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Pool Maintenance Cost: How Much Does It Cost To Run A Pool?

Swimming pools are a welcome addition to any home, but they also require a lot of upkeep and are financially demanding. 

When it comes to pool maintenance costs, breaking them down and budgeting them into your expenses can give you a better understanding of where your money is going, and how much the pool will set you back every month.

Pool Maintenance Average Cost Summary

Check the tables below if you just want the average numbers, but keep reading if you want a full breakdown of the running costs.

Regular Maintenance Costs

IncludesMonthlySeasonalAnnual
Electricity$30 – $50$180 – $300$360 – $600
Water$40 – $60$240 – $360$480 – $720
Chemicals$80 – $100$480 – $600$960 – $1200
Cleaning Service$100 – $150$600 – $900$1200 – $1,800
Total$250 – $360$1,500 – $2,160$3,000 – $4,320

Opening & Closing Costs

IncludesAnnual
Opening$150 – $300
Closing (Winterizing)$150 – $300
Total$300 – $600

Troubleshooting Costs

IncludesAnnual
Equipment$600 – $2,800
Plumbing$175 – $1,000
Emergency Treatment$100 – $500
Resurfacing$4,000
Total$875 – $8,300

Why There’s No Simple Answer

Unfortunately there isn’t a single, definitive cost that can be applied to every pool out there. This is due to a range of variables that affect your bottom line:

As you can see, many things need to be accounted for. While the figures presented in this article can’t be exact, they will offer a general guideline of how much money you should factor into your swimming pool maintenance budget.

Regular Maintenance Costs (Breakdown)

Let’s take a look at the costs associated with regular use of your pool.

Monthly bills will hover between $250 and $360, with a 6 month swim season costing $1500 to $2160, or $3000 to $4320 annually. 

Here’s the breakdown:

Electricity Costs

The amount of electricity required to run your pump and pool heater will depend on a few things. 

For the pump, the larger the pool, the larger the pump that’s required. A variable speed pump is the way to go, as they’re efficient and energy saving. Though they cost more upfront, they’ll save you a significant amount of money every month compared to a single-speed or two-speed pump.

Those with saltwater pools will also need to pay to run their salt generator. They typically cost around $0.03 – $0.06 per hour (roughly $15/mth), and you can save money by running the pool overnight when off peak hours.

Of course, you’ll also have to factor in the electricity rates where you live, but for most pools the monthly electrical cost should be somewhere in the $30 – $50 range.

Water Costs

Generally, you shouldn’t have to spend too much money on water, as long as the pool is constantly sanitized and filtered to keep it clean. However, issues with low water levels will occur at some point, and you’ll need to top up the pool. 

These issues can be due to the natural evaporation of the water, a leak that may suddenly appear, if you vacuum the pool, or if your water goes haywire and you need to drain or dilute the pool water to bring it back into balance.

Additionally, there’s also the size of your pool, as larger pools will require more water than smaller ones. But generally, you should budget for between $40 and $60/month in water costs for your pool.

Chemical Costs

The trick to spending less money on chemicals for your pool is to stay on top of water testing, which keeps levels balanced at all times.

When you’re following a strict regimen and making sure the pool has all the proper chemical levels (ie. chlorine/chlorine tablets, cyanuric acid, etc.), you’re maximizing your dollar, and should be paying less than $100 per month.

However, if the water chemistry ends up going sideways, you’ll be playing catch up and spending more money to raise or lower the pool’s pH level in an attempt to rebalance it.

Regular water testing is important, and you can spend as little as $20 for a liquid test kit or a pack of 100 test strips. You can also bring your water to a pool shop for testing and they usually won’t charge you. However, if you want them to service your swimming pool water, be prepared to pay around $80/mth.

Additionally, salt pools require a large dose of salt upfront to keep the pool clean. Usually sold in 40 lb. bags, their prices range from $5 – $50 per bag. How much you’ll need for your pool will depend on its size, but an average of 10 bags for a 15,000 gallon pool will be required to get it to the desired level of 3200 ppm.

Cleaning Costs

Pool cleaning needs to be done with the right equipment. Things like pool skimmers, brushes, and vacuums need to be purchased to keep the pool clean. 

Wind will blow debris like dirt and grass into the pool, and if you have a particularly lush backyard you’ll also see plant material like flowers and leaves in the water. A lack of cleaning can upset the pool water chemistry and lead to stains on the finish of the pool.

Skimmer nets can cost anywhere from $10 to $40, brushes from $10 to $25, and vacuums at anywhere from $50 to $90.

If you want to use a pool cleaning service to clean your pool, the price will usually be in the range of $150 per month.

Opening & Closing Costs (Breakdown)

Opening and closing a pool is dependent on where you live. If you’re in a warm climate year-round, you’ll never have to close the pool. 

However, those that live in four seasons will have to budget for opening and closing the pool every year which will run you between $300 and $600.

Opening

Opening a pool is a big job that requires a full day’s work from even the most seasoned of pool owners.

The main costs associated with opening a pool will be refilling the pool, adding the appropriate amount of chemicals and shocking the water, and getting the filtration system up and running again.

Hiring a professional for this service can be anywhere from $150 to $300, with the figure potentially creeping into $400 territory if issues that need troubleshooting arise.

Closing/Winterizing

For those that need to close their pool for the winter, the price for a professional to do it is pretty much identical to the opening cost – $150 to $300.

This takes care of shocking the pool, lowering the water level, backwashing the filters, closing/storing filter elements, cleaning the water lines, and installing the cover.

As usual, if you can do this yourself, you can save some money.

Troubleshooting Costs (Breakdown)

Sometimes, things don’t always go as planned. You should be prepared to pay anywhere from $875 to $8300 for potential issues as there’s a variety of them that can come out of nowhere and cause your budget to swell.

Equipment Issues

Like anything mechanical, issues with your pool’s equipment are going to come up now and then. Things like the pump, the heater, filters, and lights will all eventually need some extra TLC at a certain point.

Today’s variable pool pumps are more efficient than the old school single or double-speed pumps of yesteryear. These energy saving pumps will cost anywhere from $500 to $2500 upfront, but save you money with a lower monthly bill.

Pool heaters can usually get between 5 and 10 years of life before needing repairs. This could be anything from the unit not turning on, to inadequately heating, or other operational deficiencies. Yearly maintenance of the heater should be a priority. It usually costs $100 to $200 and can save you from 4-figure problems down the line.

For issues with pool lights, a blown bulb could set you back $20 to $100, but replacing the entire lighting structure can run you over $500.

In saltwater pools, a well-maintained salt cell can last up to 7 years but will eventually need replacing. The cost of these can range anywhere from $600 to $1200.

Plumbing Issues

Issues with the pool’s plumbing system can also be problematic. While the parts are cheap, it’s the price of labor that’ll make the real dent in your wallet.

Fixing a leaky pipe can cost you anywhere $400 up to $1000. For issues with main drains and the main lines, you’re looking at $400 to $700 for a repair job. However, as it can take time to find the exact location of a leak, it can sometimes be more cost-effective to just replace the entire section rather than going the way of repair.

Leaks in your pool skimmer are common and will set you back around $175 to fix, and you may also see issues over time with things like your return jets and any water features you may have installed on the pool.

Emergency Treatment

Swimming pool water can easily go out of balance, which is why it’s so important to monitor it regularly. Water issues like algae growth, urine in the pool, or even a buildup of chloramine will mean you will need to take the proper steps to get rid of it.

This is done through the addition of chemicals like algaecide, or shock treatments to kill off pollutants. This will increase your monthly bills as some issues (such as pink algae, black algae or mustard algae) can require multiple rounds of shock to full sanitize the pool.

Resurfacing Or Repainting

Eventually, all pool finishes will need some sort of repair, as harsh chemicals in the water combine with sunlight and normal wear and tear to cause fading, peeling, and/or cracks in the foundation, especially for concrete pools such as gunite or shotcrete.

Whether you’re resurfacing or repainting, you’re going to be paying a pretty penny. Pool paint is extremely expensive at $100 per gallon, with most pools requiring at least 10 gallons for the job. Additionally, paint jobs need to be redone every 5 to 7 years.

A full resurfacing job can cost upwards of $4000. However, they provide more protection against structural damage like cracks and leaks, and can last much longer at 15 to 20 years.

There’s also vinyl liners that will have to be replaced when they start to leak, bulge or fade. Prices vary on materials and size, but an above ground pool liner costs between $100 – $500, with inground liners being in the $500 – $1500 range. 

For all of these options, you’ll also have to factor in labor costs, as it’s always best to get a professional to do a job this size.

Tips For Lowering Maintenance Cost

Keeping your bills down should be a primary goal of any pool owner. Here are some quick tips to help you

  • Regular maintenance. As stated a few times in this article, staying on top of your pool will be the best measure you can take to prevent your monthly bills from skyrocketing. Make sure you’re regularly testing the water, keeping it balanced, and are following a routine schedule for skimming, brushing, and vacuuming your pool.
  • Variable speed pump. A variable speed pump can operate at multiple speeds, rather than only one or two, meaning it won’t have to run on only high or only low. With speed customization, the pump will consume less power, which will translate into savings on your electric bills.
  • Recirculation gutters. A gutter system on the pool’s deck can recapture water that has been splashed or dragged out of the pool. It will then channel the water through a pool filter, and return it to the pool. This will save you money on water costs that are incurred when refilling the pool.
  • Solar heating. Investing in a solar heater is a pricey upfront expense at $4,000 (when compared to gas heaters or heat pumps). But they last 15 to 20 years, and will keep your heating bills low. However, you should take into account how much sunlight your pool actually gets before committing to this heating option.
  • Pool covers. A good pool cover will set you back anywhere from $50 to $300 depending on your pool size. But, using it will cut down on pool water evaporation by over 95%! Another added benefit is the pool water staying warmer for longer periods of time so you won’t have to run the heater as much.
  • Insurance. Things are going to go wrong at some point – that’s just a fact of life. So getting pool liability insurance is a must. Most home insurance policies will include it, but double check yours to be sure you’re covered.

So… How Much Does It Cost?

To give you a set-in-stone figure for your overall cost is impossible as there’s too many variables at play, but we can give a general range.

Based on annual figures, swimming pool maintenance costs range from $3000 to $4320, opening and closing is $300 to $600, and troubleshooting issues vary wildly from $875 to $8300.

Of course, you can save considerable money on yearly or monthly maintenance if you learn how to take care of the pool yourself, as it only requires a bit of know-how and a do-it-yourself attitude.

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