Should You Run Pool Pump When Raining or in a Storm?

A common question I see come up regularly is if it’s beneficial to run your pool pump during rain or during a storm? Is it dangerous or unsafe to run your pool pump and filtration system? Stick around because we’ll look at what you should do.

Running your pool pump during a lightning or electrical storm should be avoided as a power surge or nearby lightning strike could damage your pump. However running your pump during is beneficial. The extra filtering will help clean out the impurities rain has introduced into your pool’s water.

Pool pumps are made to withstand rain and it is beneficial to run your pump during or after rain. There are some situations where water can cause damage to your pool’s pump though. You should also make sure you run your pump after rain.

Let’s look into it further.

Thunderstorm
Thunderstorm

Are There Times It’s Not Safe to Run Your Pool Pump in the Rain?

It is entirely safe to run your pool pump when it’s raining – most of the time. Running your pool pump during rain should not affect the pumps’ ability to do the job it was designed to do.

However, if you have drainage problems where the pool pump is installed, that could be a problem. Although pool pumps are usually waterproof and designed to withstand rain and splashes, they are not designed to be submerged in standing water.

If your pump is located in a spot that has been known to flood, you should unplug your pump before rain and switch it off at the breaker. Do not switch it back on until it has thoroughly dried out.

If you do have this problem, it will be necessary to move your pump or fix the drainage issue.

Here’s a quick recap of when it’s safe to run your pool pump in rain or storms:

  • Light rain = safe to leave pool pump on (if manufacturer declares rainwater safe for the pump and you have no drainage issues)
  • Heavy rain = safe to leave pool pump on (if manufacturer declares rainwater safe for the pump and you have no drainage issues)
  • Electrical Thunderstorm = switch off and unplug all electrical devices to your pool. 

What Does Rain do to Your Pool?

If you want to maintain a healthy pool for swimming all year round, you need to know what and how the weather affects your pool. 

Rain Changes the Water’s pH Levels

pH is the measure of acidity in the water. pH Levels that are too low or too high indicate that the water is possibly not safe for swimming in. Incorrect pH can lead to skin and eye irritation and it also means the chlorine will not be as effective killing off bacteria and algae.

Heavy rainfall can alter the pH significantly. pH imbalances in your pool result in the following:

  • Acidic water (not good for swimmers and can corrode pool equipment) 
  • Basic water (high pH causes scale and staining and again it’s not good for swimmers)

Brings Contaminants Into the Pool

Rain brings contaminants like bacteria, bugs, soils, pesticide run-off, phosphates etc. It’s not just the rain from the sky though, rain run-off that may come from the garden around your pool, the deck, or from the pool all introduce dirt, debris and bacteria.

Extra contaminants means you need to filter your water more and the chlorine demand of the pool will be higher. In other words, run your filter more and add more chlorine during and after rain. 

Flooding

When your pool is flooded or overfull, sanitizing chemicals have reduced strength since the rain has “watered” them down and reduced the concentration. 

It also means the cleaning chemicals are being spread into your surrounding pool areas and can cause further damages to your garden and lawn. 

What Are the Benefits of Running a Pool Pump When It’s Raining?

Pool equipment and pump
Pool equipment and pump

Now you know what problems the rain can cause. So how do you minimize these issues rains and storms cause?

Run Your Pump!

Benefits of Running Pump In Rain:

  • Circulate and the rainwater and mix it with the existing pool water.
  • Filter out impurities in the water (very important!). 
  • Helps control algae but removing and filtering organic matter (algae food).

Ensure Your Pump is Running Optimally:

  • Clean any debris out of the pump strainer and skimmer baskets.
  • Check and adjust pH levels. 
  • Top up sanitizing chemicals (e.g. chlorine) where necessary. 
  • Consider an algaecide. 
  • Clear debris, fallen leaves, and other elements with a pool net. 
  • Lower the water levels if heavy rainfall is predicted to prevent overflowing.
  • Make sure your pump doesn’t get submerged in water.

Should You Unplug Your Pool Pump in a Thunderstorm?

If you know an electrical storm is brewing, we recommend you switch off and unplug your pool pump before the storm settles in. 

Thunderstorms mean lightning and lightning can cause power surges. Damaged electrical equipment is a common result of lightning strikes. More often than not, storm damaged equipment is completely written off and not repairable.

You can prevent this by switching off your pool equipment at the breaker or better yet, physically unplugging it from the outlet.

Not only can heavy storms and wind create electrical surges and power outages, they can also blow away pool toys, lightweight pool furniture and knock over pot plants.

Do You Need to Run Your Pool Pump After It Rains or Storms?

After it rains or has stormed, running your pool pump is necessary to clean any debris and impurities in the water caused by heavy rainfall. Running your pool pump and filter for 24 hours after a storm will allow enough time to filter the water several times over. 

If you’ve had a flood, hurricane, or particularly bad storm, we have an article that will help: How To Clean a Pool After a Storm or Flood

As mentioned above, heavy rainfall and thunderstorms can cause numerous unwanted problems with your pool. Check pH levels, add sanitizer if necessary, and keep that pool pump running before getting back in the water to ensure the water is safe for swimming.

To test your pool’s water, get a good quality pool test kit like this one.

What if Your Pool Pump Doesn’t Work after Rain or a Storm?

Sometimes after a storm you may find your pool pump doesn’t turn back on. In this situation, it’s possible the thunderstorm or rain has damaged your pump. Though the most likely cause is a tripped circuit breaker.

To fix this, simply flip it back to the “ON” position.

If you’re still experiencing issues, we have a full article to help you fix your pump: Pool Pump Not Working After Power Outage or Rain

Final Thoughts

Running your pool pump in light rains will not make much of a difference to the way your pool pump works. If your pool pump manufacturer has declared your pump is rain safe, you can leave it on in rainfall. Nevertheless, during a thunderstorm, it is highly recommended that you switch off and unplug your pool pump to prevent any costly and irreversible damages to your pool equipment.