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WHEN TO OPEN YOUR SWIMMING POOL? BY MIKE FOURNIER, TULSA


Logistically, you can open your pool as soon as you're sure the temperature won't hit freezing and cause your water to freeze. Of course, few homeowners need their pools open this early, but wait too long and you're likely to miss out on that first sterling, 85-degree spring day. If you have a basic pool heater, you may even be ready for a dip at 75 degrees. Conventional wisdom suggests that you keep an eye on your extended weather forecast and open your pool about two weeks before you might expect to use it.

Yet more and more homeowners are likely to wait longer due to the weekly costs of maintaining a pool. While economics and residential pools, go hand-in-hand, it's very much a catch-22. The sooner you open your pool, the higher your seasonal operating costs, but waiting to open your pool reduces personal use, enjoyment, and return on the cost of installing the pool in the first place. In the end, it's up to you, but here's what you need to know so you can make an informed decision for your own home.

How much does it Cost to Maintain a Pool each Week? Of course, it's hard to account for and appreciate just how many variables will determine your weekly maintenance costs. From the age, water capacity, and design to the type of finish, filter, and cleaning systems, the exact cost of maintaining a pool on both an annual and weekly basis will vary tremendously. That said, homeowners from within the blogosphere do offer fairly consistent, though anecdotal, numbers. If you have the diligence to check your pool's water and make small corrections, you might be able to get away with paying as little as $5-$10/week on chemicals. Larger, weekly maintenance usually entails $10-$20/week for chemical treatments. Many homeowners buy their swimming pool chemicals at the beginning of the season and frequently report $200 gets them through the season. Additionally, most homeowners report paying between $20-$50/month for the electricity to operate pool pump and filter systems. Thus, altogether, it's not uncommon for a homeowner to pay $25 or more each week to maintain their poolsýwithout the help of professional pool services.

A Geographical Timeline for Opening Your Swimming Pool:

April Opening Nationwide, 20.2 percent of homeowners decide to open their pool during April. Louisville and Nashville show the strongest performance for pool opening during this month. Adjusted for population, Louisville has more online requests for April swimming pool opening services than any other city, except Baltimore.

May Opening With 34.7 percent of homeowners opening their pool during May, this month is the high-water mark for pool opening. If not before, many people use Memorial Day Weekend as the seasonal excuse to open their pools. For the entire season, Baltimore has the highest rate of professional pool opening services, and May is the city's biggest month. Adjusted for population, Philadelphia is #2 during this month but sees a substantial 69 percent drop in June.

June Opening At 32.6 percent, June lags just behind the month of May for most popular pool opening month. Northern cities naturally dominate pool opening services with New York, Boston, and Detroit standing out as particularly skewed toward later in the calendar. The first two weeks of June show their own spike, as school gets out for the summer.

Geography, Economy Naturally, homeowners who live in warmer climates and expect to use their pools virtually year-round are more likely to invest in the major expense of a Gunite concrete poolâ€â€with a nationwide average (before options) installation cost of $50,431, according to Pools&Spas. Plus, homeowners who live in climates that require opening and closing services frequently avoid Gunite concrete pools that are susceptible to freeze and thaw cycles that can cause concrete to crack and eventually destroy in-ground pools.

Opening Your Swimming Pool Opening a pool for the summer isn't difficultâ€â€especially if it was properly closed in the winterâ€â€for a reasonably knowledgeable and/or experienced homeowner, but it can get tedious. Between cleaning and removing the cover, inspecting and assembling the pump and filter, cleaning the sides and bottom of the pool, treating the water, not to mention pool accessories and surrounds, you'll probably need to devote a full weekend to the task. In this light, it may very well be worth it to hire these professional pool opening services, which will cost, on average, between $300-$500.

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