For many future above-ground pool owners, talking to me (the installer) was part of the process of deciding whether or not they even wanted one.
During the busy install season of summer, I don’t have any time (or patience) to discuss whether or not a stranger should get a pool. During the off-season though, I have more time and energy for this.
As a result, I have heard and been a part of thousands of people deciding if they should get a pool or not. This article covers most of the things people consider when getting an above-ground swimming pool.
ELEVEN QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN DECIDING IF YOU SHOULD GET AN ABOVE GROUND POOL OR NOT
1 Do you have the money?
The cost of above-ground swimming pools can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. I love this about these pools as they are in just about everyone’s price range.
Regardless of your budget level, can you afford to buy, install, and maintain one? This may require some research on the cost of what you want. And because of above-ground pool’s wide range of cost, most will decide that they can afford it.
There is a lot to deciding which type or shape of above-ground pool that you want. And you may not be able to afford the one you want. Many who want a swimming pool will go with something less ideal if they can’t afford (or justify the cost of) the one they want.
There can be some unexpected costs to getting and having a pool. These things include pool add-ons, electrical, pool installation, decking, possible permitting, and monthly chemical and electric costs.
Reading these articles will help. What does it cost to maintain an above ground swimming pool? and How much does it really cost to run an above ground swimming pool pump?
2 Are you able to maintain it?
For some, maintaining a pool is easy. For others, it sucks. Ask yourself “Who will be maintaining this pool”?
In the 36 years of being a pool installer, I have noticed that there are all kinds of household scenarios. Anyone can wind up being the one who takes care of the pool. Single moms, married moms, single dads, married dads, single people, sons, daughters, live-in dads/granddads, dads that live next door, and family friends have all taken care of pools that I have installed or worked on.
It’s good to know who will be taking care of this thing before you decide on getting it. Some pools are pretty easy to maintain. Others, not so much.
The kind of above-ground, size of the pool, your area’s weather conditions, the bather load(how much the pool gets used), and how many trees there are close by will all determine how hard or easy the pool will be to take care of.
Warning – In most areas of the country, you will not find anyone to professionally maintain an above-ground swimming pool. Most service companies will only service inground pools.
3 Is a pool something that you’ve wanted?
Have you always dreamed of having a swimming pool? Is this a “bucket list” item? It’s very common for people to dream of having a swimming pool.
One of the things that I have loved about my job is that I am installing something that some have wanted for years. If this is you, then go for it if you can. Remember that “Life is short” or (insert cliche’).
4 Are kids a consideration?
By far, the biggest reason that people get a swimming pool is because of kids. Kids love swimming in pools. And they don’t give a damn about what kind of pool it is.
During the pandemic in 2020, a lot of parental units had to deal with their kids every day and all day for the first time. The result for many was “I really need to get a pool”!
A pool is a great activity for kids and a great way for parents to get a break from them. And when swimming, they aren’t looking at their phones.
Grandparents get above-ground pools for when their grandkids come over. And that’s nice. Some want a pool so their kids (along with their friends) will stay home more. They want to be able to keep an eye on them.
Regardless of the specifics, getting a pool for your kids is always a good and positive reason.
NOTE: Many dog owners consider their dogs as their kids and part of the family. Many get a pool just for their dogs to swim too.
5 Do you need a pool for rehab?
Physical rehabilitation in water is common and effective. Many will get a pool for this reason. And it’s a great excuse.
Over my many years as a pool guy, I have encountered a percentage of pool owners that have(and need) one for their physical well-being.
If you are considering a pool for physical rehab or maintenance, then get one. Most that I have talked to about it that got a pool for this say it was the right decision.
“Your health is your wealth” or (enter preferred cliche’ here)
6 Do you spend a lot of time at home?
As a general rule, those who spend more time at home will enjoy a swimming pool more. There are many reasons for this. Perhaps the biggest one is that you now have something else that you can do and enjoy and not have to leave.
I install pools in Central Florida and am based out of Orlando. Some may not know this, but Florida has a lot of open country despite it being the third most populated state.
Many of the pools that I have installed are in the country. And people who live in the country stay home more than people in or closer to the city. If you live in the country, getting a pool will more than likely be more important to you because you spend more time at home.
If you are in the city, chances are you are gone more and this won’t be as much of a consideration for getting a pool.
7 How are your summers? Weather?
People get above-ground swimming pools in every region. When I sold pools online, I sold from the mid regions of Canada to the Caribbean. The length of a swim season can range from all year to just a few weeks.
How long your swim season is where you live is a huge consideration for getting a pool or not. Having a pool in Canada is considered a much bigger luxury item than having one in Florida for this reason.
The cost of a pool can be justified easier when you can use it for eight months a year as compared to just six weeks.
And how is the weather where you live? Some places get a lot of sunshine and warm weather while others get a ton of rain, wind, and clouds.
How long you can use and enjoy your pool per year should be a huge consideration when deciding whether you get one.
8 What would you do or get instead of a pool?
It is always a great idea to ask yourself what you would do or get instead of getting a pool. This will help put this potentially big decision into some perspective.
Would you take a big vacation instead? Buy a hot tub? Re-do your kitchen or bathroom? Buy a car for your kid? Trip to Vegas? Save and invest the money? Pay off a debt instead? Go to school? Take up a cost/time compared hobby? Get the kids a playset?
Deciding what other options you have if you spent the resources (money, time, focus, commitment) on something other than a swimming pool can be a very helpful tool.
If you honestly don’t think that you would do anything else if you don’t get a pool, then go ahead a get the pool. It’s usually best to do something in life instead of nothing. But that’s up to you.
9 What does your partner want?
This doesn’t apply if you live by yourself (like me currently). Most share their household and bills and stuff with a husband, wife, SO(significant other), or live-in. If so, what do they want? Do they want a pool or not? Do they have safety concerns?
In most cases (by my observation of 35 years installing), both parties in the household are in agreement on getting(or not getting) a pool. When in disagreement, the female usually wants one more than the male, but not always.
You may be a selfish and self-absorbed person who doesn’t really pay attention to or care what your partner wants. And hey, that’s cool with me. No judgment here.
If you consider the person you are sharing your living conditions with as a partner, then what they want should have some weight with whether the household gets a pool or not.
Coming to at least an understanding about getting a pool can really help in the long run. A pool needs maintenance and will create some stress over its time of ownership (like when it turns green). It’s good to be on the same page with the person helping you take care of it.
A swimming pool should be a thing that relieves stress and not cause it. Don’t make it a “bone of contention” between you and your partner. Dr. Phil, out! Lol
10 Do you have enough room?
Before you get too far into the getting a swimming pool process, make sure you have enough room in your yard for one.
It may seem like you have enough room, but there may be some “hidden” considerations. One of the biggest ones is where your septic tank is.
Find out if you have a septic tank and where it is. If it’s close to where you want the pool, know that you can’t have it too close to the drain field.
Also, the vast majority of above-ground pool owners DO NOT get a permit for it. If you are planning on getting one though, you’ll have to find out what the easements are on your property to make sure you have enough room to put it in a “legal” spot. All overhead power lines are a consideration too.
Most pools go up without permits in spots too close to property lines with no issue. This is a lot like sheds as 95% of them are in illegal spots as well. Read about above grounds and permits here.
11 YOLO and FOMO
My ex-girlfriend suffered from these two conditions. YOLO (you only live once) and FOMO (fear of missing out) are very common conditions in the US.
Getting a swimming pool is a huge deal for many, many people. For some, it’s a status thing. For others, it’s more of a basic need. Regardless, getting and having a swimming pool is exciting and an experience.
If you want a swimming pool just because you can have one, want the experience, and/or just want to be able to say that you have or had one, then cool. These are great reasons.
Getting and having a swimming pool very rarely becomes a negative experience. Most don’t regret it. Then again, most don’t regret a tattoo. Even if it’s horrible. YOLO!!