When you live in a place where 80 degrees is a hot summer day, you might think a swimming pool installation makes about as much sense as buying a liter of sunscreen in October. Truthfully, a traditional swimming pool isn't going to cut it in the Rainy City, but there are a number of alternatives that can give you nearly all the same benefits. Whether you want a relaxing soak, an exercise pool, or a luxurious lagoon for your backyard, there is a way to make it work. All you need is a little extra planning and to know what you want.
For Exercise: Swim in Place with a Lap Pool
If this is your wish, you probably don't need to be told that swimming is the best exercise for you. It gives you the same cardio and weight loss benefits as other exercise without the strain on your muscles and joints. Whether you have a herniated disk, a torn ACL, or simple aches and pains from all the mileage your body has seen, just because you live in Seattle doesn't mean you can't find a way to swim for exercise. You can always get a gym membership, but there tends to be long lines for the pool, an inconvenient commute to the gym, and/or no privacy.
The answer you're looking for is a lap pool (also known as a swim-in-place pool). Undoubtedly, you get the idea from the name, and popular brands include even more telling names, such as the Endless Pool and the Infinity Pool. These pools work by using jets to create a current which you swim against. The benefits are almost as obvious as the name. If you've got the space you can put this pool inside your home; a standard, compact design is about 8' x 15'. Basements, garages, and sunrooms are the most common places, but as long as you've got the minimum space requirements you can pretty much put your pool wherever you want. For cost, figure somewhere in the neighborhood of about $20,000, and you can swim forever.
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For a Relaxing Soak: It's a Hot Tub in Seattle
You don't need to want to swim a mile a day to want a pool. Maybe you just like the idea of relaxing in the gentle massage of water. For this, you'll want your water jets to provide an encompassing bubble, not a swimming current. Naturally, in Seattle, hot tubs are an easier sell than swimming pools, in general. You get the relaxing soak of other pools with the heat that makes these installations great year-round. Of course, if you've got room in your bathroom a whirlpool tub is a great idea, but many homeowners don't have the space or want their hot tub to be in a more public area. Sunrooms and decks are made for a Seattle hot tub, but if this doesn't work, you have nearly as many possibilities as the lap pool. Basements and garages are doable or simply installing one adjacent to your home. Hot tubs run the gamut from $2,000 to $20,000, but most people find the options for $20,000 models to be unnecessary and the reliability and longevity of $2,000 models to be precarious at best.
For the Luxury Homeowner: Generate your own Heat
Regardless of the climate, you can find a local contractor who will install a traditional swimming pool in Seattle, no questions asked. A quality pool installation runs $15,000 on a shoe-string budget and well over $50,000 for a customized concrete pool. If you're going to spend this much money anyway, you might as well spring an extra few grand for a heated pool. Likewise, unless you love the primal outdoors, a basic pool enclosure is a good idea so you can enjoy your pool without interference from rain and wind.