Pool types and how pool maintenance costs differ
When preparing for homeownership, it’s essential to build a solid budget that includes the costs for maintaining your home inside and out. Some experts advise setting aside 1% to 4% of your home’s value annually for repairs and replacements. But how much should you budget if your new home has a pool? You can expect to spend an average of $180 per month on pool maintenance during the season when it’s in use, for an average of $1,450 per year. Of course, if your pool is open for a more extended season because you live in a warmer climate, you’ll pay more.
Taking care of your pool helps ensure that the water is clean and safe for swimming. Proper maintenance may also prevent future costlier repairs. However, not all pools are built the same or require the same care and repairs. They come in various shapes and sizes, indoors or outdoors, and can be filled with salt or chlorinated water. They can also be above-ground, semi-buried aboveground or in-ground.
In-ground pool maintenance costs
If your pool style is in-ground or above-ground, the same average of $60 to $95 per hour of pool maintenance applies. In addition, you’ll spend $300 to $800 per year for the chemicals needed to maintain a traditional in-ground chlorine pool. If your pool is concrete, it will require additional chemicals, and you must brush surface algae. Fiberglass is algae resistant, making it less costly to maintain than concrete.
Above-ground pool maintenance costs
Above-ground swimming pools first became popular in the 1950s and have recently experienced a resurgence in popularity. They’re less expensive and both easier and quicker to install than in-ground pools. In general, aboveground pool maintenance costs are the same as in-ground pools. Note that most aboveground pools are smaller, which is a factor in calculating pool maintenance fees. Bob Vila points out that the smaller the pool, the cheaper it is to maintain.
Saltwater versus chlorinated pool maintenance costs
While costlier to install, you’ll spend less maintaining a saltwater pool daily than its chlorinated counterpart. The salt and chemicals used in a saltwater pool will run you around $100 per year. While there’s no manual adding of chemicals with a saltwater pool, every three to five years, you’ll need to invest $200 to $700 to replace the salt cell.
DIY pool maintenance costs
If you prefer the do-it-yourself method to save pool maintenance costs, there are several tasks you can perform on your own.
- Pool cleaning, including emptying skimmers, removing leaves and debris, brushing pool walls and vacuuming the pool floor. Robotic vacuums can also be installed to do the scrubbing for you
- Checking and cleaning the filter
- Balancing chlorine, calcium and pH levels
- Shocking your pool to keep it clean from algae
- Ensuring that the water is circulating
- Winterizing your pool with a pool cover
Forbes recommends having a professional check the pool at least once per season. “Although performing pool maintenance yourself may save money in the short-term, more costly issues could arise if something is neglected or overlooked.”
Top 5 hidden costs in pool maintenance
- 1. Insurance
Because pools can present added risk, your homeowner’s insurance may be priced higher. The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) recommends letting your insurance company know you have a pool. In addition, it may be advisable to purchase additional liability insurance. The I.I.I. also recommends installing fencing around your pool to create a barrier so it can’t be used without your knowledge. Municipal pool laws in your area may also require a wall, fence or barrier surrounding the pool area.
- 2. Utilities
If you want to make your swim season last a little longer, it will cost you around $100 to $600 per month to warm up your pool with traditional heating methods. With an energy-efficient mortgage, there’s an opportunity for you to bundle the usual upfront costs of certain energy-efficient upgrades or solar panels into your mortgage so that you can spread these costs over the life of the loan. Energy-efficient home upgrades can help you reduce utility costs, which helps lower your monthly expenses.
- 3. Lights
Replacing a bulb can cost between $20 to $100, and replacing a pool light fixture will cost an average of $625. Since LED bulbs won’t need to be replaced as often as traditional lighting, switch to energy-efficient lighting to reduce energy bills and lower maintenance costs.
- 4. Leaks
In-ground pools can get structural cracks, and aboveground pools’ liners can tear. In either case, leaks are fixable but will cost you depending on the severity.
- 5. Pool filter cartridge replacements
All pools have filters to keep your pool clean regardless of the style. Depending on your pool size and how often it’s used, it may need to be replaced every one to two years.