The costs of maintaining a pool is one of the most important and yet also most overlooked aspects of budgeting for a new pool. When people first consider one, they’ll usually put a lot of focus on the initial construction costs. But there’s a lot more to owning a pool than what goes into its initial construction. Pools require continual maintenance. And everything from cleaning to electrical costs need to be factored in when putting a pool budget together. Thankfully, it’s fairly easy to determine pool maintenance costs by considering the following factors.
The Importance of Averages
There’s a lot to learn from the average person’s experience. The easiest way to get an idea of a pool’s maintenance cost is to simply look at what the average pool owner pays per year. There are obviously going to be a lot of differences based on individual factors.
But the average monthly costs come down to around $80 to $150.
This can be further extrapolated to a yearly average that’s somewhere between $960 to $1,800.
It’s also important to keep in mind just how significant the two extremes are. The most expensive side of the average is nearly twice that of the least expensive. There are some aspects of pool maintenance that you can’t have much control over. For example, the heat provided by the sun is either going to be there for you or it isn’t. And when it isn’t there’s going to be additional heating costs. However, it’s quite possible to move maintenance costs downward by considering all of the most important factors that go into pool maintenance. You simply need to tweak options you can change while compensating for the cost of those you can’t.
Multiple Approaches To Tackle a Few Important Issues
You’ll soon see just how many options you have for pool construction and maintenance. And there’s one pattern you’ll notice being repeated time and time again. While there’s a wide variety of designs and options, they typically all work with a few important issues. Dozens of different factors influence your overall pool maintenance costs. But these variables arise from a small number of individual issues. Some of these issues include algae and other living contaminants, climate control, and physical damage or obstruction related to your pool. Each of these problems is weighted or lessened by type of pool, the pool design and operating strategies. And your maintenance costs will vary depending on just how you tackle each issue.
Design Often Goes Hand in Hand With Maintenance
People often begin their adventures with a new pool by looking at the latest pool designs. The initial draw of these concepts usually comes down to aesthetic appeal. The latest hot trends are popular for good reason – they’re beautiful and striking. But people often forget that the different designs also change overall maintenance costs. For example, some pool design trends that emphasize smaller sizes or a focus on specific lining color might grab your attention simply due to their visual appeal. But those design elements can also help you save money by lowering heating costs.
This is the point where it’s usually a good idea to look at a pool loan calculator to begin budgeting costs for the ideal pool of your dreams. It’s a good idea to begin by considering the necessities. What kind of pool would bring you the most enjoyment in your living situation? Do you want an outdoor pool or an inclosed one? Inground or above ground? Are you going to do maintenance by yourself or use a pool maintenance and cleaning service?
Once you’ve decided on your needs it’s time to move on to the optional points. For example, imagine someone who doesn’t have any preference between an outdoor pool and one with a screen enclosure. The enclosed pool has a myriad of benefits over the outside pool including;
- Stopping debris from falling into the pool which saves on time and effort needed to be put into cleaning.
- No need for a pool floor vac or pool cover etc.
- SPF protection which reduces damage done by the sun to things like the lining and furniture.
- Barrier from bugs meaning you can enjoy your pool without the annoyance of bugs when they are out in force.
- Easier to maintain a proper pH balance when there are no foreign debris constantly adding unpredictable elements.
- Stable climate to enjoy the pool, no matter if it is raining or windy it will affect your swimming.
If they opt for this then they could usually save on maintenance by going with an inclosed pool. Of course they have to cosider the asethics of it, the upfront cost to build it and repair costs should it get damaged. As this example shows there are a number of design decisions that can have a dramatic and often unexpected impact on the cost of pool maintenance.
Differences in Water Translate Into Differences in Price
People often think of water as a cheap resource. You probably don’t think about cost when you’re filling up a glass with tap water. But water is the heart and soul of a pool. And taking care of the water in your pool can dramatically change your overall maintenance costs.
One of the biggest water-related issues comes from the choice to go with chlorinated or saltwater. The choice between chlorinated and saltwater pools is often difficult because they both have their own unique benefits. Saltwater pools might seem like the more costly option for maintenance. Saltwater can cause mineral corrosion over time when the system isn’t regularly cleaned. And despite the name, saltwater pools still need to have chlorine levels adjusted.
But the overall cost of saltwater pool maintenance is still less than chlorinated pools. This is largely due to the fact that the materials used with saltwater pools are generally cheaper. The saltwater is also naturally resistant to algae, and this lowers the costs associated with taking care of that particular form of contamination.
Adjusting for Climate
Pools and hot summer days go hand in hand. When you think of a pool you’re almost always going to imagine what it’d be like to take a refreshing dip when the sun’s burning bright. However, when you’re considering budgets it’s important to also consider the cold nights and cloudy days. When the temperature drops outside you’re going to need to warm up your pool. And it can take a surprising amount of power to heat up the volume of water found in even fairly compact pools.
Your own climate will be one of the major factors influencing your pool maintenance costs.
Colder climates will require you to heat your pool more often and more consistently. While warmer climates will often let you leverage the power of the sun to ensure the pool never gets too cold. The less you need to heat your pool the less it’ll cost you.
However, it’s also important to consider the type of energy you’re using to heat. There’s two main pool heater types – gas and electric. Gas heaters are the most popular option and can run on either natural or propane. The biggest cost concern with gas heaters is that operating costs are directly tied to gas prices. And most people can attest to the fact that gas prices tend to go up fairly often and without much warning. This leads to higher operating costs for gas heaters along with adding an element of unpredictability to your budget.
Meanwhile, electric heaters have a higher cost for the initial installation. But an electric heater’s overall cost of operation is usually considerably lower than that of a gas heater. It’s also easier to create a predictable budget around electric heaters. That’s not to say that there are no downsides to electric though. Aside from the electric heater’s higher initial cost, they also take longer than gas to heat a pool. And the cost of operation can go up when temperatures drop below 45 degrees. But as a general rule, an electric heater has a lower overall cost when considering long-term pool maintenance.
Invisible Financial Considerations
When people ask how much does it cost to maintain a pool they usually focus on issues related to physical upkeep. But there are some additional points to consider which often catch people by surprise. One of the most important is insurance and property tax. Liability insurance costs will go up as a result of the added potential for injury. The added cost typically ranges from an extra $20 to $25 more per month.
The reasoning behind property tax increases might not be quite as self-apparent. The impact on property taxes comes down to the nearly universal appeal of a swimming pool. A home with a swimming pool will typically see an overall increase in its market value. But that can also raise property taxes. This can range from a 5% to a 10% increase.
Less Common but Still Significant Considerations
It’s important to remember that less common, but still recurring, events can also impact the total cost of your pool. For example, closing your pool down in fall or opening it back up in spring will both carry some additional costs. And replacing damaged components like lights needs to be considered as well any other repairs needed that come about from normal wear and tear. However, these events tend to be less significant over a pool’s lifetime than something like heater choices or construction materials.
How To Manage a Monthly Pool Maintenance Contract
Pool maintenance is generally handled in one of two ways. You can take a do-it-yourself approach or use a pool maintenance company. If you’re taking the DIY route you’re essentially trading free time for a lower overall cost. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the savings are often less significant than you might imagine. One of the larger reasons simply comes from the fact that pool cleaning services can take advantage of bulk deals and higher-grade equipment than you’d use at home. The savings there are often used to offset the total overall operating cost for the pool cleaning service whereas if you undertake the maintenance yourself you will save on monthly fees but still need to buy a number of pool equipment and chemicals to do an effective job.
If you do decide to go with a pool cleaning service then it’s important to carefully consider exactly what you’re getting out of the contract. Most pool cleaning services will offer the same general services. But different companies will often weigh the price of their options differently. For example, one company might charge more for above-ground pools while the other companies in the area don’t. Others also cover small repairs as part of their package which is appealing in its ease and simplicity.
It’s generally a good idea to touch base with at least three pool cleaning companies to compare their prices. Remember that your pool is a long-term investment. Even a small pricing difference between services can turn into major savings over the course of a decade or more at the same location.
The Final Step When Calculating a Pool’s Total Maintenance Cost
It’s clear that there’s more to think about when budgeting for your pool than is immediately apparent.
But the most important point to remember is that you have a lot of control over your pool costs.
The average cost for pool maintenance is $80 to $150 a month. But all of the points covered so far can ensure you’re on the lower rather than higher side of that average.