Hurricane season is almost here! Beginning on June 1 and ending on November 30, experienced Floridians pay special attention to weather reports in order to stock up on supplies and take special precautions – such as boarding up windows. Of course, your pool and patio also require care to prevent damage from high winds. While Certified Leak Detection doesn’t do pool maintenance, we want you to get the most enjoyment from your pool and the Central Florida lifestyle this summer – and to keep you and your property safe!
Safely store your stuff
When there is a possibility of strong wind and heavy rain, you need to make sure that you move everything to a safe location. No objects should lie in the open around your pool or near your house. Even sturdy patio furniture can be picked up by hurricane-force winds and smashed through a sliding glass door. Walk around your entire property and make note of any other objects that could become airborne – or at least, blown across your lawn or down the street.
Look for pool equipment, grills, gardening tools, container plants, toys and similar objects. For large/heavy items that can’t be easily moved, The Spruce advises anchoring them to something solid with rope, bungee cord, chains, 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.
The items you note when walking around your property can become a check sheet of items to bring indoors or to a sheltered area – or anchor down – when a hurricane or tropical storm is heading your way. Longtime Floridians know that you don’t wait until the last minute to move outdoor items to safety.
We have heard of people tossing their patio furniture into the pool in a desperate last-minute measure, but don’t advise it. Such heavy pieces can damage pool walls or the bottom end of the pool, especially if your pool is vinyl-lined or fiberglass.
Do not 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.
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.
Look at your landscaping
We’re not the lawn-and-garden experts, but during your property patrol, take a close look at your trees and shrubs. Prune dead or weak branches, and remove diseased trees. It may cost time, money or both, but well worth the property damage and risk of injury you’ll avoid should a heavy branch become a projectile through your window, or a diseased tree becomes uprooted and crashes through your roof.
What to turn off or disconnect?
To avoid damage to your pool pump and motor, turn off or disconnect the following:
- Electrical equipment
- Propane tanks
- Gas (if applicable)
Just before the storm, turn off the circuit breaker of the swimming pool equipment to cut off the power of the pump, motor, chlorinator, lighting equipment, etc. If possible, remove the motor and store it away from water, or tightly wrap the motor in plastic sheeting and tape securely.
Should you also drain your pool?
Regardless of what type of pool you own – concrete, in-ground vinyl liner, fiberglass or above ground – the answer is NO! Our blog post – “Why Is Your Pool’s Water Level Important?” covers this issue in detail. Basically, all reasons lead to the pool popping out of the ground.
According to the Florida Swimming Pool Association (FSPA), it is essential to maintain proper water levels in your pool because it is the weight of the water that keeps the walls and bottom of your pool in place. When there is heavy rain, it increases the water table. And, pools that are empty can experience subsidence issues that could cause the afore-mentioned pool popping.
Another common question is whether you should lower the water level of your pool before a hurricane or other major storm. There is no need to do so if your pool has adequate functional drains and skimmers, and if the water drains out properly from the pool’s surrounding area. But if the drainage around the pool is not proper and the water does not run off naturally, it is recommended that you lower the pool water by one or two feet.
However, as also covered in our blog post dealing with your pool’s water level, partly draining a pool should only be done with careful consideration. 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.
After the storm
Cleaning up your pool after a hurricane can be a daunting task. But to make your pool swim-ready, you have to start the process. INYO Pools offers the following steps. We recommend you click the link to read the full article.
Clean the debris from your pool – Use waterproof gloves to avoid bacterial contamination. Post-storm debris can carry some nasty germs (which are foremost on everyone’s mind these days).
Turn off the power to your equipment (if you haven’t already) – Breakers often trip during storms and heavy rain. If this happens, reset the breakers. Then, you want to ensure your pool equipment is operable. Call a professional if your breaker won’t reset.
Check your pool’s water level – Heavy rains can sometimes increase the water level. If the water level has substantially risen, use a sump pump or siphon excess water.
Clean and backwash filter – Any size storm can bring large amounts of bacteria, dust and pollen into your pool. Before running your filter, it will probably need a good cleaning or backwashing.
Scrub and vacuum your pool – If your pool setup allows you to vacuum directly to waste, we recommend doing that instead of running the dirt through your filter. Vacuuming directly to waste will save your filter from clogging. However, if you cannot vacuum to waste, don’t forget to pay close attention to your filter’s pressure gauge.
Test your pool water chemistry – Pool balancing is a crucial step.
Super chlorinate your pool – After a storm, you should add a lot of chlorine to your pool. When you shock your pool properly, it prevents algae bloom and stops bacteria growth. Shock your pool double or triple times the normal amount, depending on the condition of your pool.
Balance your pool water chemistry – After shocking your pool, balance other chemicals. Check and balance total alkalinity, pH, and cyanuric acid levels.
Our wishes for a quiet hurricane season
Considering the unprecedented challenges we’ve already faced this year, we at CLD wish our Central Florida neighbors a quiet, uneventful hurricane season. As mentioned earlier, we don’t perform pool maintenance. 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.