What No One Tells Before You Install a Pool in the Hudson Valley
You may be considering putting up a pool, but do you really know what you're getting yourself into if you live in the Hudson Valley?
As a third-year pool owner, I have to say that it was one of the best decisions we made. But I know other people who regret installing their own pool because they had no idea what they were getting themselves into.
So, as a public service, here are five things that every potential pool owner in the Hudson Valley should know before making the decision to build their own backyard oasis.
How much maintenance are you comfortable with having to do every day?
Owning a pool is similar to owning a pet. You need to constantly clean it, feed it and keep it healthy. To say that it's a lot of work is an understatement. Sure, there are some people who swear taking care of their pool is a piece of cake, but I'd hate to see what that pool actually looks like. If you want a nice-looking pool that people aren't afraid to swim in, you'll need to constantly babysit it. Balancing chemicals, making repairs to the pump and hoses and cleaning, cleaning, cleaning.
The Hudson Valley has lots of old, tall trees. Even if your pool is a hundred yards away from the nearest tree there will be some days that you can't clean out the skimmer basket fast enough. Flying pine needles, seedpods, leaves, bugs are always collecting in your pool. Even with the filter on all day long, they'll eventually fall to the bottom and need to be vacuumed up every couple of days.
How much will you use your pool?
This is a tricky question because everyone assumes if they have a beautiful pool in their backyard that they'll use it all the time. However, that's not realistic. It's important to figure out how much time you'll actually be in that pool that you're constantly maintaining. Do you have kids on sports teams that are always practicing or playing games? Do you like to travel? There aren't that many weeks of summer in the Hudson Valley and if you're spending most of them on getaways or doing a million other things, that money pit in your backyard will simply be a reminder of all the fun you're NOT having.
How much do you think it costs to have a pool?
Take whatever that number is and double it. That's probably the minimum of what it's going to cost, and continue to cost as long as you own your pool. It's important to remember when shopping for a pool that the cost of the pool doesn't include installation, which can be as much as the pool itself. Not only will you have to hire installers with heavy equipment to level the ground and put the pool together, but you'll also need to get a licensed electrician to dig a trench and get power out to the pump. Other costs that no one tells you about include paying for water trucks to come and fill your pool on installation day, permit fees, basic landscaping, hauling away excavated materials and a deck.
But do you really need a deck for an above-ground pool?
Unless you are installing an inground pool you're going to need a deck. You may have convinced yourself that you don't need a deck, but trust me -- you're going to get one. Getting in and out of an expensive above-ground pool using a ladder is going to get old really fast and is simply not practical. Also, the average pool owner spends way more time sitting next to the pool than actually going in it. If you don't have a deck, you're really limiting just how much use you're getting out of this major investment.
If you have children, you'll be unable to see them from outside the pool unless you have a deck. This makes it an absolute necessity. A deck also makes vacuuming and maintaining your pool so much easier. So believe me when I tell you that the very first thing you're going to do when you get into your pool for the first time is start planning a new deck.
Is all of this hassle worth it?
I'm the first to admit that having a pool is a pain in the butt, but it's also the best thing I've ever done. Spending all winter out in the cold pumping water off of the cover, constantly checking the skimmer, vacuuming, balancing chemicals, heading to the pool store at least once a week and forking over way too much money on small pieces of plastic that always need to be replaced will make you learn quickly that owning a pool is a huge time sucker and money pit. But, when you're floating with a drink in your hand on a hot day, that all melts away. At least for me, all of that hassle is completely worth it.
Whether owning a pool is a good decision for you, however, is something you'll have to decide. Hopefully knowing the reality of what's involved beforehand will make the decision process a bit easier.
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