by Mark Garcia December 6, 2014
Today's topic takes us to a mythical place, a place where ideas roam free. But I'm not talking about typical swimming pool myths - like chlorine turning your hair green, or that there's a urine detector chemical - I'm taking 'bout those misconceptions about swimming pools that would keep a person from considering buying a home with a pool, or building their own pool, aboveground or inground.
Swimming pools, as a recreational diversion for a family or household, compete with other uses of discretionary income such as home additions, or second homes, or recreational vehicles (RV's or ATV's), or boats and vessels. Each has their own myths to deal with. Regarding swimming pools, here's a few misbeliefs and misconceptions of the misinformed, and a thorough debunking
In the U.S., there are over 8 million backyard swimming pools, about 40% of those are aboveground pools, which are not usually purchased by the wealthy. And for inground pools, costs for construction vary widely, from less than $20,000, to much more elaborate pools that can cost upwards of six figures. Rich people do own pools, but the majority of pool owners in America are in average earnings categories.
Since a swimming pool is a closed environment, and the water stays in the pool, water loss is minimal. Evaporation can remove several hundred gallons on a hot day, but with pool covers or liquid blankets, up to 90% of evaporation can be stopped. Cartridge pool filters save water by not requiring hundreds of gallons to backwash, only a hosing off of the cartridges every few months. Variable speed and dual speed pumps, now required by many states, have reduced pool electrical demands by half of what they were ten years ago.
About half of the annual drownings in the U.S. occur in pools, with the other half occurring in natural settings, rivers, ponds, lakes and oceans. Swimming pools are most dangerous for toddlers, those in the 1-4 age range, and male toddlers in particular. As compared to the boating industry however, or recreational vehicles - swimming pools don't seem so unsafe. Boating accidents traditionally claim the lives of hundreds more each year, than swimming pools. And when compared to other household accidents, in terms of fatalities, swimming pools are one of the safest locations in the house.
About an hour per week, is what I usually tell people. With a good filter system and maybe a pool cleaner or cover, today's pools stay cleaner and maintain chemical balance better than pools of yesteryear. Most pools are fairly self sufficient, and require some sort of assistance only once or twice per week. Pool equipment (pumps, filter, heater), typically last 10-15 years before repairs or replacement is needed. The time put into pool maintenance is small compared to the amount of use available, and probably less than owning a boat or RV.
To look at the entire expenses involved, we would add up energy costs, chemical costs, and repair or replacement costs. Every pool is different, but the average pool may use $100 per month to run the pump and less than $50 per month in chemicals. Repair and renovation costs vary, depending on your pool type and size, but something will break eventually. This could vary from $50-$250 per year. If you are in the sunbelt, you can figure on year 'round expenses, although less during winter. Snowbelt pools will need to add some cost for opening and closing of the pool, $400 or so to have it professionally done, or $100 if you do it yourself. Compared to boats and RV's - pool operational costs can be small, and no high gas prices!
~ So, there you have it, 5 myths about pool ownership, hopefully debunked to your satisfaction. Owning a swimming pool is a true joy, and yes, it costs money and takes some time to manage, (like everything), but it's well worth it.
Thanks for Reading!