Days by the pool: Is it worth the cost?

Every year as summer approaches, families think about adding pools to their backyards. Before your kids talk you into installing one, you should consider the financial implications. Better Business Bureau advises you: Do your research before installing your own pool.

Ask yourself why you want a pool

Consider these questions: Why do you want a pool? What will you be using it for? And how much are you willing to spend? There are many reasons for wanting your own private pool. Personal recreation, exercise, physical therapy and entertaining are just a few.

Consider types of swimming pools

There are two types of pools: above-ground and in-ground. Above-ground pools are generally less expensive than in-ground pools due to the material and a smaller amount of construction involved. Both above-ground and in-ground pools vary in size, so consider the amount of yard space you’re willing to attribute to the pool.

Research upfront and additional costs

When determining the upfront cost of installing your pool and the basic equipment, get at least three or more bids and compare them side-by-side. Be sure each contractor includes: materials being used, quantity and quality of those materials, size of the pool and itemized cost. The contractor should have knowledge about zoning, building and grading requirements for your property. Ask contractors for references you can contact. Swimming pools will also require you to invest in certain basic equipment, such as a filtration system, steps/ladders, a cover and cleaning supplies. Any additional costs to your pool would be accessories, such as lights, a fence, heating equipment, slides and hand rails. Before building, talk to your insurance agent to determine additional home owner coverage needed. Also, investigate possible property tax assessments.

BBB also offers these tips:

• Warmer months are generally the best time to install a pool. However, warm weather brings out scammers. Be wary of salespeople who offer a reduced price because your pool will be used as a “model” or who pressure you into signing a contract quickly.

• Discuss equipment that will be used on your property.

• Make sure the company is insured against claims covering things, such as worker’s compensation, property damage and personal liability in case of accidents.

• Get everything in writing, take your time reviewing the contract and be sure to understand it. Your contract should include all details of construction, start and end dates, total cost, warranty/guarantee and payment schedule.

• Avoid paying full amount upfront.

• Ask your builder for pool safety information, how to use pool cleaning equipment and how to keep your pool water clean. Be sure to read it.

BBB can help you in the process. It can provide a list of BBB Accredited swimming pool contractors and Business Profiles on ones you’re considering. Go online to or call (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301.

John North is president of the Dayton Better Business Bureau.

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