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It’s hot outside. Wouldn’t it be nice to take a dip in your own garden pool? As popular as private pools are, there is a lot of information and misinformation out there about what owning a pool really entails, including maintenance obligations, finding the right pool installation company, and more. Here’s an introduction to what you can expect when owning a swimming pool. And yes, a bath would be nice right now.
Q: In your experience, how much does it cost to hire someone to maintain a pool?
A: Of course it is very different geographically. Average for a weekly or monthly contract $1,500 to $2,000 per year to be expected in areas that require a turnaround service for winter storage. A one-time rental for maintenance costs significantly more.
Q: What types of maintenance does a pool require?
A: All pool duties can be described as either cleaning or monitoring duties. Daily debris removal from the intakes should be followed by weekly cleaning and vacuuming. Remember to brush the walls above the waterline. A filter backwash or filter cleaning should be carried out at least twice per summer on average, but more often if the pool is used very frequently or all year round.
The water level should be constantly monitored. Flooding can disturb the chemical balance. Low tide can do the same and also cause equipment damage. Chemical levels must be checked and maintained at least twice a month.
Q: Which types of maintenance are most commonly ignored?
A: Unfortunately, the simplest is also the most ignored. Simply removing coarse debris from skimmer is quick and easy. Doing this on a daily basis can have a major impact on overall water quality, chemistry, and pump repair costs. The hard part is doing it daily.
Pool cleaning can be time consuming and easily postponed to next weekend. This decision, made too often, can be a costly mistake. Buying a semi-autonomous pool vacuum (robot) can be a huge time saver.
Q: What type of pool has the highest resale value?
A: The simple answer is that an inground pool has a higher resale value than an aboveground one. However, there are many factors to consider. Overall, a pool adds a small monetary value compared to the cost of installing it. Current estimates assume an increase of 8%. However, the market value can increase dramatically if you are in the right neighborhood.
In terms of saltwater and chlorine pools, there is not much of a difference. They each have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Safety concerns, maintenance requirements, the general housing market and more all impact resale. A trusted real estate agent can provide you with up-to-date market information. I’m by no means a financial expert, but there are better ways to increase the selling price of a home than by installing a pool.
Q: Are there other alternatives to using chlorine?
A: A common misconception is that saltwater pools are not chlorinated pools. The truth is that saltwater pools create their own chlorine from the salt itself, rather than simply adding chlorine. In conventional pools, salt water or not, chlorine is necessary to keep them safe for swimming.
However, natural pools, which use complex filtration instead of chemicals to stay safe, are quickly gaining popularity. They are environmentally friendly and require minimal maintenance. The current high cost of installation and potentially expensive repairs are still keeping potential consumers away, but that’s expected to change as news spreads.
Q: We’ve heard that pool pumps can be real energy guzzlers. Is that true and if so what do you recommend for people who want to keep an energy efficient pool?
A: You heard me right. A single speed, single horsepower pool pump can draw up to 1,500 watts of electricity. Compared to an average sized window air conditioner, which uses around 900 watts of power, pool pumps use a few kilowatts.
There are a few things you can do to increase efficiency. The easiest way is to just be careful to keep the intakes free of debris. This keeps pump pressure to a minimum and can reduce energy costs.
The best way to save energy is to reduce the daily running time of the pump. However, it can only be reduced so far before it causes other problems to creep in. At least one full water turnover per day is required. Installing an on/off timer removes human error from the equation.
If you run your pump during the day, when sunlight affects chlorine levels, levels will remain the same throughout the pool. The pump can run shorter without disturbing the chemical balance.
Finally, replacing an old, single-stage pump with an Energy Star-certified variable speed pump is the best option for energy savings. They can be quite expensive upfront, but the money saved in energy costs will quickly recoup the investment.
Deane is a 30 year veteran in the contract, remodeling, maintenance and home repair industries. His experience ranges from concession construction contracts to owning property maintenance companies. He currently runs a repair and home improvement consulting service, empowering his customers to be self-sufficient in their repair and remodeling efforts.
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