Just because a store has a small above-ground pool advertised for $300 (many will cost MUCH more than this) and that sounds like a good price for a summer of entertainment, doesn’t mean it will be a good financial decision for your family or the most environmentally friendly one.
There are some important things to consider before buying an outdoor pool this summer.
- How many gallons of water does it take to fill?
- How much electricity will it take to filter your pool?
- What kind of chemicals will you use to keep your pool clean and sanitary?
- How will you dispose of your pool water at the end of the season?
- How far would you have to drive to go to a public pool, waterpark, or beach?
- Do you anticipate on using a pool in the same spot year after year, because the grass will be killed beneath the area it sits?
- How will you dispose of all the packaging that came with the pool?
- Pools often leak & water will evaporate, so you will need to take in to account that more water than just what is needed to fill it is used.
- How much does a pool that is the appropriate size for your family cost?
- How much will it cost to purchase chemicals?
- How much will it cost in water costs to fill your pool?
- What impact will the electricity needed to filter (and possibly heat) the pool have on your electrical bill?
- Do you need to purchase a cover? ladder? skimmer? heater?
- Will you need to purchase floating toys, chairs, diving toys and other pool toys?
- Have you researched how if people are typically able to re-use that pool from year to year? (Food for thought – most people I know who have purchased a soft-sided pool would find a they don’t withstand more than one season of use.)
- Do you have a level surface, can you level it yourself, or will you need to hire someone to level the surface?
- Can you bring in snacks to your nearby pool, waterpark, beach? If not, the costs to purchase snacks there can quickly add up.
- Could you get away with using a smaller pool (generally the pool costs less, less water used & less chemicals needed)?
- Do you have a fenced in yard to prevent people and animals from wandering into the pool? Does your town require pools to be fenced in?
- Do you have enough space to have a pool?
- Are the days/hours of a public pool, waterpark or beach convenient for your family’s schedule?
- Do you own the tools needed to put together and install a pool?
- Do you have a lot of trees that might drop leaves in your pool? Do you live near anything that might cause more dirt, grass, etc to get in your pool? Where is the nearest exterior electrical outlet?These would be things to think about before you decide on the best placement.
- Does your community require a permit for a pool or do they have any oridnaces regarding home pools?
- What shape of a pool do you want? You need to consider how you will use your pool and the space available.
Our Summer Swimming Plans
We are a family of water lovers and spend as much time in it as we can. For our family, the best financial and ecologically responsible decision to make in regards to our swimming adventures is to get a membership to our community pool. It has a small kiddie pool and a larger pool with a diving board that we can swim laps in and play in. The days and hours generally work well for us, even if they do close for the supper hour daily. We live only 4 blocks away so we can easily bike there. And by becoming members at the community pool, my children have been able to be quite social without the need to set up playdates (or clean my house.)
On days or times that we are not able (or choose not to use) the community pool, we will go to a nearby waterpark or a beach. Sometimes we choose to go to one of those as a special treat. And other times we will just use our small kiddie pool or the slip and slide.
I know for some friends, owning their own pool makes more sense to them because they would need to drive a distance to go. And for other friends they like the flexibility of what time they swim and can put up and/or take down their pool when the weather warrants it which most often results in a longer swimming season for them whereas pools and beaches may not already be opened or have closed for the season.
Do you have an outdoor pool? Where do you swim in the summer?