Whether you’re looking for the resort experience in your backyard, or just looking for a hole in the ground to toss your kids in, a pool can be a great feature to have in your backyard. Private pools provide a fun space to cool off in the summers, get exercise, and entertain your guests. However, it can also feel like an endless bill, draining money out of your wallet. This article aims to provide a comprehensive run down on what to expect as a property owner with a pool so you don’t find yourself lost in the deep end.
Maintenance is key for keeping your pool in working order to reduce repair costs, as well as making sure it is always ready to take a dip. Whether you go with chlorine or salt water, every pool will require routine care to keep the water safe for occupancy. The costs and time of maintaining a pool varies from pool to pool depending on size. Location also can play a factor as a pool in an area with a lot of storms will require to be skimmed and vacuumed more often if it is left uncovered.
Many people here in Arizona opt to hire a pool service to handle all of the cleaning and chemical care. If this is a service that fits your budget it can save you a lot of time and hassle so the only thing you have to worry about with your pool is figuring out how to refill your drink without getting off the floatie. If you go down this route it’s best practice to have a few different pool guys come out to give quotes and talk to those you trust who use a local pool service already.
On average you can expect to pay around $120 a month on your pool service. Even if your pool is small or easily maintained, you shouldn’t expect to pay less than around $70-$80 a month for a quality service. This doesn’t include any extra costs that come with parts needing to be repaired or replaced, which is inevitable. Keep in mind the first and last services of each season tend to be higher payments due to the level of extra work and materials required to properly open and close a pool for the season.
Pool stores or local hardware stores with a pool supply section can be your best friend if you’re doing everything yourself. Many of them offer free water tests to help you become your own pool pro. Simply fill up a little bottle with your pool’s water, and take it to the store. Make sure you have the pool’s info on hand such as the exact size. The pool store will take a sample of the water and run it through a machine which analyzes the PH Level.
Within a few minutes they will provide to you a full print out of stats on your pool water and even have suggestions for which chemicals your pool needs and how much to use. After manipulating the pool’s chemical levels you can bring another sample back to the store for a retest until you get the pool to normal levels. To avoid several trips there are at home water test kits and devices you can buy, however the full print out and easy guide of everything you need to add makes the initial trip worth it.
While doing all the pool maintenance yourself will help save a decent amount on cost (provided you are doing everything correctly), there is still the continuous costs of pool chemicals. Common products pool owners purchase are chlorine, acid, pool shock, and soda ash. These products help keep the pool clean and at the right PH balance.
Chlorine typically comes in 3 inch tablets in various bucket sizes. A 50LB bucket (About 100 tablets) will typically run around $250 depending on brand and retailer. You will go through tablets on a weekly basis with 1 tablet per 7,500 gallons per week.
Pool shock will also be a continuous chemical used as you should do this on a weekly or bi weekly basis. This can typically be bought in convenient 1LB bags, and should be used 1 bag for every 10,000 gallons. A single bag will run $7.00 but that cost can be brought down buying in bulk.
On top of this you will need tools such as a skimmer, brush, and a manual or automatic vacuum. Pumice stone is another handy tool that is safe to use on the pebble and tile that line pools. No matter how solid you are at keeping the right chemical levels, dirt and debris is bound to get into your pool. Your pool filter will grab a good amount, but things will cling to the walls and floor. Spending as little as 20 minutes once or twice a week out skimming and brushing the pool will ensure your pool will always look clean when its time to enjoy it.
Now let’s talk about what it will cost in order to operate your pool yearly. In electricity alone, you will most likely see an increase of up to 30-50% on your monthly bill during pool season. For those of us here in Arizona we will also see a substantial increase on top of this from our AC units, double whammy. Your water bill will also increase anywhere from just a couple of extra bucks a month up to around an extra $20 a month. This figure often depends on the size of the pool and also how fast water is evaporating from it.
Unless you have an indoor setup or plan on paying to keep your pool heated during the winter, you’re going to have an offseason to your pool use. However if you’re looking to extend your pool season without turning on the heater, you can invest in a solar pool cover.
The cover comes as a big roll of what looks like blue bubble wrap, and you must cut it to the shape of your pool. Once it fits your pool you lay it out directly on the water. Keeping this on your pool during the off season will allow you to start your pool season early, as well as breaking it back out towards the end of the summer to extend your pool season. Results obviously vary on pool size and the amount of sun over your property, but on average this can give you around 2 extra months of pool time a year.
There are also solar set ups where you have a panel up on your roof that soaks up the sun and powers a heater for your pool. This is a much cheaper way to heat your pool compared to propane, however the heaters ability heavily relies on how often it’s getting a lot of sun power, therefor isn’t always as reliable as propane if the geographic location isn’t conducive to much sunlight. The cost and quality of these heaters also has a wide range, so it is best to do your research and possibly have an expert look at your pool to determine the best product for your pool.
After speaking to several current and former home owners with pools here in Arizona, it seems that the pros to pool ownership outweigh the cons that come with. If you have kids this is a great home feature as it provides fun for the whole family right in the comfort of your own home. You have the privacy that community and city pools can’t offer and the power to make your own pool hours. The summer heat can reach brutal temperatures, but you can always keep yourself from over heating just running out back and diving into the water. A well taken care of pool can add so much beauty and value to a backyard, however ignoring the pool will quickly result in a green looking swamp.
Keep in mind if you’re a homeowner looking to put in a pool that although this will raise your property value, it isn’t guaranteed to increase as much as the cost of the project. However, pools are a hot commodity in the real estate market, and this feature can help sell your home fast in the future. Now all this talk about pools has me ready to go take a dip, I hope this article was able to provide you a more clear perspective on pool ownership.