Pool owners pay for the heat

MORRISTOWN, N.J. – Diving into your refreshing pool during a hot summer day is a little less appealing when you realize that the heat also forces you to dip back into your wallet. Pool owner Peter Schmitt, of Morristown New Jersey, noticed a trend his pool expenses this summer. “The hotter it got outside, the faster the chlorine levels in the water declined.” Schmitt noted that in June and July, the average cost of supplies – particularly chlorine – was around $70 per month. “In August, I dropped almost $110 to keep the pool maintained and chlorinated to the sufficient levels. Valerie Blafer, a fellow Morristown resident and pool owner noted that the hotter in seemed to be outside, the dirtier her pool looked. “I found myself not only spending more money on chlorine, but also more time on vacuuming and cleaning away algae.” With the dog days of summer lasting far into September, Schmitt found himself in a dilemma. “If it is still hot, I usually like to keep my pool open as long as possible – to get the most use out of it. But by the weekend after Labor Day, I usually close my pool.” This year, he explained – “I would have loved to keep my pool open one more month. But I spent way too much money on chlorine this summer already.” And with that, Schmitt and his family bared the hot days of September without a pool. Similarly, Blafer noted “I closed my pool on August 31st, much earlier than usual, because I was sick of the upkeep. My pool felt like work, when in the past it felt like a luxury.” Early September weather has so far been anything but luxurious. According to Accuweather.com, the high temperatures during the first week of September this year ranged from 96 to 99 degrees.“I could have used a swim,” admitted Blafer’s 11 year old daughter, Mollie Blafer.

Photo of Valerie Blafer's pool mid August

Valerie Blafer’s chlorine pool mid August

Blafer and Schmitt, who live in the same neighborhood, noticed that the expense of pool upkeep was a hot topic around town. Schmitt took action and talked to the manager of Leslie’s Pool Supply in Parsippany, who told him that there is a correlation between chlorine levels, heat, and sunlight. “The manager told me that twice the amount of chlorine is needed for every 10 degree rise in water temperature.” In fact, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website notes that chlorine levels can go down by 90 per cent in 2 hours on a sunny day with temperatures in the 90s. Low chlorine levels can lead to algae, bacteria and other organisms to grown in the water, making it dangerous to swim in. Schmitt commented, “I wouldn’t risk letting my family swim in a dirty pool, so I kept finding myself back at the store for more chlorine.” This explains the increase in costs by August, as opposed to June and July. When Blafer learned the facts, she made another connection. “In February, my husband and I had two large trees taken down in the yard, because they were dying and leaning towards the house.” In years before, these trees provided shade and cooler temperatures for her backyard, specifically right over the pool.

Both Schmitt and Blafer were posed the same question: Is the growing cost of maintenance worth the convenience of having your own pool, or would it be more cost efficient to pay for a public pool membership and end personal upkeep altogether? They seemed to agree, the cost and upkeep was worth the privacy of having their own pool. “If the costs continue to rise each summer, I would consider an alternative like hiring a pool boy or switching to salt water. But I would never trade my own pool for a public pool membership” affirmed Schmitt. Blafer was on the same page. “Our pool has become an important part of our family’s life. Seeing the joy on my children’s faces every summer as they swim and play is worth every penny.”

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