20 Reasons Not to Put In a Backyard Pool

Man Cleaning an In-Ground Swimming Pool with a Pool Vacuum Cleaner, Standing While About to Put in the Vacuum Cleaner


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Man Cleaning an In-Ground Swimming Pool with a Pool Vacuum Cleaner, Standing While About to Put in the Vacuum Cleaner

Wave Goodbye

Backyard pools seem like an ultra-convenient way to cool off and welcome friends — certainly less of a schlep than going to the beach or to a community pool. Think twice, though: Despite all their warm-weather appeal, pools have some serious downsides that may not be readily apparent when the temperature (and pool temptations) are high. Here are reasons to reconsider getting a pool at home. 

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Large In-Ground Swimming Pool with a Slide, a Basketball Hoop, and a Patio in a Secluded Backyard Surrounded By Trees
Man Measuring Boards While Building a New Above-Ground Pool Deck
Cynthia Farmer/shutterstock

There Are Other Hidden Costs

The pool is expensive enough, but the quote may not include related costs: Will a retaining wall or other costly landscaping be needed? Will there be a deck for an above-ground pool, or a concrete patio for an in-ground pool? What about fancy lighting? And don't forget all those fun accessories: diving boards, slides, pool floats — they add up.

Related: Products That Can Turn Your Backyard Into a Relaxing Oasis

Pool Cleaning Kit with a Pool Net on Side of an In-Ground Swimming Pool
Bill Oxford/istockphoto

It's Pricey to Maintain ...

The expenses don't end once installation is over. HomeAdvisor estimates an average $115 a month going to pool maintenance, though that figure is skewed by pool owners who use professional services. Still, DIY maintenance isn't cheap, either: You'll have to pony up for supplies including a skimmer, chlorine, a pH kit, a pool vacuum, filters, and a quality pool cover, ranging from $30 to upward of $10,000 for a mechanical model.

Related: Make Oodles With Noodles: Uses for Pool Noodles

Man Standing Cleaning the Water with a Net on the Side of an In-Ground Swimming Pool

... and Time-Consuming, Too

Do-it-yourselfers should remember that they may save on labor costs, but are still paying with their time. A pool owner can spend five to 10 hours a week maintaining a pool with skimming debris, making sure pool chemicals are in balance, and so on, according to a Money Crashers article.

Related: Household Tasks That Burn Major Calories

Male Pool Technician Fixing Swimming Pool Water Pump on the Side of an In-Ground Swimming Pool

Repairs Are Costly

One-time pool repairs outside a maintenance budget can be a real wallet-buster, experts tell Angi, formerly known as Angie's List. A busted pool pump motor can be around $350, and around $800 to replace. Resurfacing a leaking pool starts around $6,000, while replacing a vinyl lining starts around $3,000. A new pool filter may cost around $600.

Related: Repairs to Leave to the Pros

Female Infant Approaching the Edge Into the Water of an In-Ground Swimming Pool, Alone with Danger

Pools Pose a Safety Risk ...

Roughly 10 people a day died after drowning in non-boating accidents from 2005 to 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The highest rates are for children ages 1 to 4, and most of those young victims drowned in backyard pools. Educate yourself on how to enjoy summer safely. Even pets are at risk, from drowning or lapping up chemical-laden pool water.

Related: Water-Safety Tips That Could Save You From a Swimming Disaster

Male Carpenter Hands Using Electric Drill to Drill Pieces of Wood on Fence
BaLL LunLa/shutterstock

... But Keeping Them Safe Is Expensive

Many cities and counties won't allow a pool to be installed unless it's fenced in. Home insurers may also require it. But pool fences start at well over $1,000, and parents of young kids should also seriously consider a pool alarm that will sound if someone enters the pool or opens a pool gate when they shouldn't. These start around $45 on Amazon and top out around $500.

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Female Child Has Arm with Hand Raised for Help as She Is Drowning in Swimming Pool
Focus on In-Ground Swimming Pool Surrounded By Brick Sides and Large House

... And Structural Insurance, Too

An in-ground pool is an investment, so don't forget to protect it by increasing your "other structures" coverage, Insurance.com warns. Most policies include this coverage up to 10 percent of a home's value — if that's not enough, each additional $1,000 in coverage may bump up a premium about $5. Above-ground pools may fall under personal property coverage, but make sure there are no pool-specific claim limits.

Real Estate Agent Showing a Room of a House to Family, Man Is Holding Female Child

Pools Are Polarizing ...

Who wouldn't want a pool? Surely it will make the house an easy sell, you may think. Not so fast, real estate agents warn. While there are some people who find a pool appealing, other would-be buyers won't want the headaches that come with it, especially if they have small kids. Getting rid of a pool isn't exactly cheap, either: It could take $10,000 or more to make a typical in-ground pool disappear.

Related: Things to Consider When Buying a House After 50

Metal Steel Frame Above-Ground Pool with Ladder on Grass

... And You Won't Get All the Money Back

Pools are not kitchens: Spending big on one doesn't mean getting the money back when it's time to sell. Half the investment might be recouped on an in-ground pool, but only in very warm climates that boast good swimming weather most of the year, Money Crashers says. An above-ground pool may even cost money when it's time to sell, as many buyers consider them an eyesore.

Focus on the Face of a Sharp-Tailed Snake on the Water of a Swimming Pool

Pools Are a Critter Haven

If you're not a wildlife lover, be forewarned: Animals love pools. Some of the most common visitors include frogs, snakes, ducks, and geese; you may even find alligators if you live down south. The CDC warns pool owners to keep a close watch for raccoons, which can harbor a parasite that can cause a serious neurological illness in humans.

Related: Cheap, Natural Ways to Rid Your Home of Pests

Concerned Middle-Aged Woman Looking at Electricity Bill While Holding It, Next to the Window of a Room
A One Hundred Dollar Bill and a Twenty Dollar Bill Being Washed By Water Down the Drain
Bill Oxford/istockphoto

... And the Water Bill, Too

Water is relatively cheap — it's combined water and sewer bills that can be the real killer when filling up or topping off a pool. The bill could more than double for the month you fill a pool — depending on the size, you may need 15,000 or more gallons on top of the 12,000 a family may normally use in a month. That could mean as little as an extra $65 in some cities, or well over $360 in others, based on rates last tracked in 2019 by Circle of Blue. (You can be confident rates are even higher now.)

Related: Tips to Avoid Utility Bill Scams

Modern In-Ground Swimming Pool Being Vacuumed Under Water with an Upscale Patio and Backyard

It's Not Exactly 'Green'

If you're concerned about living an eco-friendly life, getting a pool probably isn't the best move. Increased electricity and water use not only affect a utility bill, but the environment, too. Researchers have found that environmental impacts are much greater in warmer, more arid climates where pools are likely to get greater use.

An In-Ground Swimming Pool with a Cover on It and Water Pump During a Snowfall in Winter in Indiana

It Can't Be Used Year-Round

Experts recommend opening a backyard pool when the temperature makes it consistently past 70 each day. For much of the country, that means it's only reliably warm enough to enjoy a pool for about five months out of the year — typically May through September. For some northern parts, the swimming season is really only three months long.

Related: The Coldest and Warmest Cities in Every State

An Aerial of a Suburban Neighborhood in Southern California

It May Not Even Be Allowed

Do you live in a neighborhood with a homeowners association? Better check the rules before giving in to pool dreams. Above-ground pools are commonly prohibited, and associations may still restrict homeowners on the kinds of in-ground pools they can install.

Pied French Bulldog Puppy Lying Down on the Grass of a Home's Lawn, While Looking Up

It Eats Up Valuable Yard Space

Do you need grass for pets or kids to romp? Consider whether you'll have enough yard space for anything else once a pool is installed. In-ground pools begin around 10 by 20 feet, while the smallest above-ground pools are about 12 feet round. You'll also need to account for patio space or local rules requiring pools be a certain distance from homes and property lines.

Sick Man Crunched Over Holding His Stomach in Pain, While Sitting on the Edge of the Bed, Wearing Plaid Pajama Pants and a Grey Pajama Shirt

Pools Can Make You Sick

A backyard pool may seem safer than a public pool when it comes to spreading illnesses, but a private paradise isn't immune from germs. According to the CDC, diarrhea is the most common recreational water illness; rashes, ear infections, and respiratory issues are also common. Properly chlorinated water can take care of most germs in an hour, but the CDC says others can survive for days.

Related: The Biggest Health Risk of Public Pools (It Isn't Drowning or COVID-19)

Happy Young Man in Mid-Air Jumping with an Inflatable Ring Into an In-Ground Swimming Pool

You May Attract Unwanted Guests

A lovely pool can make a home suddenly attractive as a new hangout. While a planned pool party could be a great time, a pool may also mean family members, friends, and neighbors turning up to cool off without an invitation. It's best to set ground rules to minimize these awkward situations.