How Much to Maintain Swimming Pool?

Updated on June 27, 2012
L.N. asks from Abilene, KS
12 answers

We are looking at purchasing a house with a built in swimming pool. We saw a picture of the house when it was posted early May and the water looked great looks like there is no problem with the pool. Now that no one lives there it is dirty but I think just needs a good cleaning. We have never had a pool and we plan to 1- get a pool guy out to show us how everything works. 2- hope to maintain it ourselves. 3- buy a GOOD cover we have three kids 6 and under and want to make sure it is SAFE....any ideas on how much this would cost us would be great to know! thanks

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So What Happened?

we had my father in-law. who is a contractor walk through the house and he said the house had a LOT of problems so we have decided it wasn't worth our time or effort in that house. Thanks so much for all the advice I think with three kids and one more on the way I am in no need of that pool as an added headache.

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answers from Columbia on

We have 2 sets of relatives with in-ground pools. They maintain it themselves. We were thinking of getting one, so asked them.

They both said their next house would not have one. Between the chemicals, cleaning, draining, filling, winterizing and added electric costs - they said (if memory serves) about $10,000 per year.
forgot to mention - theirs are heated and have underwater lights.

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answers from Washington DC on


it's been sooo long since I've owned a pool, I don't know what it would cost now.

I would contact your local pool place - maybe 2 or 3 to see what their costs are to care for the pool, products they use, covers (there are some great ones out there now) in VA - you MUST have a fence around the pool - not just the yard, but the pool! So check with your local building office and see what they say the rules for pools are!!

Also check with your home owners policy. They may have recommendations for pool people as well as the costs to insure the house with a pool.

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answers from Washington DC on

The $1000 a year sounds about right. But don't forget your man hours. My dad spends at least 1 hour a day during the week maintaining the pool and a couple hours on the weekend cleaning it. My dad is a freak about the pool and the ph and clorine levels so he may spend more time on it than others, but it's a lot of work. I grew up with a pool and swear I will never get one myself. Too much work and too much money if something goes wrong.

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answers from Dallas on

how big is the pool? is it salt or chlorine? how old is it? your question is far too general to get an accurate answer... i would have written in the contract that the seller must pay a company to get the pool up to par BEFORE closing.

i have a good sized pool - 30,000 gallons - it's a salt system - we pay less than $100 per YEAR on salt and chemicals, it might cost $30ish per month for electricity to run the pumps - we check the chemicals once a week or so - a salt system is far easier and MUCH less expensive to maintain.


answers from Norfolk on

There are a lot of factors in how much it will cost.
How big is the pool?
How long is your pool season?
Are there a lot of trees which will cause a lot of leaves and debris that needs to be cleaned out of the pool?
How many people will use the pool (lots of parties and large numbers of people will affect the amounts of chemicals to treat the pool and balance the PH).
You can Google this question and then find answers that are in your region which should be good estimates of what it will cost you.


answers from Houston on

Ours is 30,000 gallons and costs about $1000 per year in pool chemicals/nets/poles/replacement parts, etc. I can't break down the electricity but I don't notice that big of a difference between our house and my father's which is basically the square footage size minus the pool. The pool pump runs one hour for every 10 degrees of temperature. On an 80 degree day the pump runs 8 hours while on a 100 degree day it is more like 10 hours. We do not heat ours nor do we have to winterize it. Those would both add significant cost. We have lights but we don't use them that often. It's just lights, though, so I can't imagine that would make a big difference. We did install a Polaris and with a timer that ran us about $1000. Well worth the money since it helps with stirring up and picking up debris.

We do our own pool maintenance and it is not that hard once you get it down. We got a local pool guy out for a couple hours of time for $200 (pool school as he called it). Checking the chemical levels is not that hard and needs to be done daily. With a large volume of water the chemical balances don't swing that drastically so long as you do basic maintenance (keep the chlorine in it, scrub it, clean skimmer baskets). You can take the water sample to your pool store and they can help you. The scrubbing sucks the most but it has to be done every day in the open season. The skimmer baskets also have to be cleaned daily. Sometimes more often every day especially in the spring when the neighbor's trees are blowing debris in the pool. We cajole ourselves by saying it's good exercise.

The older lady we bought our house from had a pool service. I believe she said the service was $50 to $100 per two weeks but she never lifted a finger. The service came out to clean the skimmers and to add their chemicals.

I would suggest a fence over a pool cover. A pool cover of the caliber you are describing (safe enough for a child to walk over but not sink into the pool) will be at least $1500 dollars and will be custom fit to your pool. Removing the pool cover is a pain and is not a one man (or woman) job. You also have to factor in where you will store the cover when it is not in use. We only cover our pool with a mesh leaf net in the fall/winter. It stays covered from about October/November to March/April. We don't have to do any maintenance so having the pool, deck and skimmers covered is no big deal. Without the leaf net we would have to constantly cleaning out the fall leaves and then the spring leaves. Big mess. When we store our leaf net, we have to take it off the pool, allow it to dry thoroughly and then drag it into the cul de sac to fold down for storage. It's mesh so that's not bad. A solid cover would be a challenge.

Instead of a pool cover I would recommend a fence. We have a fence and it was about $1200 installed. The fence is rated for 200-300 pounds per section. Big Uncle Fred can topple into it and it still won't collapse. Our fence is also removable which is convenient when we have adult only parties and don't want to look at the fence.

The pool pump lasts about 5 to 7 years so you can see what those run you. About every 15 years you'll have to replaster. We did that two years ago and it was a big job both in terms of cost and work. We accepted the cost when we bought our home. In Houston the summers are just too long without a pool. Good luck in your decision making.

Oh, one other thing about the landscaping. Ours doesn't have any because it takes up almost the entire backyard. Our little patch of grass is a pain when we mow. It takes an artful hand to keep the mowed grass out of the pool when mowing. However, our neighbors planted a pecan near their pool. Why? The constant debris and the roots growing into the pool is just foolish. Keep the landscaping as clean as possible and as damage free as possible. Think minimal. You don't want roots growing into your pool, skimmers or decks. All of which would equal damage and cost. Plus you don't want a constant mess in your pool. We have several crepe myrtles thanks to our neighbors. The continual flowers are a mess. Think palm trees, pond grasses, etc. If it winds up in the pool, it has to get cleaned out by either you or your pump.

One other thought ours looked like a swamp when we moved in since it hadn't been maintained in a while. We did have a pool guy come out to give us the extra muscle to get it clean. He checked the levels and added the necessary chemicals to get it right. It was a fairly painless process and it only looked bad for a week.

Sorry, one more thought. Get a pool inspection separate from your other inspections. You need a qualified service to verify you don't have leaks in the pool lines and/or skimmers. Also you want to have a good look at the condition of the deck, pump equipment and pool. We negotiated on the price of our home because the pool had some issues (leaks from the skimmers were causing the deck to cave in and a future replaster job within two to three years of purchase).


answers from Lakeland on

It depends on the size of the pool and if it is salt water or chlorine. We have a 30,000 gallon in PA and a smaller one in Florida (Our PA house hasn't sold yet so we still have to open and maintain it).

The house in PA has a propane heater and gets closed up in the winter months so some of the costs are a little lower. The Florida pool is open all year and has an electric heater. We don’t swim much in the winter months so the heater is hardly ever on. The electric heaters can run you hundreds each month and so can the gas. The chemicals are not too expensive as long as you take care of the pool each week.

In PA we have a loop lock cover for the winter and you can walk over it and only get a little water on your feet. In the summer we keep the solar cover over it and the gate to get into the pool area locked. Since you have children I would suggest fencing it in and have a good lock on the gate (most states require it).
Personally I love my pool in Florida we use it most of the year. If we were to move back to PA I would not want another pool, to me it’s not worth the cost for only being open 3 to 4 months.

Our pool in Florida costs $80.00 a month for our pool guy to come out once a week and add chemicals, vacuum (when needed) and clean. The electric for the heater is about $100 a week if it is on all the time.


answers from Jacksonville on

Definitely check with folks in your area to see what sort of annual maintenance/care costs run. Where I live, we don't ever close our pool for the winter, so no draining/refilling, no nothing. Just monitoring it weekly and adding chemicals as needed, which doesn't amount to much $ or time. We have a screen and a polaris vacuum, so I never have to skim/clean anything, except to clean out the vacuum collection bag occasionally where the dead spiders/lizards get vacuumed up. (kinda gross)

We don't have a huge pool, so we only need to run the pump about 6-8 hrs a day, and that doesn't add that much to the electric bill.

Chemicals, hmmm.. maybe $200 a year.

This summer I need to have the sand replaced in our filter, and that is supposed to run about $300, complete. They recommend this approximately every 4-5 years as needed, and this will be our 7th summer in this house. We built it, so I know everything was installed new. And until this year, the filter has not shown any signs of needing the sand replaced...



answers from Salt Lake City on

Pools are fun but A LOT of work. During the summer they require daily maintenance and cleaning as well as chemicals to keep it clean. Chemicals are gonna cost a couple hundred or so every month to properly maintainMy parents had a inground pool for 15+ yrs and this last year they decided to fill it in when the liner was going to cost $5000 to repair which was the same cost as filling it in. They had a quite large rectangular pool not sure the size exactly but it took about an hour to clean each day (vacuuming the pool floor as well as skimming out all the leaves/debris). The best thing to do is to keep a solar cover on it each night so it stays cleaner and keeps the warmth in. We had old school stuff not the new top of the line equipment, I think your best bet is to research online the new covers and safety tips for kids. Part of why they filled in their pool was because of their fear for the safety of their grandkids. We wanted them to fence the pool itself with an alarm on the gate. Just a warning good covers can be very pricey $$$thousands$$$ so shop around. Be careful...have fun.... and good luck!!!



answers from Austin on

No idea how much it costs now, but we had a pool for several years when we moved here (1992).

We had a cover, but only used it in the winter, until it wore out.... but if you keep up with checking the chemical levels (very easy), and keep the proper chemicals, it really isn't that hard or difficult. Vacuum the debris out of the pool, backwash the filter as needed, run the filter (ours was set up on a timer, so it ran at night), and shock it occasionally, and it shouldn't be that expensive.


answers from Washington DC on

My neighbors literally just built one. It's semi-inground, because they have a hill in their backyard. It cost the $30k to put in, plus the landscaping around it, and it is just crazy expensive to me. In MD, they can use it maybe 4 months out of the year.

They said it will be pricey to keep up too.



answers from Birmingham on

Pools are expensive and time-consuming to maintain. I would urge you, with three kids age 6 and under, to get one of the warning systems on the market. They let you know when your children are outside. Even with a cover there is a danger of drowning.

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