Saturday, June 14, 2008

Is a Pool worth the Money and Trouble?

It's summertime again. (We may as well call it summer with temperatures soaring into 3 digits in early June this year.) And when it gets hot, what do the kids usually want? A swimming pool.

I've resisted the requests for a pool up till now because I
know the chores that come along with having a pool will fall to - you guessed it - me!

But, this year my 15 year old daughter swore she would keep it clean, covered, chlorinated, pumped, and use it faithfully all summer long.


And
, it would save me the money that I would normally give her to go to the local pool, she says. She knows that saving me money is a big plus when she is trying to talk me into something.

So, I gave in. I bought a 10 foot pool, and that's when the fun ended.

The things to keep in mind when buying a pool - besides money of course - are the chores that come along with maintaining a pool. But, let's talk about money first.

First, filling a pool of any size (other than a kiddy pool) requires a lot of water. This is not something that usually occurs to you when you are looking at pool sizes.

Usually you just consider the "fun factor" of how deep it will be. But, believe me, 1000 gallons (or more) of water will not be cheap. So, the pool must be kept clean, treated, and covered to keep from having to dump and refill it.

Second, there are chemicals, chlorine tablets, filters, ph test kits, and algaecides that are needed to keep the pool clean. These things aren't cheap.

Third, leaf/debris nets, foot rinse/bath, towels, and of course new swim suits will be needed as well.

Now, onto the maintenance issues. The pool (if it has a pump) must be located within 10 feet of a GFCI receptacle. That's going to make it difficult to place the pool far enough away from the house to keep the noise outside.

The second and most difficult issue with the maintenance of the pool is finding a
completely level area in your yard to set the pool up. Eye-balling it wont work.

I dumped and moved the pool 3 times trying to find a level spot. I've come to the conclusion that there are
no completely level areas in my yard.

That means that if the pool has soft walls (not rigid) like mine does, you will never be able to fill it up completely. If the ground has a slope to it, the pool will collapse once it is filled about halfway.

I ended up having to brace one side of the pool against (8) 18 gallon totes that I keep gardening amendments in. My teenager is
not happy with how it looks.

So, she has the pool she has been requesting for 2 years.

She has used it 4 times.

It is now full of leaves and other debris. She did cover the pool the last time she used it, but it has sunken to the bottom since it rained last week.

And, she asked me for money to go to the local pool already.

My opinion? Save your money for a yard swing, or table and chairs. That way, you save yourself a lot of extra work
and money over the summer - and these items might actually be used.