After moving into our home, we decided a pool would be a great addition. The timing was right – we finally had a yard large enough to handle a pool, our children were reaching the right ages to be able to enjoy swimming without being completely dependent on us for their fun, and we had some money saved for this investment. All we could see were green lights ahead…until we told others about our plan.
While a number of people encouraged us, it seemed that an equal number of our acquaintances had considered pools in the past but decided not to take the plunge for one reason or another.
As we began our adventure into pool ownership, their discouraging warnings haunted us. But we found, after a several weeks of getting adjusted to our pool, their doubts seemed to fade away. We like to call their most common statements the “5 Myths of Pool Ownership.”
- You can’t afford a pool. Clearly, this was the most popular discouragement we heard! As you shop around for your new pool, be sure to get a realistic estimate of all of the equipment you’ll need. Ask for a cost projection for the chemicals you’ll need throughout the summer. And remember, some local pool stores offer discounts if you purchase in advance (especially during the off-season months) or if you purchase products in bulk. Factor in a few other costs, such as new bathing suits, an adequate supply of pool toys and goggles, and enough sun tan lotion to lather a small army! With careful planning and a realistic budget, you’ll find a pool to be an affordable source of entertainment for your family.
- You don’t want all the neighborhood kids in your pool. When our pool was being installed, we watched children from around the block – many of whom we’d never met – ride on bicycles and gaze longingly into our backyard. It seemed to call out to them, especially on the hot and sunny days. We not only wanted our pool to be a safe place but also a way for us to get to know our neighbors. Establishing firm ground rules for friends was an important step, and we shared them with our family so we were all on the same page as new BFFs came knocking on our door.
- You’ll spend all summer trying to balance your pool. It takes some time to understand the ups and downs of the chemicals in your pool, so enroll in a “pool school” at your local store. This is the fastest way to learn the basics from the experts, and it’s a great networking opportunity with other new owners. When monitoring your pool levels, consistency is the key. Check your pool regularly as it’s always easier to make minor adjustments along the way than it is to spend significant time (and money) fixing problems that arise from neglect.
- Your utility bills will skyrocket. Your bills will go up. You are, after all, filling a big hole in your backyard with a lot of water! And your filter is plugged into an electrical outlet for most of the swimming season. If you aren’t prepared for an increase, it can be surprising. You need to have realistic expectations. Talk to your local store about the size and type of pool you have. If they are truly experts, they’ll give you an idea of what you can anticipate with your utilities so that an increase doesn’t turn into a financial crisis – and they may suggest ways to save a few dollars, too.
- Your yard will never be the same. Depending on your landscaping budget, the amount of effort you put into restoring your lawn after the construction is complete, and the time of year you decide to install your pool, the first year of your pool can be challenging to enjoy. We had our pool installed in the spring and spent much of the summer working hard to reshape our property…and wiping up muddy footprints in the hallway. But our hard work paid off in year two, and we’ve enjoyed the opportunity to turn our backyard into a destination that we love and share with others.
As you can see, there is a measure of truth behind each of the myths. Pool ownership isn’t always easy. It takes time, consistent effort, and financial investment. But don’t be frightened off by those nay-sayers. Debunk those myths, then invite the doubters over so they can enjoy a swim, too!