If a hurricane or other bad storm is approaching, the last thing you want to worry about is what to do with your swimming pool, patio furniture, container plants, and the rest of your yard. But if you have time to prepare, there are several steps you can take to secure your outdoor items and protect your property. Here are some tips to follow during the hours before a storm hits or prior to evacuation.
01 of 05
Bring Outdoor Items Inside or Secure Them
Prior to a storm hitting, aim to bring inside all of your patio furniture, outdoor toys, container plants, and pool and gardening equipment. These types of outdoor items can be damaged by strong winds and heavy rains, and they even can turn into projectiles that damage parts of your home and property. If possible, also bring in gas or charcoal grills, but never use them inside or store propane tanks inside your home or garage. Instead, chain propane tanks in an upright position to a secure object away from your home so they don't get lifted by winds.
For heavy or bulky items that you can't bring indoors, anchor them to something solid the best you can with rope, chains, bungee cords, or other strong materials. If you're very short on time or have nothing to anchor your items to, you can attempt to shelter them in a swimming pool where winds might be less likely to pick up the items and toss them around.
02 of 05
Do Not Drain Your Swimming Pool
Many pool owners believe that draining their swimming pools or spas before a storm hits will keep the water from overflowing and flooding their property, but properly built and installed pools should be equipped with overflows that will drain excess water.
Lower the water level no more than 1 to 2 feet if you wish. Otherwise, the hydrostatic pressure can be too strong and possibly cause the pool to "float" or "pop" out of the ground, according to the Broward County (Florida) Hurricane Preparedness Guide. The water in your pool serves as a kind of shield, protecting your pool's finish from the effects of flying debris.
If you have time, remove all loose items from the pool area, including the filter housetops and filter lid.
03 of 05
Turn off Power to the Pool Equipment
You don't need to empty your pool, but you do still need to prepare it for a storm. Unless safety precautions are taken, the most significant storm damage to your pool can occur with the pump and its motor.
Prior to the storm, turn off the circuit breaker to the pool equipment (the pump, motor, lighting, chlorinators, etc.). If possible, remove the motor and relocate it to a high-and-dry place inside. Or tightly wrap the motor with plastic and strapping tape or rope.
After the storm, plan to clean out debris from your swimming pool and rebalance the water. Inspect your pool pump and motor for any damage. If you couldn't remove your equipment before the storm and it was underwater, have a professional inspect it before use.
04 of 05
Prune Branches of Trees and Shrubs
Ideally, you should prune dying and weak branches of trees and shrubs throughout the year as part of your regular yard maintenance. But if you have time before a storm, that's when you should really inspect your yard for branches that might break.
Prune any suspect branches, starting with the ones nearest to your home and other structures. They might do the most damage if they happen to break in the storm. Then, once you're done pruning, make sure to drag the cut branches far away from any structures. You might want to bungee them to something solid or even bring them inside a shed or garage to wait out the storm, so they don't become projectiles.Continue to 5 of 5 below.
05 of 05
Reach out for Help
When in doubt, contact government and disaster preparedness agencies for information to help you get ready for a storm. Some of these groups include:
- Ready.gov/Severe Weather
- National Hurricane Center
Also, in areas that are commonly hit by hurricanes and heavy rains, consider buying flood insurance. You also might want to invest in a generator to ensure that you will have power during and after a storm.