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Owning a Swimming Pool: 7 Things You Need to Know

  1. The cost of installing a new pool
  2. Insuring your pool
  3. The annual cost to maintain your pool
  4. The time commitment
  5. Put safety first and foremost
  6. Health benefits
  7. Fun for the whole family

By Kate Strassel | Citizens Bank Staff

Owning a swimming pool is, for many, a dream come true. Few other home improvements have the power to turn your property into a summer entertainment destination: think staycations, family parties, hanging out with friends, and relief from the heat — all just a few steps away.

Whether you’ve bought a home with a pool or you’re ready to take the plunge and build a backyard oasis, there are responsibilities and costs associated with pool ownership. Here are seven things you need to know about owning a swimming pool:

1. The cost of installing a new pool

How much you’ll spend on the construction of a new swimming pool will depend on the type of pool you choose. On average, expect to pay $2,146 to install an above-ground pool and $49,638 for an in-ground pool.

Not sure if a pool installation will work with your finances? Check out this article to learn more about the up-front expenses, as well as ways to fund your dream.

2. Insuring your pool

Owning a swimming pool inherently increases your liability as a homeowner. Review your home insurance policy with your insurance agent to determine if:

    You’ll need to obtain an umbrella liability policy or endorsement to your existing homeowners insurance policy in case someone is injured while using your pool, and
  • Your current policy limits are sufficient should your pool be damaged by a covered loss.

3. The annual cost to maintain your pool

Think you’re done paying once the pool is installed? Think again. The average cost of opening and closing the pool (if you live in a colder climate), routinely testing the water and adding chemicals as needed, skimming the surface of the water, vacuuming the bottom, and more can range from $1,200 to $1,800 per year.

In addition to pool maintenance costs, you should plan to spend an average of $3,000 to $5,000 per year for repairs and utilities. Many homeowners initially underestimate how much electricity a swimming pool uses. Filters, pumps, heaters, and lighting all take their toll on your monthly electric bill — but there are measures you can take to keep costs down. For example, installing an automatic timer for the pool filter eliminates the need to turn it off when the pool isn’t being used.

And don’t forget the pool toys! From inexpensive pool “noodles” and beach balls to floating flamingos large enough to hold your entire family, you’ll not only need to replace them periodically — you’ll need somewhere to store them. Depending on your budget, you could spend anywhere from $20 to $400 per year on these items.

Total average annual expense of pool ownership = $5,710

4. The time commitment

Whether your pool is used for a few months or year-round, plan on spending some time each day caring for your pool. Simple tasks like skimming and emptying filters — as well as the more involved chores like testing your water’s pH and opening or closing the pool — may seem like a drag. Instead of focusing on the drudgery of pool maintenance, think about the joy and pleasure the pool brings to your family and friends!

5. Put safety first and foremost

Owning a swimming pool provides a great opportunity to teach kids the importance of water safety in a comfortable, familiar environment. If you’ve never been certified in CPR, or it’s been a while, courses are offered by the American Red Cross and YMCA locations across the country.

If you’ll be closing your pool for the winter, be sure you have a safe cover — not only for children, but for animals if they fall on it or run across it. It’ll protect your pool against the weight of snow and ice, and make opening the pool in the spring easier. This type of cover may cost more up front, but ends up paying for itself over time by keeping out debris and minimizing damage to the pool — not to mention the peace of mind it provides.

6. Health benefits

Swimming is a great, low-impact exercise suitable for all ages. It’s easy on the joints and muscles, yet provides as much of a cardiovascular workout as running with less risk of injury.

If you’re looking to relax and relieve stress — who isn’t? — swimming has been shown to help release tension and reduce anxiety. And if you compare simply stepping out the back door and into your pool with loading up the car to spend a day at the town pool or beach? It’s obvious which option is less stressful.

7. Fun for the whole family

What’s usually your kids’ favorite part of any vacation? The time you spend at the resort pool! Owning a swimming pool means summers filled with splashing, laughing, and making memories together — all in the comfort of your own backyard.

If you love to entertain family and friends, a pool will do the heavy lifting for you. In addition to swimming, people love hanging out poolside. Ask guests to bring a favorite dish or beverage, put out some towels and sunscreen, and let the pool take care of the rest.

What to remember

Owning a pool does involve some effort, as well as ongoing expenses. But in most cases — and with the right mindset and knowledge — pool ownership can be a rewarding experience that brings joy and creates family memories for years to come.

More information

Having a budget that accounts for expected — and unexpected — expenses can make pool ownership easy and enjoyable. Visit our Saving & Budgeting page for tips or stop by your nearest Citizens Bank branch for a Citizens Checkup.

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