Hurricane Season is Here! How to Protect Your Pool and Patio!

Spread the love

Hurricane Season is Here! How to Protect Your Pool and Patio!

Hurricane season is here again – that special time of year from June 1 through November 30 when hurricanes develop in the Atlantic Ocean and all too often head our way. Whether this is your first hurricane season in Florida, or your first hurricane season as a swimming pool owner, there are certain steps to take to protect your Central Florida pool and patio as much as possible from the destructive winds and torrential rains of a hurricane or tropical storm.

However, even if you’re a Florida native or semi-native, don’t be complacent this year thinking you’ve seen it all before! This year’s hurricane season is predicted to be different, and not in a good way. Although August and September are typically the peak months – which means seasoned Floridians usually wait until July to make serious preparations – forecast conditions indicate that the sooner you have a solid plan in place, the better.

The La Nina Cycle Begins – Potential for More Frequent and Intense Hurricanes

This hurricane season marks the beginning of the La Nina cycle. There are very geeky, scientific explanations for this climate cycle, which usually lasts one to three years, but the bottom line is that a La Nina cycle is marked by more frequent and intense hurricanes. AP science writer Seth Borenstein describes La Nina as follows:

”When meteorologists look at how busy a hurricane season is, two factors matter most: ocean temperatures in the Atlantic where storms spin up and need warm water for fuel, and whether there is a La Nina or El Nino, the natural and periodic cooling or warming of Pacific Ocean waters that changes weather patterns worldwide. A La Nina tends to turbocharge Atlantic storm activity while depressing storminess in the Pacific, and an El Nino does the opposite.

“La Nina usually reduces high-altitude winds that can decapitate hurricanes, and generally during a La Nina there’s more instability or storminess in the atmosphere, which can seed hurricane development. Storms get their energy from hot water. Ocean waters have been record warm for 13 months in a row and a La Nina is forecast to arrive by mid to late summer. The current El Nino is dwindling and is expected to be gone within a month or so.”

Although you don’t need to hit the panic button, making your preparations now will give you an advantage – as you may not have much opportunity to try to batten down the hatches between hurricanes, should the predictions for a more-active-than-usual season come to pass. The old adage – hope for the best but prepare for the worst – definitely applies! Our experienced experts at Certified Leak Detection provide the following advice on how to prepare.

Walk Around Your Pool and Patio Area and Make a Plan

Walk around your property and take a detailed assessment of which items need to be moved indoors or secured in place, then make a plan of how to do so. Make note of any loose items that could be picked up or hurled by strong winds and become projectiles that crash through windows. Decide where these items should be moved in the event of a hurricane warning, which means that a hurricane is expected to hit your area.

Items that need to be moved typically include patio furniture, barbecue grill/smoker, toys, plants in containers, etc. You can bring a gas grill indoors, but leave the propane tank outside, chained in an upright position to a solid object or structure. However, if you can’t bring free-standing furniture into the house or garage/shed, don’t put it in the pool, as it could damage the interior finish – especially with a vinyl liner pool. Instead, tie the items down to keep them from blowing into the pool.

And here’s a word to the wise: Take a good look at the trees on your property, and remove limbs that could break off and crash through your roof or windows, and/or crush vehicles in your driveway. Ditto for dead or declining trees. It’s worth the investment to hire a professional arborist for these jobs, rather than risking injury or inadvertent property damage by trying to do it yourself.

Taking the time to plan now will prevent the stress of scrambling to protect your pool, windows and screen enclosure should you be in the projected path of a hurricane or tropical storm (which has sustained winds of 39 to 73 miles per hour and may or may not become a hurricane)!

Take Action to Protect Your Pool and Screen Enclosure

Look around your pool and patio area to make sure everything is as secure as possible. Skimmer lids should be screwed in place to avoid flying off. Inspect the fence for loose sections, and secure any loose light posts or signs.

Other actions to take include the following:

Shock your pool – To prevent contamination from the anticipated debris and excessive storm water, add a “shock” dose of liquid or granular chlorine. Lower the pH first to around 7.2 for best results, and run the filter after shocking for several hours to circulate.

Don’t cover your pool – This may seem counterintuitive, but it’s less expensive to remove debris from your pool after a hurricane than replace a pool cover that’s been damaged by the same.

Don’t 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. Our blog post – “Why You Should Never Drain Your Pool Yourself” – covers this topic in greater detail.

Screen pool enclosures are also vulnerable to damage during a hurricane. 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 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 to anything inside. The screen panels and even frames themselves can be damaged by patio furniture thrown against them.

Protect Your Pool’s Electronics

Pool electronics are typically safe from the elements, but the extreme, prolonged high winds and heavy rains of a named storm are the exception. Take 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.

Our Wish for a Quiet Hurricane Season

As we said earlier, hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Our team at Certified Leak Detection always closes our annual hurricane season blog post with hopes for a quiet and uneventful hurricane season. We will do the same this year, despite the foreboding forecast. For additional tips, we invite you to read our previous blog posts:

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 or fountain. We serve areas throughout Central Florida, including Orlando, Longwood, Lake Mary, Sanford, Kissimmee, Clermont and Winter Springs. Contact us for quick and reliable service.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.