Are swimming pools worth it?
July 5, 2011 4:39 PM   Subscribe

Should we get rid of our new-to-us above ground pool?

My husband and I recently bought a house (yay!), which came with a 28 foot above ground pool which was bought approximately 3 years ago. I wasn't too keen about the idea of the thing, even though I adore swimming (as does my husband) because we already belong to the local Y and are not sure we want the additional expense and hassle of taking care of the thing. At the beginning of the summer, we though that we would just keep it open for the season, then consider what to do with it after that. However, after messing with it for the better part of two weeks, We're leaning towards getting rid of it. I don't want to regret that, though, in a few years when we have kids that would really enjoy it, etc.

So my question is this: what have you found to be the pros and cons of above ground pool ownership? Is it worth it to you if you don't have kids? We're in our mid-twenties with friends who might enjoy it sometimes, but we're not the type to have raging pool parties. Quiet dinners with others are more our thing...

As far as I have been able to figure:

Pros:
Can go swimming if too lazy to drive to Y.
Can give swimming lessons to friends' children (occasionally).
Can have pool available for get-togethers.
Can practice chemistry over the summer ... :)
Don't have to worry about how to get rid of thing.
Maybe it's not actually going to be as much work and cost as much as I worry that it will. I am a worrier (my husband tells me this and I agree).

Cons:
Pool uses up a lot of our minimal backyard. If it were taken out, we'd have room to run around or to have a garden.
Cost of maintenance. We're on a tight budget, and the thought of the energy, water, and chemical cost is stressing me out.
Hassle. I'm a teacher and ostensibly have the summer off, but I have a part time job and take summer classes. Not sure I want to spend the time that it would need.
A kid could find his way in and drown? Both of us are lifeguards, but we're not there a lot and the fence isn't that tall.

Bonus questions:

Would it affect our property value either way?

How would we get rid of the thing? Post for it on Craigslist? Does anyone even want these things? BTW, it's a reasonably nice 3-4 year old Doughboy with all that extra stuff like a motorized filter, stairs, a deck, spare chemicals, skimmers, brushes, etc.

If we do decide to get rid of it are we better off to do so now or wait until the beginning of next summer?

Ack! Sorry for the length! Thanks so much in advance!!! Let me know if there's anything else I didn't mention.
posted by marylucycraft to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
OOh! Forgot to add... If you do have an above ground pool, what do you spend per month to maintain it (approximately)?
posted by marylucycraft at 4:44 PM on July 5, 2011


Your pros are almost all extra things you don't normally do that would simply justify something you didn't initially want. I know a lot of people who really wanted their pools but still let them turn into festering cesspools because the upkeep was too bothersome. If you're not really enthusiastic about the pool, I would put the effort into getting rid of it now. Effort and expense will be required either way, but this way you get it over with now and get to enjoy your backyard the way you really want.
posted by katillathehun at 5:04 PM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Keep the pool one year (season), see what it's like, then get rid of it ( I believe that will be your conclusion. Rarely will a pool feel like it's worth the time, space and effort, as far as I know.)
posted by bluefrog at 5:05 PM on July 5, 2011


I would, at the very least, see what your homeowner's insurance policy says about attractive nuisances.
posted by lalex at 5:10 PM on July 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, to help your decision, when you have kids and decide you would like a pool, the new vinyl above ground pools are under a hundred bucks and ridiculously easy to take care of. They are not as large, but for playing in, they are great.
posted by Vaike at 5:32 PM on July 5, 2011


I've had an above ground pool for 20 years. The same one. We bought one of the best pools on the market when we decided to get one. It's a Johnny Weismueller, and all alluminum. We've replaced the liner once after 15 years, $900.
I usually go through 2 10# containers of baking soda and maybe 1/3rd of a container of 3" chlorine tabs per year.
Baking soda we get at BJ's relatively cheap. Maybe $10. Chlorine tabs I get from "In The Swim" when they go on sale. About $100 for 50 lbs. I go through a winter cover about every 3 years. They're about $100 give or take. A leaf cover costs less than $100 and it lasts 4 years or so.
I've replaced the Diatomaceous earth filter once in 20 years. $450.00.
I run the pool filter about 12 hours a day.
Opening the pool usually takes me 2 days to fill it and clean it. I lose maybe 1000 gallons over the winter do to ice.
The only other items I buy is pool shock and an occasional pool brush.
When we purchased the pool we got a Hayward pool vacuum in the package. Still use it but I rebuilt it once for $50.

So over all it costs me less than $100 a year to enjoy my pool.
posted by JohnE at 5:41 PM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have a small above-ground pool (maintained by Mr. SuperSquirrel, so I don't have any figures handy on monthly maintenance, sorry). He's the only one who really uses it, and he only takes a dip now and then after work. I'm reluctant to get rid of it, because I associate backyard pools with a lot of happy childhood memories. :)

But... you don't have kids now, and by the time any future kids of yours would be able to really enjoy the pool, it will be at least 10 years old. That's getting old for a pool - it's when expensive things start to break (filter) or rip (liner). Liners can be patched, and filters can be fixed if you're handy, but if you're not really into it in the first place, it becomes a bit of a hassle. I would get rid of it if I were you.

If you offered it free on freecycle, or cheap on Craigslist, you could no doubt get rid of it quite easily. Make the offer contingent on the recipient helping to take it down.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 5:57 PM on July 5, 2011


Opening and closing the pool is quite time consuming.
posted by k8t at 6:12 PM on July 5, 2011


My parents had an above ground pool for 30 years which they just finally took down.

We all really enjoyed it, for what it's worth.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:32 PM on July 5, 2011


My parents had an above ground pool, four feet deep and 16 feet across when I was a kid. My brother, sister and I spent entire summers in the pool. My childhood was significantly more boring before the pool. They got rid of it not when I (the oldest) got a job, but when my brother (the middle kid) did since my sister would be right behind.
posted by Brian Puccio at 7:37 PM on July 5, 2011


We got a pool when I was 12 or so. As a consequence I can't tell you much about the $$ figures f maintaining but it did take time daily to clean/test and seasonally to maintain. Many good memories though and I loved not having to be at mercy of neighbours to swim on a hot day. Craziest memory? My dad cutting it apart with a saw when the snow one bad winter collapsed it and we decided enough was enough (bro and I mostly out of the house by then). I don't remember it being a hardship on my parents. I do remember replacing the lining one year when cicadas cralwed through and put holes in it.
posted by TravellingCari at 7:48 PM on July 5, 2011


We're leaning towards getting rid of it. I don't want to regret that, though, in a few years when we have kids that would really enjoy it, etc.

So my question is this: what have you found to be the pros and cons of above ground pool ownership? Is it worth it to you if you don't have kids? We're in our mid-twenties with friends who might enjoy it sometimes, but we're not the type to have raging pool parties.


If you're generally meh about the thing, I can't imagine that it will grow into a hugely desirable feature. And if you like going to the Y, wouldn't you be more inclined to just take your eventual kids there?

Certainly there are things i keep around pretty much purely for the comfort or enjoyment by guests. A stash of artificial sweetener, some kids' books/videos, a spare bedroom and an air mattress come to mind. But for me, the yard space, maintenance, and expense of an outdoor pool would far surpass reasonable accommodations based on "eh, maybe someone might occasionally kinda like it."

Nothing against those who enjoy their above ground pools, of course...different strokes and all. (Pun unintentional.)
posted by desuetude at 3:18 PM on July 6, 2011


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