How to Prep Your Pool For a Storm

Written by Michael Dean
June 19, 2024

swimming pool during a rainstorm

Is there a storm brewing? Storms can be annoying for any homeowner, but for a swimming pool owner, they can wreak havoc without proper preparation. Should you keep it exposed? Should you turn off your pump? There are many questions about prepping your swimming pool for a storm.

In this article, I will answer the above questions and more regarding storm preparation for pool owners.

Main Takeaways

  • For safety reasons, you should always turn your pool pump off during a storm.
  • To prep your pool for a storm, you must balance the water chemistry, lower the water level, turn off electrical equipment, remove pool accessories, keep the pool uncovered, and trim nearby shrubs and trees.
  • If your pool is overflowing, use a submersible pump or pump drain or siphon the water.
  • After a storm, remove the debris, balance the water chemistry, run the pump, clean the surfaces, and shock the pool.

Should You Turn Off Your Pool Pump During a Storm?

One of the first things you should do if a storm is approaching is turn off and unplug your pool pump. But why?


One of the primary reasons to turn off your pool pump during a storm is, of course, safety. Lightning is a huge risk to your pool’s electrical equipment, including your pool pump. So, if they are reporting an electrical storm or any risk of lightning, turn off and unplug the pump to protect it.


When it’s storming outside, you will likely get a lot of debris entering your pool. While your pool pump and filtration system are designed to handle normal amounts of debris, the excessive load during a storm can strain the system and cause damage. This is another good reason to turn off your pump during a storm to prevent clogging and reduce the wear and tear on your pool pump and filtration system. Don’t worry—you can clean your pool later!

Water Chemistry

I know it can be worrying that turning off your pool pump will negatively affect the health of your pool and the pool’s water chemistry, but a short period without filtration, typically the duration of a storm, is unlikely to cause significant issues. After the storm passes, simply run the pump longer than usual and thoroughly clean and chemically balance your pool.

How to Prep Your Pool for a Storm

Prepping your pool for a storm is crucial to minimize the amount of damage that may occur. Storms can spell trouble for your pool, so it’s important to take all the essential steps to protect your pool and equipment.

Balance the Water Chemistry

Start by balancing your pool’s water chemistry. Ensure that the pH, alkalinity, and chlorine levels are within the recommended ranges. In fact, I even recommend adding a bit more chlorine than usual if you want to ensure your chemical levels are still intact by the time the storm is over. Properly balanced water will be less susceptible to contamination from debris and rainwater, making post-storm cleanup easier.

Lower the Water Level

You should also consider lowering the water level in your pool by a few inches. But NEVER drain your pool! You’ll just need to slightly lower the water level to help prevent the pool from overflowing. 

Turn Off and Protect Electrical Equipment

When water comes into contact with an active electric current, the result can be disastrous and dangerous. So, before a storm, I always turn off the pool pump, heater, and any other electrical equipment. If possible, unplug them. You should also securely cover any electrical components and put them on a raised surface to keep them dry and safe from flooding.

Remove and Store Pool Accessories

Remove all accessories from the pool and pool area, such as pool toys, floats, and lounge furniture. High winds can lift all these accessories up into the air, causing damage to your pool and even your home. Make sure to store them all in a safe, indoor location.

Keep the Pool Uncovered

I know your first instinct when prepping your pool for a storm is likely to cover the pool, but I recommend the opposite. While it may seem like the better option to protect your pool from any incoming debris, those dangerous falling branches and other debris that will land on your pool cover will damage it. It is easier and much cheaper to keep your pool uncovered and clean it after the storm passes than to buy a whole new pool cover.

Trim Nearby Trees and Shrubs

Trim any overhanging branches or shrubs near your pool. This reduces the amount of debris that can fall into the pool, which you’ll thank yourself for once you start cleaning your pool when the storm passes.

What to Do with an Overflowing Pool

Unfortunately, even with proper preparation beforehand, heavy rainfall during a storm can lead to your pool overflowing, which can cause various problems, including water contamination, damage to pool equipment, and flooding in the surrounding area. So, what should you do if you wake up in the morning to an overflowing pool?

There are a few different methods for removing the excess water from your pool.

But before we dive in, make sure to check any regulations regarding draining your pool.

Use a Submersible Pump

You can use a submersible pump to quickly and effectively remove excess water from your pool. Place the pump in the deepest part of the pool and direct the hose to a safe drainage area away from the pool and any structures (and do so legally!).

Use the Pump Drain

Some pool filters have a “waste” mode, which reverses the flow of water and sends it out through the waste line.

Siphon the Water

You can also manually siphon water out of the pool using a garden hose. This method is slower and requires some effort, but it can help manage water levels in an emergency. To siphon, place the hose in the pool and put the other end in the legal drainage area.

What to Do with Your Pool After a Storm

After a storm, your pool may be left in a bit of a state with debris, unbalanced water chemistry, and potential equipment damage. Yikes! So, how do you even begin cleaning up the mess? Here’s my step-by-step process on what to do with your pool after a storm.

Step One: Safety First

Before you get started, check for any hazards around the pool area. Check for downed power lines, electrical hazards, and any structural damage that needs addressing. If there are any electrical issues, call a professional before you enter the pool area!

Step Two: Remove Debris

If the pool area is safe to enter, clear all visible debris from the pool. Use a skimmer net to remove leaves, branches, and other large items floating on the surface. For debris on the pool floor, use a pool vacuum.

Step Three: Test and Balance Water Chemistry

Storms can drastically alter your pool’s water chemistry by introducing contaminants and diluting chemicals. Test the water’s pH, chlorine, alkalinity, and other chemical levels. Adjust them as necessary. If your pool turned green or cloudy, I have two completely separate guides going in-depth on how to fix each issue.

Step Four: Run the Pool Pump and Filter

Before turning on your pump, ensure the water level is halfway up the skimmer opening. If it’s too high, drain some water. If it’s too low, add some water. Then, turn on your pool pump and let it run for 24 hours. This helps to filter out smaller debris and contaminants introduced by the storm.

While this is happening, make sure to keep an eye on your skimmer and pump baskets, as they may fill up quickly. Check them and, when full, empty them out to ensure proper water flow and filtration.

Step Five: Clean the Pool Surfaces

Brush the pool walls and floor to remove dirt and algae spores that may have settled during the storm. This helps prevent staining and makes it easier for the filter to clean the pool.

Step Six: Shock the Pool

Even if the water looks clear, I recommend shocking the pool after a storm. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the correct dosage (or use my handy shock calculator).

Get My Free Pool Care Checklist

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Frequently Asked Questions

Should you turn off your pool pump when it rains?

In most cases, there’s absolutely no need to turn off your pool pump when it rains. In fact, I recommend keeping the pool pump on to help circulate the water and keep the water clean. However, if the rain turns into a storm, switch off anything electrical, including your pump!

When should I turn my pool pump off?

Your pool pump should remain on for at least 8 to 10 hours a day. It doesn’t have to be running continuously for you to keep your pool clean and healthy. You should also turn your pool pump off whenever you drain your pool, whenever you are doing maintenance on your filtration system, and, of course, when there is an electrical storm on the way.

Safety First: Shut Off Your Pump!

Even if you may not like the idea of shutting off your pool pump in preparation for a storm, cleaning up after the storm will be much easier and cheaper than finding an entire pool pump replacement. Plus, the cleanup is not as difficult as you would think! To protect your pool equipment and prevent accidents, always switch off and unplug anything electrical before the storm arrives. 

Do you have any other questions about pool maintenance? Let me know; I’m happy to help out! You can also check out the rest of my pool maintenance research for answers to other common questions.

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