Pools: Install or upgrade for added value

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A new pool is a worthy project

If you are considering upgrading your home, there’s no better way to exercise, enjoy friends, and not leave home than in your own backyard swimming pool. Perhaps this is the year to consider installing one. If you are already feeling the economic pinch – think about a “stay-cation.” For the price of a week’s vacation for a family of four, you can have a pool that will last for decades. Another great reason to consider a pool now is the high cost of everything else. Instead of going out regularly and spending money, why not invest in your home? Install a pool and build your own backyard oasis.

There are many factors to consider when choosing between in-ground and above-ground pools. The size and location of the lot, the family usage, the value of the home, and the budget are all important. In-ground pools are generally more expensive, but they do add resale value to the home. However, Shari Mitchell, of Rick’s Pools in Lewiston, noted that “many of today’s above-ground pools are gorgeous and are a great addition to any home.”

Pool professionals will tell you that there is a pool for every price range and every one can be unique. As pointed out by Michael Dubuc, of Michael’s Pools in Lewiston, “adding an in-ground pool is permanent, like an addition to your home, while the above-ground pool is almost portable, and it can be taken down.” The least expensive pools are the inflatable ones, but, said Dubuc, “they can lose air and need to be re-inflated regularly.”

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Staying warm

During Maine summers, pool water may not be warm until mid-July. Propane heaters can be installed, but if the cost of a heater is prohibitive, pool owners might consider other options. There are solar blankets which prevent the water from losing warmth – but they must be pulled over the water after each use. A new pool accessory called a “solar fish” is an automatic dispenser using a pump controlled by a mini-computer. A liquid is dispersed into the pool, floats to the surface and creates a pool friendly, invisible cover. This cover will reduce water evaporation by up to 50% — evaporation accounts for up to 90% of heat loss from a pool. Mitchell explained that the solar fish can add up to 10 degrees to the temperature of the water. This liquid is inexpensive (around $30) and lasts for about a month – and it is perfectly safe and does NOT adhere to the skin of bathers.

Keep it safe

Safety is a major concern to pool owners, and every in-ground pool should have a fence and a gate. There are ladder locks for the stairs to above-ground pools and folding stairs which keep children out. Alarm systems are available which emit a very loud noise in the home when an unauthorized person is in the pool area. Drain covers on older pools should be carefully checked and replaced if they present any hazard.

Safety covers are also a wise investment. Dubuc explained that “these are automated, and owners simply turn a key to open or close them. These are constructed of thick canvas supported by ropes and are almost like a trampoline.” Anyone accidentally stepping on the cover will NOT fall into the water. And for winter use, there are mesh covers which provide safety, and also let water drain through and into the pool. “These are a great idea,” continued Dubuc. “When spring comes and the cover drains and dries, the debris just blows off.”

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