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Increase your Pool IQ: What to know before you buy

Increase your Pool IQ: What to know before you buyThough it may not feel like it, warmer days are just around the corner. Wouldn't it be wonderful to jump into a cool, refreshing pool in your own backyard this summer? Tempting, right? And it should be. Pools offer homeowners a great opportunity to increase their at-home entertainment options. But don't be fooled by the pristine pool images you see on TV and in magazines, maintaining a pool can be a lot of work. You'll want to make sure you ask the right questions before you start to dig a hole in your backyard.

  1. Take some time to figure out what type of pool is permissible in your municipality, and what you want: When you say "pool" what do you see? Is it an in-ground pool with a diving board or something akin to a plunge pool? Do you want to be able to swim laps? Or is it mainly recreational play? How many people will it hold?
  2. If it is an in-ground pool you're after make sure you understand the various types available. Pools can be made of many different materials including fiberglass and concrete. In many ways buying a pool is a lot like buying a new home. You'll want to budget for much more than the initial "frame." Consider the type of cleaning, filtering, and design touches you may want to add on before setting your ultimate budget.
  3. Talk to a licensed builder. Just like any home renovation, the wrong pool builder could result in serious buyer's remorse. Check with friends, family or neighbours who have pools and get the names of builders they found reliable. Make sure you get the key information you need to make an informed decision including: where their place of business is, how many years they've been in business under the current business name, and what insurance they carry and with whom.
  4. Take the time to source out references. Even if your builder came through a reliable source, seeing and chatting with other references will help to give you a sense of whether your friend's experience speaks to reputation or a lucky try. Try not to let your excitement thwart your hearing; pay attention to what is being said and take notes of the things past clients feel the builder did right or wrong. Take their experiences to heart when you're chatting with your builder.
  5. Give some thought to how you want to use the pool. Is this meant to be a height of summer only pool or are you thinking you can enclose it for more use in the shoulder seasons? Are you building it mainly for the kids (think slides and wading areas) or are you planning for neater sight lines? Keep in mind your home's resale value as you plan. Decisions you make now could positively or negatively affect it.
  6. Make safety a priority. Check with your local municipality to see what the rules are for fence height and building restrictions in your area and include the items necessary for compliance when completing your budget. Insurance can also be affected by a new pool. Better to know how it affects yours before you start to dig.  You may also want to consider alarms that sound when something enters the water. Nothing ever replaces the constant supervision of children, and the buddy system, however pools do attract the interest of things and people you just may not anticipate. Take the necessary precautions to limit your liability.
  7. Consider the amount of space involved, and the maintenance the pool will require. An in-ground pool is a commitment that won't change without a lot of expense. Think long and hard about the costs, and how much of your backyard you're willing to give up. Opting for too small or too large a pool now could result in regret down the road.

    General information, not about PC insurance products, is provided for your reference and interest only.

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