Swimming into hurricane season
With hurricane season in full swing let’s look at some myths that could actually damage your pool as well as discuss some ways to prepare your pool if your house falls with the meteorologist’s cone of uncertainty.
Myth #1: Drain the pool or lower the water level to compensate for all the expected rainfall. This one is possibly the most dangerous myths in the pool industry. In normal circumstances, draining a pool or significantly lowering the water level carries the risk (if done incorrectly) of forcing the pool OUT of the ground. When a service professional drains your pool for resurfacing, acid washing, or other such services, the industry standard is to secure “pool popping insurance” and these services are only performed when the ground water table is relatively low. Unless you fancy yourself as a magician and want to convert your in-ground pool into an above-ground pool, let’s walk away from this myth.
Your pool builder engineered two elements into the design of your pool. You may notice a long grate that runs the width of your pool deck and rests between the pool and your back door where the patio meets the lanai. That is a drain system designed to move excessive water from the pool deck. If designed properly, you may notice water flowing towards that grate during our daily afternoon thunderstorms.
The second design element is in your skimmer. When the basket is removed you will notice two holes in the bottom of the skimmer housing. One goes back to the filter, and the other channels to a small pipe just outside the pool deck. This drain is gravity fed whenever the pressure from high pool water level pushes excess water through the line therefore self-lowering the water level.
Myth #2: Throw the patio furniture in the pool. While not nearly as dangerous as the first myth, this does carry some potential pitfalls. Aside from damaging or potentially destroying the patio furniture, this could also stain or even damage the pool surface. If there are cushions on the furniture, they could potentially absorb some essential elements of the water’s chemistry leaving the pool water in a state to stain or even damage the pool surface. (DOUBLE WHAMMY!!)
If you cannot move the furniture inside the house or garage, the next best option would be to move the furniture close the house and flip everything upside down in an effort to produce the least wind resistance. While this does not guarantee the furniture will weather the storm, it mitigates (even slightly) the potential of the furniture becoming projectiles.
So what should you do to prepare your pool when the weather reporter excitedly points towards your neighborhood? The only major preparation is to adjust your water chemistry to the high end of the spectrum. Although slightly above the ideal range, the maximum acceptable chemistry for a residential swimming pool is free chlorine up to 5 parts per million (ppm), pH up to 7.8ppm, Total Alkalinity up to 150ppm, Calcium Hardness up to 500ppm, and Cyanuric Acid up to 100ppm. A word of caution, keeping the chemistry at these levels for an extended period of time will have adverse effects on the overall health of your pool. Approaching these extremes is only advisable if there is the anticipation of rainfall to be measured in FEET rather than inches and there is the potential for extended power loss.
With severe weather comes the potential for excessive debris like leaves, roof tiles, your neighbor’s oak tree, etc. Promptly removing such debris is important for the long term health of your pool.
Now that is a pool of information. However, there is an easier way to prepare your pool before a storm and to restore a swim ready environment to your backyard oasis. Hire a certified pool professional to manage your pool’s cleaning cycle and properly balance your water’s chemistry. Mention this article when you contact us to receive a free estimate.
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