Should I Turn Off My Pool Pump if it is Raining?

We experience all kinds of inclement weather around the Nation and the globe.  Rain is probably the most common and universal.  Although here in California, we haven’t been seeing too much of it!  What should we do, or not do, when it comes to rainy weather and our swimming pool?

Safety First!

This is a rule I have all of my swimming pool service technicians follow and what I always tell my customers.  Never, under any circumstances should you be netting or brushing your pool when it is raining.  Even if you don’t see lightning and an electrical storm is not forecasted, I cannot stress this enough.  You never want to be holding on to your metal, telescopic pole while it is raining.  This puts you at risk of attracting lightning.  Please don’t die?  Those leaves can wait!

All you can really do is make sure the pump and skimmer baskets are empty so you impeller in your pump won’t get clogged, help prevent clogs in your line and make sure the water can flow freely through your system so your pump doesn’t run dry.

Run for Cover

If you have a swimming pool cover you may want to put it on during a rainstorm.  This will help keep debris from falling into the pool.  Keep in mind it will catch on the top of the cover and you’ll still have to deal with the mess one way or another.  If you have a safety cover, same thing.  

The Equipment

There is no need to turn off your circulation system during a rain storm.  We need the chemicals to still work and want the dirt and debris to be filtered out just like under normal circumstances.  Never try to change settings on the pool pump or at the timer when it is raining.  Never try to install any equipment involving electrical work when it is raining.   Even if you have a pop-up or some other cover, it is just not worth the risk.

An Overflowing Pool

This can happen if the rainfall is heavy or continuous.  If you can, wait until the storm passes and then deal with it.  I have had some customers call me and say the water was overflowing so badly that it was coming towards their home!  If it is an issue or an emergency, having a DE filter will be really helpful in this instance.  While we would never drain our entire pool through our filter, lowering the water is acceptable.  Depending on the type of valve setup you have, you can backwash, letting the water go the opposite direction in the filter and than out to a designated p-trap.  You may have a multiport valve that gives you other options.  If you don’t have a designated area to expel the water, you can purchase a backwash hose at your local pool store and direct the water to the street or wherever is safest.

After the rain, or during only if it is absolutely necessary, you can also set up what is called a submersible pump.  This is a type of pump used to drain water from pools.  Yes, they plug in ,but are safe in and around water.  How fast you’ll be able to pump out the water depends on the size of the pump.  This is usually measured in Gallons Per Hour. (GPH).  You can buy these or even rent them at some hardware stores.   If you live in a place that rains a lot, investing in one may be a prudent choice.

After the Rain

You will have a mess on your hands, especially if the rain comes with heavy winds.  Now it is safe to net and brush your pool.  I recommend a heavy duty net and brush like this one.

It even comes with test strips!  Net as much debris out of the pool as you can before vacuuming.  If you have an automatic vacuum cleaner, take it out until most of the heavy debris is scooped out or you will just clog your cleaner.

Test the chemicals and make the necessary adjustments.  If you had to backwash your filter, make sure to put 75% of DE back in.  That is 75% of what you would use had you done a full filter clean.  And heck, if you got enough debris, you may need to do a full filter clean.

Be patient with yourself.  Our professional pool cleaning technicians can take 2-3 visits to restore the pool.