How to Prepare Your Pool for Hurricane Eta

Hurricane Eta is expected to hit Florida within the next 24 hours or so. The Tampa Bay area is in Eta's path. We may not be in the center of that path, but we could still experience dangerous, tropical storm or possibly even hurricane force winds.
Here is a guide for how to prepare Tampa swimming pools for a hurricane.
1) Bring loose pool equipment in doors. Any object that is not secured to the ground or you house can become a dangerous projectile during a hurricane. Tables, chairs, brushes, poles, pool vacuums, containers of chemicals, toys, basketball hoops, and free-standing grills should all be brought inside your house or garage. Putting them in a screened porch or lanai is not enough, since wind can pass through the screen
2) Secure pool equipment. For pool equipment that is fixed in place, make sure all the bolts are tight and everything is as secure as possible.  This includes the pool pump, filter, salt chlorination system, heater, ladder, diving board, and slide.
3) Trim trees. Trimming the trees around your pool, will lessen the chances you'll have branches break off and blow through your pool screen or your windows.  It will also reduce the amount of branches and leaves that end up in your gutters potentially clogging them.  Of course, if your city is not picking up yard waste before the hurricane is due to arrive, you'll also need to haul off the branches or bring them inside your garage. The last thing you want is a bunch of dead branches in front of your house where they can be blown through a window.
4) Clean french drains. Most in-ground pools have a french drain built into the deck between the pool and the house. This takes water out to the sides of the pool deck rather towards your house. Hurricanes can dump a lot of rain very quickly into your pool and onto your pool deck. If your french drain has leaves or other debris in it, water won't be able flow as quickly and you could end up with flooding on your pool deck and possibly your house.
5) Clean downspout and gutters. As you clean out the french drain, it's also wise to clean the gutters along the edge of your roof and the downspouts. If they are clogged with leaves, sticks, balls or toys (yes, it happens), water will overflow onto your pool deck and force your french drain to handle even more water.  This extra water could be more than your french drain can handle, and could cause water to flood into your home.
6) Add chlorine. Rain from a hurricane dilutes the chlorine in your pool. Leaves and other organic matter may also get blown into your pool which could accelerate algae growth. Furthermore, if the hurricane causes a power outage, you may not be able to run the pool filter for several days. If you use liquid chlorine, pour an extra jug into the pool. If you have a salt chlorine system, increase the chlorine level the day before (since you won't be able to do it after #7...)
7) Turn off the power. Turn off the power for all electrical equipment at the circuit breaker.  This will reduce the likelihood of short circuits and damage to electrical equipment should lightning strike your house, wind blow covers off of control panels, or flying debris hit the equipment. 
Finally, one big don't... DON'T drain the water out of your pool! Heavy rain saturates the ground around in-ground swimming pools. If you empty your pool, there's a good chance the ground water will pop the pool right out of the ground (yes, I've seen it.) 
By taking these steps, you can greatly reduce the chances of damage to your swimming pool and home during a hurricane.
If you have any questions about your pool, or if you're interested in remodeling your pool or building a new pool in the Tampa, Trinity or Tarpon Springs areas, contact us Grand Vista Pools, the premier Tampa pool builder.


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