In-ground Pools - Pros and Cons

Updated on August 08, 2012
M.D. asks from Washington, DC
15 answers

I have always wanted one, but my husband was always against one. Now he wants one just when I accepted we would not have one. Now I have reservations.

I know they are expensive to have put in (our neighbors just spent $30k), the upkeep (we'd get the salt water system if that makes a difference), and the fact that it narrows our market when/if we sell.

We live in Maryland, so swimming weather is only from May-ish to September-ish...though sometimes it could go a month further on either end.

I just don't see the benefit in spending the money, other than the fact that it would put my kids over the moon.

Do you have one?
Do you recommend them?
Why or why not?

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answers from Memphis on

Yes, we just bought a home with a pool! Love it!
Con-safety concerns, water/utility bill, constantly washing towels

Pros-Swimming every day, pool full of happy kids, swimming is great exercise

That being said I don't think I could ever put one in. Very expensive.

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answers from Tulsa on

My parents bought a house with one. We used it the first couple of years and after that barely kept it up. It was too much time and too much money. Our family is not a big swimming family, nor did we host swimming parties. Now it is in shambles, has trees growing out of the sides, and is not usable. My parents aren't selling anytime soon, which is good since it will cost them a few thousand to have it filled in. When I was house hunting, I crossed off any home with an in ground pool. I'd suggest investing in an above ground if you really want one.

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answers from Green Bay on

We put an in-ground pool in four years ago and we have no regrets and would do it again! Our kids(12 and 10) have friends over all the time to swim and we enjoy swimming and hanging out by the pool as a family also.

We live in a cooler/cold climate so we open our pool mid-May and close it the end of September just like you would. Still we get tons of use during those summer months and it is well worth it. We also heat our pool and keep the water at 87 degrees so we do pay quite a bit for gas and electricity during the summer months but it is still worth it!

We have a salt water pool so we don't spend money on chemicals, it regulates itself. We did install an automatic pool cover and are so glad we did. Even though it was a large expense it gives us peace of mind because of the extra safety factor. No one can get into the pool without a key to open the cover. The cover also helps keep leaves, dirt etc. from flying in the pool and therefore cuts down on the maintenance. We are surprised how little time our pool takes to maintain, we only have to vacuum like once a month.

I know having a pool may narrow the possible buyers if we sell our home one day but we plan to stay in our home for a long time and the enjoyment far out weighs that concern for us. My husband was a little hesitant when we were first thinking about a pool and he says all the time how glad he is that we did it.

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answers from Syracuse on

Friends of ours just put one in, it's wonderful. They had a pool party and all the kids had a blast. This women however, stresses out a lot about having people over to swim in it because of the danger of kids not being able to swim. Even though several adults are there, she worries a lot about adults getting distracted and not paying attention to the kids.

We looked at a house that had a pool, I wasn't interested in the house for that reason, but my kids are toddler/preschoolers. The pool was right outside the back porch. If my kids were older, I may have thought differently. We also live in an area that has plenty of beaches.

I've visited Maryland in the spring and remember it being HOT! You would probably have a long swimming season which would be nice.

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answers from Washington DC on

We have one, an inground salt water system, and we love it! We use the pool every night and my kids use it during the summer days with my mom. When we move, we will put in another pool. With the salt water system, the upkeep is less than it would be with a regular chlorine pool. We also live in MD and our pool is open in mid-May and we close early October. I like the fact that it will be a place that my kids will hang out at when they get older with their friends.

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answers from Los Angeles on

so there is this super cool pool that I am dying for but it is a bit more expensive than a regular pool. It is called a hidden water pool. The bottom of the pool rises and falls to the surface/ground level on a hydrolic system. when you dont want the pool "out" you raise the floor and have a patio and when you want to swim you lower the "pool". Oh and you can let it stop anywhere in between. Like if you wanted an 8" kiddie pool. Do a search it is super neato.

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answers from Cleveland on

inground pools are EASIER to maintain, as they are cement, and you just have to replace the lining every 10-15 years, puting a fence around it will have it secure (for little kids), once kids are teens, you house could be a meeting ground so you can keep an eye on the kids (always a plus in my book) it could increase the value of your home IF done right and tastefully and maintained. there would be no worry about having to have a deck around it and having to replace it every 5-10 yrs, just cement all the way around with outdoor padding on it.

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answers from Kansas City on

13 years ago when we were house hunting, one of our criteria was to either have a pool, or have the ability to put one in. We bought a house with neither, but do have a neighborhood pool. Now, I'm so glad we didn't get one. The kids are almost grown and out of the house, and it would be just one more thing for me to take care of.

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answers from Phoenix on

Of course we have one, but we are in AZ, so its a MUST! I say yes, get one. But if you do, add a jacuzzi (whats another couple thousand??) because then you can use it in winter too so to me that justifies the cost some. We pay $24 per week to have a pool company come out to service the pool, totally worth it! Its great entertainment for the kids, great exercise and just plain fun and nice to have. If you decide not to get one, then make friends with the neighbors that just got one. LOL! =)

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answers from Jacksonville on

First of all, the idea that it is work could go either way. It CAN be a LOT of work. But if you have a screen and a polaris vacuum and a chlorine feeder, there isn't really that much to do. I spend maybe 15 minutes a week doing "maintenance" on ours. Unless I get lazy and forget to check the skimmer or chemical balances or refill the chlorinator (once a week or so, depending on how high we set the dial on it)... Then, if it starts to "turn" it can take LOTS of time to get it straightened out.
Essentially, I have the kids get a water sample every time they hop in the pool, I clean the drowned frogs or lizards that sneak into the pool area out of the catch bag on the vacuum when I notice something in it, I add chlorine tabs to the feeder once a week or so, and shock it once every week or every other week (again, depends upon usage). If it is just our family swimming every day it is no big deal. If we have a lot of guests or a party or something, the balance on the chemicals needs more attention.

Cost? Maybe it is different because we are in the south and had ours installed during construction of our home, but including the screen, polaris etc, it cost us less than $20k. The screen was a big chunk of that. But it is SOOO worth it. Because it also filters a bit of the suns rays, it keeps the pool from getting too hot most of the summer (a problem sometimes down here late in the summer), it means we don't need to use sunblock at all, and it keeps the debris out of the pool, which cuts down on cleaning AND chemical use, because decaying matter changes the chemical balance of the pool.

I have friends with a salt water filter, and I have discussed it with our pool place. They are personal preference as to whether they are "better". I have heard my friends complain about the salt residue on their windows where the polaris tail sprays sometimes. And every time something goes wrong, it is $500 to repair, because it is regulated by a computer chip. So, to me, it is similar to the new washing machines. The new technology can be great, but it can break more easily and is more costly to repair if it does. Mechanical features are more reliable.

I will say this. We built our house/pool when our kids were just turning 5 and 8. They are now 11 and 14. We have EASILY gotten our money's worth out of it if we never used it another day. And I said the same thing two years ago... And we are STILL enjoying it.
Husband loves to hop in after mowing the lawn or going for a 5 mile run, to cool off. And so do I.
It almost always makes the kids get over any squabbling they might have going on, too. :)

ETA: oh... and the amount of chemicals we use costs an average of $200 a YEAR. We don't "open" or "close" our pool at all, because we rarely get freezing temperatures, but we only actually swim in it from late April through late September. Even the pump and polaris don't add that much to the electric bill.

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answers from Boston on

I don't know that I would ever pay to have one put in, but we bought a house with one and it made it more desirable for us. I also grew up with an in-ground pool so I was familiar with the maintenance. We can really only use ours from June - August (maybe add a week or two on either end) but even for that short season, it's worth it to us. We use it every day all summer.

Yes it's work, but if you stay on top of it and keep the chemicals balanced it's not a ton of work - shock and algaecide weekly, keep the chlorinator full, vacuum every couple of days (the auto vacuums are great - we broke ours and really miss it).

I would recommend it if you can afford the investment.

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answers from Norfolk on

Hi, Mom:

My friend has one in Bath, PA. She bought the house with it already there.
She is a swimming instructor and teaches swimming lessons.
It is alot of work and the upkeep is on a daily basis while the season
is in. Pool cover, vacuum cleaner and vacuuming every day, filters and changing filters, pool house adjoining the pool, chemicals for the water.
Work, Work, Work.
Who is going to oversee all of it.
It is like having an animal. It takes a daily love of the pool to care
for it while the season is in.

Safety issues with children, adults, and animals.

Hard Choice.
Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I was a nanny for a family that had a salt water one in their backyard and the kids were all swimming every day all day and they never caused any problems or got into any trouble.

Everyone wanted to come to the cool house so I knew all their friends. With 7 kids in this family that meant a lot of kids over to visit. The visitors knew if they didn't mind they were gone until the moms could talk about what was going on.

I was outside at the pool side all the time. If I went in to go to the bathroom the kids were out of the water or they all had to come in. If they didn't mind they didn't swim that day, it was the best tool for punishment ever.

An above ground pool has advantages too. But an in-ground pool can have a small diving board, it is deeper and shallower for different ages of kids, so many more advantages with an in-ground.

I would not want to do any sort of under water lighting though. If it cracks or gets water in it I can tell you it is the biggest hassle to drain the water down so a repairman can get to the fixture.

When we move to the farm I expect that part of that 10 acres will have a very nicely laid out pool area at some time in the future.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


If you were in Arizona or California or Florida - some place like that - I would do it in a heart beat.

I would find a friend that has an inground pool. Then have Jeff go over and clean it daily. ...then see if his mind changes. Has he changed his mind to keep up with the Jones'?

Call USAA and find out how much more it will be raise your premiums by.
Check with your county for the "rules" by which the pool can be placed in the backyard....will you still have a yard for the kids to play in?
Call a real estate agent and find out if it would benefit you in any way to put an in-ground pool in. If there are several neighbors with them - it might be work it - but you aren't selling any time soon - so you don't know WHO yor target market/buyer swill be when you and if you go to sell.

With the limited amount of time you guys are at home - with dance and football - and Jeff's softball I think it would be a waste of money.

When we lived in California - we had one. SOO worth it. We had a big backyard so the dogs could still do their thing...


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

We live in the desert of California so our swim season is about the same, we do the cleaning etc. ourselves, its work! Unless you plan to stay in your home they are not worth it. Should you choose to get one get a liability umbrella and good fencing, set strict rules! We assign an adult per child, don't assume some one is watching.

1 mom found this helpful
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