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5 things to know before buying a pool

Insurance

It’s critical to tell your insurance company if you install a pool. Even though most homeowner’s policies provide baseline coverage, you may need extra protection against specific damage claims. You also need to make sure you have enough liability coverage in case of an accident. All pool insurance coverage requires the policyholder to comply with municipal bylaws (fence height or a latching gate).

The Laws

Many states and municipalities have laws regulating pool signage and fencing, with some requiring a fence around any pool situated inside a fenced backyard. Homeowner’s Associations (HOAs) may have specific regulations for constructing and utilizing private pools. Other mandated stipulations could include guidelines for draining pool water when emptying a pool or conditions for removing a pool. For example, Los Angeles allows pool-owners to drain pools into storm drains or sanitary sewer systems.

Maintenance

Maintaining your pool is vital, as microorganisms flourish in pools. Even if the water looks clear, it could be contaminated with bacteria that can cause ear and stomach infections, skin rashes, and more. To properly care for your pool:

You should regularly test the water balance for sanitizer levels, pH, total alkalinity, and calcium hardness using a quality test kit or by having it tested by a pool specialist.

Always follow the directions on the label for any chemicals, and always wash your hands thoroughly after handling them.

All pool chemicals and devices used to control microorganisms and algae must be registered with Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency. You can find more information on their website.

The Risks

Pools offer hours of enjoyment, but they can also be dangerous. Drowning is the most apparent danger of all. Never leave a child unattended, not even for a second. Too often, a child drowns when a caregiver is not paying attention or when the child enters a pool area that doesn’t have a self-closing and self-latching gate.

When swimming in a pool, always follow the pool rules- swim with a buddy, adult supervision, and no glass containers.

Be sure to have lifesaving flotation devices readily available, as well as a working phone and first aid kit.

Children and non-swimmers should always wear lifejackets or PFDs, but they are not a replacement for proper supervision.

The Cost

Above ground pool

An above-ground pool typically costs anywhere from $4,000 to $12,000. Remember that price doesn’t always include associated costs for things like retaining walls, electrical work, landscaping, pool accessories, or a fence around your pool. Be sure to ask a pool company for a comprehensive quote.

Don’t forget to factor in the ongoing cost of maintaining your pool – electricity, chemicals, cleaning service, and replacing the liner.

In-ground pool

If you are one of the fortunate ones that can afford an in-ground pool, be aware that depending on size, the average vinyl-lined pool starts at around $20,000. Fiberglass costs even more, while concrete (gunite) pools can cost between $50,000 to $100,000.


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