How Much Does It REALLY Cost To Maintain A Swimming Pool?

pool cost

The exact amount of money you’ll spend maintaining your swimming pool depends on several factors such as location, pool size, and frequency of use.

Generally, however, most pool owners will spend at least $1,000 a year on pool cleaning, pool chemicals, and buying replacement parts such as filters. That’s not to mention the occasional major expenses like resurfacing the pool that can cost thousands of dollars.

You also have to consider power costs, especially if you have an electric pool heater.

If you are planning to get an above ground pool, your costs could be as low as $200. Above ground pools are easier and cheaper to maintain. 

Some pool owners experience buyer’s remorse when they discover how much it costs to maintain their swimming pool.

So it’s important to know what you are getting into before putting up a swimming pool in your backyard.

When you are budgeting for the pool, don’t just consider the initial costs. Determine estimates for various maintenance needs to get a more realistic picture of how much the pool will cost you in the long run.

Read on to find out roughly how much pool maintenance will cost you plus tips for lowering your pool maintenance costs.

Initial Pool Costs

Initial Pool Costs

Before we get into the maintenance costs, let’s briefly talk about the initial installation costs. For more details on this, read our guide on how much an above ground pool costs. 

An above-ground pool will cost you between $500 and $3,500 in purchase costs only. Professional installation will add to the costs as will additional features such as a pool deck, deck furniture, and pool heater.

Ultimately, you’ll spend anywhere between $750 and $15,000 or more on everything.

An in-ground pool is much more expensive. A basic 16ft by 32ft pool starts at roughly $30,000

Costs for a large customized swimming pool can go well over $60,000.

Extras such as pool light, heater, water features, pool fence, and deck can add thousands to your budget.

With all this, it is not uncommon for some homeowners to spend north of $100,000 on an in-ground swimming pool.

For both in-ground and above ground pools, that’s not where the expenses end. Enjoying your new pool comes with fixed maintenance costs. Let’s break these down.

Pool Maintenance Costs

Pool Maintenance

Pool maintenance costs mostly include cleaning, chemicals, replacement parts, and utilities.

Let’s start with cleaning.

How Much Does it Cost to Keep Your Pool Clean?

pool repair

Most above ground pool owners prefer to do the cleaning themselves rather than pay for professional pool services. You can also clean an in-ground pool yourself, but it will take up more of your time.

While the DIY route is cheaper, you’ll still need to budget for cleaning equipment. Luckily, unlike a professional pool service, you don’t need to buy cleaning tools every month.

Just buy them once and maintain them in good shape.

If you want to go full manual, you’ll need a pool brush, a skimmer net, a vacuuming head, and a telescopic pole, among other tools.

A full toolset will cost you between $100 and $300, depending on the quality and number of tools you buy.

Remember to factor in the replacement costs for some of these tools when they wear out.

If you don’t have time to manually brush and vacuum the pool, invest in a good quality automatic pool cleaner.

There are three types: suction, pressure, and robotic pool cleaners.

Suction and pressure side pool cleaners are generally cheaper, but they require a hose connection to your skimmer or the pool water inlet.

Robotic pool cleaners are more expensive, but they clean better and don’t require any installation. Just drop it in the water, and it goes on its way vacuuming and scrubbing the pool.

Above ground, robotic pool cleaners cost between $300 and $600 while in-ground robot pool cleaners cost between $500 and $1,300.

Note: If you get a robotic pool cleaner for an above ground pool, you may still need to buy other cleaning tools such as a wall brush. Most robotic pool cleaners don’t scrub the pool walls.

Like other pool cleaning equipment, automatic pool cleaners also carry some maintenance costs though they are not high.

Overall, for DIY pool cleaning, you’ll spend about $100-$300 for cleaning tools and around$200-$1,300 for an automatic pool cleaner.

Balancing Pool Chemicals

pH kit

In addition to cleaning the pool, you can also balance the chemicals yourself. It’s easier than you think and is cheaper compared to paying for professional pool water testing and balancing.

All you need is a complete pool test kit, which you can get on Amazon or your local pool store for less than $20. The Poolmaster 22260 5-Way kit is one of the most popular.

Advanced test kits like K-2006 from Taylor Technologies cost between $50 and $100. 

With a pool test kit, you can easily carry out tests for chlorine, pH, bromine, total alkalinity, and acid demand.

In addition to a testing kit, you’ll need to buy and replenish pool chemicals. These will cost you between $175 and $750 per year depending on the type and size of the pool.

Most of the money goes towards chlorine. You may also need muriatic acid, pool stabilizer (cyanuric acid), and pool shock.

If you have a salt-water pool, your spending on chemicals will be lower since you don’t need chlorine.

Professional Pool Service

cost to maintain a pool

The secret to proper pool maintenance is consistency. You miss a couple of cleanings or don’t balance chemicals on time, and the water turns cloudy or green.

Things like algae and scale also don’t take long to form on the sides and bottom of the pool. Leaves, bugs, sand, and other debris also accumulate quickly.

If you decide to do most of the maintenance yourself, make sure you have time to do it. If you don’t think you’ll find the time, it’s better to pay for professional pool maintenance.

The best thing about professional services is that you never have to worry about buying this or that. Everything is taken care of, including chemicals and cleaning equipment.

A typical pool service package includes:

Most pool owners spend between $80 and $150 every month for a pool cleaning service. Your exact costs will depend on the size of the pool, frequency of cleaning, and the type of pool.

An above-ground pool will cost less.

In addition to the above regular costs, many pool companies charge separately for opening and closing the pool ($300-$600), cleaning a filthy pool (around $150-$300), and pool acid washing ($200-$300).

Replacing Equipment

replacing pool equipment

One often-overlooked part of pool maintenance is the cost of replacing various parts and equipment.

Most pool filter cartridges need to be replaced every 1-2 years, which can cost you several hundred dollars per year.

If you use a sand filter, maintenance will be cheaper since you can go for 5-7 years before you need to replace the sand.

In addition to the filters, other parts that need a regular replacement include motors, skimmer parts, pool heater parts, valves and fittings, and safety equipment.

It’s not uncommon for in-ground pool owners to spend $1,000 a year just on replacement parts. For above-ground pools, the figure will be lower since there aren’t as many parts to replace.

Utility Costs

pool repair

Your swimming pool is one of the biggest energy consumers in your home.

It needs electricity to operate the pool pump, which circulates the water through a filter. To keep the pool clean, the pool pump works continuously for about eight hours a day.

On average, most pool owners spend about $100 a month on electricity just for the pool. Per year, this comes to well over $1,000.

This figure is going to be lower if you own a small above ground pool since the pump doesn’t use as much power.

These costs don’t include heating. An electric heater could easily add another $1,000 to your annual electricity bill.

A gas heater is going to be even more expensive to run. It’ll cost you between $200 and $400 a month.

So before you splurge on a pool heater for year-round swimming, consider how much it will add to your power bills.

Pool Repair Costs

pool repair costs

A part of your pool will inevitably break down from time to time. This requires paying a pro to fix it, and sometimes you may need to buy a replacement part.

Some parts that may need repair down the line include the liner, pool pump motor, and pool heater.

It’s hard to give exact repair costs for these repairs. But generally, expect to spend between $50 and $300 on repairing leaks, motors, pool lighting, and other parts.

If it can’t be repaired, you’ll have to spend more money on replacing that part.

Pool/Deck Furniture

how much does it cost to maintain an inground pool

Yes, you should include pool furniture in your pool maintenance costs.

Being exposed to the elements and water from the pool, lounges, chairs, and tables on the deck can deteriorate quickly. You may need to replace them sooner than you expected.

They’ll wear out even faster if you have a salt-water pool or live near the ocean. The salt is not kind on most surfaces.

Home Insurance Premiums

pool repair costs

I bet you hadn’t considered this one.

Owning a pool can increase your home insurance premiums, yet another cost to factor into your pool budget.

One reason for this is that insurers consider a swimming pool to be an attractive nuisance, in that it can attract trespassers who might be injured when swimming in the pool.

Since you could be held liable for such injuries, most insurance companies require pool owners to increase their liability coverage to between $300,000 and $500,000.

This will, in turn, increase your premiums by around $50-$75.

In addition, the insurance company may require that you set up a pool fence and install a pool cover. In some cases, taking such safety measures can reduce your insurance premiums.

We recommend that you talk to your insurer before you install a swimming pool, even if it is an above ground pool.

Ask whether the pool will be covered, whether you need to increase your coverage and how much it will add to your premiums.

5 Tips to Reduce Pool Maintenance Costs

Pool Cleaning

1. Use an Automatic Pool Cleaner

Just because you don’t want to spend over $100 a month on a pool cleaning service doesn’t mean that you have to spend your precious weekends brushing and vacuuming the pool.

An automatic pool cleaner does most of the cleaning on its own.

If you are on a budget, get a pressure-side or suction-side pool cleaner. But a robotic pool cleaner is the best one for most pool owners.

An in-ground robotic pool cleaner scrubs, vacuums, and filters the dirt in your pool. Most models can even climb the wall and scrub up to the waterline.

Above ground, robotic pool cleaners are cheaper, but they mostly focus on the bottom of the pool.

2. Install a Variable Speed Pump

Unlike a traditional pool pump that runs at one speed, a variable speed pump can operate at different speeds to increase efficiency.

Replacing your single-speed pool pump with a variable speed pump can save you 80%-90% in energy costs.

That could easily reduce your pool energy costs by half or more.

3. Get a Pool Cover

A pool cover solves two problems: debris getting into the pool and water evaporation.

The first one’s easy to understand. With a pool cover, there’ll be fewer leaves and less dirt in your pool. So you don’t need to clean your pool as often. Your pool filter will also last longer.

What about water evaporation?

Most of the water loss in your pool is through evaporation. If your pool is exposed to wind and sun, it can lose up toa quarter inch of water every day. Before long, you have to spend money to top up the pool.

Evaporation also causes loss of chemicals, meaning you’ll spend more on maintaining your pool’s chemical balance.

If you have a pool heater, evaporation causes heat loss, forcing the heater to work harder and spend more energy maintaining the pool at the right temperature.

A pool cover saves you money on water, chemicals, and power bills. 

4. Use Solar Pool Heating

Electric and gas pool heaters can be expensive to run. If you live in a warm area, take advantage of the free sunshine to warm up your pool.

Other than the initial equipment costs and some maintenance expenses, you don’t have to pay any utility costs.

The cheapest and easiest way to heat your pool using the sun is by using a solar pool cover. The cover is designed to concentrate solar heat and direct it into the water.

It can take a couple of days before the water warms up enough. But as long as you keep the cover on at night and when it’s cold, the pool maintains that warmth.

The Sun2Solar Blue solar cover works great for above ground and in-ground pools. It’s available in different sizes, and you can trim it to get a perfect fit for your pool.

Alternatively, invest in a solar pool heater. It consists of a solar heating panel that you install on the ground or, on the roof.

The panel consists of tubes that water passes through to be heated by the sun.

The main downside of a solar pool heater is that you may need an additional pump to push water through it. But it heats the water faster and keeps it warm even on colder days.

For best results, use a solar heater along with a solar blanket or cover to retain the water’s warmth at night.

5. Clean the Pool Regularly

Not paying enough attention to your pool’s hygiene is a recipe for extra costs later. The pool may develop stubborn stains, algae, or scale that requires a full acid wash. You’ll also find yourself using more chemicals.

Your filters are also going to suffer, requiring more frequent replacement.

Ideally, you should clean your pool daily. It doesn’t have to be a deep clean. Just skim leaves and other debris from the water and empty the skimmer basket.

Then once a week, do a deep clean. This involves scrubbing and vacuuming the pool.

Of course, you could let a robotic pool cleaner handle the cleaning. Some models even have an auto-cleaning schedule.

You set it to clean daily, every two days or every three days, and then leave it in the pool.

Frequently Asked Questions on Pool Maintenance Costs

Robotic Pool Cleaners

How much will my electric bill go up with a pool?

If you don’t have a pool heater – meaning only the pump is consuming power –expect your monthly bill to go up by $50-$100 depending on pool pump size.

With an electric heater, your bill could go up by as much as $200.

How much does it cost to maintain a pool per month?

When you consider the cost of chemicals, cleaning, equipment maintenance, and utilities, it costs between $100 and $300 per month to maintain your pool.

What is the average cost of maintaining an above ground pool?

It depends on the size of the pool, location, and accessories, such as a heater. On average, expect to spend between $50 and $300 a month on maintenance (this includes chemical, cleaning, replacement parts, and power bill).

How many years does above ground pool last?

Around 7-15 years, depending on the type of pool. Steel framed pools last between 7 and 10 years while metal or resin above ground pools can last 15 years or more.

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