When you design and build a pool, the list of things you can choose to buy isn’t quite endless but it may seem that way. While the design of your pool largely depends on your budget and personal situation, there are some things that I would like to make you aware of to help you avoid swimming pool buyers remorse.
As a pool owner who bought a house that already had a pool, I learned about things I’d have done differently and pool items that I wish I’d either not bought or at least bought differently.
Avoid Swimming Pool Buyers Remorse
More Moving Parts = More Things To Break
When I buy something and am comparing options, I always think about what could break. We bought a nice high end coffee maker and the first thing I noticed is the on/off button. It’s the only thing I don’t like about it. You press down hard on it and you feel the spring inside. A spring that could break, fall out of line, etc and would be hard and probably expensive to fix. It it breaks, the coffee maker stops working.
With a pool, there are many expensive aspects from the initial design and building of the pool, to maintaining it, to replacing parts that break and replacing things that simply wear out like filter cartridges, pumps, chlorinator cells, etc. The more you have, the more you’ll have to replace.
Many parts of a pool are optional. Like water spouts, a concrete slide, solar blanket rollers, or gas heater. They all cost money, they all seem great when you get them, and they can all break. Or you could get tired of using them and don’t bother after awhile. We have friends that got a pool built and less than one year later, regretted a number of the expensive design features that seemed cool when designing the pool but are now afterthoughts that they don’t really use.
The pool overflow bath that you want looks great when it’s new but once the first few dead animals appear in it and it starts to get grubby and you realize it needs to be vacuumed, you might reconsider.
Think about what you really need, what you can avoid paying for.
Plan For Extra Costs
How far is the pool from your house? This can impact cost and also how easy it is to hook up to the existing electrical supply or gas supply if you buy a gas heater.
Do you have enough capacity on your current electrical box for the chlorinator and pump which are probably going to be hardwired? Adding extra capacity on a full breaker may cost several thousand dollars when you add the box and electrical work. When we switched from a cheap plug in Lectrinator chlorinator to a hardwired and more advanced Hayward system, we had to get an electrician in to add a new plug outlet from the house.
Could you experience soil problems when digging? Yes, it’s possible. Pool builders can visually inspect your backyard but may not know about soil or ground issues until they’ve started digging. Or unexpected gas or water lines.
Be prepared for increased costs or work delays because they sometimes do happen.
More Flowers And Landscaping = More Vacuuming
We have a nicely landscaped background that the previous owner of the house was responsible for when she got the pool installed. We have a garden around most of the pool with soil, trees, flowers, shrubs and rocks. It looks really nice.
But when the wind picks up, the leaves blow into the pool. I notice that our pool gets dirtier than our neighbors’ pools who don’t have the same landscaping we do. The soil is only 2 feet away in some cases from the water. It doesn’t take much to blow into the pool. And we have creeping vines all over the fences and those leaves end up in the pool too.
We don’t have grass in our backyard but if you do and if you use fertilizer, the phosphates can get into your pool and cause algae growth. You really do need to think about these things because they can cause trouble and add work to your pool maintenance. Even with the winter pool cover on, every spring I vacuum dozens of dead leaves out of the pool.
Something to think about if you’re looking for a low-maintenance pool with as little work as possible.
Water Features Are Expensive And May Add More Work
Our pool has a $12,000 waterfall feature. I know it cost $12K because the pool company owner told me the first time I met him that’s what he charged when he built it for the previous home owner. It’s built on a two-tiered rock bed with crawling vines on top which dangle into the water when they grow during the summer which is kind of cool.
The uncool part is that when I turn the waterfall on each time, some of the soil and dirt that has accumulated into the rock bed flows into the pool and sinks to the bottom. Which means I have to vacuum it up every time I use the waterfall. Which makes me not want to use the waterfall.
I like the waterfall idea. I don’t like the idea it’s built on a rock bed with dirt and live plants which increase vacuuming and maintenance work each time it’s used.
Don’t Buy Cheap Parts
We had a heavy, triangular-shaped, hard plastic vacuum cleaner head that we inherited with the house when we bought it. I used it for several years to vacuum the pool but when the edges got a few sharp dents in it and the bristles flattened through use, I thought a new one might be in order. I was afraid that the sharp edge might get stuck on the vinyl liner and cut it or perhaps scratch it.
I bought a new vacuum head of a different design, a much lighter plastic one with four wheels that would be easier to move on the walls and bottom of the pool I figured. If you’ve ever vacuumed a pool where the vacuum head attaches to the long pole, you know that a heavy vacuum head really comes in handy. It sinks to the bottom of the pool rather than you having to push it and hold it down. My old heavy, dented vacuum head sank to the bottom of the pool easily. The new light one on wheels didn’t. It rolls around on wheels ok but I have to use pressure to hold it down and if I lean the pole on the side of the pool, it starts to rise.
So I’m back to using the old dented heavy one again. The light one isn’t heavy enough to work properly. If you replace your vacuum cleaner head, get a good quality, solid heavy one. Gravity is real.
And buy replacement parts that actually work.
- Avoiding swimming pool buyers remorse largely comes down to thinking carefully about what you need and what you don’t. Costs add up and the more you buy, the more things there are to repair and replace.
- Water features are nice but when built close to flowers, trees, shrubs and soil, vacuuming and maintenance increases.
- Many costly pool features like waterfalls and water spouts can cause technical and plumbing problems down the line if they break or get clogged.
- When choosing replacement parts for your pool, get good quality ones that work and don’t go cheap.