One of the worst decisions Dad and I made was to have a pool built in our backyard. I take responsibility for the money pit. Growing up in South Florida, we lived in our pool using it daily from April until November, and my fondest memories of living in Lighthouse Point revolve around our pool.
When my parents bought their first house in Florida a pool was an absolute necessity. They thought a pool home would be like going on vacation year round, and they were right. By 8:00 on summer mornings, I hit the pool. We grilled and ate by the pool; our friends came over to spend the day in our backyard. All our entertainment centered around our pool, patio, and grill. We even ate Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas diners on the patio around the pool; and I bet you can guess where we held the reception for our wedding. So of course, it seemed only natural to add pool.
However, I forgot Ocala is not South Florida. The weather here is not conducive to year round pool use. In fact, we used it only about three months a year, but those were the same months busy with travel, softball tournaments, and boating. Out of a 52-week year, we were lucky if we used the pool eight weeks.
And it always seemed as though a problem occurred just when we had time to use it—the pump quit—the filter needed to be replaced…it rained all week…always something cut in to those precious eight weeks.
So please, don’t buy the house with a pool, or add a pool to your backyard without serious thought. Consider the following:
Your water bill will increase.
Chemicals cost about $50 per month.
Electric usage and costs rise.
Time must be devoted to brushing, dipping, checking and adding chemicals. Not to mention time spent at the pool store purchasing items and asking advice.
Don’t forget about the pump, filter, gaskets, brushes, poles, nets, baskets, and timers, you will need to replace or repair.
When you calculate the time and money spent on upkeep, you’ll need to spend a lot of time in the pool to offset the costs.
Instead of a pool, let me make a few suggestions:
Join the YMCA or some other community pool.
Buy a home in a community with a pool. Sure the HOA fees will be higher, but think of all the time and money you’re saving by letting someone else take care of the pool.
Buy a hot tub. This is my favorite solution since we use ours all the time. If it’s hot out, just add a little cold water or if it’s cold, turn on the heater; you can truly use it year round. The cost of water, electricity, and chemicals is minimal as is the time required for care.
Or just use a hose or sprinkler. In your backyard, the neighbors won’t have to know you’re using this method to cool down. Heck, you can even get a slip ‘n slide or a kiddy pool for a little relief from the heat.
I’m serious about this advice. We contracted with a demolition crew that removed and filled our pool last week. Sod is being delivered Thursday, and I can honestly say I’m looking forward to having a larger yard to mow!
Resist the temptation…just say no to the house with the pool!