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Matt Gohlke: Pros and cons of pool ownership

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Matt Gohlke

The pool season seems to be getting off to an earlier start this year. I imagine this is due to the mild winter we just experienced, as well as the high temperatures we experienced in March.

It reached 90 degrees on March 20, almost one month ahead of our average first 90-degree day of April 19. Just in case you are wondering about last year -- the first 90-degree day in 2016 was May 9. Therefore you can see that we are ahead of schedule as far as warm weather is concerned. This, along with the growth of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, has definitely turned up the heat on the subject of swimming pools.

While many people in the area already have pools, others are trying to decide whether they should have a pool installed or not. Pool enthusiasts will tell you that life is too brief and too fragile to spend without a swimming pool. For these pool owners, it is hard for them to consider not having a swimming pool. On the other hand, there are pool owners who would probably be better off without a swimming pool. Not taking the time to enjoy or maintain the pool are the primary reasons some are simply better off without a pool.

Even though it is not good for my business to think this way, I realize that a swimming pool is definitely not for everyone, and I do not believe for a second that everyone should own a swimming pool. Owning a swimming pool is a commitment that takes time, much like having a motor home, boat or lake house. If you use them, they can be great. On the other hand, if you don't use them, they can be a real hassle. Therefore, I offer you a list of pros and cons when considering whether you should move forward with a swimming pool.

Pros

Family — This is probably the biggest reason for the popularity of pools — swimming and being around the pool together is enjoyable and encourages family togetherness. Many family memories have been made while enjoying a backyard swimming pool and the environment that it provides.

Entertaining — Backyard cookouts become even better when you have a pool to keep the guests entertained. In addition, celebrating birthday parties, anniversaries, holidays, you name it, there is no better place to celebrate a special occasion than poolside.

Lifestyle — Relaxing by the pool is another common reason pools continue to be popular. Poolside reading and meditating are popular activities that are usually not considered when purchasing a pool but surprisingly are very common once the pool is installed.

Convenience — Being able to stay home to beat the heat is much more desirable than having to go to another location to enjoy a swimming pool. Nothing satisfies the mind and body more than a refreshing dip in the pool on a hot day after mowing or working in the yard.

Aesthetics — Pools have evolved into the centerpiece of the backyard. A pool that is designed properly and landscaped properly can be stunning.

Health — This has become an increasingly popular reason to own a swimming pool. Swimming has been rated at or near the top of the list of favorite recreational activities for many years. Lap swimming and water aerobics are very common, but there are also medical benefits of weight control and heart and lung conditioning.

Cons

Time — Many people are so busy that having something that they do not use does not make sense — this can be said for a motor home, boat, lake house, etc. If you are rarely at home, then a swimming pool is probably not for you.

Lifestyle — Often people think that if they had a pool, they would be home more or they would exercise more. If you really believe you would, maybe you are correct. But most of the time, simply getting a pool does not change your lifestyle any more than buying a pair of running shoes makes you a runner.

Financial — There are several costs of owning a swimming pool. Typically pools are financed — a $50,000 loan at 6 percent for 15 years creates a monthly payment due of approximately $425. In addition, monthly chemical and utility costs (electricity and water) are approximately $100 to $150 for the average-sized residential pool. That makes the cost just under $525 to $575 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.

Hopefully, this list will help you make the right decision when considering whether or not to purchase a swimming pool.

MATT GOHLKE owns Gohlke Pools, which has earned national awards, certifications and recognition in the pool industry. He can be reached at 940-387-7521 or matt@gohlkepools.com.