Author Topic: Anyone willing to admit to having an unmustachian swimming pool?  (Read 6594 times)

ScubaAZ

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As I've mentioned before, the house I recently bought has a swimming pool.   Because I know nothing about them, and have heard crazy stories about algae and such, we have been paying a pool guy $85 a month to come once a week and do pretty much everything that needs to be done with the pool.

Now that I'm getting a little braver (and looking at the $1,020 a year bill), I'm trying to decide how to care for it less expensively.  Dropping our service to only chemical maintenance saves $20 a month.  Or we can just take over it completely at an upfront cost for supplies somewhere around $150 for supplies to last most of the year (so I hear).

Anyone else willing to admit such an unmustachian purchase and share any advice as to how you maintain your pool in a cost-effective manner?

iwannaretire

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Re: Anyone willing to admit to having an unmustachian swimming pool?
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2013, 04:13:46 PM »
I have a house with a pool and we've both used a service and maintained it on our own.  It is not difficult to maintain on your own, so I would elect that option if you are so inclined.   You can cut down on the water bill by getting a heat insulating cover that looks like bubble wrap.  It will keep some of the water from evaporating and keep your pool warmer.  The only downside is that, if you want to use the pool, you have to roll up the cover.

Our biggest pool expense came from the pool pump.  Little did we know for so many years that the pool pump was the primary cause of huge electricity bills.  We changed to an intermittent pump (for which our utility gave us a nice rebate) and it has cut down the utility bills quite a bit.

I know a pool isn't frugal (and I'll admit to using a pool service and no cover because we are lazy and probably do not even belong on this forum), but it gives my kids hours and hours of exercise and enjoyment.   So, hopefully you will also get (at least some) of your money's worth from it.

ScubaAZ

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Re: Anyone willing to admit to having an unmustachian swimming pool?
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2013, 04:25:18 PM »
Haha, the fact that you're here says you're at least thinking about your expenses and retirement, which is more than a lot of people can say!

I've been eyeing a variable speed pump, and probably will replace the old one in the next year or so.  They're supposed to save up to 90% of the energy use, and the power company does a $200 rebate on them, bringing them down to about $750-800.  I noticed last month that our power use between 12-7pm (peak time during which power is 6x more expensive) was 1/10 of the use for all other times.  Since the AC doesn't run at night really (yet), I assume most of that is from the pool filtering overnight.

We've also been looking at the pool covers.  I hesitate because its so hot here, that I imagine the cover will make the pool super warm, which is the opposite of what we want.

MrChanticleer

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Re: Anyone willing to admit to having an unmustachian swimming pool?
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2013, 04:35:20 PM »
Another pool owner here. I also pay about $85 per month for a pool guy.

I did try to maintain it myself the first year we owned the house, but the pool ended up looking like a swamp. At one point, it was so murky and green I couldn't see the bottom. (No joke.) I was sweeping and treating it with the right chemicals and everything. (At least, I think I was.)

So, eventually I caved and hired said pool guy. The $85 is not a monthly expense I enjoy, especially because it takes the guy all of 10 minutes once a week to keep it looking nice.

dragoncar

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Re: Anyone willing to admit to having an unmustachian swimming pool?
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2013, 04:46:15 PM »
Learn to do iit yourself.  Maybe one day you can get a side gig as a pool boy making $85/10 min work.

kkbmustang

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Re: Anyone willing to admit to having an unmustachian swimming pool?
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2013, 09:16:34 PM »
We have a pool. And a pool guy. We are about 2 months from putting the house on the market. Our next home will NOT have a pool. We can join the neighborhood Y in the summer for what it costs for one month of maintenance.

We also ended up with a swampy pool and $2400 bill to fix it. I shit you not. I hate that effing pool.

travelbug

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Re: Anyone willing to admit to having an unmustachian swimming pool?
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2013, 09:56:01 PM »
We maintain ours ourselves, it takes very little effort and costs around $100-$150 per annum for salt and chemicals.

swiper

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Re: Anyone willing to admit to having an unmustachian swimming pool?
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2013, 11:46:44 PM »
I have a large inground which came with the house. I used to have a pool guy open and close it for me ($80 each visit), but this year I've switched to doing everything myself. It really isn't all that complicated and you gain a ton of confidence doing this work. (cost is <$150 year for all chemicals). I recommend you get a decent test kit.

Here is a good resource: http://www.troublefreepool.com/


ace1224

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Re: Anyone willing to admit to having an unmustachian swimming pool?
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2013, 05:28:23 AM »
i keep up my parents for them.  its not that bad, i was lifeguard for years and took a certified pool operator course for like 100 bucks.  if you want to do it yourself see if the local community college offers a CPO course, it was a one day class but i learned a lot about maintenance and what to do when things go wrong.

Kamikaze Emu

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Re: Anyone willing to admit to having an unmustachian swimming pool?
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2013, 07:05:41 AM »
Turn that frown upside down by turning that pool into an aquaculture pond!

Get yourself some fish that feed on algae (perch for example) and plant some awesome water plants.  The fish will keep the bugs down and you'll enjoy the food produced.  Water systems are some of the best producers of food per unit of space.

Here is a quick overview of what is possible:

http://www.ecofilms.com.au/converting-a-swimming-pool-to-grow-fish/


ScubaAZ

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Re: Anyone willing to admit to having an unmustachian swimming pool?
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2013, 12:28:49 PM »
I have a large inground which came with the house. I used to have a pool guy open and close it for me ($80 each visit), but this year I've switched to doing everything myself. It really isn't all that complicated and you gain a ton of confidence doing this work. (cost is <$150 year for all chemicals). I recommend you get a decent test kit.

Here is a good resource: http://www.troublefreepool.com/



Thanks, Swiper!  I was looking at that site yesterday after I came across it via random internet search.  Glad to know the system has worked for you.  We might try that, and if it goes badly, switch to Kamikaze Emu's pond idea :)

oldtoyota

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Re: Anyone willing to admit to having an unmustachian swimming pool?
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2013, 01:50:54 PM »
I had a pool. When I was a grad student, I rented a house on the cheap from a professor who was out of the country. I got her pool and her 3BR house for a song. So, this was a frugal pool. Also, she paid for the pool upkeep.

In this case, I was the "poolboy." I found it very easy to go to the store with a water sample and have them tell me what to add to the water. It's was not that hard.

PS: That experience taught me that I never want a pool of my own. Too much to care for and too cold! I'd rather swim at a shared pool and see friends and grill food.




jojomon

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Re: Anyone willing to admit to having an unmustachian swimming pool?
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2013, 01:02:47 PM »
A couple of things I would recommend to make pool maintenance easier. 
1.  Buy good chemicals from a pool store.  Don't buy Walmart's chemicals.
2.  Get a good filter. 
3.  Get an automatic pool vac.  Saves a ton of time.

When I first got my pool, every summer I had a week or so when the pool looked like a pond.  When that happened I had to shock it and dump a bunch of algicide.  Then scrub and vacuum.  I had to add clarifier to make the algae clump together in large enough particles that my sand filter would catch it.  Otherwise, it just flowed back into the pool.  This took one-two weeks to clear up.  Around here the summer swimming season is way too short to have the pool unusable for a couple of weeks.  So, I purchased a 100 sq. ft Sta-Rite cartridge filter and good chemicals.  I have not had that problem once since I started doing that.  And that has been well over 10 years ago.  Sure, we get some occasional algae, but we hit it with a little algicide, scrub and vacuum.  Easy peasy.

We always have the water analyzed by the local pool shop when we first open it up every year.  Once all is good, we just use test strips for chlorine and pH the rest of the season.

Bottom line...good chemicals and good equipment and pool maintenance is a breeze.

Oh, yeah and one other thing for making the pool opening easier.  Open it a month before you plan to use it.  If you go back a month, I open mine the first weekend in May, the water is usually to cold to allow much algae growth prior to opening.  When I use to open mine the week before Memorial Day I usually had to battle scrubbing algae from the walls of the pool.  This didn't cause the previous pond like conditions, it just required more scrubbing when opening.

I hope this helps.  Good luck.