Without question, playing or relaxing by a pool with family and friends is a summer staple. The decision to take the plunge and begin installing a pool, on the other hand, can be a big decision with many factors to consider.
Between installation, ongoing maintenance, insurance, and safety, it’s important to have a firm grasp on the issues that need to be taken into consideration before diving into pool ownership.
When To Install
It’s easy to be influenced by the weather when it comes to making outdoor home improvements. And nothing validates that bias more than installing a pool in the spring. As you see your neighbours making plans to open their pool decks, it’s hard to resist the urge to pick up the phone and ask for the next available date to get yours built in time for the summer. However, it’s actually more economical to install a pool in the fall before the temperature drops. This reality reflects two seasonal trends. First, truck operators are able to carry heavier loads in fall as roads are generally in much better shape. Trucks, in other words, are better equipped to transport construction materials ranging from rock to concrete as roads are not ravaged by the thaw and run-off characteristic of spring in Canada. The second seasonal trend comes down to supply and demand. Because spring is a popular time to install, many operators will offer additional discounts in the fall, making it an ideal time to build a pool and have it ready for the following spring.
The Importance of Fencing
As you’re thinking of installing a pool, it’s important to remember you must also install perimeter fencing (including a lock!) to satisfy municipal bylaws and ensure safety. This is especially important if you have young children, pets, or friends and family with access to your backyard. You must always be prepared for the unexpected, including neighbours or their children accessing your backyard and accidentally falling in to your pool. Your home insurance will also be affected. Many insurers will not provide coverage for your pool if they do not receive confirmation that fencing is in place.
Once your pool is built, it’s not all fun and games. Your pool must be properly maintained in order to avoid creating unsafe swimming conditions or preventable damage. Maintenance falls into two time periods: on-season and off-season. In the former, ensure you are cleaning your pool regularly, checking for correct levels of chlorine or bromine for sanitation and ensuring toys and other objects are not slipping into the plumbing. You should also avoid exhausting your heating system. This can be done by covering your pool at night. During the off-season, make sure a professional is responsible for opening and closing your pool to ensure it is properly drained and filled, and to inspect for any cracks that may have occurred. You should also consider investing in a hard cover to protect the pool liner from the elements, and to keep debris from getting into any drains.
Safety Comes First
While pools are great fun, they also come with responsibility. Having a pool will make your home a popular destination for friends and family in the summer. When you’re hosting, it’s absolutely crucial that kids are not left unattended. Even if a child or teenager is able to swim or has passed tests or certifications, slipping and falling could render them unconscious or unable to pull themselves out of the water. If you need to go inside, it’s always best to clear the pool and have the kids and visitors outside the locked fence. The same goes for pets who may fall in if left in the vicinity of the pool and don’t know how to get out. For more pool safety tips check out our guide to keeping kids safe around water.
Speak With Your Insurance Agent
While events such as pool walls collapsing and liner damage are covered under certain policies, it’s best to speak with an insurance professional about the type of pool you plan to buy (in-ground or above) and to take into consideration if it will be a specialty pool, including a hot tub. Being proactive and knowing what you are and are not covered for in an existing policy is the best step you can take to protect yourself and your investment.
Having a pool can offer countless days of fun and make you the most popular neighbour on the block, but it always pays to be prepared before taking that first dip.