. Remember, some chemicals, when mixed, can produce dangerous gases; others, if wetted can cause fires.

Sump pits should be cleaned and sump pumps should be checked. A portable gasoline-operated pump is helpful if power is not restored quickly.

Pools near apartment units / motel rooms should have water levels lowered by one to two feet if potential flooding is a factor.

Remove all loose items around the pool area including trash cans, ashtrays, nets, etc.

Equipment covers should be secured by being latched or bolted down.

 

REACTIVATION

How should I remove debris from the pool?

Use a “pool rake” or other nets / skimming devices such as hose powered leaf baggers to remove small debris. Do not use your regular pool vacuum equipment and your pool pumps as they are likely to clog the plumbing. Watch out that you do not damage pool walls or bottom when removing any large objects.

What about the electrical equipment?

Be sure that everything is dry before dealing with electrical start-up. Check your circuit breakers to be sure they are off before attempting to reconnect electrical equipment such as pump motors. Inspect the wiring (especially ground wires) for proper connections. Be sure that you are following manufacturers’ instructions when reactivating equipment. If electric motors have been exposed to water, they should be checked by a professional.

Should I add chemicals again after the storm?

The experts say it will probably be necessary to “shock” (super chlorinate) the pool water again. The heavy fresh water accumulation from rainfall may need to be counteracted. Test your pool first.

What about monitoring the system?

It is advisable to closely monitor the operating systems through their complete cycles. Be sure clocks, timers, etc. have been properly reset. Balance the water chemistry and continue to check it carefully. If the pool appears to be leaking, you may have clogged a hydrostatic relief valve. Have a professional check it.

What about draining the pool after the storm?

Just as before the storm, if the water table is high, damage may occur. If you must drain your pool to clean it, be sure to seek professional advice.

Winterizing in Florida

Since it rarely freezes in Florida, you can cover the pool and reduce the filtration time per day and the amount of chemicals added.  Pools today have many options to automate in cold weather conditions; ask a pool professional.
1. Reduce run time to four hours if not heating.
2. Reduce chemical consumption by turning down chlorinator/generator.
3. Run the pump/solar overnight during a freeze warning.
4. Cover pool to reduce heat loss and evaporation at night.

If there is risk of freezing, there are several steps to take.  Contact a pool professional for assistance.
1. Balance the pool water and then shock the pool
2. Remove skimmer baskets, wall fittings, and ladders
3. Drain all pumping, filtering, heating and chlorinating equipment
4. Blow out the lines and plug at the pool and then add swimming pool anti-freeze to the line
5. Cover the pool

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