by Craig Sears, President and Founder
Most community amenity areas were built with limited storage areas. As a result, many communities have fallen into the habit of storing items in the swimming pool pump rooms. Unfortunately, this can cause problems and in some cases safety hazards.
Swimming pool pump rooms are designed to house pool equipment, chemicals, and supplies for maintaining the pool. They tend to be damp, have a chemical odor, and hot in the summer time when the equipment is operating. These are the key ingredients for a corrosive atmosphere. Proper ventilation is the cure to these conditions, and health department code calls for it. Unfortunately because inspectors rarely enforce this portion of the code, many pump rooms lack adequate ventilation. Poor ventilation not only shortens the life of the pool equipment, but also everything else in the pump room, including water heaters, electrical panels, and items stored in there.
You may not have a choice if your water heater or electrical panel is installed there, but let’s run down the top 10 items that should not be stored in your pump room that you can control:
- Paint. When paint cans rust, eventually the seal is lost and the paint hardens in the can.
- Holiday decorations. Holiday decorations can be bulky, and often get faded or damaged when stored in pump rooms. They are also often flammable, which can be a safety hazard.
- Gas and lawn maintenance equipment. Some communities keep gas, blowers, and lawnmowers in the pump room. Storing gas and pool chemicals on top of each other is dangerous. It’s best to keep these in separate storage areas so that they do not accidentally mix. In addition, blowers and mowers corrode faster in the pump room.
- Grills. Grills are very bulky and typically made of metal, which will corrode in the pump room. It’s also a bad idea to have charcoal or propane tanks in a hot corrosive environment.
- Ladders and tools. Like grills, ladders and tools take up space and will rust.
- Extra or broken pool furniture. Pool furniture is bulky and difficult to maneuver. Moving furniture in and out of the pump room can easily cause damage to the pool equipment. If the furniture frame is broken, it’s best to throw it out.
- The pool stereo. The circuitry will corrode faster in the pump room.
- The security camera system or key fob access computer. Same as the stereo.
- Swim team trophies, ribbons, and starting blocks. Ribbons will fade and trophies corrode when left in the pump room. Like pool furniture, starting blocks are large and bulky, making it impossible to move around in the pump room. In addition to corroding faster in the pump room, starting blocks are usually set up and put back in storage every swim meet, increasing the likelihood for someone to accidentally bump the block into the pool equipment causing damage, such as a broken pressure gauge or flow meter.
- Real estate or event signs. Signs generate clutter in the pump room, and the metal wire stands will rust if left in there for too long.
Your pool company will not throw away these items for fear that someone on the board will suddenly want them as soon as they are thrown away. Now is the perfect time to spend some time going through the pump room, deciding what can be tossed and what should be stored elsewhere.
What about pool covers?
Ideally, pool covers should not be stored in pump rooms either. However, if there is a shelf or platform to keep them off the floor and out of the way, that is a decent alternative. Too many pump rooms have covers shoved in them, leaning on the pool equipment or sitting in water on the pump room floor, because there is no other place for it to go.
Storing heavy, bulky items like pool covers, furniture, and starting blocks in an attic is generally a bad idea due to the very time-consuming and difficult effort required to move these items in and out. This increases the chances of staff injury as well as damage to the items.
The perfect scenario would be a large storage area on-site that is walk-in level with the pool deck. This area could house the pool furniture during the winter and the pool cover and swim team equipment during the summer. Barn storage units work well for this application.
Some customers use offsite storage units. Offsite storage is perfect for items you don’t need very often like paint, decorations, ladders, and tools. Storing your pool furniture and cover there means there will be a lot of back and forth visits each spring and fall, and an extra charge from your pool company to handle this project. Of course, transporting your furniture and cover also increases the risk of damaging them.
Finishing Touch Pointers for Pump Room Spring Cleaning
When spring cleaning your pump room, it’s also important to check the floor drain to make sure it’s not covered or clogged with debris that would prevent it from functioning. Consider adding strategically placed shelving in the pump room to allow your pool company to store and organize supplies and chemicals. Shelves don’t have to be elaborate or pretty. Even a pallet can function as a crude shelf to lift items off the floor where they may get wet.
When you clean out your pump room this Spring, you’ll better preserve your community assets, improve safety in your pool area, and your pool company will thank you.