Fun fact: Pools are OLD. They’ve been part of human civilization for thousands of years. The first pools appeared over 5,000 years ago in the Pakistani city-settlement of Mohenjo-daro. They were more practical than recreational at first; historians think they were used for religious ceremonies as a way of cleansing and purifying.
It wasn’t until the ancient Greeks and Romans that pools became more fun and less functional. With more wealth and free time, these two civilizations built swimming pools that were an integral part of their societies, both in private homes and public spaces. They were used for bathing, socializing, recreation, and exercising.
After the Romans and Greeks, the popularity of swimming pools quieted down a bit, but still made headway around Europe and the UK. Here in the U.S., personal pools, along with babies, boomed post-WW2 as they became part of the mainstream “American Dream” and popularized by Hollywood as a status symbol. People wanted to take a vacation in their own backyards instead of flying to another state or country. But, as the workforce grew, and international travel became cheaper, pools became less a necessity and more a luxury. People chose to take vacations away from their homes and the pool, and the pool party, faded a bit.
But, as with everything in 2020, things have changed. We’re all home more, revamping our home offices, tackling that long forgotten garden project, baking banana bread, and contemplating whether our backyard is big enough for a pool...even just an inflatable container to hold a bit of water. COVID-19 is forcing all of us to take stay-cations in our own backyards this summer. With social distancing measures in place around the country, business closings, and travel restrictions, this summer, pools have become the coolest thing during the hottest time.
According to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, a 200% increase in sales was predicted for this summer for new pools. Pool companies are on a six-month waitlist or longer and closings have affected the availability of supplies needed for new pools, like vinyl for the liners or motors for filters. Pool retailers in the U.S. have been affected by these global pandemic factory closures, adding to their backlog. Additionally, warehouses and factories need people and, in some cases, are scrambling for new employees. The New York Times reports that many are taking pool construction into their own hands, trying to source large stock tanks, or tanks usually used to water cattle and other farm animals, to use for an at-home pool build. This NYT article also states, “Since mid-April, Google searches for above-ground pools have climbed steadily, outpacing the number of inquiries each spring for the last five years by about 300 percent.” We’re seeing another renaissance in pool ownership, as people are forced to look locally, and in their own backyards, for things to do this summer.
Pools aren’t only an option for the rich. While in-ground swimming pools do cost much more, many people with the yard space are also looking for above-ground pool builders. Homeowners are ordering pool supplies and building materials from retailers all over the country.
And for those that are apartment bound, or have a postage-sized backyard, inflatable pools are the hottest new thing since sliced bread. Companies are selling out of inflatable pools in minutes. For some cool brands, check out Intex, Minnidip, and Sun Squad by Target. They offer a variety of options at different price points.
For those that are immunocompromised, pools in any form are a great alternative to braving the beaches or parks. As we’ve gotten deeper into summer and COVID restrictions have eased a bit, public spaces have been a bit more inundated with antsy people ready to get outside. But, with cases spiking again, back-to-school plans in disarray, and parents exhausted with activities, a backyard pool, no matter how big, can provide a bit of cool relief in uncertain times.
All of this then begs the question—how can first time pool owners keep their new pools clean and make sure this summer investment will outlast COVID-19? Again, proper chemical management, regular pool skimming (hey Skimdevil - the automated pool skimming robot ), possibly a retractable pool enclosure and a proper filtration system will be sure to keep any in-ground or above-ground pool clean. Check out our previous post for more details on the best care and maintenance tips. And for those who have an inflatable pool, cleaning is even easier. Simply dump that water on your plants for a good watering and carry on with your day. All ya need is a garden hose. :)
So, whether you’re cooling your toes in your rooftop baby pool or floating around in your new backyard paradise, make sure to thank the people of Mohenjo-daro for their ingenuity. Residential swimming pools have been an integral part of the human experience for thousands of years and will always be a reliable source of relief from the heat. COVID-19 has undoubtedly been a disruptor, but it’s also opened up opportunities for change and growth—and swimming pool building.