Originally published May 1st
On Easter Sunday, 8-year-old Autumn Hufnagl discovered some surprises associated with the pralines in her Easter basket.
“The Easter Bunny brought her pool supplies,” said Autumn’s father Andy, a paramedic with the Alsip Fire Department and a resident of New Lenox. “The rabbit knew about the pool.”
Hippity hop. The pool.
The Hufnagls decided to install a 20×44 floor pool in their back yard earlier this year. The Aqua Pools crew started the first phase of work on the project on Tuesday April 24th. And life, as the Hufnagls knew, changed the moment backhoe loader Dave Cheatle shoveled the first huge shovel of dirt into a dump truck parked on their lawn.
Aqua Pools has its own arsenal of high-performance machines and also concludes contracts with freight forwarders. The crew arrives en masse on the first day.
“You’re either excited or petrified,” said Jim Eiler Sr. “Well that’s a big backyard. I could take you and show you construction sites that are tight. And we’ll bring the same machines in the backyard and we’ll get over that Swing house to load the filler material.
“Or we can take a fiberglass pool and lift it over someone’s house and drop it in the back yard. People are scared.”
Pool construction: grin and endure
Eiler described the scene in the Hufnagl’s house as calm.
“Nobody’s reaction surprises me at all,” he said. “I’m just telling them, ‘Go to work. Don’t watch us.’ Jim tries to tell them, “Well, we’re going to do as little damage as possible.” And I say, “We’re going to destroy everything in the back yard. And what I don’t get on the first try, I’ll make an extra trip to get it later. “” “
Eiler’s son, Jim Jr., is the Vice President and Chief Salesman for Aqua Pools. His is the voice of reason. His dad likes to bring a little lightness to his outdoor office. Jim Sr. began building in-ground pools at Oak Lawn in 1978. He strives to keep customers happy by delivering the best pool at the best price.
He makes her smile at no extra charge.
“They’re trying not to destroy the back yard, but that’s probably the 13th half load of dirt that has left this pool so far,” said Jim Eiler Sr. “And there are six left.”
Jim Eiler Jr. breaks the process of installing an in-ground pool into three steps: 1. Dig a hole to meet specifications; 2. Build walls, pour concrete and backfill; 3. Finish the floor, drop it into the liner and pour more concrete around it.
Backhoe loaders and semis are used to dig and remove debris.
A typical project can take anywhere from 2½ to 4 weeks, depending on the weather and the type of lining in the pool. Jim Eiler Jr. said in-ground pools installed by Aqua Pools cost between $ 30,000 and $ 40,000.
“But on top of that, you have to get your fencing and landscaping done,” he said. “So, depending on the size of the yard, they could spend $ 3,000 to $ 5,000 on fences and the same on landscaping.
“You can also get really crazy and spend a lot more. But our average ticket is between $ 30,000 and $ 40,000.”
Weighing the costs of a pool paradise
Sure, it’s a big investment.
Andy Hufnagl and his wife Angela decided the upfront cost was a low price to pay to make their backyard a permanent vacation destination. They add some basic features to enhance the enjoyment of their pool – a heater to extend the bathing season from April to September, plus LED flashes, a diving board, and a slide.
Andy said pump controls and supplies such as chlorine for running the pool are being stored in a small shed he plans to build on the side.
“We had an above-ground pool in our previous house,” he said. “It was a lot smaller than what we’re buying here. We like the look of a pool in the bottom. It’ll be a lot nicer. And our daughter swims.
“She’s on the Lincoln-Way Gators swim team. She loves swimming. It gives her a bigger pool to practice in and have fun with her friends.”
The fun started when the first truck arrived at the site.
“They’re very excited,” said Jim Eiler Jr. “Actually, the homeowners are unhappy that they couldn’t be here – they both had jobs. But they’re excited. We drive past the machines. The woman sits and thinks : ‘Hey, maybe I’ll play hooky from work.’
“The kids who got on the school bus this morning said, ‘Yeah, when I get home I’ll have a big pool in my back yard.’ “”
In Autumn’s case, the hype started long before she got on that school bus. It was powered by the Easter bunny.
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