How to clean your pool after a major storm

(BPT) – After any kind of severe storm, cleaning up your swimming pool may seem daunting. Between the tree branches and leaves, random debris, and generally dirty water in your pool after the stormy weather has passed, it’s hard to know where to start. Fortunately, the experts at Leslie’s have some easy-to-follow tips and advice to help you get your pool back in great shape, so your family can enjoy it once again.

1. Manage the water level

Your pool’s water needs to be about halfway up the skimmer. After a heavy rainfall, it’s likely that excess water has overfilled your pool. If necessary, you can lower the water level with the help of a submersible pump or by backwashing your sand or D.E. filter until the level is where it’s supposed to be.

2. Clean out the pool

Once your water level is back to normal, you can start tackling the clean-up process.

  • Remove leaves and large debris. Use the skimmer net and/or leaf rake to scoop out as much debris from the water as possible.
  • Clean out the pump strainer and skimmer baskets. Large debris can block water flow.
  • Brush and vacuum the pool walls and floor. You may need to do this a few times, depending on the condition of your pool. An automatic pool cleaner can help you get the job done more quickly.
  • Check the equipment to make sure there is no visible water damage or compromised parts before starting your pool equipment up again. Don’t use equipment that’s been submerged in flood waters; instead, consult a pool service professional first.
  • Run the circulation and filtration system. If you’re able to run the pump and filter system, make sure to run it continuously for at least 12–24 hours — or until the water turns clear again. If the water is especially dirty, you may need to clean the filter during the process, since it may fill quickly with debris.

3. Test, balance and shock your pool’s water

Healthy water starts with proper balance and sanitization. Remember to never mix chemicals, and always read and follow all product label instructions. Keep the pump running on high speed when adding any pool chemicals to your water.

  • Balance and shock the pool. As soon as you’re able to use the pump, add chlorine to the water to shock it and keep contaminants under control. Balancing the water first is ideal, but that may not be feasible for extremely soiled pools. In these cases, add the chlorine first, then balance the water later.
  • Use a phosphate remover to eliminate phosphates, which is a food source for algae. After a rainstorm, phosphates in your pool will likely be elevated. You can also use an algaecide to help protect your pool from algae growth once the storm is over.
  • Also use enzymes and clarifiers. Because severe storms can bring lots of microscopic debris into the water, your pool may appear cloudy at first. These chemicals will help your chlorine and filter work most efficiently, which will clear the water faster.

If you’re unsure how to test your pool, or if you’re looking for something more accurate than an at-home test kit, you can use Leslie’s free in-store AccuBlue® water testing service to help determine the next steps in recovering your clean and healthy pool.

Need help getting started? Visit your nearest Leslie’s to talk to an expert. If you suspect equipment damage, they can help with at-home services. You can also find the supplies and equipment you need at, along with helpful information and resources.