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Is it time for your swimming pool to hibernate?

(Pexels photo)

How often do you really use your swimming pool?

If you have children, maybe they splash around in it every day in summer. But if children aren’t around, you might only use it once or twice a week in summer and never in winter.

So, now and then, you wonder about whether to shut the pool down for a few months or even longer than that even if you live in your house part-time.

Here are some easy solutions:

Consider a secure solar pool cover

Pool covers are a great buy all year long for a “retired” pool, even if you still plan to swim part of the year. The latest solar models on the market have advantages. To begin with, the right solar cover can enhance safety in your backyard, a key issue for taking care of a pool when you’re not at home. Many pool owners depend on fences around their pools to keep children from using the pool when an adult isn’t there. But fences can fall into disrepair; children can even climb fences when no one is there to stop them. So a really secure pool cover, particularly one with fasteners that anchor into pool decking, can help keep those worries off your mind.

Secure pool covers can put a pool into “hibernation” for weeks, months or more. For example, if you’re thinking of selling your home fairly soon, keep that pool covered until just before putting it on the market when you want to clean it and make it look attractive for buyers.

A pool with water in it can actually hibernate for months as long as the pool chemistry is set at proper levels. The water will remain clear and safe to swim in later though some debris may collect at the pool bottom. If you just leave it covered a single season, have it cleaned, and start swimming laps again. If you leave your covered pool sit a couple of years, you will need to drain and refill it before using it again.

Pool covers can be made to fit the pool and all the steps and adjacent water features. A pool cover that you take off and on manually will be more work but less costly than one that can be automatically rolled back.

For those who want to keep swimming regularly, a solar cover will help keep heat collected from the sun in your pool. As fall comes, the cover will keep your pool at 80 degrees for several more weeks than is usually the case – without using your heater.  In the spring, you can start using your pool sooner. Tom Bohner of Solar Safe Pool Covers in Phoenix told us that the most energy efficient covers are dark green because they absorb more sunlight.

Cover the pool with a deck

Maybe you want to do more than shut down your pool for a season or two. You want more outdoor living space in your backyard, but you’re not ready to tear out the pool completely. In that case, you can have a deck built over the pool using composite lumber to cover the pool. The deck will sit on top of a structure of wooden beams built inside the pool.

First, the pool is drained and utilities are turned off. A pump is installed to remove rainwater. The whole structure is ventilated so the shell of the pool can breathe. The pool remains intact, and at a future time, the deck can be removed and the pool can be reused although it may need some repair work first.

Try removal instead of hibernation

If you’re really tired of pool maintenance, you can “retire” a pool completely. The price will vary based on the pool’s size and whether a bulldozer and trucks can get into your yard. Typically, the cost will be more than $10,000. You will need a city or county permit.

The process begins with draining the pool and closing down utilities. Decking around the pool and the top two or three feet of the pool walls are removed. Then a large hole is made in the pool bottom and filled with an aggregate base of crushed rock to provide drainage. All material removed from walls is pulverized and becomes part of the base. During the process, the material is compacted.  Finally, top soil is brought in to cover the site; the area is graded for installing a new patio or landscaping. If you sell the house, you need to disclose the fact that part of the pool is under the yard.

Rosie on the House

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