The 2022 hurricane season is in full swing and being prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws our way is essential. This even includes getting the swimming pool or hot tub ready for a storm.
You might think your swimming pool doesn't need to be 'storm ready', but the experts say it definitely does. Overlooking the pool during hurricane preparation can lead to a higher risk of damage to your home or even the pool itself.
1. Take the cover off
Your instinct may be to cover the pool or hot tub ahead of a storm but experts say that's actually the worst thing you can do. The cover, which we normally use to keep debris out of the water, can turn an above-ground pool and hot tub into a flying object in a hurricane. The wind passing over the cover could launch it into the air and into your home. Always take the cover off ahead of a storm.
2. Do not drain the water, fill 'er up!
Tempting though it might be, draining the hot tub or the swimming pool ahead of a storm is a bad idea. The best thing you can do is fill them up as high as possible. Lowering the water will not prevent flooding, it damages the structure of the foundation of the pool and hot tub. An above ground pool or hot tub with a low level of water in it during a hurricane runs the risk of being pushed upwards or floating away.
The same goes for an in-ground pool. Filling the pool gives it weight to keep it in the ground. Empty or low-level pools can 'pop' out of the ground thanks to 'lift' pressure caused by excessive rain. Experts advise you set up a siphon hose in the pool so that you can get the excess water out of the pool if it overflows.
3. Filters off, sanitize, and shock ahead of the storm
Storms have a bad habit of clogging up a pool filter. Powering off the filter and the pumps ahead of a hurricane can help you avoid malfunction or motor over-exertion. Experts also recommend shocking your pool to the max with chlorine or bromine ahead of a hurricane or tropical storm so that the water is ultra-sanitized.
4. Move and tie down loose objects
This seems like an obvious part of planning ahead for a storm but when it comes to pools and hot tubs, the list can be endless. Chairs, tables, decorations, pool cleaning tools, even skimmer lids, all have to be secured before a storm hits. Pool experts recommend removing or screwing down skimmer lids tightly ahead of a hurricane.
Next, check the fence or enclosure for loose posts and make repairs. If you have any signs or decorations around the pool, take them down because in high winds. They're going to become a flying object that could hit your home.
It's better to put all outdoor furniture inside your home. Only as a last resort should you put the pool furniture or cleaning tools into the pool. Anything left inside the pool can damage the pool liner as it gets knocked around during the storm.
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5. Turn off the power to the pool equipment
Circuit breakers at the main panel need to be shut off completely to stop anything from operating during a hurricane. Pool experts say you can run the pumps and filters while the weather is calm. However, once the high winds, lightning and rain arrive, turn the circuit breaker off at the main panel and leave it off until the storm passes.
6. Wrap and protect the equipment
This is when your wrapping expertise pays off. The pump motor, time clock, light transformers, and heater all have to be wrapped in waterproof plastic then sealed before a hurricane. If you live in a flood-prone zone, it is best to disconnect the devices and take them to a dry area.
It's also worth the effort to clean up the area around the equipment pad. Keeping the pad clear will let water drain away freely from that expensive equipment once the hurricane force winds and torrential rain arrive.
7. Check and protect your pool screen enclosure
This may be the easiest step of all. Damage to the screen enclosure can be prevented if you make a 'vent' in the screen to let wind flow through. Experts say you can also remove panels on opposite sides to give wind a place to flow through.
Experts say following these steps can help prevent damage to your pool, hot tub, and even your home when a hurricane hits.
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: How to prepare your pool and hot tub ahead of a hurricane