Pools were designed with sunny days in mind, but that doesn’t mean they can’t take a little inclement weather—that is, as long as you’re willing to help out. If you’re already familiar with DIY pool maintenance, you know that maintaining a healthy pool involves keeping debris out and your chemical balance steady. A good storm will do its best to undo your hard work by introducing leaves and twigs, acidic rain, and even algae spores—the combination of any pool owner’s nightmares. By preparing your pool for the upcoming storm, you can do a little work now to prevent the worst of the work to come, and never watch the horizon with a sense of dread again. Based on the severity of the storm, I’ll explain how to protect your pool and give your water the boost it needs—and avoid any collateral damage while you’re at it.
First, Check the Weather Report
Not all instances of rain are created equally. For your pool, there’s a major difference between a bit of sprinkling rain and a torrential, wind-fueled storm—and as you can probably guess, the bigger the storm, the harder you’ll need to work to prepare for it. Plan specifically for the storm that’s brewing and you’re sure to save yourself a lot of time and energy. I think we can agree it’s better to watch the rain from your window with awe—not horror at what it’s doing to your poor, unprepared pool.
Yes, I know: whatever your source for the weather, it’s probably not accurate all the time. I’m sure at some point you’ve read that there was a 0% chance of rain... while you watched a rainstorm raging outside. I know I have. The truth is, you never know when things will go differently than expected—such as when even your pool pump misfires, which can sometimes lead to an actual fire. In this case, the best thing to do is to trust your own judgement and your gut. You know the weather of your own area. If you’re in monsoon territory in the middle of the summer, for example, it’s probably best to prepare for a major storm when the weather report isn’t clear.
Worried that your pool cover isn’t quite ready to hold up in the storm? Try the Sunnora 350 GPH Automatic Cover Pump to keep it dry and secure. According to customer Richard Hogan, “works great.”
Just a Sprinkling, Huh?
So you’re expecting just a bit of rain, no big deal. Congratulations, this is going to be ridiculously easy. Put in a little bit of effort now by covering up your pool, disconnecting your power, and making sure you’re stocked up on the chemicals you need—and save yourself any potential headaches later. And when a major storm comes, you’ll already have some of the steps down pat. Now that’s responsibility done right.
Step 1: Cover That Pool Up
That pool cover doesn’t have to just be for the sad months before you open your pool for the season. Although it’s not recommended for a major storm, you can use a pool cover for lighter sprinklings, or moderate rain that doesn’t involve any severe wind to protect your water. Remember, the rain is acidic and is out to get your chlorine.
If you don’t have the time to cover up your pool and you’re really not expecting any kind of major deluge, you could skip this step. Of course, there are no guaranteed loopholes when it comes to pool maintenance—you’ll probably just have to spend more time balancing your chemicals after the rain.
If you do cover your pool, make sure to get a durable cover pump—or else all that rainwater will accumulate, push down on your cover, and go right into your pool, anyway.
Step 2: Turn Your System Off
It’s an age-old truth that water and electricity don’t mix—though new technology begs to differ, like the robotic cleaner that you plug into an outlet before dropping into your pool. For storms small and large, it’s best to power off your circulation system just before the rain comes tumbling down. If you want to go the extra mile, disconnect it from your power source. Nobody could ever say you weren’t thorough.
Step 3: Check Your Chemicals on Hand
How’s your arsenal looking these days? In order to achieve the chemical balance that your pool needs, you want to make sure you have your sanitizer (for most of us, that’s chlorine), pool shock, pH increaser, pH decreaser, alkaline increaser, and calcium hardness increaser. If there’s ever a time to run out of these, this isn’t it.
For a minor storm, there’s no need to boost your chemicals before the rain hits. But once the sky is clear, you’ll want to balance your pool water as soon as possible.
If your pool consistently struggles to recover after a storm and a larger horsepower will turn over your water volume at a sufficient rate, then a more powerful pump like this Blue Torrent 2 HP Variable-Speed Pump. It also comes with a lifetime warranty, is eligible for rebates, and pays itself off in under a year by energy saved. As customer Bill Britton says, “Runs great. Super quiet.”
When There’s a Major Storm Ahead
So a big one is coming, huh? This is when the work gets serious. The goal here is to prevent any permanent damage to your pool or the surrounding area. Even when you properly prepare your pool for rain, the water will take a beating: expect there to be debris floating around and your chemical balance to be off. As long as you take care to clean and treat your water after the storm, this isn’t a big deal. Water can always be rebalanced, and the chances of the storm affecting your pool enough to require a full drain are minimal.
Step 1: Actually, Don’t Cover It Up
Listen, I know. The first thing anyone would want to do before a storm is cover up their pool and consider it done. Well, not so fast. A cover is great for rain, but keep in mind that any kind of major storm brings a high wind—a special challenge for a long, thin object like a pool cover. Severe wind could potentially lift your cover, render it useless, and even rip it apart. If you tend to get high winds in your area and it’s looking like this storm will be no different, it might actually make more sense to skip the cover this time around. If you want to use one, make sure it’s really, really secured.
Step 2: Check Your Water Level
If your pool isn’t covered, you can expect all that rainwater to go straight in—and if it’s a significant amount of rainfall, your water level is getting an acid-charged boost. Thankfully, most pools have an overflow system to handle extra water. Not sure if yours has one? Check around the rim of your pool for a series of drains. If you see them, you’re in the clear.
If you don’t have an overflow system to handle extra water, go ahead and drain your pool by about a foot. Keep in mind that you should never run your pump or any part of your pool circulation system if the water level is below halfway up the skimmer. If you lower your water level below that point, check it again after the storm. If it didn’t rain as much as you expected, you’ll need to use a hose to fill it up—again, before you turn on your circulation system—and will need to test and balance your water accordingly.
Step 3: Add Pool Shock & Algaecide
Worried about all the gunk that is about to hit your pool? I don’t blame you, and lucky for us there are a few preventative measures that can be taken. If you have some fair warning for the storm coming, add pool shock to your pool to keep your sanitizer levels high. You want your water at the ready to fight off new bacteria introduced by the rain—and this will minimize the work it’ll take to restore your water later. Again, you need to know about the weather ahead of time: as always, you should only add pool shock at dusk or night.
I hate to have to tell you this, but rain can also introduce algae into the pool. This is because there are algae spores in the air, which can attach to rain drops. Although at first they’re too small to be seen by the naked eye, after the sun comes out and warms your pool after a rain, you might see that you have an algae bloom on your hands. Algaecide is a better tool for algae prevention than algae killing, so add a little bit to your pool now and save yourself a major hassle later.
For pool shock, I recommend the tried and true Super Premium Sanitizing and Fast-Acting Pool Shock. Not only does it work fast in your water, but its conveniently packaged in one-pound bags, so you never have to worry about measuring yours out again.
Step 4: Power Off!
Just like you would for a smaller storm, turn off your pump’s circulation system. In fact, disconnect it from the power source completely. It’s just the safe, smart thing to do. And it’s best to do what you can to make sure your pump is running for the proper amount of time everyday, so you might need to disconnect it right before the storm, and be on clean up duty as soon as possible after the storm ends.
Step 5: Clean Up the Surrounding Area
Let’s set the scene. Imagine you did everything you needed to do: you assessed the pool cover do-or-don’t situation, you got the right water level, you added the chemicals you needed to add, and you cut off the power source to your circulation system. But imagine that you were focused on the pool and the pool only, and the morning after the storm you found a mess outside: your pool furniture all over the place (including in your pool), plant pots shattered, maybe even a tree limb fallen somewhere awful. Okay, nightmare over.
Since you’re taking the time to prepare your pool for rain, look around at your yard, too. Are your tree branches precariously overgrown and in need of a trimming? Is your pool cleaner out of the pool and safely stored into your garage or shed? Is your landscaping ready to withstand a few major blows?
Take a moment to focus on preparing your yard for rain. And by the way, don’t store your furniture in your pool! It’ll only introduce difficult metal stains you’ll have to deal with. I love the creativity. But just don’t do it.
Pool Prepped? Let the Rain Come Down.
Now that you’re ready for the storm, there’s nothing to do but watch it fall. But because you put in the hard work now, you know that your pool is protected from the worst of it—and you’re more than ready for the clean up. And when the sun comes out again, you’ll be able to enjoy it without reservation. Now that’s a job well done.