If you’ve been in the UAE for a while, or perhaps you’ve started a young family here; then chances are, you have thought about moving from an apartment to a villa and that villa may (if you’re super lucky) come with a pool.
If you are moving into a new home with a pool or thinking about it, then our home maintenance & lighting expert, Bjorn Fagerlind of Handy Scandy, recommends a few Questions & key considerations before ‘jumping in’:
When was the pool installed? Who built it and is there a current warranty on it?
Get an idea for the general health of the pool that you’re about to acquire; the first point of call for this would be to check its age. Once you know who installed the pool, you can do your research on their reputation and general quality of service – the Internet is a great place for finding real-time reviews on companies.
Is the pool temperature controlled (heated and chilled)? How old is the pump?
Pool heaters and chillers are expensive to run & maintain. Whilst it’s great to have in those desert summer months when the temperatures soar, be aware that they can impact your DEWA bill! Old pumps can also be noisy & unreliable, so make sure that the landlord is aware if this is the case and that they agree to assume responsibility for a replacement should it fail on you. It would be a good idea to check in the pump room before signing, to make sure it is dry and that the electrical board looks healthy.
Has there been regular maintenance? Are there records of the work conducted?
As with everything ‘home’, a well-maintained pool is much easier to look after than a neglected pool. Ask to see maintenance records & ask for an introduction to the correct pool maintenance company (if there is one).
Has it ever been re-tiled and if so when? What is the condition of the grouting?
Many remaining swimming pools are old and often neglected; work seems to be done only once there is a problem! If the pool hasn’t been re-tiled or was last retiled ‘many’ years ago, the risk for leakages is high, especially if the membrane is damaged (a popularly occurring problem in neglected residential pools). Replacing/fixing loose tiles & fixing the grouting, will require the pool to be drained and then refilled – again, not too kind on the Dewa bill.
What is the monthly DEWA bill?
Ask this question and preferably, ask for proof. It’s always good to know what your monthly outgoings will look like, it will also help you keep a record of any significant changes, which may be indicators of a possible leak.
Are there any Damas trees situated near the pool?
Damas, Conocarpus lancifolius, trees are a big warning sign when seen near a pool because their roots love to stretch out when they grow and can crush the pipes, causing big problems for pools.
Does all the lighting work?
As with most pool issues, this may require draining the pool to repair, which we’ve already noted, can be a drain on your Dewa bill. So, make sure your landlord is aware and that you have a provision in place for the refilling if required.
Do the ‘drain lines’ look clean or dirty?
Dirty drain lines can be an indicator of a neglected pool. If the lines look dirty, make sure the rest of the pool & the pumps are in good working order.
Are there any signs of calcium marks and stains on the walls just over the water the line?
When you can see white chalky marks along the waterline, it’s often an indication that a complete empty and clean is needed. Perhaps ask that this be done as part of the property full clean before moving in.
For erring on the side of caution, I’d suggest asking a good pool contractor to conduct a full pool assessment if you want to be sure of the quality of the pool. Considering the costs involved with taking on a villa with a bad pool, this will amount to a small investment.
In the UAE, having a built-in pool offers lots of advantages; providing respite from the heat and can provide plenty of fun, especially for families. But this luxury can become a huge liability when a pool is not properly cared for. Be mindful of health and safety too; can everyone in your family swim? Are you CPR/first aid trained? Does the pool have a safety fence fitted? Pools, among other things, require costly maintenance, while also introducing a list of liability and safety concerns into your life.
Thanks, Bjorn for these invaluable tips for taking on a personal residential pool. If you’ve been through any of the issues mentioned in this article and have other great tips to offer others like you, then please let us know in the comments. Most importantly, we hope you enjoy your pool!