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Matt Gohlke / Pools

After last summer's record-breaking heat, many homeowners have already decided that they are not going through another summer without a swimming pool. For some, this will be one of the best decisions that they have ever made for their family. But for others, it will not work out quite like they envisioned.

I often get asked whether I believe if having a swimming pool is a good decision. It really depends on the situation.

Some pool owners would probably be better off without them - because of time, money and other constraints. There are many factors to consider when determining if a pool would fit your needs. Following are some questions to consider when weighing the pros and cons of pool ownership.

• Does it fit the needs of our family? Being able to enjoy time at home with your family is priceless. Being able to stay home to beat the heat is much more desirable than having to travel to another location to enjoy a swimming pool.

• Does it fit our lifestyle? Relaxing by the pool is another common reason that pools continue to be popular - with poolside reading and meditating among the most relaxing activities.

• Would we use it to improve our health? This has become an increasingly attractive reason to own a swimming pool. Lap swimming and water aerobics are very common, but there are also medical benefits such as weight control and heart and lung conditioning.

• Would we use it for entertaining? Backyard cookouts become even better when you have a pool to keep guests entertained. If celebrating birthday parties, anniversaries, holidays, etc., there is no better place to celebrate a special occasion than poolside.

• Would it improve the look of our backyard? From waterfalls to dark bottom pools, today's consumers are adding the natural look to their backyard, creating a tropical paradise right at home. Most pools considerably improve the look of the backyard.

• Do we have time for a pool? People are so busy that having something that they do not use does not make sense. Pools need attention, and I always tell people that if they cannot come up with at least one hour per week that they could care for their pool, then they probably do not have enough time for a pool. In the fall when the leaves are falling, it takes more than one hour per week.

• Can we afford a pool? There are several costs of owning a swimming pool. Pool purchases are usually financed. Most in-ground swimming pools range from $30,000 to $65,000. A $30,000 loan at 9 percent interest for 15 years creates a monthly payment of about $300. Then there are the monthly chemical treatments and utility costs (electricity and water), which are about $100 for the average-sized residential pool. Added to the $300 loan payment, that's $400 per month.

If you do not use the pool or could use the money elsewhere, then purchasing a swimming pool is probably not a wise financial move.

I hope these answers will help you make the right decision when considering whether or not to try to endure another summer without a swimming pool.

MATT GOHLKE is the owner of Gohlke Pools. He may be reached at 940-387-7521.