A pool tube floating in a pool.

How much does pool maintenance cost?

Whether you’re purchasing a new home with a pool or building one after moving in, a backyard pool can be a great addition to your home. Swimming is excellent exercise and an effective stress reliever, and homes with pools are fun for summer get-togethers. Plus, swimming is a great activity for the kids! Before you dive into buying a home with a pool, it’s a good idea to consider how much pool maintenance costs.

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.

Already own your home and looking to take the plunge in a backyard pool? No project is too big or too small for a home renovation loan to add a pool with our FNMA HomeStyle Renovation loan program. With a renovation loan, you’re able to buy or refinance a home and make improvements with just one loan and one monthly mortgage payment. Pay for the cost of building a pool over the life of your loan instead of all right now. Connect with a renovation loan specialist in your area to find the right loan for you.

The above information is for educational purposes only. All information, loan programs and interest rates are subject to change without notice. All loans subject to underwriter approval. Terms and conditions apply. Always consult an accountant or tax advisor for full eligibility requirements on tax deduction.

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About the Author: Guild Mortgage

Founded in 1960 when the modern U.S. mortgage industry was just forming, Guild Mortgage Company is a nationally recognized independent mortgage lender providing residential mortgage products and local in-house origination and servicing. Guild’s collaborative culture and commitment to diversity and inclusion enable it to deliver a personalized experience for each customer. With more than 4,000 employees and over 250 retail branches, Guild has relationships with credit unions, community banks, and other financial institutions and services loans in 49 states and the District of Columbia. Guild’s highly trained loan professionals are experienced in government-sponsored programs such as FHA, VA, USDA, down payment assistance programs and other specialized loan programs. Guild Mortgage Company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Guild Holdings Company, whose shares of Class A common stock trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol GHLD.