As a homeowner, you’ve probably fantasized about having your own pool. As the days grow hotter and summer arrives, you’ll probably be daydreaming of sitting poolside in your own backyard even more. Having your own pool might seem like paradise, but it’s not that simple. Before you dive headfirst into planning where to put lounge chairs, you should be aware of the real costs of owning a pool.
For most people, installing a swimming pool can’t be done on a whim as it can be a costly venture. Inground pools are the more popular option, however, they are much more expensive with average installation costs of about $51,000. Above-ground pools are much more cost-friendly at about $2,250, but do have limitations (such as size and depth). Ultimately, the cost of installing a pool will be determined by several factors, such as size, materials used, build location, and whether you add any special features, like a waterfall or slide. You need to check with your local zoning authorities and HOA before you start any construction. In the case of home improvements, it’s better to ask and receive permission than not and learn you’re in violation of code.
As a pool owner, be prepared to become somewhat of a chemist. To keep the pool sanitized, you should regularly test the water’s chemical balance and adjust as needed. It’s best to test pH and chlorine levels 2-3 times a week, and alkalinity once a week. Pool chemicals will be a recurring cost for the life the pool; expect to buy this necessity more frequently if the pool is used a lot. A good rule of thumb is that when your pool is being used consistently, the more work you will need to put in to maintain it.
Even if you anticipate your pool only being used during the warmer months, a pool is a year-long responsibility. If you live in an area that experiences snow and cold weather, you need to take the appropriate steps to winterize your pool. This includes partially draining, cleaning, chemically treating, and covering your pool before frost arrives. When you’re ready to use the pool again, you have to go through the same process in reverse. If you want a pool but would rather avoid the daily upkeep of caring for one, you can hire a someone to clean and service it. Depending on how often you schedule cleaning appointments, a contractor can cost anywhere from $70-200 a month. For some people, it pays to have someone else maintain their pool; be sure to factor this into your pool budget if you want to go this route.
Some of the monetary costs associated with owning a pool are more indirect. For example, your home insurance rates may increase due to greater liability. This applies whether you have an in-ground or above ground pool. Owning a pool can increase your monthly utility statement, especially if your pool is in-ground. When pools have pumps or temperature regulators, their energy usage will be reflected on your electricity bill. Your water bill won’t likely see a significant increase each month, but it’s best to top the water level off if it dips lower than the skimmer.
At the end of the day, you have the freedom to do whatever you want to customize your house. If you believe adding a pool to your home will enrich your life and have the means to do so, go for it! It takes time, effort, and money to properly maintain a pool, but it can all be worth it when you’re able to stay cool in the summertime.
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