It's the swimming and swimming-pool season again. If you are living for away to a beach or there are no public swimming pools around, a private swimming pool in the backyard is always a welcomed relief – especially if you are living in the South and have kids at home.
Let's imagine you are house hunting and you came across a house with an in-ground swimming pool. Should you jump on it? Should that be the “bonus” on which you should base your decision?
Here are the pros and cons.
An in-ground swimming pool is a great addition to any backyard. It provides cool convenient relief from heat and a classy way to entertain your guests. Just add a barbecue grill to a pool, add some friends, and you've got yourself an instant winner. Everybody loves to at least look at a clean baby blue body of water. It's almost hypnotic.
On hot sweltering days when you can't go to a beach, it really is a life saver. And in some regions it adds to the value of a house as well, although perhaps by not as much as you think
An in-ground swimming pool has a lot of liabilities as well.
First off – the legal liabilities. If you have small kids and are inviting their friends to have fun at your pool, not only you have to supervise them constantly (accidents happen within seconds!) but I strongly advise you to have their parents SIGN IN WRITING a statement that they will not hold you legally responsible should any mishap occur.
Jumping boards do not mix with kids. Any jumping board where kids and teenagers are going in and out of a pool whole day is a disaster waiting (and begging) to happen.
Swimming pools need constant chemical maintenance, cleaning up and attention. If you enjoy vacuuming your house, get ready to enjoy vacuuming the bottom of your pool as well because you have to do that regularly, perhaps once a month.
A pool is a very spoiled creature. Neglect it for just a day or two in June or July and you've got yourself a nice backyard swamp, complete with the smell, with mosquitoes flying all over the place. You really need to budget pool maintenance as a permanent expenditure.
Make sure you get a nice winter cover that comes with spring-locks. Yes, the “expensive kind" because nothing else really works. There is no realistic alternative to a good porous cover that will allow the rain and snow water filter through yet would not puncture if a baby or an animal walks on it.
Make sure to have a good (at least 6 feet high) fence all around your pool with a locked gate. Otherwise you are opening yourself up for all kinds of legal “situations. "
Make sure your pump and filtration system is in good working order. Approximately in every 15 years or so you probably will have to change your pump. Not only that, your underground pipes and skimmers might need to be dug up and changed as well since constant chlorine (also called “shock”) in the water slowly corrodes all plastic parts and debris and other residues eventually clog them.
If you are living in a wooded area there might be the additional problem of pest and wildlife control. Rats and chipmunks are known to regularly fall into swimming pools even when they are so chlorinated you can smell it from afar. Raccoons and shrews are also known to take over some pools at night and declare them their own private bathrooms! So have a wildlife control program under your belt. Learn the regulations of your state and county for fighting such problems. It may not be as easy and automatic as you think.
And if you still think owning an in-ground swimming pool is a cool idea, go ahead and do it. Buy that house with that magnificent blue toy in the backyard and enjoy it! After all that expense and effort and pampering, you certainly do deserve it.
Ugur Akinci, Ph. D. is a Creative Copywriter, Editor, an experienced and award-winning Technical Communicator specializing in fundraising packages, direct sales copy, web content, press releases, movie reviews and hi-tech documentation.
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