How to Prepare Your Inground Pool for a Hurricane or Major Storm
You've invested so much into your pool. Time. Money. Sweat. Maybe even tears (although I hope not).
And now some storm wants to come in and mess up your oasis? Not today, Satan!
If a natural disaster is on its way, you can follow these guidelines to storm-proof your pool as much as possible. And this doesn't apply to only a hurricane or tornado per se, but any big storm, especially with high winds.
River Pools specializes in fiberglass pools, but we know all three types, and every pool matters to its owner, no matter the material it's made from. So we're here to help you protect it from bad weather.
There are two parts to storm-related pool care: "before" and "after." For best results, do both.
How to Prepare Your Pool Before the Storm
Ways to prevent major pool damage:
- Put away your loose stuff
- Turn off all gas, propane, and electricity to the pool
- Leave the pool cover off
- Balance the water chemistry (with algaecide if you like)
- Don't drain the pool
- If possible, trim nearby trees
- Put your pool on your homeowner's insurance
Yes, that list looks kinda inconvenient...but not as inconvenient as your credit card bills if you don't help your pool out.
Put away loose items
Your tricked-out patio is awesome for lounging and parties, but all those amenities become liabilities when Hurricane McStormy comes into town.
Take everything you can indoors: your chaise lounges, tables, chairs, umbrellas, pool toys, and whatever else is sitting around.
If you can't bring free-standing furniture or decor into the house or garage/shed, don't put it in the pool. 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.
Turn off the power
Gas, propane, electricity, large hamster wheels... whatever is powering your pool, turn it off.
If it's supposed to rain enough for a flood, you may want to unplug the pump/filter system and other pool equipment and store them someplace high and dry, indoors (if possible).
Leave the pool cover off
Yes, this sounds counterintuitive. Yes, you should still do it.
Covering your pool would actually set the cover up for serious damage.
If any big debris blows into the pool, it could tear the cover off. Anything flying through the air could damage it. Plus, even if it did somehow manage to stay in place and in one piece, who wants to clean that much debris and water off a pool cover?
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.
You can shock the pool if you want—superchlorinate with algaecide—for an extra boost against dirt and germs that the storm will throw into the water.
Don't drain the pool
You don't need to drain your pool before rain. In fact, you shouldn't. A drained pool can bulge, split, or pop up out of the ground. We in the pool industry call that a bad thing.
The only reason to drain your inground pool is for a major repair. It's serious business.
If possible, trim trees
Dead or overgrown tree limbs can break off in high winds, blow into your pool, and damage it. While you can't foresee exactly what Mother Nature has up her sleeve, removing these troublesome bits can help you avoid emotional and financial pain.
In fact, if you have the time, it wouldn't hurt to prune the rest of the landscaping, like bushes and shrubs. Some pool owners go as far as mowing the lawn too so that water doesn't get caught up in the grass when draining.
Put your pool on your insurance
This should already be taken care of, but just in case: insure that backyard beauty! If the pool does happen to need repairs after the storm, you don't want to pay for that 100% out of pocket. Gross. My bank account just wept a little at the thought.
How to Clean Up Your Pool After the Storm
Ways to recover from the wind and rain and inconvenience:
- Turn on the pump and filter
- Clean out any debris
- If necessary, rebalance the water chemistry
- Once again, do not drain the pool
Turn on the pump and filter
Caution: inspect the electrical components before doing anything with them.
If something was damaged, call a licensed pool repair company to fix it.
If any equipment got wet, let it dry out (minimum 24 hours) before trying to turn it back on.
Clean out any debris
Time to get everything out of the water. We want to avoid staining and damage, plus this stuff could mess up the water chemistry even further.
Pull out any big debris like tree branches or wayward lawn chairs.
Use a skimmer to remove leaves, bugs, and so on.
Brush and vacuum the pool
Once you've removed the debris, pull out your pool broom, brush, or vacuum.
Brush the walls and floor of the pool to get rid of serious grime.
An automatic robot vac will be able to clean up lighter levels of dirt for you. Thanks, li'l buddy!
Rebalance the water chemistry
Now that you've removed all the foreign objects, check your water levels in this order:
- Total alkalinity
- Calcium hardness
- Stabilizer (also called cyanuric acid or CYA)
Adjust as necessary to bring them back to the ideal ranges.
If you shocked the pool before the storm, you probably won't need to do it again, so that's cool!
Don't drain the pool
I said it before; I'll say it again. Really, truly, please leave your pool water level alone. It'll be okay.
What other maintenance does an inground pool need?
Check out our Ultimate Guide to Pool Maintenance as you plan out the swim season.
All pools need some TLC to look and perform their best. But here's a fun fact: fiberglass pools require the least intense and least frequent work of the three pool types.
Based near Richmond, River Pools manufactures and installs fiberglass pools throughout North America. On top of our unique, game-changing methods, we also aim to educate pool shoppers and owners.
If you would like to find a dealer, or if you live in Virginia or southern Maryland and would like to talk to us about installing your pool, drop us a line! We'd love to help you in any way we can.
Editor's note: This blog article was updated on December 27, 2019.