Hurricane prep tips

SuzfromTexas

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TFP Guide
Apr 7, 2015
3,365
Houston, Texas
Flooding Procedures for Pools

When the rain is coming down multiple inches by the hour, an overflow drain may not maintain the pool water level. For some people, that could mean water coming into the back of the house.

Appropriate water level in the pool:
Normal circumstances: halfway up the skimmer, give or take an inch.
Torrential rains:
WITH an overflow drain, keep watch on the rate of rainfall and water level rise. Often the overflow drain will keep up. If the water is lapping under the coping and is not holding steady, get busy preparing for another way to drain water from the pool.
WITHOUT an overflow drain, don’t wait until the water level is lapping at the coping.
It’s an individual call on when to act. Experience with your pool and with your area’s downpours makes it an easier decision.


Draining below the skimmers is for extreme circumstances:
1. Turn off your pump and drain below the skimmers. It’s an individual call on how much.
2. Open the Main Drain and shut off the skimmers and follow directions below.
3. *** The equipment valve handles:
ON = handle is perpendicular to or crossing the pipe
OFF = handle is parallel to the pipe
***Never pre-drain your pool entirely. If you do, you risk your pool popping up out of the ground.

To drain water:
1. hose bib/spigot to drain water from the pool:
Open up the spigot between the filter and main pump. If that's an unwise place to drain, see #3. Respect your neighbors and drain away from their property. If you need to drain faster to keep up with rainfall, attach hoses to each spigot from other pumps you may have.

2. Important***** pump must be on: Keep the pump on high to get the greatest flow out of the hose. When the pump is on low, it is usually a very low flow rate out of the hose. Use the speed that gives you a margin of safety from the pool overflowing.

3. where to drain: You can attach your garden hose to the pump spigot and drain to a better place - driveway, street, etc. In the Hurricane Harvey situations, we could not have used our deck drains to put the hose end (the deck drains that run to the street). Our street was a rushing river, so my logic (correct or not) said that water with no place to go would all back up in the deck drains. Then the rainfall on the deck couldn't drain. That may not have been true. We ran the hoses to our long driveway which has a decent slope and no chance of pooling near the house.

4. SWG system: Turn off the salt system. There’s no point using up your cell as your pool water drains down the street. Some systems may allow you to turn it off; on others you simply turn the % level down to zero.

5. A Bleach pool: Remember, if you have your swg system turned off, you now need to watch the FC level. When you’re sure the torrential rains are coming, take the FC level up to SLAM level or at least high enough to give you wiggle room for timing of testing (using the breaks from the storm bands to get out there and test or to add more bleach)

6. skimmers: If you're dealing with storms that have bands as with hurricanes or tropical storms, use the break periods from the rain to get the debris out of the skimmers to keep the flow going well.


Alternate Methods to Drain a Pool
1. Filters that drain to waste (not cartridge filters):
Turn valves to waste

2. Sump pump: If you have one available and have power, throw that into the pool.

3. The old siphon method: You know, like you used to use when you "borrowed" gas from your neighbor's car...
Fill a garden hose with water and then put one end of a garden hose in the pool and the other end down hill somewhere without damaging anyone’s property.



For vinyl pool owners:
Sand bag the shallow end corners, plastic stair areas, and the center floor of the shallow end. If the liner floats, it won’t walk too far.

For Solar panels:
1) Fill up the solar roof heater. There are cutoff valves on the send and return lines from the panels, so close (very quickly so pump isn’t dead headed for more than a second) the return line. Then send so if wind gets under the panels, they at least have weight. (If you do not have these cut offs, that is something to look into getting.)

Miscellaneous
1. Remove or tie down furniture, pool toys, etc.
2. Divert or block mulch, soil, etc to keep out of the pool.

*** Remember: Don’t risk your life saving your pool during major winds or electrical storms.

You might want to print this out while you have power!
 

ivyleager

LifeTime Supporter
Sep 6, 2007
498
Raleigh-Durham,NC
This issue always is what to do when the power goes out? Here in Raleigh-Durham, I anticipate that happening.

My plan: Dump some water to just below the skimmer late Thursday evening when the rain bands are hitting here. Turn off pump, keeping it in waste mode. Maybe wake up a few times during the night to check things out, dump more water to waste if needed. If still have power Friday am will keep water level to just below the skimmer. Expected rainfall is 7-15 inches over 24hr period and I feel the need to stay in front of the rising pool water level. I have a 1/3hp sump pump that we can plug into the portable generator if needed. The sump pump notes it pumps 940 gal/water per hour. Seems like a decent enough amt of water to handle the rainfall IF rainfall isn't coming down faster than that. That's my only concern at this point.

I don't know why I'm so concerned about my pool/liner, as I already have some wrinkles and water under/behind my 16 yr old liner now. Pool guy is scheduled to come in the next month anyway to give it look and put together options moving forward. I just don't want to make anything worse.

Be safe everyone.
 

SuzfromTexas

Gold Supporter
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TFP Guide
Apr 7, 2015
3,365
Houston, Texas
CaryB, I'll be thinking of you and wishing for you and everyone in your area the best of outcomes.

Thanks for sharing your plans! I've only been through one hurricane, Harvey, with my pool. I appreciate you letting us know what you are doing in preparation. The more input we get from all different experiences, the better our advice will be.

Take care and be safe!
Suz
 

Saturn94

Well-known member
Mar 11, 2015
1,044
SE Virginia
Pool Size
20000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
It’s a tricky call with our vinyl liner pool (Hampton Roads area of VA). If I lower the level ahead of time it increases the chance of floating. If I leave the level at normal and we lose power, well, then we may be out of luck.

I’m not sure how much effort I should put into trying to protect a 14 year old liner.
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
43,238
Tucson, AZ
I just skimmed through the original post as we do not have this problem in Arizona :) but with the expected torrential rains and flooding, it might be wise to bring your pump inside so it does not get some submerged. Or if you do not have unions around your pump perhaps even just bringing in the electric motor.
 

Jwmote

Bronze Supporter
Apr 6, 2018
68
Bedford/Tx
I want to post a tidbit on this part.

Make sure you check local code. Some cities forbid draining the pool to the street or storm drain. I know my city requires it be drained to the sewage overflow as to not get into the storm drain. If you drain to the street then the chemicals could get into the rivers and streams and be bad. Although with a hurricane you might not worry about local code too much.

3. where to drain: You can attach your garden hose to the pump spigot and drain to a better place - driveway, street, etc. In the Hurricane Harvey situations, we could not have used our deck drains to put the hose end (the deck drains that run to the street). Our street was a rushing river, so my logic (correct or not) said that water with no place to go would all back up in the deck drains. Then the rainfall on the deck couldn't drain. That may not have been true. We ran the hoses to our long driveway which has a decent slope and no chance of pooling near the house.


 

Marlahoutex

Platinum Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Aug 9, 2014
2,550
Houston tx
Make sure you have plenty of bleach and if needed pool salt. After Harvey, bleach was one of the first things to fly off the grocery shelves and pool salt was even harder to find. I ended up using water softener salt, just the plain kind, but it took forever to dissolve. Or maybe I was just impatient!
Good luck and be safe!
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
43,238
Tucson, AZ
Make sure you have plenty of bleach and if needed pool salt. After Harvey, bleach was one of the first things to fly off the grocery shelves and pool salt was even harder to find. I ended up using water softener salt, just the plain kind, but it took forever to dissolve. Or maybe I was just impatient!
Good luck and be safe!
All I ever use is water softener solar salt. It is the same stuff just vastly cheaper. And why does it matter if it takes 15 minutes to dissolve instead of a couple :)
 

jwhop3

Well-known member
Jun 9, 2014
139
Rocky Mount/Virginia
Take my advise from my experience early this season... a sixteen year-old liner is a catastrophic failure looking for a place to happen. Mine got water behind it from high rains and snow melt in the off-season, and floated to where it tore away from the light fixture and floor drain, shredding the liner.
 

jwhop3

Well-known member
Jun 9, 2014
139
Rocky Mount/Virginia
Don't fool yourself. Water draining from a swimming pool is much cleaner than storm water runoff from all the parking lots, streets and fields. They want it draining to the sewer so that if they have flow meters, they can track how much water you are adding to the system and bill accordingly. If there is a local code, follow it, but don't do it just because you think it's the right thing.
 

jwhop3

Well-known member
Jun 9, 2014
139
Rocky Mount/Virginia
If you lose power, and you can find one, a great trick is a flow valve drain that taps into your hose spigot or kitchen sink spigot. It is a 3-way valve that connects to your tap, drains out the hose, and siphons from your pool. Hardware stores used to sell them for draining waterbeds.
 

Jwmote

Bronze Supporter
Apr 6, 2018
68
Bedford/Tx
Don't fool yourself. Water draining from a swimming pool is much cleaner than storm water runoff from all the parking lots, streets and fields. They want it draining to the sewer so that if they have flow meters, they can track how much water you are adding to the system and bill accordingly. If there is a local code, follow it, but don't do it just because you think it's the right thing.
Mostly the stated reason is because of all the chemicals in the water that are added to keep it clean. I didn't really think they tested the water flowing into the sewer and rather just check it coming from the meter to the house.

I used to drain mine to the street all the time until I found out there was an ordinance against it.
 

jwhop3

Well-known member
Jun 9, 2014
139
Rocky Mount/Virginia
Mostly the stated reason is because of all the chemicals in the water that are added to keep it clean. I didn't really think they tested the water flowing into the sewer and rather just check it coming from the meter to the house.

I used to drain mine to the street all the time until I found out there was an ordinance against it.
I'd bet good money the water in your pool is safer for the environment than the water running out of most taps. As long as you're not putting all that Pool Store Voodoo in it.
 

jwhop3

Well-known member
Jun 9, 2014
139
Rocky Mount/Virginia
Here is a link for the waterbed drain valve I mentioned above. I don't see many of these in the hardware stores these days (Big box, anyways) but $4 on Megazon isn't unreasonable. If your power goes out, but you still have water pressure, this siphon pump will get it flowing.

Amazon.com: Waterbed Mattress Fill Dining

Forgive me if a megazon link is inappropriate for the board, I'm not here to sell anything.

A quick point, this is a siphon primer, once the flow starts, you don't have to keep the water running. It used to drain my waterbed in minutes, so it wouldn't take long to drop your pool a couple inches.
 

SuzfromTexas

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TFP Guide
Apr 7, 2015
3,365
Houston, Texas
Thank you for the link! Amazon (megazon! Lol!!) links are great! They simplify life!

I'm ordering one today. That way I'll never have need for one!
:laughblue: If I don't order one, I'll be regretting it.

Thanks for all your help!
Suz