Swimming pool versus air conditioning

A few years ago, our family started kicking around the idea of installing a swimming pool.

Our three children were all for it, imagining pool parties, floating on foam chairs getting suntans, and generally staying cool during the hottest months of the summer.

As the parents, we played devil’s advocate, pointing out the downsides of owning a pool. For one thing, there would be strict rules regarding guests using the pool. Another thing that the kids hadn’t accounted for was the chores and maintenance that they would be responsible for. And finally, we reminded them that owning a swimming pool only keeps you cool if you’re actually in the pool. What about staying cool inside of the house? The discussion was tabled, as researching central air conditioning wasn’t the kids’ idea of a good time. So we (the adults) visited an HVAC store to look into installing central air conditioning. We already knew the convenience of adding air conditioning to our forced-air heating system, and we had already set aside money to cover the cost. We were told that if we didn’t have existing ductwork, the cost of the air conditioning installation would double the cost and the time of installation. The HVAC contractor advised that we choose an energy efficient unit. We learned that the higher the seasonal energy efficiency rating (SEER), the more efficient the system – leading to significant cost savings. The digital, programmable thermostats – a type of Smart technology – is what really sold us. The options for temperature control were amazing and impressive. Since we were the real decision-makers, we let the kids know that night that the pool was out – and cool air was in!

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