Disconnect, shock and lower water level

Before a storm hits, here's what you should do to protect your swimming pool:

 If you fear flooding, lower the water to about three inches below the skimmer. Close the skimmer valve to prevent damage to the pump and piping. Water in the pool will act as a shield for the finish of the pool, protecting it from sand and flying debris.

 Add extra chlorine to prevent contamination. Pool service companies recommend powder shock or liquid chlorine. The pool also provides a handy source of water for washing or flushing toilets if your house's main water supply fails.

 Do not allow anyone to enter the pool after chlorine is added.

 Turn off the electricity to the pool equipment at the circuit breaker, not at the pump.

 Disconnect pool lights and chlorinators.

 Once the pump is cool, you can wrap it in a plastic bag for extra protection.

 Wrap an exposed filter with waterproof covering and tie it securely.

 Remove the child safety fence. Do not allow children near the pool after the fence is removed. Reinstall it immediately after the storm.

 Bring patio furniture indoors; don't throw it in the pool. Furniture may chip and damage the pool finish.

 Remove canvas patio awnings and bring them indoors.

After a storm passes, here's what you should do:

 Even if it's full of debris, do not drain your pool. Our high water table could cause the pool to pop out of the ground.

 Without electricity to filter and vacuum pools after a hurricane, they can become mosquito breeding grounds. To maintain reasonable water quality while you wait for the power to be restored or for the pool to be repaired, remove all debris.

 If there's dirt on the pool bottom, a device called a Leafmaster might help. The Leafmaster, which attaches to a pool brush handle, uses a garden hose to blast dirt from the bottom into a collection bag. It probably won't be much help if there is a lot of mud, sand or sludge in the pool.

 If you didn't chlorinate your pool before the storm, add a chlorinator after, either in the form of the 10 percent sodium hypochlorite solution sold in the familiar yellow jugs or the 65 percent calcium hypochlorite granules, commonly known as shock.

 Superchlorinate the pool according to the manufacturer's instructions. Doing so will restore the water's familiar color, but the pool will appear cloudy. Maintain the water in its superchlorinated state until electricity is restored or help arrives. Don't allow anyone in the pool while it is superchlorinated. The safe level of chlorination for swimming is 1.0 to 3.0 parts per million.

 If your pool has gouges in the Marcite interior coating or other structural damage, you'll need an expert to help. Choose one carefully.

 For more tips, contact Associated Swimming Pool Industries of Florida, 305-937-0960.

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