This pool set up by Viscount Pools was installed for around $8,000. Pools today require less maintenance than they did years ago.

This pool set up by Viscount Pools was installed for around $8,000. Pools today require less maintenance than they did years ago.

Photo provided by Viscount Pools

There are options aplenty for homeowners looking to install a pool

By: Joshua Gordon | C&G Newspapers | Published June 12, 2018

 There are a number of options for above-ground pools and in-ground pools, depending on amenities and size.

There are a number of options for above-ground pools and in-ground pools, depending on amenities and size.

Shutterstock image

METRO DETROIT — The sun is out, the kids are out of school and everyone is restless inside. Why not head out to the backyard for a dip in the pool?

Personal pools, whether above ground or in ground, offer a family activity, an exercise opportunity and a chance to be outside during the summer months. But having a pool is more than just enjoying the cool-down.

Once you get past the nearly endless options that come with installing a pool, homeowners need to think about maintenance, safety and how they want the pool to fit into the overall vibe of their backyard escape.

Above-ground pools offer the most cost-efficient options with a variety of price points, with a high-end, all-inclusive pool coming in at around $5,000, said Robert Zacharski, of Viscount Pools in Madison Heights.

In-ground pools, on the other hand, start at around $40,000, and between the design and amenities, the cost could easily get into six figures.

The first thing, Zacharski said, is figuring out what space you are working with.

“There are some codes out there in different cities and townships about distances a pool has to be from fences, buildings and power lines, so the size of your backyard can limit what you can have,” he said. “Part of the reason oval pools have a tendency to sell better is they make use of the space better. But you have to decide if you want a patio, water features and space for other outdoor activities.”

With above-ground pools, Zacharski said there are a lot of design options, and they typically require a three- to four-day installation process, although some can be put up in a day.

With a 24-foot round above-ground pool with all the equipment, ranging from cleaners to filters, and installation, Zacharski said it can be done for $5,000. Realistically, he said that pool should last 15-20 years, and equipment and filters should generally be comprehensively serviced every 10 years, with pool cleaners lasting about five years.

When it comes to maintenance for above-ground or in-ground pools, Zacharski said homeowners should spend a little extra in the beginning to save time and money in the long run by investing in good circulation packages and an automatic pool cleaner. If you do that, he said you are looking at about 15-20 minutes of care each day when the pool is open.

“You have certain times when you are opening or closing the pool when you spend more time, and some days you are doing some spot cleaning, but if you run a good filter and keep the pool circulated, maintenance now is no big deal,” Zacharski said.

While above-ground pools offer savings, sometimes it comes down to the neighborhood you live in. Many homeowners associations have regulations, Zacharski said, where they don’t want above-ground pools so as to not interfere with sightlines, so they only allow in-ground pools.

Installation time for an in-ground pool can be as quick as a month or take the entire summer, he said, depending on how elaborate the design is.

Bob Farr, owner of Prestige Pools in Detroit, said the options for an in-ground pool are seemingly endless, ranging from spas and sun decks to waterfalls, slides and diving boards. Farr said he has even had clients who have put in an outdoor kitchen with a pizza oven to make the backyard their own personal “Disney World.”

“It is so expensive to travel today, so when you start cost factoring, a pool may be worth it,” Farr said. “You have it at home, you don’t have to travel on the highway or get on an airplane, so it is like your own personal resort area.”

For an in-ground pool, Farr said people should typically look at between $1,000 and $2,000 in maintenance cost each year, but a lot of the systems are self-generated now, so there isn’t a lot of everyday maintenance.

A lot of the cost comes from utility bills, with a pump having to run 14-15 hours a day, but Farr said the technology has advanced so that those electric bills are down about 60 percent in recent years.

With an in-ground pool, Zacharski said it can add to the value of the home and has a higher appeal factor.

“Everyone would like an in-ground pool, as it blends into the landscaping and the entire backyard,” he said. “It has a high perceived value for the consumer, but it comes down to affordability and what you want to make it a pleasurable experience for you.”

No matter what kind of pool you have, safety should always be a top priority for the family and visitors. The first line of defense should be a fence around the backyard, but Farr said sometimes it is even worth it to put a separate fence around an in-ground pool with a self-locking gate.

Alarms on doors that lead to the backyard can be helpful for parents or caretakers to know if someone is heading out to the pool, and a line of sight should always be had when children are in the pool.

Shelby Township Fire Chief Jim Swinkowski said that if you have an above-ground pool, make sure ladders or steps are properly stored so kids can’t get in when they aren’t being supervised.

The biggest thing, Swinkowski said, is to make sure you are always attentive if the pool is open for the season.

“The biggest issue is people are inattentive, and in a blink of an eye a kid can fall in and you don’t hear it,” he said. “Don’t leave anyone unattended out by the pool, and kids should never swim alone.”