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Ready to beat the heat with a new swimming pool? Here are some things to consider

Q: The weather is starting to cool down, and I know the Valley heat is right around the corner. I don’t think my family and I can manage another summer here without a swimming pool. I want to install one, but I’m not sure where to begin. Can you help me?

A: There are many types of pool options to choose from, so start by deciding on exactly what you want, and then go from there.

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Blair Looney

You can install a fiberglass, vinyl liner or concrete pool:

Fiberglass – Great for those who want low maintenance, quick and pain free installation, have more to spend up fron and want a pool that’s cheaper in the long run.

Vinyl liner – Great for those who have a smaller budget, want the biggest pool for the lowest cost and won’t live in the home forever (to avoid liner replacement).

Concrete – Great for those who have a higher budget, want to customize the shape and depth to their liking and are OK with spending money to maintain the pool.

After you’ve decided on a pool type, start looking for someone to hire. BBB recommends the following tips:

Hire a reputable contractor – Start by checking with BBB at bbb.org. You can view their rating, and see what past customers have to say about their work. Get at least three different estimates, but don’t automatically pick the lowest bid.

Make sure their license is current with the California Contractors State License Board, since they will be doing work over $500 with labor and material costs, and they have worker’s compensation insurance and a clear bond to protect you should an accident occur on your property.

Also, make sure the proper permits are pulled from your local city or county before installation begins.

Review the contract – Be sure to thoroughly review the contract before signing it. Make sure the contract includes their full contact information, start and completion dates, any verbal promises, materials, payment schedule, cleanup, specific dimensions, etc.

When coordinating the payment schedule, never pay more than 10 percent down, or $1,000, whichever is less.

Also, if anything gets changed, make sure to note it in writing on a “change order,” and get it signed by both parties.

Make it safe – Swimming pools are fun, but can oftentimes be dangerous. California state law (SB 442, chapter 670, sec. 4) requires that any building permit issued for construction of a new swimming pool or spa, or the remodeling of an existing swimming pool or spa at a private single-family home, must be equipped with at least two of the seven drowning prevention safety features. Those can be found at leginfo.legislature.ca.gov.

Action Line is written by Blair Looney, president and CEO for the Better Business Bureau serving Central California. Send your consumer concerns, questions and problems to Action Line at the Better Business Bureau, 2600 W. Shaw Lane, Fresno, CA 93711 or info@cencal.bbb.org.

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