Let’s face it, folks, the weather has been pretty unpredictable over the past few years. In fact, we’ve been facing life-changing events for multiple years in a row now. From brushfires year after year to the intense flooding we’ve seen just recently (and not to mention the pandemic), mother nature seems to be bent on making lives difficult for everyone.
New pool owners will probably think that flooding is not a big problem because water is water right? Well, sorry to burst your bubble but flooding is probably one of the worse things that can happen to your pool. It absolutely destroys your pool chemical balance at the very least and can even physically damage your pool!
Pool Flood Damage Explained
Before we go ahead and explain how to flood-proof your pool, it’s best to understand what types of damage can happen to your pool so that our disaster-proofing will make sense.
- Floodwaters getting into your pool - Floodwater isn’t just plain water. They bring with them many different contaminants like debris, dirt, and other nasty stuff that don’t belong in your pool. If it was just plain water then it would just be a matter of draining the excess water and rebalancing, but it’s not that simple!
- Water damage to decking and pool surroundings - Depending on your location and flood intensity, decking becoming submerged can cause a lot of damage and if your pool surroundings are directly connected to your lawn then there is the possibility of the edge of your lawn eroding off, leading to pool structural damage.
- Pool Equipment Damage - Water and electricity don’t mix. Yes, while your pool equipment like your pool pumps and chlorinator are designed to work in moist and wet environments, they’re not meant to be submerged in water, which will be the case if you live in an area where flooding is common. Well, even if flooding isn’t common, it never hurts to be prepared.
Mild Flood / Heavy Rain Protection for Australian Pools
Barring extremely heavy flooding, there are some things we can do to prepare for heavy rains and mild flooding in our areas. Many of these steps can be done in an afternoon so if rain is on the forecast, be sure to do these simple protection steps to minimize any damage done to our pools.
- Clear any drainages, gutters, and other water passages of leaves and other debris. This is pretty simple, don’t expect the water to wash the debris away. Clogged drainages will cause overflows, which will eventually cascade and cause runoff to reach your pool.
- Drain the pool a few inches. Don’t fully drain the pool as that will damage your pool, just drain it by the expected rainfall and add an inch or two as allowance. This should ensure that your pool doesn’t overflow.
- Bring your pool furniture indoors - While chucking pool furniture into the pool may sound like a good idea, only reserve it for when you absolutely have no room to store the furniture in. And if this is the case, don’t throw them in, gently lower them into the pool to avoid damaging your pool surfaces, this is true especially if you have a vinyl or fibreglass pool! Note: Be sure to thoroughly rinse out anything submerged in the pool for extended periods of time because the pool chemicals will surely do a number on them. Be sure to weigh them down as well as floating pool furniture can damage your pool surfaces.
Extreme safety precautions you can take at home
As we said in the intro, mother nature has been really unkind recently and here are some things we can do to protect our pool and our pool equipment from flood damage.
Raise your pool equipment
As a pre-emptive move, we can raise our pool equipment like pool pumps, filters and other filtration system components by one or two feet. This can be done with a little bit of plumbing work and a bit of time and the payoff will be more than well worth it. To determine how high you should raise your pool equipment, consult with your local government unit to see the flood tables and raise your equipment a tad higher than the maximum amount.
- Avoid the temptation of getting a wooden box or something not anchored properly as floodwaters may dig around it and wash away the stand, causing even more damage to your pool equipment.
- Shield and properly raise all electrical wires. While this is something that should have been done during installation, there are times where wires will be droopy and are sometimes even touching the ground! This is a simple task to do, some flexible conduit to protect the wires and properly mount them to walls should do the trick.
One of the reasons why older pools don’t have raised platforms for their pool equipment was the risk of the pool pump losing prime if the pump is raised a certain level. This is actually no longer a problem with the newer variable speed pumps like the Water TechniX Pump Vortex ECO Variable Speed as this pump and other newer pump models are already self-priming and this is no longer an issue! Another pro or advantage to raising your pool equipment is that you’ll be doing a big favour to your back by lessening the need to bend over too much when doing maintenance.
No Space? No Problem!
If for any reason, you cannot raise your pool pumping equipment then Mr Pool Man has a solution for that. Install some easy to remove couplings on your pool pump so you can just take it out if there’s a flood on the horizon. Just make sure to set all valves on both sides of the connection to the closed position to prevent floodwater from getting in. No valves? Look for plugs that you can fit into the pipes or have valves installed as well.
Disconnect all power connections
If a storm or a flood is on the horizon, unplug or shut off the breakers for any pool equipment, remove your timers and double-check. You don’t want your pool pump roaring to life and drawing electricity if there’s a flood.
Sandbags around the pool
Yes, don’t laugh. This is an actual thing. You can purchase some sandbags from your local handyman store or landscaping supply. If you have the space for storing them afterward, stacking up sandbags around the pool can protect your pool from runoff and floodwaters. You can also repurpose sandbags afterward by using them to create a makeshift sandpit or fort for the little ones!
Have backflow valves installed in your drainage lines
Now this may incur some added costs on your part (a lot actually) but having the extra peace of mind knowing that in times of flooding, sewage won’t come spilling back into your property is priceless! This can be done DIY di you have the proper know-how but if you did, then you’ve probably already done that! Consider contacting a plumber to see how much everything would cost. And this is actually something for the long term and not just for flood preparation.
Prepare Emergency Contacts
It’s always best to be prepared so some research beforehand will go a long way! Look for top rated contractors, plumbers, and electricians in your area and store their numbers beforehand. If you do this after the fact then you might have a hard time since everyone else will be doing the same!
Preparing for the Post-Flood Aftermath
Preparing for floods and disasters doesn’t end there. As with the previous tip (preparing emergency numbers) we should always be prepared to deal with the aftermath because no matter how much we prepare, our swimming pool will never escape uscathed from a weather event. Here are some of the recommended pool supplies from Mr Pool Man that you should seriously be considering.
Get A Venturi Pump
Depending on the severity of the rain and the flooding, chances are is that the power will be knocked out and this means that you won’t be able to run your pumps in order to siphon out any puddles or flooding on your property. A venturi pump only requires water pressure in order to draw out water so it’s an indispensable tool to have not only for your pool, but basements, flooded yards and more!
Venturi Vacuum Heads
Utilizing the same technology as the Venturi pump, you can also get a venturi vacuum head so you can get a jump start on vacuuming your pool while the power is still out! This is good since the faster you can clear out your pool, the more you can avoid algae blooms and you can get back to enjoying your pool faster!
Clarifiers and Flocculants
A flood will definitely, 100% deposit dirt and debris into your pool which will give your pool filters a tough time filtering them out. A quick way to clear up your pool is with the judicious use of clarifiers and flocculants. We’ve laid out an excellent guide here on the difference between Clarifiers and Flocculants and how to properly use them for your pool.
Phosphate Remover and Algaecide
Yes, we’ll need to take care of phosphates and algae since more often than not, the flooding and the rain will have deposited insane amounts of these into your pool. We need to take care of these to ensure that we don’t experience an algae bloom once the sun has come out.
A quick note: Before we go forward, it’s worth noting that at this point or anytime after a flood or heavy rain, our chemical balance levels are already destroyed and the partial draining and refilling of your pool will have diluted your chemicals so an overhaul of your pool balance will be required.
A complete set of pool Chemicals
Best to have these beforehand so that once everything clears out, you’ll be able to take care of your pool chemical levels immediately to prevent damage and algae growth. We won’t go through what chemicals to use and how to test because we’ve covered those extensively in the following articles.
Professional Leaf Removal Tools
With a flood comes leaves and other debris. Depending on the tools you have on hand, this can be really easy or really hard. If you have a leaf rake, then it’s very unwieldy and cumbersome to scoop out floating debris and conversely, if you have a leaf skimmer, you’re going to have a tough time scooping out bulk debris from the bottom of your pool. The best way to deal with it? Have all of them and switch out depending on the task at hand!
If you’re confused why we’ve included post-storm and post-flood suggestions in this post is that having a flood-proof pool doesn’t mean that your pool won’t be affected, this just means that we’re minimizing the damage caused and ensuring that your post-flood maintenance tasks won’t get out of hand!