Hurricane season is here! While Central Florida has been fortunate enough to avoid a direct hit in recent years, being prepared is essential. For pool owners, a tropical storm or even a typical summer afternoon thunderstorm can cause damage to pool equipment and your screen enclosure. Fortunately, there are steps to take to protect your pool and patio should the worst occur.
How to prepare the pool before a storm
August and September are the peak of hurricane season in Florida, so you still have some time to take preventive measures. But don’t wait much longer, as weather patterns are becoming more unpredictable! Holly Jender of River Pools provides the following recommendations.
Put away or secure loose items – Move patio furniture, your barbecue grill/smoker, toys, plants in containers and any other objects that could become projectiles to an indoor location. You can bring a gas grill indoors, but leave the propane tank outside, chained in an upright position to a solid object or structure.
“If you can’t bring free-standing furniture or decor into the house or garage/shed, don’t put it in the pool,” writes Jender. “You could damage the interior finish. Instead, tie the item down to keep it from blowing into the pool. You may want to cover it with a tarp to keep it from getting wet.”
Don’t cover the pool – Although it may seem a logical way to prevent debris from being dumped in, it’s easier to remove branches and other items afterward than replacing an expensive pool cover that’s been damaged by the same.
Balance the water chemistry – Test your pool water and add chemicals as needed to balance it out. This will give you a head start when cleaning the water after the storm has passed. If you want, you can shock the pool – that is, superchlorinate with algaecide – for an extra boost against dirt and germs that the storm will throw into the water.
Never drain your pool – Do not drain your pool before the storm – or ever! Draining a pool can cause it to bulge, split or pop out of the ground. The only time you should need to drain your pool is when it requires a major repair, and that should always be done by a professional.
Trim trees – You should remove dead or overgrown tree limbs from your yard. These branches can snap off in high winds and damage your pool – not to mention break your windows or crash through your roof, if they’re big and heavy enough. If time is not a constraint, you can prune the bushes and shrubs in your yard before the storm. Some people mow their lawn so that water can drain properly.
How to Protect Pool Electronics
Pool electronics are typically safe from the elements, but the extreme, prolonged high winds and torrential rains of a named storm are the exception. Medallion Energy recommends taking the following precautions once a hurricane or tropical storm is projected to hit your area:
- Power down your equipment at the circuit breaker. This includes your pump, lighting, chlorinator and all other electric equipment in your pool setup. The likelihood of them getting damaged or overworked is high.
- Wrap your pump, automatic timer, heater, and light fixtures in a few layers of plastic. Use duct tape and rope to secure the wrapping in place. If possible, physically disconnect power to the devices.
How to Prevent Damage to the Pool Deck and Screen Enclosure
As covered in our blog post – “How to Prepare Your Pool Before a Storm” – screen pool enclosures are also vulnerable. Some damage to the frame of a screen structure may be prevented if you provide a “vent” for wind to flow through. Consider removing screen panels on opposite sides of the enclosure by pulling out the vinyl spine that holds the panels.
Otherwise, apply the same advice given earlier regarding bringing items that can be hurled by hurricane-force winds to a safe place indoors. Considering that a category 1 hurricane packs sustained winds of 74 to 95 mph, a screen enclosure offers little or no protection. The screen panels and even frames themselves can be damaged by patio furniture thrown against them.
Our Wish for a Quiet Hurricane Season
Our team at Certified Leak Detection hopes for a quiet and uneventful 2021 hurricane season. While we do not perform swimming pool maintenance or repair, we want you, your pool and your property to be protected and safe! We look after all of your leak-related issues, be it your swimming pool, spa, fountain, driveway slab or foundation. We serve areas throughout Central Florida, including Orlando, Longwood, Lake Mary, Sanford, Kissimmee, Clermont and Winter Springs. Contact us for quick and reliable service.