Before the storm
■ The cardinal rule: Don’t drain your pool. There is a lot of groundwater after storms, and it could cause your pool to float out of the ground. The water inside the pool will help weigh it down.
■ If you live in a low-lying area, turn off the power to your pool pump, unhook the plumbing hoses and lift it higher to make sure the pump isn’t submerged in the event of flooding.
■ Remove the doors to your pool cage or screen enclosure. If you are short on time, make sure they are properly secured.
■ All pool cages/screens have “tie-downs” on the bottom, securing them to their base. Add extra tie-downs beyond what is required by code and make sure the existing bolts are secure and not corroded.
■ If a strong storm is headed your way and you are pretty sure you will lose your pool cage, slash an X in the screens to cut down on wind resistance, possibly saving the structure. Insurance will not cover the damage from the cutting, but getting the enclosure rescreened is cheaper than replacing it.
■ It is important that all electric power be turned off at the circuit breakers before the storm hits. Any exposed electrical equipment such as motors for the pumps should be tightly covered with plastic wrap (if flooding is expected they may be disconnected and removed).
■ Never throw or drop anything into a pool that could damage the pool walls or bottom (especially vinyl-lined or fiberglass). It is best to remove any and all loose objects such as chairs, tables, pool equipment and even toys that can become dangerous projectiles in high winds. If you cannot store them inside a building, carefully and gently placing them in the pool will help shield them from the winds. Be very careful in doing so, and remember, pool chemicals may damage them.
Sources: Daily News research, emergency managers, pool contractors
After the storm
The work isn’t over after the storm, especially if there is a power outage. Here are some tips from Lee County Emergency Management Services to maintain the water quality of your pool:
■ Clear all debris from the water.
■ Add chlorine, such as 10 percent sodium hypochlorite granules called “shock,” to super chlorinate the water. Be sure to follow manufacturer’s instructions, and maintain the super-chlorinated state until the electricity is restored.
■ Do not allow anyone into the super-chlorinated water.
The Florida Swimming Pool Association also advises to be sure that everything is dry before dealing with electrical start-up. Check your circuit breakers to be sure they are off before attempting to reconnect electrical equipment such as pump motors. Inspect the wiring (especially ground wires) for proper connections. Be sure you are following manufacturers’ instructions when reactivating equipment. If electric motors have been exposed to water, they should be checked by a competent professional.