Why Is Your Pool’s Water Level Important?

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A drained pool

As a pool owner in Central Florida, you know the importance of pool care and maintenance. But do you ever consider the effects of Florida’s regularly scheduled summer afternoon thunderstorms – typically ranging from mid-June through August – on your pool? Not to mention the effects of an active hurricane season? Whether you’re a relative newcomer to the Sunshine State or a longtime resident, here’s how to keep your pool in top condition during the daily deluge.

Managing your pool during the rainy season

Since rainwater tends to be acidic, it can lower the pH level of your pool. Acidic water can eventually damage the pump and filtration system – as well as irritate your eyes and skin. The pH scale is graduated from 6.8 to 8.2 on a standard test kit. The numbers refer to the concentration of hydrogen (acid) in the water but the scale is somewhat reverse. The ideal level for pH is generally the same for all swimming pools, regardless of climate, amount of use, temperature, or pool surface. This ideal level falls between 7.4 and 7.6 for all pool surfaces.

According to contractor and home improvement pro Chris Deziel writing for Hunker, submerged parts of the pool suffer the most destructive effects of acidic water.

“Pool tiles may be etched and stained, and metal components may corrode. This corrosion releases metal ions into the water that can also cause stains, but they usually don’t cause health problems. Corrosive acidic water may also damage the internal mechanisms of the pool circulation pump and filtration system.”

Check your pool water chemistry after every heavy rain. Balance the pH of the pool and add the correct amount of algaecide and chlorine. It may be necessary to occasionally shock your pool.

Heavy rains can also increase algae growth, because the acidic, nitrogen-rich rainwater provides the perfect breeding conditions. Use an algaecide to prevent it.

If your pool doesn’t have a screened enclosure, rain will dump in leaves, twigs and other organic debris that can disrupt its water chemistry and clog the filtration system. Make sure that your pool’s filtration system is in good condition, and keep the pool free of debris.

If soil and mulch enter your pool, you will have to use special phosphate removers to clean your pool. You need to make sure that your pool deck slants away from your pool so that the water runoff goes into the drain instead of entering the pool.

Just before heavy rains, you may want to lower the water level of your pool. This will prevent overflowing, which can flood your pool equipment. In addition to lowering the water level, you can also put sandbags around the pump if it’s in a vulnerable area.

Is draining a swimming pool risky?

Draining any kind of swimming pool is risky to both the pool itself and the environment. Reducing the water level in anticipation of a heavy rain or after doesn’t require draining the entire pool, but this question does occasionally come up for other reasons. So here are the answers.

Inground concrete pool – Draining can cause the pool to pop out of the ground. The plaster can also crack when the temperature rises above 70 to 75 degrees. Sudden expansion and contraction can cause the plaster to crack, which is what happens to the plaster when the water is drained and then replenished.

Inground vinyl-lined pool – Draining the pool may cause the walls of the pool to collapse, or the ground water may cause the liner to float. Vinyl liner pools don’t have any physical structure to bear the weight of the dirt when it is empty.

Fiberglass pools – Draining can cause the pool to pop out of the ground. Typically, the fiberglass pool is put in place and then backfilled with dirt. It is the weight of the water that allows the pool to remain in place.

When is draining a pool a good idea?

Partly draining a pool should be done with careful consideration, as the chlorine and other chemicals in pool water aren’t good for grass, plants and trees. Swimming pool discharges can be a source of storm water system imbalance.

According to Gateway Services Development District, only drain your pool when necessary. Avoid draining/backwashing your pool during periods of drought and during significant rainfall events. Do not drain your pool when watering restrictions are in place. Test the free chlorine residual before discharging. A free chlorine residual should not be detected. The chlorine residual can be tested using a standard pool test kit. Read the complete list of instructions on how to do this with minimum environmental impact here.

Should you proceed, PoolCareGuy offers several methods.

Siphon the water – Siphoning the water is the easiest method to lower your pool water. Figure out the drainage area you can use and factor in whether it can handle the excess water you are about to remove. Also, check your municipality’s regulations.

To begin, attach one end of a garden hose into a spigot. Submerge the other end of the hose into the pool, and then turn on the faucet. You should soon see water coming out of the other end of the hose. Unscrew the hose from the spigot and kink it quickly so that the water remains throughout the hose. Take this end of the hose to the drain where you want to empty the water and open so that the pool water starts flowing into the drain.

Use a pump drain spigot – It is easier to siphon off the water if your pump has a drainage spigot. Connect your garden hose to the spigot and place the other end of the hose in the drain. Open the spigot and let the pump do the rest. But keep an eye on the water level so that you don’t drain excess water.

Use a submersible pump If there is too much water, you might have to rent a submersible pump (if you already don’t have one). Follow the instructions carefully to operate the pump.  You will have to submerge the pump in the pool to remove the excess water. You can attach the hose to the pump and then turn on the switch so that the water recedes.

Call a professional – If there is too much water for you to handle, you can call professionals to sort out the problem. Your pool supply store may be able to put you in contact with a reliable pro – or search online.

Being proactive will help your pool be ready when it starts raining cats and dogs in Central Florida. The dogs may enjoy paddling around, but the cats will flee quickly! You’ll be able to keep your pool a source of fun all summer long – mornings and evenings, at least (and when a named storm isn’t knocking at our door)!

Certified Leak Detection doesn’t perform pool maintenance, but we want you to get the most of your slice of Florida paradise! Our specialty is experienced, expert leak detection in swimming pools, spas, fountains, slabs and foundations. Serving areas throughout Central Florida – including Orlando, Longwood, Lake Mary, Sanford, Kissimmee, Clermont and Winter Springs – our team is ready to answer your call.

Contact us for quick, reliable service.

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