Pool Maintenance & Upkeep Costs
DIY vs Hiring a Service Company Price Comparison
It’s crucial to count the pool maintenance cost of a swimming pool before buying one so you can plan for the future. You also have to budget for electricity and water bills, not to mention monthly maintenance costs, which do add up to a significant investment by the year.
One of your pressing issues is whether to hire a pool cleaning service or take a DIY approach to pool maintenance. Handling maintenance by yourself requires buying tools and supplies, learning how to maintain the pool (usually by watching videos), and investing hours of your time every day or a few times a week.
Let’s consider the maintenance costs of buying supplies versus hiring a pool maintenance service. Considering these factors will help you to develop a budget for your first pool.
Factors That Affect Monthly Pool Service Cost
Far starters, consider whether you’re going to build an indoor or outdoor pool, as well as the material of choice. For inground pools, most people choose concrete, vinyl, or fiberglass material. The pool size and local region will also determine costs. Concrete pools get pricey since the porous surfaces demand more chemicals and energy to keep clean.
Indoor pools are easier to clean since you won’t have to clean debris daily. However, they need proper ventilation because of chlorine saturation. Outdoor pools are less expensive to build but do require more in the way of vacuums, as well as extra security precautions to keep unwanted people out – which also protects you from liability.
Above-ground pools, even the fancier models, are considered portable, and so do not increase the value of your home. While easier to care for, they can also leak and tear very easily.
Breaking Down Pool Maintenance Cost
According to the Wall Street Journal, just the chemicals for a full-size pool will cost $500-800 per year. However, most pool owners buy more than basic treatment chemicals. They also buy pool pumps, which can run between $150-800, and pool heaters for the cold season, priced between $1,700-3,000, by the Credit Union of Texas.
The next step is buying and replacing robotic pool cleaners, filters, vacuums, and skimmers. By the calculation of Money.com, pool maintenance costs run a family at least $85 per month plus an extra $1,000 a year for replacing dirty parts. Vacuums and other mechanical items can cost upwards of $500.
The Home Advisor website notes:
Concrete pools run about $1,650 on maintenance costs, including acid washing. In comparison, vinyl pools run about $700 per year, plus the cost of replacing any liners (within 5-10 years), and with a higher electricity bill. Fiberglass pools run cheaper, averaging about $400 between electric bills and chemicals.
If you decide to go the DIY route, make sure to address all maintenance issues, such as:
- Cleaning debris
- Testing for proper water balance
- Adding chemicals
- Keeping up filters and pumps
Set aside at least ten hours a week for DIY pool maintenance. In addition to pool maintenance, LED lights, solar blanket covers, water toys for the kids, and extra security precautions (like fencing) might add up. Water consumption varies greatly but tends to rise in the city, especially in cities that frequently report warm temperatures.
According to one real estate website, most medium-sized pools use an average of 160 liters of water a day. Apart from maintenance costs, factor in a higher electric bill – one that might cost $30-150 per month, depending on the filter type you use.
You may also have an increase in your homeowner’s insurance rates for liability purposes since the typical quote is a $100,000 insurance policy. A conservative quote for the necessary upkeep for the DIY homeowner is between $1,000 and $2,000, though the price increases to $5,000 if significant repairs/replacements are involved.
Hiring a Service for Pool Maintenance Cost
Pool cleaning services typically don’t charge you for materials and labor – just one flat rate, either by the month or the week. Weekly service is ideal, and less expensive since a cleaner pool costs less to maintain. However, the bare minimum suggested is at least one monthly pool service cost to prevent long-term damage.
USA Today states that on average most pool cleaning services cost $70-200 a month, varying with the size of the pool and how often someone comes out to the house. When talking to a company representative, make sure they detail all the maintenance procedures to make sure you don’t have to pay extra.
Standard professional pool maintenance includes:
- Skimming, or picking up large debris
- Vacuuming smaller debris on the bottom
- Brushing the sides of the pool
- Cleaning pool filters
- Balancing water pH
- Adding chemicals like chlorine
- Backwashing filters
- Inspecting and fixing leaks
- Saltwater pool maintenance involves replacing salt cell and protecting against corrosion
- Winterizing your pool for the cold season
- Occasionally replacing parts
Pool service technicians should know more than just the basics about swimming pool chemistry, plumbing issues, and various electrical components to ensure a quality job. Remember that some chain companies may use minimally trained employees, compared to a local contractor that typically brings more experience to each case.
Pros of Hiring a Pool Service
- No need to spend hours of your day cleaning – professionals work fast
- Professional services reduce chances of accidents/damaged parts
- No special education needed on pool chemicals and electronics
Pros of DIY Pool Maintenance
- Cheaper (See Bob Villa’s tips on how to lower fees with DIY pool installations)
- No delays in service, since you arrange the time and date
- Learn a new skill and become an expert on the subject so you can help your friends!
When considering pool maintenance costs, don’t forget to factor in the value of your time. If you’re not naturally inclined to enjoy DIY work, which involves learning about chemistry and basic mechanics, you won’t enjoy performing weekly pool service. Cost is also relative compared to quality work. Ultimately you will need to call around and get a quote for pool service near you to have a true comparison but we hope this helped you.
If you can’t afford the time or can’t ensure a near-perfect pool maintenance program, then don’t risk the health of your loved ones. If there’s any serious doubt, hire someone that can take care of the pool so you can focus on enjoying it more this summer!
Here’s a funny video we found on the topic, a realtor talks with a pool pro about both sides of the coin when it comes to pool maintenance costs.