How to Clean A Flooded Swimming Pool

There are plenty of ways a swimming pool can get dirty. Intense rains, winds that blow leaves and branches, or just heavy use can all take a toll on your pool. But one of the scariest ways your pool can become contaminated is when a pool floods. Watching your backyard slowly fill with water and your pool overflow can feel like you’re watching a slow-motion disaster. And figuring out how to clean a flooded swimming pool can seem like a nightmare. Besides, if your pool is overflowing—or worse, entirely underwater—chances are you’ve got other safety issues to take care of first.

How to Clean A Flooded Swimming Pool [infgraphic]

Preparing for a Possible Flood Event

When heavy rains start coming down, and the ground starts getting over-saturated, it’s time to start pre-flood preparation. First, turn off all electrical elements of your pool system. This includes pumps, jets, heater, timers, or any other automation. 

While it may be tempting to drain some water and lower your pool’s waterline, don’t do it. If your whole yard floods, lowering the water level by even a foot or two is unlikely to keep your pool from overflowing. But when you reduce the amount of water in the pool, you reduce the weight that holds the pool down. As the water table rises, the saturated earth can put upward pressure on your pool. If you drain a pool too much, the upward pressure will overpower the downward pressure. The upward pressure can cause cracks on the floor of the pool or even pop your pool right out of the ground.

If you have the time before the pool floods, add extra shock and algaecide to the pool. You’ll still have to balance your pool after the flood subsides and you clean the water. But the additional shock and algaecide now will pay off later, as the pool is less contaminated than it could have been.

Don’t bother putting on the pool cover. If the cover is on, take it off. When a pool floods, the cover can be carried away by the water. Sharp branches and other debris can damage the pool cover. Instead, roll it up and store it in a safe location.

After the Water Has Gone Down

Once the actual flood is over, and once any standing water has gone down, you can start thinking about how to clean a flooded swimming pool. If your pool was completely submerged, beware of anything that looks out of the ordinary in your pool. Sewage, debris, and unexpected objects can create dangerous situations. 

Floodwaters can carry all sorts of materials into your pool. As the floodwaters subside, anything floating in the water could get stranded in your pool. We’ve seen all kinds of debris and even live animals end up in a pool after a flood. If the flood was widespread or if it included an area with a septic system, beware of sewage or other pollution carried in the floodwater. In widespread floods, everything from sewage to trash to chemical pollutants can make flood water dangerous to handle or stand in.  If you have any concern, call a professional and don’t enter the water.

If everything looks safe (even if very dirty), you can start thinking about cleaning the water in your pool. Luckily, most pools today have an overflow line. As the floodwater subsides, the pool will drain to a safe level on its own. However, if debris clogs the drainage system, your pool may not drain properly. As the floodwaters dissipate, check your pools overflow system for leaves, branches, or other debris that could keep it from functioning as it should.

Once the Ground Dries Up

If your pool is older, or you don’t have an overflow line, you’ll have to drain it manually. It’s important not to manually drain a pool until the ground dries up completely. Otherwise, draining that much extra water could make the flooding in your area worse.

The easiest way to lower the water level in your pool is by back-washing the filter. However, to use the filter, your pool will have to be clean enough not to clog the system. So before you can do anything else, you will need to break out the skimmer and try to collect as much floating debris as you can.

At this point, the worst of the flood event is over. It is safe to start the cleanup process on your pool. If you have a pool company that services your pool on a regular basis, give them a call. Let them know your situation and schedule them to come in to take care of the flooded pool.

How to Clean a Flooded Pool – Hire a Professional

If your pool is full of floodwater or much dirtier than usual, we highly recommend calling in a professional to clean a flooded swimming pool. Cleaning a flooded pool can be difficult and time-consuming. Also, you never know what contaminants could be in the pool water. It may not even be safe to be around the water that flooded your pool.

Even if you take great care of your pool and follow a strict schedule, after a flood event, it is best to get professional help. A professional pool cleaning company will have access to special chemicals and additives that you probably don’t. They have the tools, expertise, and experience to return your pool to normal as quickly and safely as possible.

A professional pool cleaning service will likely use a chemical that causes dirt particles to drop to the bottom of the pool for vacuuming. But this is no run-of-the-mill cleaning. Cleanup of a flooded pool may require a commercial-grade vacuum.

Additionally, if your pool is just too dirty and full of floodwater, it may need to be drained. We recommend against draining a pool whenever possible, and you should never do it yourself. But in extreme cases, it may be necessary. When it is, The Pool Butler can drain (or partially drain) your pool safely. With most or all of the water emptied, we can thoroughly clean the pool and refill it with clean water. Once it is refilled, it may need to be balanced multiple times before the water is safe for swimming.

Having your flooded pool cleaned by a professional pool cleaning company gives you the peace of mind of knowing that a specialist is going to get the job done right. You also don’t need to handle any harsh chemicals.

Cleaning a Flooded Swimming Pool in Atlanta

If you’re reading this article and you happen to be in Atlanta, then cleaning your flooded pool could not be any easier than this two-step process:

  1. Contact The Pool Butler at 770-439-2644 or filling out a short form.
  2. Schedule your appointment for professional pool cleaning and maintenance.

That’s it! You’ll be enjoying a clean pool in no time.

The Pool Butler