Our pool video that we posted a few years ago had some great information, but a lot has changed since then.
It's been four years almost since we bought the house and put the pool in, and we've learned quite a bit. We wanted to share the things that we've learned, the things that we did right, some things that we now wish we did differently, and show you how to take care of the pool here in Florida.
So let's go to pool school, part two.
It's about 26 x 14. It's rectangular, not quite perfect. There are some Bubblers in the sun shelf. We have two bowls in the back that spill water, four jets surrounding the various walls, and then we have two lights as well.
We also have a little umbrella holder in the the sun shelf, too. It's a travertine decking, which is a little expensive, but in our opinion, well worth it. And we did a panoramic screen cage, so there is a 30 foot piece in the middle, and then two 10 foot pieces on the side, so you have an uninterrupted view. We designed all of that and we are still happy with those choices!
But.... here are some of the decisions we made that maybe we would do differently.
The thing that we kind of really wish we did was add a spa. We thought about adding one after the fact and got a price for it, and it was $50,000. Which if you remember our last video, we barely paid more than that for the entire pool.... So pricing has changed a little bit...
But the bigger issue was they have to rip up the decking to add it and there was a caveat that it may damage the pool, which would cause us to have to redo the ENTIRE thing, so we decided not to take on that risk.
Initially we thought that a hot tub would be pointless since it is hot in Florida, but it would be really nice to use in these winter months when it cools down!
Top 10 Questions - Revisited!
In our last video on pools, we answered 10 common questions about Florida pools. We wanted to revisit those with some additional insight, now.
1. Do I really need my own pool?
Our answer today: Yes
We use our pool all the time, or as often as possible. It's like our retreat at the end of the day. If you have a family, if you have children, kids love the pool.
I would say yes, you do need your own pool unless your living situation or the size of your property just doesn't afford it, or you're really close to the community pool and you think you wanna use that. But if you want your own private little oasis, Yes.
2. How much does it cost to add a pool?
Well, that certainly has changed in four years... I would say the cost has doubled, if not almost tripled. And I know that's not good news, but it's the truth. Our pool when we went to contract to build it cost us around maybe $75,000. Right now, this is easily a $150 to $175,000 pool at this point, simply based on cost of materials, cost of labor, and all the things that have happened over the last few years.
3. Saltwater versus chlorine pools?
I would stick with salt water. We love it. It makes it really simple to care for. The water feels nice. Yes, I would stick with salt water, but there's nothing wrong with a chlorine pool. So whichever you decide would work for you is fine!
4. Why do I need a cage?
Spend half an hour outside without a cage at sunset, and you'll have that answer.
The bugs are relentless, especially at sunset. The cage also just keeps things really clean and simple. So the cage is fantastic and it creates this oasis as added living space. It does give you some SPF protection, as well.
5. How much does it cost to maintain and care for the pool?
We do our own pool care, so the only cost is really the chemicals and salt we need to buy a few times a year and the time and energy to clean it.. so maybe $250. Then the decking needs to be powerwashed because we have Travertine, which is porous and gets algae in it, so a couple hundred dollars a year for that.
If you pay a pool company to maintain the pool for you, most likely it will cost between $100-200/month depending on how often they come and what they do.
6. Do pools add value?
Absolutely it does. Probably close to a hundred percent of the people we have sold houses to since we made that first video either bought a house with a pool or added one after they closed.
If your house is for sale and so is your neighbor's, and the houses are similar but yours has a pool, it's worth more. It's that simple!
7. How much does it cost to heat my pool and what type of heater should I get?
The type of heater depends on how you plan to use the pool and if you have a spa or not.
We have an electric heat pump, which takes a much longer time to heat the entire pool. In the summer, it's very cost effective because it just maintains the warmer temps, but in the winter it can get costly so we shut it off for a few months.
Our friends have a gas heater and a hot tub. If it's really cold in the winter, it can cost about $50 to use that gas heater, but it costs about $10 on average every time he heats up the hot tub.
8. How do I keep the pool safe?
The main aspects of this have not changed... there is a safety gate you can put around the pool, or a pool alarm on your doors and windows. If you are not having someone come to maintain the pool for you, keep your lanai screen doors closed and locked, as well.
9. How long does pool equipment last?
It is going to vary, and you do have to put some maintenance into the equipment, but here is how ours held up so far:
Cage - no issue at all, even in the hurricane thankfully!
Heater - the switchboard shorted at one point and AquaCal came out to fix it. Under warranty, luckily, so that was an easy fix.
Salt Cell- we have replaced once, also under warranty which was easy
Filter - keep it clean and it shouldn't have any issues!
10. Can I use the pool all year round?
In theory, yes! But it depends on if you have a spa, heater, or how tolerable you are of colder water. :)
Caring for your Florida Pool
Watch the video for a detailed demonstration of each item and some safety tips!
Here are the main things you need to do to care for and maintain your Florida pool.
1- Get the water tested to see what the pH is and if anything needs to be added.
2- Clean the filter so it is free from debris and dirt
3- Clean the salt cell so the calcium doesn't build up in there
4- Clean out the skimmer basket in the pool
5- Brush the pool with a metal wire brush occasionally to scrape away any algae build up
6- Vacuum it!
**We are by no means pool professionals and are only speaking from our personal experience.
If you have questions, or want to chat about moving to Florida, contact us... we are here to help!
#1 – Florida is big… massive
If you have been saying “I want to move to Florida” be sure to keep in mind how big Florida really is.
It takes 3 hours or so to drive across the state,
13 hours to drive from the Keys to the Panhandle.
And those are best case scenarios…. with no traffic.
Which leads us to # 2…
#2 –The Traffic
In the last three years, it seems like everyone including their cousin’s sister’s dog walker have moved to Florida.
And with that, we’ve personally noticed an uptick in the traffic.
So If you’re planning to drive somewhere here in Florida, give yourself a cushion…
For instance, driving to Disney World from where we live takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes door to door.
The LAST time we drove to Disney, the ride took 3 hours and 15 minutes!
Just the mere mention of I-4, and Floridian’s immediately start to question their life goals…
“Maybe I’ll just stay home and clean the bathrooms with a toothbrush”…
“I was thinking I’d cut the grass, with scissors all while laying on top of a fire ant mound”…
#3 – The grass kinda sucks
Gone are the days of leisurely barefoot walks through beautiful cool, soft bluegrass…
There are a couple of common lawn grasses here in Florida…
St Augustine grass, which feels like walking on crusted needles.
And Zoysia grass, which can be beautiful and lush under your feet, if and when it cooperates…
Keeping a nice lawn here, even in the maintenance free communities, is not so simple.
#4 – The bugs
Inevitably you’ll move here and it will happen…
You’ll walk barefoot on that not so nice grass… and then BAM!
A fire ant barely bigger than the tip of your pen takes hold in between your toes…
And in that moment you’ll contemplate jumping in the pool…
Fully clothed… With your phone and your wallet still in your pocket.
Seriously, the bugs in Florida are not like the bugs where you are from.
And we tell everyone this… they were here first.
We’ll never win the war on bugs.
We learn to live in harmony and give them their space.
And as long as they’re not inside your house… you’re winning.
#5 – Beach Time vs. Mother Nature
Ok… let’s talk about Florida and the beaches…
If you love sunshine, Florida is the place to be..
let’s look at our area as an example…
According to stats from bestplaces.net...
... The Sarasota area gets 251 days of sunshine per year on average.
So 69% of the year… Sunny.
But what about the other 31% of the year?
106 days, or 29% of the year, it rains.
69 % + 29 % = 98%
Apparently the remaining 2% of the year Florida is in total darkness and enters the space-time continuum?
The point is, it rains a good amount here too, especially in the summer. And that rain comes down hard and fast…
It’s accompanied by thunder and lightning like you can’t imagine…
So those outdoor beach plans may not happen quite as often as you think, depending on the weather and the traffic to get there…
Even with all the “negative” stuff we just rattled off…
there is no where else we would rather be.
We can poke fun at some of this stuff because we live here and truly love it here, regardless.
If you’re thinking about making the move, call us. We can share all the pros and cons, but mostly pros!