A Death in the Family

We recently mourned the death of  Quattro The Pool Cleaner, our pool vacuum.  Quattro had been one of our first purchases when we bought our house almost 3 years ago, and had been considered a loyal employee for much of the time since then.  We had to replace a couple parts on him a few months ago, but  apparently the problems went deeper than we knew.   This time around it was more than a flesh wound and Quattro was beyond repair.

I took the untimely demise of the pool vac as a sign that we needed to revisit just how much we were paying for the upkeep of the pool before shelling out another $350-$450 for a new pool vac.


A little backstory on the pool.  We don’t use it much.  So why did we get a house with a pool?  Because it was already attached to a house that we loved that was a great value even without a pool.  So, in those crazy foreclosure days of 2009, we yelled “free pool” and vowed to maintain it ourselves to keep costs down.  Hence, the original purchase of  Quattro.  Mr. PoP even initially volunteered to do all the chemical testing, but that plan had to be amended when we discovered the pool chemical test kits require you to tell the difference between the colors red and green.  (Did you know that 6% of men are red/green colorblind?)  So, the pool became my domain.

I struggled to keep the chemicals right, and made some errors along the way, but Quattro was a sport and volunteered to work overtime when I screwed things up.  But, now that he was gone… re-evaluation time.


In 2009, quotes for pool service were $75-$125/month for someone to come weekly to clean the pool and take care of chemicals.  Our pool budget goal since 2009 was to  stay under $50/month on average for all pool costs.

Judging from our records on Mint, we hadn’t been doing fabulously with that goal.  Chemicals, filters, and the occasional service call (when I really screwed things up) were averaging $59.60/month.  That total didn’t include the initial purchase of the pool vac.  Adding that in, the total was now $77/month.  Not quite what we had hoped for, even though I was buying the chemicals on sale and in bulk.  So $77 + my time and trouble was the new price to beat for a monthly pool service.


Sadly, Angie’s List  (our usual resource for local service references) wasn’t helpful this time.  But I was able to get a few quotes, one of which came from a company that has maintained a friend’s pool for years.  In her words, they are “honest, reliable, and professional”.  And when their quote came in at  $65/month, it seemed like a no-brainer.  Best of all, the pool guy shares a name with one of the characters from the Little Mermaid.  Apropos, no?



While we were sad to see Quattro go, it’s looking like his untimely demise is actually going to make my life a little easier without much of a net increase in cost.

Am I mad that we spent all that money and that I struggled with chemical levels and algae for the last 21 months?  Not really.  In 2009, we genuinely believed we could do it for less, but figured out this task is specialized enough it’s worth delegating.  The pool guy gets another client, and we’re happy with the price (and the service so far, too!).


We’re definitely pleased with the trade-off there and may even start using the pool more.  It looked so clean when I got back from a run on Friday evening that I jumped right in with all of my running clothes still on.  The water was clean, the tile sparkling, and best of all, I hadn’t  had to do any of the maintenance to make it that way.


– Mrs. PoP



3 comments to A Death in the Family