By Anessa Cohen

When showing a home with a swimming pool, I usually see two different reactions from customers. One will say, “Wow! What a gorgeous pool! I can see myself relaxing here all summer and entertaining my friends and relatives!” (Of course, with a swimming pool you typically find yourself with lots of friends.) The second customer will say, “Gee, I really do not want a swimming pool; it takes up too much room and requires too much work. Do you have any houses just like this, but without a swimming pool?”

Years ago, I found myself in category one when I bought my home in Cedarhurst. I saw the swimming pool and felt I had hit the jackpot. Before I even had an accepted offer on the house, I was already planning the summer parties we would all enjoy there as a family.

After we owned the home and the swimming pool, and the excitement died down, I realized that there was, in fact, a lot to do to maintain a pool. Just flipping a switch and turning on the filter would not cut it. So I called the “pool man” the previous owners had sworn by and asked him to come by and instruct me in how to take care of my swimming pool.

Listening to him was a real eye-opener. At the beginning of the pool season (around Memorial Day or whenever it starts to get warm), the cover would need to be taken off and the pool filled up with water above the skimmer lines. (We are getting a little technical here, but the skimmer lines are where the water feeds into the pipes going to the filter before being refed through other pipes going back to the pool.) Once the pool was filled, we would have to turn on the filter and chemically balance the water.

“Chemically balance the water? I never was very good at chemistry; how am I going to accomplish all of this?” I exclaimed.

My new “pool man” told me I could hire a service that would send someone weekly to clean out the pool, balance the chemicals, and add whatever was needed, or … I could learn how to do it myself.

“Hmm,” I thought. “Maybe this will be a new learning experience.”

I told him if he showed me how, I would take care of the chemical balancing, and I’d have the service do the weekly cleaning. I figured the cleaning would take a lot of time, which I did not have, but the chemical balancing would give me the opportunity to learn how to balance the water the way I wanted it and not depend on anyone else.

Sounded like a good plan to me, and then the pool man said, “First you must balance the PH and then you must balance the alkaline and then you must balance the chlorine levels. They should be checked at least once a week.”

I figured, “OK, this is like cooking. You follow a recipe, and if it is too bland, you add some salt and pepper and other spices, and if it is too salty you add a raw potato. It is basically the same principle.”

So out I went to get my pool chemical kit with all the test tubes. After a few difficult months — and all kinds of colored water until I got the balancing right — I began to get the gist of balancing the water and the chemicals and doing it correctly and quickly.

Though I had hired the service for the time-consuming task of cleaning the pool, I soon took over that job, too. I realized that every time the pool service cleaned the pool, the next day it would rain and the pool would be dirty again, and I would have to clean it myself. What was the point? So, I did away with the pool service as well.

I am now down to only two pool-related jobs I still refuse to do and instead leave to the professionals: opening up the pool in the spring and taking the cover off, and also closing the pool and lowering the water levels in the fall, winterizing the pipes, and putting the cover on.

Whew, I am getting tired just thinking about it! I think I will go outside and relax by my swimming pool.

Anessa Cohen lives in Cedarhurst and is a licensed real-estate broker (Anessa V Cohen Realty) and a licensed N.Y.S. loan officer (FM Home Loans) with over 20 years of experience offering full-service residential, commercial, and management real-estate services as well as mortgage services. She can be reached at 516-569-5007 or via her website, Readers are encouraged to send questions or comments to


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