Private water retreat, carpe diem?
September 22, 2010 3:45 PM   Subscribe

IndoorPoolFilter In addition to heating cost, what issues should I be aware of when considering buying a house with an indoor in-ground pool.

I am considering the possibility of buying a house with an indoor in-ground pool (18x36 feet - roughly 6x12 m). After doing some googling I am left with more questions than answers - all related one way or another with cost. For example, what should I expect for heating costs (assuming I left it uncovered only when using it - say one hour per day ... in Canada) and other maintenance costs? What question should I ask of the current owner.

Specific advice from past or current owner would be much appreciated.
posted by aroberge to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Liability insurance costs will be higher than normal.
posted by mmf at 4:16 PM on September 22, 2010

Electricity to run pump/filter.
Replacing filters.
Pool-cleaning service if you won't be doing it yourself.
Mental strain of watching out for kids, pets, etc.
Resale: Many people don't want a pool, so it may be harder to sell the house if/when you decide to do so.
I can't put relevant numbers to these, as I live in Florida, but they're not negligible.
posted by fivesavagepalms at 4:36 PM on September 22, 2010

Best answer: I owned a house with one back in the 1990's,

20'x40'x8' at deep end... about 80,000 gallons. It was in a triple glazed greenhouse enclosure attached to my house and enclosing what once was an external porch. I lived in a relatively mild place... Western North Carolina. I spent $500/mo heating it. (1990 dollars)

When I sold the house, it seemed to be more of a detractor than an attractor, and I briefly considered 'deactivating' it by thoroughly draining it, installing a false floor over it, placing a hot tub on top of the false floor and such. Realtor talked me out of it and I sold it eventually to a slightly disabled woman who had teenager kids and who swam every day for therapy. (She was engaged to be married to a guy with two kids, and he moved in shortly after closing. An odd twist to the story... within a week, they decided not to marry and put it back on the market. It took them a year to sell it.)

Those people who want one, really want one. Folks with youngish kids seem to be skeptical. Young women love to swim naked in them, (not all of course!) which may be there most redeeming virtue.

My overall perception is that for the money I spent on building it, building the enclosure, maintaining it, heating and operating it, maintaining the enclosure, buying supplies and accessories, dealing with mold, humidity, and the very real FACT that damned near NO ONE I EVER MET swims every day, it was not economic.

For the same money, I could have had several club memberships at places with pools. I could have also bought two or three airplanes. Or another house.

Cost of pool was (1990) $20,000. Enclosure $50,000. Operating expenses $5,000/year or so.) In what is now called the "Blizzard of 1993", a freak snow accumulation destroyed the whole thing and I had to rebuild it. That was an $80K hit for my insurance company. (The enclosure was designed for a 100 year storm and we got one. Imagine that!)

I spent perhaps 40 hours a month maintaining it, and it was inside.

I would never own another one. If you offered to give me yours, free, I'd turn you down.

Like many 'things' in life, this one seems a lot nicer on paper than in reality.

All of that said, my late wife wanted it, and I would have stomped bunnies for her. For another 10 minutes with her, I'd be willing to have one again.

One man's opinion. memail any specific questions that I haven't addressed.

Good luck.
posted by FauxScot at 5:31 PM on September 22, 2010 [11 favorites]

Wow, great answer FauxScot! Also - the smell of chlorine in parts of your house close to the pool.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 5:54 PM on September 22, 2010

It is my understanding that pools are much more expensive in places that don't have a lot of pools. My dad doesn't have any of the issues described above (and he would complain loudly and often if he had), but if you look at satellite imagery of the neighborhood, almost every property has an outdoor pool. Also, lots of people use solar heating and such.

One question for the owner: how are water and sewer charges calculated for pool filling? Where I live now, this is a huge deal, because sewer charges are per gallon for all usage (i.e. your water bill is always double the quoted rate.) Not every water utility has a way out for pool and spa owners.

(As a Southern California girl: lots of people swim every day. We swam daily from March to November, easy. Then again, I also knew girls who went to Disneyland every single day all summer long. My dad was way too cheap for that.)
posted by SMPA at 7:36 PM on September 22, 2010

fwiw my parent's don't heat their pool beyond the solar cover. If you like swimming in freezing cold water (which they apparently quite enjoy and do every day) the heating bill would presumably be much lower.
posted by fshgrl at 11:07 PM on September 22, 2010

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