Pool, Pros and Cons

Updated on June 18, 2011
A.K. asks from King of Prussia, PA
26 answers

We are hunting for a home for the first time this weekend, yeah! (Renting for years, five kids later it's about time!)

Anyway, I am interested in a home with a pool, my husband is not sold on them.

What are your thoughts? Is it worth the effort and expense? Is it better to just buy a membership to a local swim place?

Is it only worth it if you switch it to salt water?

What are your thoughts?

Thank you so much!

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answers from Dallas on

We have a pool; when we looked for a house, that was one of my preferences because I had always wanted one and had never had one. I love having it; we don't use it as much as we'd like and they are a lot of work; we have someone come once a week to clean it and do the chemicals. We will be moving soon and won't have one - I will definitely miss it!! But, just know that they are work!

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answers from Dallas on

We moved to Plano 2 summers ago and bought a house with a pool. Me and the kids love it, dh hates it. We pay someone to clean it, if there is a bad storm then we will need to brush the pool and skim the top, but we don't do that all the time. We have chlorine, doesn't smell strong though. We end up paying about $2000 a year between electricity, water, pool guy. I love the convenience, my boys are now 8 and 5 and both swim, I can sit in a chair while they play if I don't want to get in.

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answers from Dallas on

First point of order - do all 5 of the kids swim? Next, no difference between saltwater and conventional pools. All take maintenance. See if you can afford a weekly pool cleaning service since you're newbies. There are also DVD's you can rent that explains how to take care of a pool. It's like mowing the yard. It just takes time.

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answers from Salt Lake City on

Pros - you don't have to go anywhere to swim, you control who and how many are in the pool, you can host swim parties.

Cons- You MUST be hyper-vigilant about safety! Make sure it has a fence with a locking gate (around the pool itself, not just the yard) that kids can't climb over. Especially if you have young kids, you cannot take this too lightly.
You need to cover it when not in use to keep unwanted animals out, as well as leaves, seeds, etc.
You need to clean it daily (scoop out anything that fell in, like bugs and leaves). You also need to test the water at least once daily to make sure the chlorine (or whatever you are using to keep it hygenic) is at appropriate levels. It also needs to be professionally cleaned periodically throughout the season.

If it were me, I would probably go with a house I am in love with whether it has a pool or not. The pool wouldn't be the deciding factor. But a pool is so much work, and I don't know that I would want to do that (and my husband probably never would, lol!)

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answers from Dallas on

If you can afford a pool, and somebody to maintain it, then why not. Salt water is great! and get a layout ledge. I really love the pools that have a hotub attached so you can go back and forth.

My inlaws have a pool and it is the site of all spring and summer parties. Noone wants to go to Chuckee Cheese for a birthday anymore. It's great for bringing the family together. We would never all go to a public pool together, but in the backyard, it's great fun. Pawpaw teaching the kids to jump off the diving board, gramma, grilling burgers, me and sil in the kitchen making potato salad - take a swim break, then eat, then lay in floatie for a while. It's too much fun.

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answers from Dallas on

We LOVE having a pool. It is worth the cons to us. We use it almost daily in the summer. It's a great source of family fun for us. This isn't something novel. Ours is 8 years old. We had it installed before we had kids.

Pros -
-Convenience..not loading kids up, packing snacks and all that goes on with a trip to the pool
-You make the rules
-Swimming is a life skill, plenty of opportunity for kids to master this skill
-Get togethers will migrate to your house (this may be a con for some, but I like having people come here. It goes back to convenience for me...think pot luck)
-Texas is HOT...a pool gets used.
-Exercise - I hop in after bedtime and do laps for exercise
-You can control the water chemicals. A public pool obviously requires more chemicals. They burn your eyes and smell bad. We have a saltwater system and non of that. We have friends with a chlorine pool who do not have that overwhelming Chlorine pool smell either

-Drowning hazard. We have taken precautions, but there are moments I lose my breath. THe kids can't play in the back yard unattended.
-Cost. It does cost more. My hubby sat down and did the math. It costs us $20 extra per month in electricity to run the pool. The hot tub costs us $8 or so in gas every time we heat it. Minimal per month, but that adds up over a year.
-Repairs. The day to day care isn't bad. We have a salt water system and it doesn't require too much daily. But if something breaks it can be pricey. Our vacuum broke last week and it cost us $300 for a rebuild kit.
-Chore. The pool can be another chore on the list. It has to be swept down at least once a week. And we clean the skimmers and vacuum about every other day. I usually do this while we are swimming since I am out there. It seems less like a "chore" that way. If your kids are older, they can help with a lot of this too.

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answers from Jacksonville on

Scarlett is right. The biggest "issue"s should be 1) how old is your youngest and can you get things safe enough that you can shower or sleep in late and not be freaked out worried that your youngest will end up in the pool without you knowing; and 2) how much effort/expense will it require and is that amount workable for you time/finance wise.

For us, our youngest was almost 5 when we moved into our home with a pool. Brand new home, first time pool-owners. Neither of us grew up with pools, so we had ZERO experience with pool care. Ours is screened in and has an in-pool automatic vacuum (polaris thing). Both cut down on the time and work required to keep it clean. The most time it takes is about 10 minutes once a week during the summer. When it is cooler, I can go 10 minutes every OTHER week. You'll take a water sample to make sure you have the proper balance in your water and treat accordingly, or not. For us, that usually means: a weekly shock treatment during the summer when it gets lots of use, adding a couple of chlorine tabs to the chlorine feeder (part of the pump system), occasionally throwing in a big box of baking soda (the 2 lb size). Clean out the skimmer basket whenever I happen to be around it.
That's about it.

One thing though: If you ever neglect taking proper care, trying to get it back to normal is a NIGHTMARE. One year I was neglectful over the winter and about March I noticed it starting to turn green.... ugh. It took me 3 weeks of tinkering to get it back to normal. What a PAIN. But other than that... I don't give it much thought time or worry. We just love it.
We've been here 5 summers already, and decided about 3 years ago that we had already gotten our money's worth out of it. The kids have so much fun and it is SO much easier to have the convenience of having it right there. Even if you have a "community" pool, you still have to lug everything to the pool. When it is right off your patio, you just open the door, walk outside with your drink and sit down. If one kid misbehaves, they get sent inside and they're done. The rest can keep playing. No wet car when you are done. :))

oh.. and we have a chlorinate pool (not salt) and the chemicals usually run us about $200 a year. That's it. And then a small increase in the electric bill to run the pool pump for about 8 hours a day.

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answers from St. Louis on

DH and I are the same way. Why? He doesn't want to clean the pool and take care of it. I do all the cleaning, so I will clean the pool. That is OK with me. What works in your house?

Five kids? I would say so worth it! Who wants to drag 5 kids to the neighborhood pool?

Drowing risks and cleaning the pool would be my two biggest concerns.

What ages are the kids? Better question, how old is the youngest? Too young would worry me, so get an alarm for safety.

I know I would clean the heck out of a pool if we had one, and I also know we would use it. Be honest with yourself. Will you or hubby take care of it and use it? If yes, for sure go for it!

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answers from Chicago on

As for the value of your home it makes it harder to sell. Mainly because you only have a select few buyers that would want a pool. It's a large expense, and maintenance. I would balance the cost of your local park district with lifeguards etc. vs your own expense. Lifeguards aren't there to babysit but in case of an emergency they are around for immediate response. Have you thought of getting certification in case something happened to your child or a guest?This is all coming from a mom that runs pools, does maintenance on pools, coaches swimming and manages lifeguards.

Sometimes I think it would be nice to have one in my back yard for my kids. Then I think about the added stress for me and change my mind. I have had to go in and rescue kids, it's not fun, when they make it, it's a rewarding day. I was strict with my guards and we still had to go in a couple times.

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answers from Dallas on

I had a pool when I lived in AZ, and I grew up with a pool. When we moved to TX 5 years ago we didn't get a pool because the kids were little (2 & 3). Now I really wish we had one! It is a pain to get them ready to go to the pool, pack up the snacks, drinks, sunscreen, toys, books for me, etc etc, then go to the community pool only to find either no chairs or that some little kid has pooped in the pool and it's closed. I would love a pool in my backyard!

I didn't notice much extra cost when we had the pool in AZ, and we had to use a lot of chemicals because it's so hot in the summer that bacteria flourishes. I had a self-cleaning pool and my labrador swam in it all the time - in spite of that I spent very little time cleaning it. When I was a kid the house rule was if you were going to use the pool you had to clean it first - at 10 I was a pro at sweeping skimming the pool, I could even check the chemical levels and add chlorine. Salt water is nice, my IL's have one, but they do still use some chlorine. One big negative to a backyard pool (besides safety) is friends. If you have a community pool, or membership somewhere, your kids will most likely run into friends at the pool which is great. If the pool is in your backyard you have to host the friends, which can be a pain. If you are really on the fence about it look in master planned communities where they have a community pool - you don't have to buy a membership and your kids still get to swim with their buddies.

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answers from Dallas on

My parents got a pool shortly after I moved out for college - I was so upset with them - I had begged for one all my life! Anyway, it was great for awhile (I went to a school in town, so I did get to use it alot!), however after awhile they got lazy about keeping the leaves out, then would forget to clean it - after awhile it looked awful, like a pond - they even had ducks that came and lived there! So, my point there is don't get a pool unless you think you'll really keep it up and continue to do so.
The other issue may be if you have young children that can't swim yet. It might be a safety hazard if they go outside - they could fall in.

That being said, living in Texas you must have some kind of pool access in the summer - you just might die without it!
So, if you are very good about cleaning it, and if you either don't have small children, or put some kind of safety fence around it, I say go for it!

There are other options too - you could look for a home that has a community pool. We just bought a home in fact that has a community pool and playground and it is wonderful! It is walking distance from our house and we don't have to worry about maintenance!

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answers from Dallas on

Honestly I wanted a pool my whole life and now that we have one I would be happy without it. I mean yes it's nice to have it but with all the water parks in the area and most are pretty cheap (Bedford Splash, etc. for $6/person) compared to a pool which you have to maintain year round (if you take care of it properly you can NOT drain it in the winter as that's really bad for them) and only use 3 maybe 4 at the very most months of the year. Then with my two I am CONSTANTLY freaked out that someone will leave the door open, etc. Mine, unfortunately is not gated totally separate so it's a problem but it's so close to the house that it would be really hard to gate. I just personally feel like they are more trouble than they are worth sometimes. But with that said if I happened to find a house that I loved and it had a pool I wouldn't let that stop me IF I could afford to maintain the pool. We ended up hiring a GREAT guy to clean ours for $135 a month but that's pretty cheap, most charge $155 or more a month. And there's ALWAYS other issues that pop up randomly that of course cost money to fix too so keep that in mind. Water bill goes up a bit in summer to fill it (they evaporate quickly in summer) so plan on an extra $200-500 or so for extra water throughout the year (well we're on septic too so may be more for city) and not sure how much more electric is, that you should be able to get from old home owner. Good luck!!

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answers from Dallas on

My husband talked me into a pool years ago and we have never regretted it! It is great for kids when they are young because they love, love the activity and it is right there in you backyard. You don't have to pack up and go to the local pool for 2 hours and come home sweaty and exhausted. You can enjoy your own backyard oasis. And you enjoy seeing your kids play and splash, versus watching the whole village splash at the local pool. My kids still like the local pool for a change, when they go with friends. And now that some of mine are a little older, it is nice when they want to be at OUR home with friends instead of away to ???? I also swim afternoon laps in the pool for exercise...granny style with my head up, but exercise none-the-less. And my husband enjoys a dip on evenings or weekends, where a chaotic public pool would never be relaxing for him. -- Salt water pools are better for skin, but worse for equipment, and nearby garages (with open doors) full of tools. We have always had a chlorine pool, but these days they can operate on lower levels of chlorine....and much less chlorine than the community pool! We do our own weekly maintenance and just hire a guy to clean the filter every 6 months. Have fun, and be safe! (I have also found the kids with backyard pools are much better swimmers b/c of the amount of time they play in the pool versus kids with no backyard pool. So...CAN be safer in long run. Just be vigilant while they are learning. And set rules. We also have a high lock on our doors to backyard which stay locked at night and during day when we are not swimming. That way, no kids in yard when you are not on alert!)

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answers from Washington DC on


That is what I feel about our pool.
Insurance for us did not go up considerably.
We bought this house with a pool. It is still green with critters. I have no idea how to fix it and every pool guy is too da** busy.
We had one guy come out a month ago, then when I called him again the company said he had an emergency and left the company, all our paperwork was lost.
It was great last summer while it lasted.

I am not saying NOT to buy the house with the pool, but go to your pool store NOW and find out how to clean, change filters, all about the pumps, backwash, etc.
I really do like having it, I just have no clue how to be a pool owner.

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answers from Milwaukee on

My concern would be the higher insurance rates. Having a pool is EXPENSIVE and possibly dangerous.

My grandparents had a huge fenced in pool and we weren't alowed NEAR the pool unless they were RIGHT there. NO exceptions. Loved that pool but it was a lot of work for my grandpa to take care of.

Btw, the MORE a pool is used the CLEANER it is. Keeping the water moving gets the water filtered and clean PROVIDING you're also putting the right chemicals in the maintain the ph and balance.

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answers from Boston on

My ex hated the idea of a swimming pool because the lake was 1/2 mile away, so when we bought our house, he took the above ground pool out. And I walked the kids to Lake in the Summer. I hated the lake because it isn't clean, I can see the little tiny fish swimming in the shallow, it smelled funny, water snakes, etc. I also was more of a dog person and not a cat person and I loved watching and playing sports. Eight years later, we separated and he has a dog, plays softball and is installing an in ground pool at his house because his g/f, the nurse, finally talked some sense into him at how unsanitary the lake is (sorry got off on a bit of a tangent in the middle of that). I feel that public pools are just as nasty- be it the local swimming pool, a hotel, anywhere. Do you know how many people (adults) pee in the pool or how many use it as there source of 'actual' bathing in lieu of a shower with soap. If you can afford to get you own pool, try whatever you can to convince the hubby that it's so much more sanitary. You kids may pee in the pool, but they're yours and not someone elses.... I'm not a huge germaphobe or anything, I will swim at the places, but I just feel gross and dirty after.

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answers from Seattle on

Well, not living in a "pool region" fortunately that isn't much of an issue for us when hunting for a home, but I have to say if we came across the oddball house with a pool in our area we would probably pass, because of the pool.

To me a few months of use for swimming do not outweigh the expense of maintenance and the safety issues (I like a backyard my daughter can play in by herself. Not to mention that I have enough chores on my hand as it is, no need to add a pool to my list.

Thanks, but no thanks to the pool for us.
Good luck.

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answers from Dallas on

Depends on you. We had a pool in the first house we bought when we moved to TX. All we ever did was clean and care for it. Rarely went out and actually enjoyed it.

Now with 5 kids, you'd probably use it more.

We've since gone on to build 2 more houses and opted to NO pool due to the work and us not using the one we had.

Our neighborhood has a community pool ( we will not go there.... I am a clean freak when it comes to a pool). We do go to the country club where we know the pool is 100% clean.

We've talked about a pool at our current home, simply for the landscape factor, not so much for use. My neighbors had to have work redone because they have a salt water pool and the salt destroyed some of the decking.

Just do your homework!!

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answers from Kansas City on

Funny, when we were house hunting 10 years ago, a pool was a priority. A house with a pool or the ability to have one put in. We got neither!
As someone said, we found the house of our dreams. It literally had everything we wanted except the pool. Our neighborhood has a pool and we belonged to a club for many years with a pool.

Maybe it's because we didn't have one here, but what sounded fun at the time, the kids really outgrew. Once they got old enough, they were at the neighborhood pool with their friends. Which is OK, because we didn't have the liability!

Another poster mentioned it makes the house harder to sell, which I would believe. The house across the street took quite a while, (before the housing market fell) to sell because of the pool.

We had an above ground growing up and it was a lot of work and extra expense. My in-laws have an in ground pool that really only gets used when they have company, but they still have to keep it up.

If you really think you would use it enough to make it worth the cost in money and upkeep hours, then go for it! I'm sure you and your family will enjoy it.

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answers from Dallas on

We're in a smaller neighborhood with a pool yet there are quite a few houses that have put their own pools in. I'm not sure if they're germophobes or just like the convenience of it, however they're still paying the same HOA fees we are on top of the cost for extra electricity, chemicals (yes salt water pools still require chemicals) and water and the time it takes to maintain their pools. And I know that the houses that have been for sale in our neighborhood with pools in their back yards take longer to go than those that don't.
The advantage to salt water is it's gentler on your skin, it does still use a small amount of chlorine. Salt water can corrode though and I believe it tends to be rougher on pool systems in general. Chlorinated pools have changed from what they used to be like many years ago and are more gentle than they used to be.
It is a bit of a project to get the kids to the pool, and I only have two, the towels, toys and sunscreen stay in a bag in the laundry room, the pool key stays in the car. When I really don't want to go I put the sprinkler on or fill up their blow up pool. I grew up with a pool and loved it - we'd spend just about every day in it in the summer, and as I got older was also required to help maintain it by vacuuming it, skimming leaves, bugs and grass out.
Now, I'm sort of on the fence about having one in my back yard, sometimes it'd be nice other times I think I'd never get things done around the house because I'd be out there all the time with the kids. Really it comes down to whether or not you're up for the extra work - yes you can hire a service but you still have to do the day to day scooping of bugs etc.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

There are other options besides salt water and chlorinated water that are less expensive. Soft swim is one. I think if your family loves swimming and the climate is where you will be int he water a lot then it is worth the cost for your family. If it is not something you do every day then perhaps you should just see what homes are available. My friends moved to Spring and their housing addition has a pool and the residents can all use it.

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answers from Spokane on

Our next door neighbors had a pool that was unfenced, so they hardly ever went outside with their toddler. Once evening they had a huge pool party, and the next day the whole pool was green, and it took weeks to get it back to normal. GROSS
A year later, my husband and I moved and bought a house with a pool. We spent thousands getting it fully fenced with a locking gate. He went out at least once a week and cleaned the pool, and my son and I enjoyed it every day all summer long! We had BBQs and parties with friends and family every weekend (this for me was a good thing, I LOVE having visitors), my husband went for a quick swim at least four times a week after work to relax. We lived in the desert where is was over 100 degrees every day for months on end, so we were swimming from May until October.
In our case it was totally worth the effort, but the financial became a huge burden. It wasn't just the pool though, it was the cost of living (So Cal) PLUS the constant air conditioning in the house and running the pool pump, and my husband unexpectedly losing his job and taking another that was one third his salary.
You really have to look at your individual situation and decide if everyone is responsible enough (will all the kids remember to lock the gate behind them?), you are willing to do weekly care, and you can afford the extra electricity bill. If yes, then you'll log many many fun hours with your kids - oh, and my super timid son learned to swim and dive to the bottom with no fear by himself at three years old because of his constant exposure to the pool!

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answers from Washington DC on

I had a pool at my first house and I MISS it terribly!!! I would put one in at my current house, but we can't afford to right now. When we did have a pool I didn't think it was all that expensive to keep up. I actually had a pool company come and open it for me that first summer (we bought the house in the fall and the pool was closed) I followed him around with a notebook and wrote down everything he did. From then on, I opened the pool myself each summer. It really wasn't that hard at all. I did always pay someone to close it each Fall though. I was worried I would do a good job of blowing out all the pipes and we'd have one freeze and burst during the winter. I figured it was cheaper to pay to have the pool closed up than deal with a problem like that! So really your only expenses are the closing and the chemicals. I don't think it was much more than $300 total. I can't remember though! I loved my pool :) Good luck!

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answers from Phoenix on

Its hot here and we HAVE to have a pool, its a must. We pay $80 per month for pool service and its "mostly" covered under the home warrenty. We paid $1800 to have it fenced in (we rent) and they yard is fenced also. When we buy we will for sure get a home with a pool. Its so convenient and nice and better than having to drive to a local pool, which we do also. I paid for summer passes this year to the water park. But having a pool in your own backyard is awesome. And after the kids go to bed you can hubby can go skinny dipping! :o)

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answers from Los Angeles on

We are a swimming family. Sea and pool. I don't have one now, but I would if I could. My parents have a pool and we look after it for my mom. It's wonderful. Thevwhole family including my mom loves it. In summer it's the only exercise I get. So good for the kids. I suppose you need to ask yourself how much you and your family like swimming. If you're like us, you'd do it in a heartbeat!

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answers from Dallas on

I am sort of in the same spot you are. We have rented and I am ready to buy...4 teenagers/1granddaughter later. I would love to find a house with a pool, and there are some out there, but my husband would rather not. I have heard that converting it to salt water is not that big of an expense and you don't have to do all the chemicals, etc. That is what I would do if I found a house with a pool....OR I would consider a house that has a community pool, then you don't have to fool with the maintenance or upkeep. Good luck in your findings :)

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