Family & HomeReal Estate

Should You Buy a Swimming Pool? – Costs, Types, Pros & Cons

“Success will be when I can have a real pool instead of the fifty dollar pool I buy from Kmart every year,” jokes singer-songwriter Natniel Rateliff. For many, swimming pools are a status symbol that means “luxury, leisure and, most importantly, glamor,” according to the BBC’s Lucy Scholes. They are also a lot of fun.

According to the US Census Bureau, swimming is one of the most popular outdoor activities in the United States, right after walking. It improves flexibility, stretches muscles and helps you lose weight. According to Tom Holland, exercise physiologist and triathlete, an hour of vigorous swimming burns up to 700 calories – more calories than walking or cycling for the same amount of time.

It also offers mental health benefits. In his book “Blue Mind“, marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols states that human beings feel better when they interact with water, which can put us in a “moderate meditative state characterized by calmness, peace. , unity and a sense of happiness and satisfaction. ” Living.”

Once considered a luxury only the wealthiest could afford, private swimming pool ownership has exploded since the 1950s and 1960s due to higher incomes, improved technology, and new sources of crowdfunding. Today, approximately 10.4 million homes in the United States have swimming pools, according to the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals. Should your house be one of them? We will see.

Things to consider before buying a swimming pool

While a swimming pool can be a lot of fun for you and your family, owning a swimming pool is not something to be taken lightly. These are the questions to ask yourself when deciding to install a swimming pool or buy a house with a swimming pool installed.

1. How old are your children?

Children and teens tend to use swimming pools more than other age groups and spend more time swimming than doing other recreational activities, according to the Census Bureau.

I built a swimming pool when my kids were between two and seven years old. They were there almost every day in the spring, summer and early fall until they left for college. However, having neither the time nor the inclination to swim, my wife and I rarely used the pool until the arrival of our first grandchild.

2. How many days will you use a swimming pool?

Realty Times notes, “If your pool needs to have more downtime than usable time, you will probably feel like you are wasting money. Unless you have the funds to have an indoor pool, you should probably avoid a pool if you can only use it a few months a year.

Those who live in a fairly dry and warm state like Arizona, California, Florida, or Texas will obviously get more from a swimming pool than those who live in states with prolonged cold seasons or lots of rainy days.

3. Do you have access to a clean public swimming pool?

Many potential pool owners choose to use public or semi-private pools, like those found in residential communities, rather than having a private pool. Chris Bibey, Money Crashers writer and pool owner, notes that an individual summer membership to a local pool typically costs no more than $ 100 to $ 150. Most country clubs offer a variety of services, including pool access, at the cost of membership; however, the initial cost of membership can range from $ 5,000 to $ 500,000, and the monthly fee can be $ 100 or more.

It should be noted that some public swimming pools are safer than others. A 2016 report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found at least one safety violation in 80% of routine inspections of public swimming pools in Arizona, California, Florida, New York and Texas. One in eight swimming pools experienced serious problems that forced them to close. The combination of chlorine, sweat and urine creates chemicals called “chloramines” which cause respiratory and eye problems.

The CDC recommends that parents purchase test strips to test the water quality of their public swimming pool themselves. However, you can choose to install your own pool or buy a house with an existing pool.

4. How much space do you have?

Few people want a backyard dominated by a swimming pool. Experts recommend having an open patio at least equal to the size of your pool. For example, a patio with a 40 x 20 foot pool should have at least 800 square feet of walkways, decks, patios, and lawns.

Keep in mind that how you plan to use a pool (for recreation or exercise) will affect the size and depth of pool you need. If you plan to use it primarily for recreation, the size is less important than if you plan to use it for exercise. For the lap swim you will need a minimum size of 32 x 16 feet for a single swimmer.

5. What type of neighborhood do you live in?

Building an inground pool in the backyard of an established neighborhood costs more than building a pool in an empty space with open access.

In an established neighborhood, fences, gates and temporary structures should be removed and stored during the construction and installation period. Typically, building a concrete pool takes four to six weeks, not counting the time required to obtain permits, perform an inspection and delays from contractors and subcontractors. During this time, you will have a construction zone in your backyard and all the issues that come with it, including noise, loss of parking space, potential complaints from neighbors, and loss of privacy.

6. What rules should you follow?

Most states and communities have pool fencing and signature laws, some require fencing around any pool in a fenced yard. Homeowners’ associations (HOA) may require special conditions to build and use private swimming pools. Other requirements could include how to dispose of pool water when draining a pool or the conditions for removing a pool. For example, the city of Los Angeles allows pool owners to drain pools into storm drains or sanitary sewer systems. Before emptying a swimming pool, contact your local municipality to find out the rules and prohibitions in your community.

7. How much time are you willing to devote to the interview?

A swimming pool requires constant maintenance, including removing debris like leaves and grass, testing water balance, adding chemicals, and maintaining the pump and filter. Depending on conditions, owners can easily spend five to 10 hours a week maintaining their pool. The need for maintenance continues even when the pool is not in use.

You can choose to hire a pool maintenance company, but this will incur additional expenses. Willan Johnson, CEO of national pool management company Vivo Pools, suggests in an interview with CNBC that pool cleaning services will cost $ 100 or more each month. My current pool service in Dallas, Texas costs an average of $ 180 per month for weekly cleaning and chemical supplies.

Pool ownership costs

Having a swimming pool doesn’t come cheap. When assessing whether this is right for you, keep these considerations in mind.

1. Installation and maintenance costs

A basic inground pool costs between $ 25,000 and $ 30,000 without amenities, while an above ground pool costs an average of $ 6,000 to $ 8,000. Monthly maintenance fees can easily add $ 100 to $ 150 to your budget. Unless you have significant disposable income and a good credit rating, the cost of a private swimming pool may be out of your reach.

2. Potential liabilities

According to FindLaw, a swimming pool is considered an “attractive nuisance” or something on someone’s property that could attract a child and pose a risk to their well-being. If you have a swimming pool on your property, you are responsible to anyone who uses it, whether or not they have permission to do so.

Home insurance can cover the replacement or repair of your pool, as well as liability for death, injury, and damage up to a state maximum (typically $ 100,000). Insurance advisors recommend that pool owners have a liability endorsement of at least $ 1 million and ensure that their pool complies with all state and local regulations. Many carriers will exclude swimming pools with diving boards or slides due to the high incidence of injury and medical costs due to these features.

3. Impact on home equity and property taxes

The surveys of remodeling and agents estate seem to be in agreement on that one pool is probably one wash when it comes to cost versus  value. However, this may depend on your area . The agent of real estate in  Massachusetts, Kimberly Kent, summarizes the ambiguity : “A group It is one great feature of sale for those buyers who want one , and one big detractor for those who are absolutely against one “.

The owners of houses who live in neighborhoods where the pools private underground are common to often face the pressure of the market to have one pool . Carol Royse , one agent of real estate with headquarters in Tempe, says that the pools are one feature ” essential ” for one house new in Arizona, and that any home with a  price of market of $ 250,000 and more have virtually the guarantee of having a swimming pool . It is likely that those who do not do is sell for less .

If either is possible that a background common not add to the value of resale of your home , the authorities fiscal premises can increase their value tax to obtain income municipal additional .

4. Income tax deductibility

You can try to deduct the cost of a private swimming pool as a medical expense, but the likelihood of being successful in claiming such a deduction is very low. To determine if a deduction is available and useful for you, consider the following:

  • General tax rules apply for the deduction of medical expenses. Therefore, you must itemize your deductions using Schedule A of the 1080 income tax return form.
  • Medical expenses are only deductible if the expenses exceed 10% of your gross income (or 7.5% if you are 65 or older). You must also prove that a doctor has prescribed the use of a swimming pool for necessary medical treatment or physical therapy.
  • Any addition to the market value of your property due to the common fund should be subtracted from the expense before deduction.
  • The group’s deduction is likely to trigger an IRS audit. You must demonstrate that the swimming pool is specially designed for medical treatment, that it is primarily used by the patient for whom it was prescribed, and that access to similar facilities is unavailable or unusually expensive.

On the plus side, if you can get the medical deduction for a swimming pool, you can also deduct operating costs, such as electricity, chemicals and cleaning services, and repairs, as long as the medical reason for the loss. the pool exists.

What type of pool is right for you?

Swimming pools today range from DIY above ground tanks with wood frames and plastic liners to elaborate garden oases with cabanas, fully equipped outdoor kitchens, waterfalls, and decorative lighting. There is a pool design that fits any pocket.

Potential pool owners have a myriad of options when considering adding a swimming pool to their property, but for everyone, there are three main features to consider.

1. Location

Indoor swimming pools

Indoor swimming pools are found in many parts of the country, especially where weather conditions restrict outdoor use. In addition to allowing year-round use, indoor pools require less time and effort to clean, as natural debris (e.g. leaves, insects) is avoided. Safety is also facilitated and sun protection is improved. However, there are specific drawbacks to having an indoor pool:

  • Cost. The standard indoor pool measures 8 x 15 feet with a depth of 40 inches, more like a giant spa than a swimming pool and considerably smaller than a typical outdoor pool. According to Endless Pools, the cost of an indoor installation is $ 20,000 and up. Potential homeowners should also consider the added cost of wall humidifiers and vapor barriers to avoid excessive moisture, mildew, and mildew issues.
  • Health problems. Without proper ventilation, the air above an indoor pool can become saturated with chlorine byproducts, which concentrate closer to the pool surface and are especially dangerous for young children. The air can also grow to contain mold spores, which have been linked to lung damage, asthma and cancer.
  • Potential property damage. High humidity produces mold which can damage building materials. Chlorine vapors oxidize to hydrochloric acid, a corrosive substance that can deteriorate concrete blocks, mortar joints and bricks, metal, wood and even human tissue. Some pool experts recommend covering an indoor pool when not in use to avoid this damage.

Outdoor swimming pools

Most swimming pools are outdoors, located at a distance and independent of the structures of the house, mainly to reduce the cost of construction compared to an indoor swimming pool. While inclement weather or cold weather can limit the number of days an outdoor pool is available, there’s nothing quite like the atmosphere of a swim under the sky. Also, you can extend the swimming seasons by using pool heaters.

Outdoor pools are cheaper than their indoor counterparts and more suitable for social events, due to the extra space surrounding the pool. The main disadvantages of an outdoor swimming pool are:

  • Constant cleaning. Leaves and other debris are continuously blown into outdoor pools by the wind. Unlike advertisements, few automatic pool vacuums work perfectly, and pool skimmers can break down.
  • No more chemicals. Outdoor pools generally have more guests on a regular basis, which requires additional water treatments to maintain proper water balance.
  • Greater concern for safety. Indoor pools are often hidden from visitors and protected by normal door and window locks. Because of their accessibility, many communities require fenced enclosures for outdoor pools, even if they are located in a fenced backyard. Finally, the distance between a house and an outdoor swimming pool makes it difficult to supervise children if you are in the house.
    Indoor / outdoor pools

Some outdoor pool owners try to capture the best of both worlds by erecting a cover or transparent structure over the pool. Options for this line range from arched vinyl covers that are lifted above a pool’s surface by a constant fan to high-sided retractable glass or clear plastic frames.

The advantages of this structure are that less debris enters the pool, heat is retained inside the structure, and swimming is potentially available year round. The biggest downside is the cost of the protective cover, which can exceed the value of the pool.

2. On the ground or on the ground

Above ground pools

Above ground pools are more popular in areas with short swimming seasons. Across the country, above-ground pools are almost as numerous as their in-ground counterparts (48.2% vs. 51.8%) and share many of the same characteristics. Although of a more restricted design, above ground pools are available in round shapes up to 30 feet in diameter and oval shapes up to 18 x 36 feet.

Since these pools are installed above ground, adding a latch door to the steps is usually sufficient for safety. If you have a patio around the pool, a fence will be needed along the perimeter of the patio to protect you from falls. The biggest advantage of above ground pools is the cost: Basic above ground pool packages range from $ 1,500 to $ 5,000, depending on the size of the pool. Installation can be completed in a weekend, site preparation is limited, and maintenance costs are commensurate with the smaller size, despite using equipment similar to larger in-ground pools.

In contrast, above ground pools will not add any value to your home as the structure can be easily taken apart and moved to other locations. Pool edges can be punctured, resulting in leaks that can damage lawns and landscaping. Above ground pools may be subject to special regulations in some municipalities, so make sure you are familiar with the legal requirements in your area before making a purchase.

Inground pools

There are three types of in-ground swimming pools, each with its advantages and disadvantages. All require excavation in the ground and are considered permanent structures. All are more expensive than an above ground pool and require professional installation and similar maintenance.

  • Vinyl siding. The vinyl siding is 20-30 millimeters thick and can be punctured by swimming dogs or by children throwing objects into the water. While the typical lifespan of a liner is seven to 15 years, replacing it requires draining the pool and a new liner costs between $ 3,000 and $ 4,000. However, these pools have a lower initial cost, can be shaped into any shape, are soft to the touch, and inhibit the growth of algae. Plus, vinyl-lined pools are designed to withstand the frosts that regularly occur in the colder north and northeast.
  • Fiberglass. Made from glass fiber reinforced plastic, this material is used in a variety of products because of its strength (it is stronger than some metals) and its ability to be molded into various shapes. Fiberglass pools are generally less expensive than concrete gunite pools and can last up to 30 years. Since they are manufactured and transported to the installation site, the number of shapes and sizes available is limited. However, they are available in all colors and shades and may have steps and seats built into the mold. Installation time (three to five weeks) is generally shorter than for concrete pools (which take three to five months). According to Mike Giovanone, CEO of Concord Pools and Spas in Uptown New York, fiberglass pools are growing in popularity, from 7% of installations in 2015 to 15% in 2016.
  • Gunite concrete. While concrete pools are generally more expensive and take longer to install than other types of in-ground pools, they are exceptionally durable and offer limitless options in size, shape, and depth. Designs can include different types of entryways, trailing edges, attached hot tubs, kiddie pools, or tanning racks. This flexibility means they can be more easily integrated into landscapes to create stunning backdrops for comfort and luxury. At the same time, the ent

3. Water treatment systems

Contrary to popular opinion, chlorine is the disinfecting agent used in chlorinated and saltwater swimming pools. The difference between the two systems is the method by which chlorine is added to the water. Homeowners with a traditional chlorine system physically add chlorine to their pools in tablet or granular form; A saltwater swimming pool has a chlorine generator which provides a consistently lower level of chlorine.

Traditional chlorine treatment systems

Traditional chlorinated pools have been around for decades and make up the majority of in-ground pools. Ideally, chlorine levels in a swimming pool should range from 3 to 4 parts per million (ppm). However, an excessive number of swimmers who add sweat, saliva, oils and urine to the water, or additions of rain or untreated tap water, dilute the free chlorine in the water. water below adequate levels, requiring frequent testing and adjustment of these levels.

The disadvantages of a chlorinated swimming pool are:

  • Possibility of itching and skin irritation.
  • The need to regularly purchase and add chlorine powder or tablets to maintain proper water balance.
  • The need for constant monitoring of chlorine levels.
  • Not being able to use the swimming pool for a period after a shock treatment (occasional super chlorination treatments raising the chlorine level to 10 ppm)

Salt water treatment systems

Although traditional chlorine pools have been a staple of suburban gardens for several decades, many homeowners have made the switch to saltwater pools due to the increased comfort they offer swimmers. Saltwater pools represent 12% of the 10.6 million swimming pools in the United States, according to data from Swim University.

These pools require less constant attention, as self-regulating chlorine generators, which cost around $ 1,000, automatically check and maintain appropriate chlorine levels, reducing algae build-up and providing a continuous and reliable level of cleaning. . Saltwater pool owners never have to buy or add chlorine to their pools.

However, a saltwater pool is more expensive to install and maintain, according to Fixr. A saltwater generator costs between $ 500 and $ 1,500 more than a chlorine generator according to Angie’s List and uses more electricity. Due to the corrosiveness of salt, metal parts and components need to be replaced more frequently. In addition, the generator salt chlorinator cells should be inspected quarterly and replaced every two to three years. Since salt water can kill plants, some cities prohibit saltwater swimming pools. Be sure to check the requirements for your area before switching to a traditional chlorine treatment system.

Accessories and amenities

Lighting options include accessories in the pool, as well as accessories for the surrounding area for decoration and safety. Accessing an audio system through remote speakers around the pool can greatly contribute to your pool experience; however, avoid any electrical appliance in or around the pool. Outdoor cameras focused on the pool can relieve anxiety when children or single adults swim unsupervised.

Optional ground accessories include waterfalls, clear water walls, infinity edges, fountains, jets and bubblers. Many pools have attached hot tubs, sunbathing porches, wading pools, and custom entrances. Water benches and tables, caves and water bars are becoming more common as entertainment moves outside. More than half of the swimming pools in the houses are equipped with a diving board or a slide. The addition of a cabin with toilet provides a cloakroom and weather protection while eliminating wet traffic in the house.

While accessories quickly add to the cost of a pool, they also increase its likelihood of use and how much you enjoy it. If you are looking for a unique outdoor entertainment space, have enough space and can afford it, consider hiring a pool designer before you find a contractor. A designer can encompass your ideas for the pool and surrounding space to make sure you make your dream come true.

Personalized advice from a pool owner

As an in-ground pool owner for four decades, I have learned the following lessons the hard way.

  • Baby safety. Mothers and babies love to swim. However, pediatricians recommend maintaining a water temperature of 30 ° C to 32 ° C (86 ° F to 90 ° F) and that chlorine levels are properly maintained. Babies should never be in a hot tub or spa with water hotter than 86 ° F (32 ° C). Dr. Laura Sears recommends that since infants are more sensitive to chlorine than adults, a parent who smells of chlorine when entering a pool, especially an indoor pool enclosure, should assume that chlorine levels are. too high and take the baby out. Finally, all infants and toddlers who have not yet learned to control their bowel movements should wear a “swim diaper” designed specifically for swimming.
  • Trees and plants. Whether natural or manufactured, shaded areas for direct sun relief enhance pool enjoyment. However, deciduous trees and shrubs can quickly drain your patience and energy when their leaves start to fall into the water. My solution was to install a pool cover around November 1 and remove it the following March. It was easy to regularly check the water balance during the colder months and swimming began after a chlorine shock in the spring.
  • Diving boards and slides. Both props are accidents waiting to happen, and they will. Our trampoline increased the cost of our liability insurance even though it was rarely used. When I finally took it apart, there were no complaints. Having a diving board also requires greater depth in the pool and enough space on either side to discourage reckless teens.
  • Enter and exit. A ledge around the perimeter of the pool 24 to 30 inches below the water surface gives young children a place to rest and a boost to get out of the pool. Having adequate stairs in the deepest part is a must. Seniors appreciate the installation of a rail to help negotiate the steps to entering or leaving the pool.
  • Glass and other breakable objects. Cleaning up small shards of glass or hard plastic is impossible in a crowded pool, but asking an adult not to drink beer in the pool is not always easy. To avoid stress, leave only paper or metal containers around the pool.
  • Towels A pool owner can never have enough towels because children and pets come in and out of the pool all day. Take a trip to a local discount store and stock up on beach towels; the more you have, the less laundry you will have to do.
  • Safety equipment and training. According to the CDC, 10 people die each day from involuntary drowning. TIME magazine reports that nearly half of all Americans lack basic swimming skills. Each pool should have a safety hook, which resembles a shepherd’s crook on a long pole, suspended in sight and easily accessible. Safety ring life jackets can be both decorative and vital. Teach your children how to use safety equipment when they are first put on and give refresher lessons before each swimming season. Do not allow safety equipment to be used as a toy or in games. Finally, make sure every child who walks into your pool knows your rules and knows what to do in an emergency. Children under 10 should never swim alone or unsupervised.
    Owning a swimming pool is a major responsibility and sometimes requires that the owner be the “bad guy” and follow safety rules and practices. However, not managing the environment and the swimming experience can have tragic consequences.

Last word

Pools are expensive and can be a pain. It is doubtful whether the construction of a residential swimming pool can be justified as a financial investment. However, owning a swimming pool has provided my family and friends with hundreds of hours of fun over the past four decades. Even today our grandchildren are screaming to go swimming at Papa’s. Having a pool at home has also helped my kids learn swimming and water safety skills, which they are now passing on to their kids.

Whenever I think about water and the role it has played in my life, I always remember the Pixar movie “Finding Nemo“. When Marlin, the clownfish father in search of his son, becomes depressed, Dory,

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