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Things to consider when thinking about adding a pool

For many homeowners in the Las Vegas area, having a pool or a spa installed in the backyard may be their first experience with such an exciting, entertaining amenity.

The numerous inquiries to our editorial offices confirm the desire of homeowners to find out more about purchasing and owning a pool.

The thought of constructing a pool from start to finish and then maintaining it for years can seem a daunting task. As with any major purchase, consumer agencies recommend that people research information prior to buying high-ticket items. Such companies also recommend consumers allow experts in the field to guide them through the process.

The bottom line is, you don’t need to know everything about owning a pool to begin the project. A diligent pool builder will walk you through the phases and keep things in perspective. However, here are some guidelines to consider:

HOA approval

Homeowners are required to contact their homeowners association to obtain a list of rules and regulations when planning major renovation, building or landscaping projects. Most HOAs will provide a form for the homeowner to fill out and submit for approval prior to construction.

Maintaining a pool

Once the pool is built and operational, there are service and maintenance activities to be addressed. Maintaining good water chemistry is the key to healthy water and proper equipment care. Local pool retail stores have trained personnel to assist with your pool maintenance needs, including parts, chemicals and free water testing. Some stores provide computerized testing and will keep an accounting of your pool water analysis on file.

On a weekly basis, water chemistry should be tested and the pump basket cleaned. It’s also a good idea to skim the water for debris and empty the leaf trapper.

Every three to four months, the filter and cartridges should be cleaned and a water sample should be taken to a pool supply store for an in-depth analysis.

Unlike other parts of the country, pools in Las Vegas do not require to be shut down over the winter months, thus pool owners need to maintain the pool year round. During the cold weather months, turn pumps on to keep water moving during freezing temperatures. Some equipment setups have freeze-protection devices that will automatically turn on when air temperatures reach a specified degree.

Minimizing maintenance chores can be achieved by adding specialty products to the equipment list, such as in-floor cleaners, leaf trappers, ozone units, chlorinators and salt-chlorine generators.

Safety

It is the homeowner’s responsibility to maintain proper safety around and in pools and spas. Family members and guests should always abide by standard safety practices when enjoying water activities. Constant adult supervision of any underage child, challenged individual or pet is always recommended any time a pool, spa or water feature is part of the home décor.

For additional safety training, family members may consider enrolling in swimming, first aid and/or CPR classes. Also, it is a good idea to keep a portable or cell phone near the pool in case of an emergency.

There are specific safety elements that are required by Nevada law to pass the final inspection. Property line fencing with the appropriate self-latching, self-closing gate and the installation of an approved safety device (several alternatives to choose from) that provides additional security from the interior of the home to the pool area are mandatory.

For additional information, ideas and the latest in backyard trends and amenities, be sure to catch HGTV-Channel 68 on Sunday at 5 p.m. for the presentation of the Outdoor Living Expo 2007.

The episode was filmed in Las Vegas during the combination Outdoor Living/ Pool and Spa Expo last fall and features swimming pools designed and built by four Las Vegas pool builders.

Joe Vassallo is the president of Paragon Pools, as well as a member of the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals, a certified building professional and a representative of the APSP National Builders Council, Region XI. Send questions or suggestions for column ideas regarding pools and spas to him at jvassallo@paragonpools.net or 251-0500.

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