Owning your own pool is beyond the wildest dreams of most people. Many rumours exist about the cost of installing and running a swimming pool. In practice most people don’t really have much idea about what’s involved in setting up and running a swimming pool until they actually own one. In recent years, the introduction of a large range of PVC based above ground pools has brought the ownership of a swimming pool within reach of many more consumers.
These pools, generally referred to as above ground pools, are now offered in a range of sizes from several major global brands. Two of the most well known are Bestway and Intex. They have a selection of pools which range from the shallow 8ft diameter pool right up to deep pools over 20ft long. Shapes are slightly limited but are on the increase. Currently round, oval, square and rectangular pools are the norm. Most of these shapes can be found in both of the two most popular styles of above ground pool. These are the metal framed pools where the pool is situated in a metal frame. These pools can often be left up all year round and are the more robust type of pool. The other style has an inflatable ring around the top of the pool. This is inflated prior to filling. It acts as a float on the water and ensures that the top pf the pool stays above the water line. Both of the brands mentioned above also offer a hybrid of the two types of pool. Usually this hybrid can be found in the oval shaped pools. The larger pools are effectively as big as the in ground equivalents that many people would install if they could afford them.
Compared with installing a pool as a permanent feature buying and installing a flexible substrate pool can yield significant savings. Looked after, these pools will last for many years, although probably not as long as a permanent pool. Installation of these pools is usually a DIY job and requires little more than a level piece of land and the time to do it. Usually the assembly of the pool is quick and easy and within the space of a day you can go from empty garden to fully installed pool – although depending on your pool size and water supply it may take more than a day to fill the pool.
Once full the pool is usually ready to be used immediately. A mistake which is often made by many people is to use the pool in the same way as they have used children’s paddling pools. These pools are designed to be swimming pools. As such they are not designed to be emptied and refilled on a regular basis. Many are supplied with pumps and filtration equipment. This is designed to be used with conventional pool chemicals to keep the water clean thus eliminating the need to continuously empty and refill the pool just as one wouldn’t empty and refill an inground pool on a regular basis.
Treatment with chemicals normally follows the same sorts of routine that a permanently installed swimming pool would require. This can be time consuming and expensive but is essential to keep the water fit for bathing in. Without treatment pool water will become unsuitable for bathing in within a couple of days, often with algae appearing within 5-10 days. However, as with many products, as owning a swimming pool becomes more popular then technology on pool treatments moves on. For example several companies now offer method of treating swimming pools using salt as a sanitiser. Although the salt is cheap the units required to do this are not and the electric bill to run them can sometimes be significant. Others such as Chemipool in the UK are working with the chemical industry to formulate multifunctional liquids which are just added in the required dose once a week. This makes treating one of these pools both cheap, quick and easy.
Another area of development is in heating these pools. Again, as with their permanent counterparts, flexible above ground pools can often be heated with similar equipment to the traditional pools. Exactly what is required to heat the pool depends on the pool volume. If you require a heated pool it is worth spending the time and money to buy a heater which is sized for your pool. To small a heater will have almost no effect on heating you pool. Spending money on to small a heater is wasting your money. Some companies have developed solar panels to heat the water. The effect of these can be quite good for heating the water but they can be expensive to install. Some owners have made their own solar panels by placing a longer pipe on the return to the pool from the pump and weaving this backwards and forwards behind a plate of glass. Some very effective results have been informally reported.