How to Care for Your Pool After a Wildfire
Swimming pool owners look forward to opening their pools all year. There’s nothing like that first swim of the season! Unfortunately, in many areas of the country, pool season is also the start of wildfire season.
Wildfires, or fires in general, don’t just put homes and safety at risk. A nearby fire can also damage your swimming pool. Even a distant fire can pollute your pool with smoke, ash, carbon, and other contaminants, and can keep you out of the pool until the issues are addressed.
And that bright pink flame retardant that drops from helicopters and planes onto fires contains phosphates and sulfates that can mess with your pool’s chemical balance.
The following guidelines are recommended for pool owners that have endured the consequences of a wildfire.
Wildfires and Swimming Pools – How-To Guide
Skim the Surface of the Water and Clean the Skimmer Basket
Skim and clear the pool of all debris and soot. Removing debris from the water surface before turning on your filtration system ensures your system will run well when engaged.
We recommend covering your skimmer net with a cotton cloth (or even an old t-shirt) to trap small particles and debris as you skim the water surface.
Check the skimmer basket for debris. Clean the skimmer baskets to ensure your pump will work at its optimum.
The quicker you can remove the ash and soot, the less chance for permanent staining of your deck or pool liner.
Brush Walls, Steps and Floor, Then Vacuum
Brush the walls and pool bottom to loosen debris and any contaminants that the fire deposited. After brushing the pool surfaces, vacuum the pool or utilize your automatic pool cleaner to remove any remaining debris.
Clean and Backwash Pool Filter
Your pool filter may contain dirt and debris from the fire. Backwash and clean the filter. Then, run the filtration system so that your pool water circulates. Running the pump and filter will also help distribute chemicals that aid in recovery.
Address Water Levels
Check your water levels to determine if the pool has lost a significant amount of water from backwashing. Bring the water level up to recommended levels. Do not overcompensate, as too much water in your pool can cause the skimmer to work improperly.
Check Your Chemicals
Soot and ash can deplete chemicals and cause an imbalance. Confirm that your pH level is in a healthy range (between 7.2 and 7.8). Ash and soot can alter pH and alkalinity.
Your chlorine level should also be checked, to ensure it is balanced and has not been affected by ash.
Removing Stubborn Stains
If brushing and vacuuming failed to remove all of the stains, acid washing the pool may be required. The components of smoke from a fire can also cause severe, lasting damage to equipment and pool structures.
Contact a Premier pool service professional for advice and assistance with your swimming pool after a fire.