Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Does a Pool Add Value to Your Home?

Does a pool add value to a home? No. And yes.

In general, building a pool is not the best way to add value to your home. You’re better off making physical improvements to your actual house instead of adding a pool to your yard.

However, a pool can add value to your home in some cases:

  • If you live in a higher-end neighborhood and most of your neighbors have pools. In fact, not having a pool might make your home harder to sell.
  • If you live in a warm climate, such as Florida or Hawaii.
  • Your lot is big enough to accommodate a pool and still have some yard left over for play or gardening.
  • The style of the pool. Does it fit the neighborhood?
  • The condition of the pool. Is it well-maintained?
  • Age of the pool. If you put a pool in today and sell in 20 years, you probably won’t recoup your costs, especially if the pool needs updating.
  • You can attract the right buyer. Couples with very young children may shy away from pools because of safety issues, but an older childless couple may fall in love with it.

But we can put a price tag on how much a pool costs to build and maintain.

The Cost to Build a Pool
Add in details like safety fences (most states require them), waterfalls, lighting, landscaping, and perhaps a spa, and you’re easily looking at totals approaching $100,000.
Costs also depend on the type of pool you choose.

Gunite is the most popular in-ground pool. Gunite is a mixture of cement and sand, which can be poured into almost any shape. It has replaced concrete pools as the sought-after standard.
Fiberglass shells and those with vinyl liners fall on the lower end of the budget scale, but the liners typically need replacing every 10 or so years. Changing the liner requires draining the pool and replacing the edging (called coping), so over time, costs add up. Most homebuyers will insist that you replace a vinyl liner, even if it’s only a few years old.

Filtration and Heating

Maintenance Expenses
These days you have a variety of options, including systems that use bromine, salt, ozone, ionizers, or other chemical compounds that can be less irritating to skin. Chlorine remains the most popular because the upfront costs are reasonable, and you don’t have to be as rigid about checking the levels on a set schedule. But as far as your wallet is concerned, they all even out in the end.
In a seasonal swimming climate, budget about $600 annually for maintenance if you shoulder the chemical balancing and cleaning yourself; in a year-round climate, it’s more like $15 to $25 per week.
To save yourself the task of once-a-week vacuuming, you can buy a robotic cleaning system for between $500 and $800 that will do the job for you. In locations where the pool must be opened and closed for the season, add another $500 each time for a pro to handle this task.

Insurance and Taxes
It costs about $30 a year to bump coverage from $100,000 to $500,000. Many underwriters require you to fence in the pool so children can’t wander in unsupervised.
In some areas, adding a pool may increase your annual property taxes, but it won’t necessarily add to your home’s selling price. For that reason, try to keep your total building cost between 10% and 15% of what you paid for your house, lest you invest too much in an amenity that won’t pay you back

Still, that’s no guarantee you’ll get a return on your investment. At most, your home’s value might increase 7% if all circumstances are right when it comes time to sell. Those circumstances include the points made above, plus:

But only you, the homeowner, can determine the true return on investment. A pool can add value to your quality of life and enhance the enjoyment of your home. You can’t put a price tag on that.
The average cost in the U.S. to install, equip, and fill a 600-sq.-ft. concrete pool starts at $30,000.
The filtration pump is the biggest energy hog in a pool system, so you want to get the most efficient pump possible. The good news here is that new, variable-speed pumps use up to 80% less energy than old single-speed pumps, cutting operating expenses dramatically.

At about $500, these cost more up front, but some local utilities offer rebates through participating pool dealers. You can further cut energy costs by setting the pump to run at non-peak times, when rates for electricity are lower.

If you’re planning to heat your pool, gas heaters are the least expensive to purchase and install, but they typically have the highest operation and maintenance costs. Many pool owners opt instead for electric heat pumps, which extract heat from the surrounding air and transfer it to the water. Heat pumps take longer than gas to warm the pool, but they’re more energy-efficient, costing $200 to $400 less to operate per swimming season.

Regardless of heating system, covering the pool with a solar blanket to trap heat and reduce evaporation will further lower operating costs.
All pools require that the water be balanced for proper pH, alkalinity, and calcium levels. They also need sanitizing to control bacteria and germs, which is where chlorine has traditionally entered the picture.
A basic homeowners insurance policy typically covers a pool structure without requiring a separate rider, but you should increase your liability from the standard amount. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Memorial Day Happenings in Lexington

All municipal offices closed, Lexpress does not operate, compost facility closed, trash & recycling collection delayed, all Lexington Schools closed. Cary Library will be open Saturday and Sunday, May 24 and 25 but closed on Monday May 26.

There will be wreath laying ceremony, a parade, and Battle Green ceremonies on Monday, May 26.

Memorial Day Open House: Museum of Fine Arts. (MFA) will be open from 10am-4:45pm. The cost is free. For more information call 617-267-9300 or visit:

Memorial Day Concert -- Nantucket, MA
First Congregational Church, 62 Centre Street, Nantucket. A program of European cabaret and American musical theater songs-with vocalist Susan McGinness and pianist Robert Behrman. Time : 4 p.m. 

35th Annual Discovery Day -Saturday, May 24, 2014 from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. (Rain Date May 31)
Muzzey Street/Waltham Street, Lexington, Massachusetts, Municipal Parking Lot. For full details please visit:

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. For a complete history please visit:

Enjoy a Safe and Happy Memorial Day Lexington!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Other Lexington Spring/Summer Programs

Lexington offers a wide variety of leagues and groups to keep you and your kids active (and busy) this spring and summer, we have compiled a list for you. 

Battle Green Tennis League -

Coed Softball -

Coed Adult Soccer -

Lexington Babe Ruth Baseball -

Lexington Blue Sox -

Lexington Community Education - (781) 862-8043

Lexington Little League -

LexFUN (formerly Lexington Preschool PTA) -

Lexington Human Services & Senior Center -  (781) 861-0194

Lexington Youth Basketball Association -

Lexington United Soccer Club -

Lexpressas Women over 40 Soccer - (781) 652-0489

Men’s Senior Softball -

Men’s Summer Basketball -

Moms on the Mound -

LBH Pop Warner Football -

Lexington-Bedford Youth Hockey -

Lexington Youth Lacrosse - 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Lexington Recreation Department

Spring/Summer 2014 Programs Now Available

Register today!
Everything from Toddler, Teen to Senior programs available.

1625 Massachusetts Avenue
Lexington, MA 02420
781 862-0500 


Swim tags for the 2014 season are also on sale now. Click here for more information

The Lexington Recreation Department would like to thank you for your continued support. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Building a Healthy Future: Setting Our Goals for the Next Generation

Saturday, May 3rd from 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM at Cary Memorial Hall, 1605 Mass. Ave., Lexington, MA

Many Massachusetts communities like Lexington are embarking on their biggest building campaigns in a generation. This is an excellent time to have a conversation about how the next generation of municipal buildings can help us achieve our goals for the next generation of our students, teachers, and public employees. Studies show that buildings with clean and healthy air, lots of natural sunlight, great thermal comfort and moisture control, result in fewer sick days, improved staff productivity, heightened student participation, and even higher test scores! Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) has recently launched the “Pathways to Zero Net Energy” program to encourage the construction of zero-net energy buildings throughout the Commonwealth.

We’ve got an amazing panel: 
Paul Eldrenkamp, Owner, Byggmeister –  Sustainable Builder & Chair, 2013 Building Energy Conference
Ellen Watts & Dan Arons, Co-founders Architerra – Sustainable design and zero net energy building architects
Ellen Tohn, Tohn Environmental Strategies – Nationally recognized expert on indoor air quality & healthy buildings
Tina Halfpenny – Director of Energy Efficiency at the Mass Dept. Energy & Environmental Affairs (DOER)

The panel will address these questions:
-      What goals should we be considering for the next generation of our buildings? 
-      How can high performance buildings benefit our health, productivity, and resilience? -      Are zero-net energy and zero-emission buildings possible and affordable in Massachusetts?  -      How do we choose the best sustainable building standards for our community? -      What support is available to help our community get started building a healthy future?

Who should attend?  Anyone interested in the health, efficiency, and resilience of public buildings in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This workshop is open to the public—regardless of where you live.

Sponsored by LexGWAC, Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA), & Sustainable Lexington