Backyard Pool: Safety First
Owning a backyard pool can be a great addition for any home for a number of reasons.
First of all, it can increase the value of the home when you decide to sell.
But more important than that. As we have learned this year as staying home has become a mandate for many, it can help make it easier to do just that.
However, having a backyard pool has its responsibilities in two specific areas. It must be maintained to remain structurally sound. And it has to be a safe place for you and your family.
First, let’s look at the structural and maintenance issues.
Communities may have different rules about the location of your pool in the backyard. Zoning rules may require the pool be situated 15-to-25 feet from the property line. Before building the pool, you need to consider how drainage and rainfall impact the layout. In virtually every situation, your pool must have an enclosed fence around it.
If you’re adding a pool to your home, you need to have a conversation with your insurance agent. It’s likely you will need additional insurance coverage.
Expect your water bill to grow. As a general rule, initially filling a 15,000-30,000-gallon structure can cost $60 to $120. After that, adding water for evaporation and other issues usually comes at an average rate of $0.004 per gallon. As far as additional electrical costs, a pool pump can add $300 a year to your bill.
There’s a lot more to learn about the structural and maintenance issues when adding a backyard pool. It’s best to consult with an expert before you make a decision. And remember, when it comes time to inspect your home for sale, a pool that has not been properly maintained can seriously impact the value.
Additionally, while having nothing to do with home value and inspections, the other factor related to having a backyard pool is safety.
Annually, as many as 300 children under the age of five drown in swimming pools, making it the leading cause of accidental death for children in that age range. Also, 87 percent of those fatalities occur in backyard pools. Beyond that, more than 4,000 children in the same age range suffer non-fatal drowning injuries.
And drowning can happen quickly.
Here are some things for you to consider to keep your pool safe for your family.
- Install pool barriers or fences to keep children away from the pool when you are not there to supervise.
- If your home opens directly to the pool, install door alarms on all doors leading to the pool, and have locks on those doors too high for children to reach.
- Install anti-entrapment safety drain covers. The powerful suction from some drains can trap children or even adults. Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapment accidents.
- Supervise children closely.
- Learn to swim. If you have a pool, everyone in the family should know how to swim.
- Keep rescue equipment and a phone by the pool.
- Have pool rules, just like there are at public pools.
A pool can be a great addition to any home. But remember, adding a pool means responsibility for structure and family safety.