Hurricane Dorian has finally passed and, luckily, didn’t make landfall in Florida. While Central Florida was spared, many coastal communities still experienced strong hurricane and tropical storm force winds. With another tropical storm in Florida’s path, and hurricane season still in full force, this topic is still on our minds. We previously talked about how to prepare your pool for a hurricane, but what do you need to do for your pool after the storm passes? The chemistry of your pool and spa is greatly affected by the rain and debris that come with heavy storms. Here’s what you need to know to properly get your pool to back to swim-worthy after a storm.
Post Storm Pool Clean-up
1. Skim Leaves and Debris
The very first thing you should do after severe storm is remove any floating debris on the surface of the pool as well as any that has settled on the bottom. You’ll want to do this with your skimmer/leaf net on an extendable pole so you can rake and scoop up the leaves and debris from the surface and bottom of the pool. Concentrate on the larger debris at this point as any small dirt particles will be vacuumed up later in the process. The greatest concern with leaving debris in your pool after a heavy rainfall is the growth of algae. Rainstorms bring pollen and plant matter that encourage the growth and spread of algae. Algae growth in the pool water that is left untreated for any period of time becomes very difficult to remove and can cause damage that is difficult to repair.
2. Clean Out Skimmer Baskets and Pump Strainer
With the power and filtration still off, the next thing you’ll want to do is clean out all the skimmer baskets AND the pump strainer. You will likely find a significant amount of debris in both of them after a strong storm and, if they aren’t cleaned properly, it could cause a clog in your system.
3. Check Electrical Equipment and Turn the Power On
Before throwing the power switch to on, make sure to remove all coverings from the pool equipment and check for any signs of water damage. If you see any potential water damage signs, DO NOT TURN THE POWER BACK ON! Call your local licensed electrician to come out and check your equipment. This will prevent any unnecessary injuries to yourself as well as any serious or permanent damage to your pool equipment. Please do not try to clean the equipment or turn the power on by yourself!
If you find that your equipment is dry and free from water damage, you should be just fine to turn the power on and run your filtration and circulation systems.
4. Clean and Backwash the Pool Filter
A strong storm will lead to large amounts of small particles, dust and dirt in your pool water, meaning your filter will need to be cleaned and possibly backwashed before the filtration system can be run. You may actually have to do this several times due to the severity of the storm and the amount of small particles that settled in your pool. Refer to your manufacturer’s operation manual to make sure you are cleaning your filter properly. For DE filters, now is the time to replace the DE filter media. For cartridge filters, you may want to consider removing the cartridges and cleaning each one or replace them with new ones.
5. Check the Water Level, Remove as Needed
Excess water is one of the largest problems caused by a hurricane or tropical storm. Heavy rainfall has the potential to cause flooding for pool and spa owners leading to debris and extra runoff in your pool. It can also flood the pool equipment like the filters and pumps. If your pool doesn’t overflow but the water levels are too high, surface skimmers also become ineffective. You’ll want to bring the water level back to normal using a sump pump or a siphon. A Pools by Bradley Quick Tip: You can gauge how high your pool’s water level should be by looking at the mid-tile line. If it’s at mid-tile line, it’s perfect. Over mid-tile, it’s too full; under mid-tile, it’s too low.
6. Vacuum and Brush Pool Walls and Floor
Once your pool equipment is back on and the pool water is mid-tile line, it is time to remove the fine dirt and dust from your pool. First, vacuum up the dirt and debris off the bottom of the pool using your automatic pool cleaner or pool vacuum. You may also want to vacuum directly to the garbage if possible, as running the debris through the filter can quickly cause clogging. After you finish vacuuming, thoroughly brush your pool to remove the dirt and debris from the walls. Repeat this process until you see that the water is practically clear. If you are not able to vacuum your pool, you will need to monitor the pressure gauge of your filter frequently and repeat the cleaning and backwashing of the filter if the pressure gets too high.
7. Shock and Balance Water Chemistry
At this point your pool water may appear to be clean and clear, but there is still a significant amount of potentially harmful microscopic contaminants floating in the water. If left like this, algae and harmful bacteria can begin to grow. To prevent this growth, the next thing you need to do is shock your pool and raise the chlorine level to around 10.0 ppm. After you’ve shocked the pool and the chlorine level has reduced to ~3.0 ppm, it’s time to balance the water chemistry. The most important levels are measure are pH, total alkalinity and Calcium Hardness. The following are the levels needed for each for proper balancing:
- pH: 7.4-7.6
- Total Alkalinity: 80-120 ppm
- Calcium Hardness: 180-200 ppm
8. Run Circulation and Filtration Systems
The last step to get your pool back in tip-top shape after a storm is to run your circulation and filtration systems. You’ll want to run this equipment until the water is clean, which may take up to several days. It may seem excessive to have it run that entire time, but you need to be sure you’ve removed any and all particles from the water after a storm. Make sure to keep on top of the skimmer and pump strainer basket during this process as well as the pressure of the filter, backwashing if needed.
Questions About Cleaning Your Pool After a Storm?
Please reach out to us if you have ANY questions about getting your pool back to tip-top shape after a storm! Whether we built your pool or not!
All of us here at Pools by Bradley live and breathe our mission of designing and building your ultimate outdoor pool atmosphere. We also want to provide as much education to our clients as possible! We intend to inspire you to improve the recreational time you spend with your family and friends in your new outdoor environment. Our motto is “take care of the customer and everything else will take care of itself”. When you choose Pools by Bradley to help you build your dream pool, you can rest assured that you’re choosing the very best. As a local family owned and operated company founded in back 1996, we have received numerous design awards and honors. Pools by Bradley is rated as one of the top 50 pool builders in the U.S., plus recognized as the “Best Pool Company” in Orlando by Orlando Magazine several years in a row! We offer custom built pools and spas with additions ranging from water features and lighting effects to rain curtains and water slides…the sky’s the limit! Contact us online or call us today at 407-323-7946 (Lake Mary) or 386-410-7946 (NSB) to see how we can help you build the pool of your dreams!