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Considering house with a Pool


momacacia
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What do we need to know? Both in terms of upkeep and safety (for non-swimmers).

 

What is maintenance like timewise and expense? Are you glad you have the pool?

 

Is there any way to actually secure these things (it would be an inground pool) from the likes of a 4yo and almost 2yo. :mellow: When oldest as a year old, I was set against a house with a pool, for safety reasons. I can see it being something that our family would enjoy at this stage in life, but wow, we still have very littles here.

 

Thoughts?

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When we lived in a house with a pool, we LOVED it. We did our own upkeep and it required maybe 20 min a week. The difference in utilities was about $50/mo and chemicals were about $25.

 

Safety- my top suggestion is to get those kids survival swimming ASAP. We had very small kids when we built the pool, but we also did infant swim (ISR) and they were water safe. Obviously, nothing is 100%, but my kids could fall into a pool fully clothed with shoes on and float, then swim to the edge and pull themselves out. This was at 9-12 months old.

 

Ours was fully fenced- the soft kind that you can remove. I've also seen the kind of cover that slides over the entire pool and that seems like the safest barrier.

 

This was all in Florida. Honestly, where we live now it wouldn't be worth it. We would only get 4 months of use vs 8+ in FL.

 

The other question would be about the condition. If there are problems with the pool it could be a lot more expensive.

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Installed our pool 20 yrs ago when our kids were 3yrs and a few months old. It's best to know yourself meaning are you a disciplined person who will be diligent with watching your kids and others at all times?

 

We used a safety cover in the winter and locked the door from the inside with a key when needed. If my kids took one step outside in pool area without my consent, they were spanked

 

It's fun but a lot more responsibility!

Edited by MIch elle
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Pools can be awesome.  They can be wonderful.  They can also be a pain to maintain and safety is ALWAYS a concern, even for experienced swimmers.  

 

I'll deal with safety in a minute.  

 

First:

1.  If you are in an area where you can use it more than 3 months out of the year it might be worth it.  Otherwise, I don't think they are (JMHO).

2.  Upkeep varies.  Are you/DH diligent about keeping the chemicals properly balanced, the equipment properly maintained, and the pool clean?  Or do you have the financial resources to hire someone to do this?

3.  Have you had a pool inspection?  If not, absolutely do not agree to buy this house until a full inspection has happened.  Including the shell and the equipment.  If you buy a house with a poorly maintained older pool you are saddling yourself with potentially thousands of dollars in issues.

4.  Do you live in an area with hard water?  Hard water can be harsh on a pool and require additional maintenance/upkeep plus the equipment may need replacing sooner.

 

Safety.  Someone once told me what you want to do is drop statistical likelihood of a drowning by focusing hard on the two most important considerations (according to them).  The two most important considerations with pool safety:  Barriers and swimming skills

  1. Swimming skills:  The more experience and practice a swimmer has, even an infant, the less likely they are to drown in a pool.  This is especially true if they are taught what to do if they are in trouble.  This in no way guarantees they won't drown.  Experienced swimmers drown all the time.  Lessons help.  Lessons coupled with a lot of practice with an experienced swimmer helps much more.  What also helps is if ANYONE who is supervising inexperienced swimmers can swim well and has been trained in what to do if another person gets into trouble.  This means that a parent/babysitter who cannot swim should not be the only one supervising children who are inexperienced swimmers.  Drownings can occur right in front of people if they don't know what to look for and how to react.
  2. Barriers:  The guy who designed a popular pool safety system once said think of safety around a pool as delay tactics.  You want to put as many barriers between your child and the pool as is reasonably possible to delay them from getting to the pool when you are not around to supervise.  A very resourceful child may get there anyway, but if there are enough barriers in place it may delay them long enough for you to realize they are missing and stop them from getting there.  (His son drowned.  They only had a lockable door so only one barrier.)  One door that people might or might not always remember to keep locked means you only have ONE barrier that could be easily breached at a bad moment.  A lockable door and a pool fence with a latching gate adds another barrier.  Add in a pool safety latch that takes dexterity to open and the barrier gets better.  Chime on the gate, chime on the door adds a warning system.  Each of those items adds a layer of protection.  Will they be needed?  Probably not.  But do you want your child to be the one that becomes a statistic?  
  3. Also, though, safety rules and etiquette are critical.  I was badly injured while running on the side of a pool.  A family friend nearly drowned diving off a diving board and hitting his head.  I could go on.  When you take on a pool you take on responsibility for anyone and everyone who uses that pool. It is important from the get go that you clarify safety rules when people swim in your pool.

I've been around a lot of people with pools.  Only a very rare few ended up dealing with a drowning.  But those that did experienced horrific loss that in nearly every instance could have been prevented with multiple barriers and the child being taught how to swim early and being give a LOT of practice doing so.

Edited by OneStepAtATime
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If you talked to my mother she would say don't do it (and she used weekly pool service)

 

Not used year round so costs for opening/closing

 

We had a fairly high wooden fence around it and a lock that gave everyone troubling opening.

 

I would never have one with small children unless it was completely fenced in.

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It can be a lot of fun, and it's going to be extra work and stress. If you take it on, you have to also take on the responsibility of the safety of everyone using it every single time it's used. No swimming alone - even an adult. My dh or I were always on duty as "life guard" whenever the pool was in use. That means you never pop inside for anything - you stay on the pool deck or everyone gets out of the pool. This is tricky when you've got really young ones needing toilet help, food, help, etc. 

 

I have to say that the most relaxing family swimming time for me was on the little, local beach where there were 2 lifeguards and a hand full of people around. I could actually read a book and rest. This was never the case with our outdoor pool unless dh was on lifeguard duty. It's not going to be sunny days and relaxing by the pool. It's work, but it can be worth it.

 

In the end, the thing that made us get rid of the pool was the tree growing right over it dropping leaves into the pool daily. There was no way we could keep them all out and balancing the pool water was impossible. When we first bought the house, the tree was pretty small. But trees grow, and before we knew it, there was an explosion of leaves and branches. The branches were really tricky to try and take down without damaging the pool. 

Edited by wintermom
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We lived in a house with a pool while we had preschoolers.  My husband refuses to consider another house with a pool and says that he will never complain about the expense of membership at the neighborhood pool.  

 

We did not have too much trouble keeping the chemicals balanced; we did this ourselves and did not hire a pool company.  A few times, the chemicals got way out of balance--usually after a period of extremely heavy rain or a period of intense heat and no rain.  We did find that that we constantly had equipment problems; those became tiresome and expensive to deal with.  We also found that our utility bills (water and electricity) were much higher.  

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We were not looking for a house with a pool, but we got one.  The market here is so tight that when we found a "useable" house, we snapped it up.  The pool has become a feature, not a bug, but it does cost some amount of money and time to maintain it.  I think it would be easier to keep up if we had a cover on it, but we don't.  My dh likes floating around in his floating deck chair, reading and relaxing.  I like it because it reflects such pretty light into the house.  And we have allergies, so this is a benefit that we don't have to mow the lawn.  

 

My dh does most of the pool maintenance, but I see him spending about a half hour a week, average, on it.  We have one of those robotic pool vacs--that cost about $700.  Totally worth it, but it is still $700.  He has also had to learn a lot about chemicals and so on, but he finds it interesting enough.  

 

One thing to check on:  how much water you can add to the pool to compensate for evaporation.  In our area, you get hammered once you use more than a certain amount of water.  If you need to FILL the pool, you can ask for a one-time exemption, but if the days are hot and there is a lot of evaporation, it is easy to get over the amount and get hammered.  

 

I handle insurance-dealings, and there was a slight markup for having a pool, but having a 6' fence with locking gates took care of a lot of that.  

 

And it is worth setting very serious ground rules with the neighbors.  I have a no-parent, no-swim rule.  I don't want to be a babysitter.  

 

When my son was little, we turned down a house that had a pool.  I was too nervous.  We ended up buying a house right next door to people with a pool.  The first time my son went to sit by the pool, age 1.75, he reached too far for a floating boat, and went right in.  He instinctively dog paddled to the side before I could even get my shoes off, and my neighbor was already in the pool, but the kid saved himself.  And went to swim lessons the next week . He swam on a team for 12 years, and he had a lot of fun in that neighbor's pool.  They were the loveliest people.  We moved away, and I missed my house so much.  But a year after we moved, they both died, and then I didn't miss my house anymore.  That pool helped me have 2 wonderful people in my life.  

 

BUT:  swimming lessons.  Good and enforced rules, both for your own family and for anyone who swims in the pool.  And I don't think there is anything wrong with asking the kids to learn to do some of the pool chores when they are sturdy enough to do so.

 

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