Swimming Pools – What You Should Know Before Having One
Are you thinking about buying a home with a pool? Or are you thinking about maybe having one installed at your existing home? A tastefully designed and well maintained swimming pool can substantially bolster your property’s value – If done right. Here we’ll have a look at the different types of pools, their varying applications and tips to minimize ongoing maintenance costs.
Owning a home with a swimming pool is a wonderful thing. Aside from the endless hours of fun and relief from the heat, they are aesthetically pleasing to look at, and add a splash of colour to your back (or front) yard. Often, you won’t even need to be swimming in it to enjoy it – The poolside is a fabulous place to unwind, relax and read your favourite book.
As great as they are though, they do come with their fair share of drawbacks. For starters, they require constant cleaning and maintenance, and can be costly in terms of electricity usage, chemical top-ups and servicing and upgrading the pump and filtration equipment. And the larger the pool, the larger the ongoing cost – For very large pools, simply topping up the water level can add substantial costs to your water usage bill.
Different types of Pool
In general terms, there are two different types of pool – Above-ground and in-ground pools, although in-ground pools in particular come in a variety of different shapes and construction styles. Above-ground pools, which come as a frame with a liner and are assembled on-site, are generally the most economical option, as they normally do not require any earthworks or excavation to install, and the parts are easily replaceable and comparatively cheap. But due to their bulky nature they can also be an eyesore and in real estate terms, it is generally accepted wisdom that they do not really add any tangible value to a property.
In-ground pools are a more expensive but generally higher quality solution. They typically come in one of three different construction styles: Concrete, fibreglass, and vinyl liner. Concrete pools are built on site and can be customised to any size or shape, and this is particularly effective if you have limited or awkwardly configured space to work with, or if you have a special or custom design in mind. Fibreglass pools normally come pre-fabricated and are delivered as a single piece, so your design options are more limited as you will only be able to choose from the manufacturer’s pre-existing moulds.
Vinyl liner in-ground pools are much like the aforementioned above ground pool, except they are sunk either all the way or part of the way into the ground, and as such can be an affordable compromise for those who want an in-ground pool but can’t foot the bill for a concrete of fibreglass pool.
How Much do They Cost to Build?
Above-ground pools are the cheapest solution and you can normally grab one of these bad boys for anywhere between $8,000 and $15,000, although their lifespan is significantly shorter than their in-ground counterparts – The average lifespan of an AG pool liner is around 5-7 years. Concrete and fibreglass pools normally start at around $30,000 for something basic but can cost anywhere between $50,000 and $100,000 for something larger and more complex.
What Ongoing Maintenance do they Require?
The amount of maintenance required to keep your pool fresh and sparkling will depend on a number of factors, including its size, proximity to vegetation and the sanitation system that is being deployed. Most pools are run on either chlorine or saltwater systems, although in recent years the popularity of mineral pool systems (which sanitise the water by using a combination of naturally occurring minerals such as sodium, potassium and magnesium) has increased rapidly as well. Since being introduced to the market in the 1980’s, saltwater pools have become more popular than chlorine pools due to them requiring less work to maintain and producing a more palatable or “softer” quality of pool water.
Saltwater systems are more expensive to set up and maintain, as they include extra equipment and components, but don’t come with the added cost of having to regularly purchase and add large volumes of raw chlorine to keep the pool clean, as they rely on pool salt to produce chlorine.
Beyond that, you will need to regularly vacuum any leaves or debris from the pool, as well as empty out the skimmer baskets (which filter out larger debris before the water passes through the main filter) and have your pool water regularly tested to ensure the chemical balance is correct.
Tips to Save Money on Pool Running Costs
While it is a given that owning a pool will increase the running costs of your home, there are savings to be found if you look hard enough. Try the following:
- If possible, opt for a salt-water pool system, which are cheaper and easier to maintain than chlorine pools
- Invest in solar power to offset the extra electricity usage which come with running a pool pump
- Set your pool pump to turn itself on and run only during off-peak times to ensure you aren’t paying top dollar for the power usage
- Clear excess vegetation from around the pool – Having leaves and debris regularly blowing into the pool will increase the cleaning and maintenance required and increase the likelihood of blockages and costly equipment issues
- Test your water and top up chemicals regularly to avoid your pool going “off”
- Install a water tank to avoid having to top up the water levels in the pool with town water
‘Til next time, ciao 😊