Is It Hard to Maintain a Pool? DIY or Go With a Pro?

Written by Michael Dean
April 25, 2024

common swimming pool maintenance supplies you have to pay for

If you’re a new pool owner, one of the main questions you’ll ask yourself is just how hard it is to maintain the pool. Balancing the chemistry, skimming leaves, organizing your pool supplies, cleaning your filter, brushing the walls and floor of the pool, shocking the pool, and lubricating O-rings… It seems like a lot to do by yourself.

So, in this article, I will answer the burning question of whether you should DIY maintain a pool or simply hire a professional. There are several points to consider, so let’s get started.

Main Takeaways

  • It can be hard to maintain a swimming pool, but it is not impossible to do the work yourself! You just need to dedicate a couple of hours a week.
  • Some factors to consider when choosing between DIY or going with a pro for pool maintenance include: budget, time, and the size of the pool.
  • A DIY pool owner will spend around $110 to $200 a month on pool maintenance.
  • It costs $100 to $200 to hire a pool professional for each visit.

Is It Hard to Maintain a Pool?

So, is it hard to maintain a pool? It’s no secret that pool maintenance is a lot of work, but whether or not it is “hard” often depends on your own definition of the word and the work needed.

Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Tasks

Swimming pool maintenance is divided into daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. Daily tasks include basic tasks like skimming, checking the water level, and emptying the skimmer basket. Weekly tasks include checking chemical levels, shocking the pool, and cleaning the pool. Finally, monthly tasks include inspecting all pool equipment and backwashing the filter. All of these tasks require hard work and time.

Regular Maintenance Is Key

As long as you regularly and religiously maintain your pool, you shouldn’t spend more than an hour or two a week on it. Just keep your chemical levels balanced and clean any nasty contaminants out of the pool, and you shouldn’t have to deal with pressing or difficult issues (such as algae or scale build-up) that make pool maintenance a pain.

Robotic Help

Many pool owners (myself included!) swear that the aid of a robotic cleaner makes a huge difference in cleaning the pool. With some help, you simply need to skim the pool for leaves or insects, empty the skimmer basket, and top up any chemicals needed. If you have an automatic cleaner, DIY can become much easier and save you tons of time.

Similarly, you could also use other pool equipment, such as an automatic chlorine dispenser, to help automate maintenance.

Learning Curve

Proper pool maintenance has a bit of a learning curve. You need to learn how to manage your pump and filtration system, balance chemicals, use your cleaning tools, and troubleshoot and resolve issues. That’s a lot to learn for one person if you’re unfamiliar with pool maintenance! It requires patience and a willingness to learn.

Go for a Saltwater Pool

Saltwater pools are easier to maintain than traditional chlorine pools as they produce their own chlorine. In other words, you don’t have to constantly top up your chlorine levels. So, if you decide to install a saltwater pool instead, you can save some effort when it comes to pool maintenance.

Pool Maintenance: DIY or Go With a Pro?

So, now that you know why a swimming pool may be considered difficult (or easy) to maintain, it’s time to decide whether you want to look after it yourself or hire a pro.


Of course, one of the first considerations is money. Regardless of any other factors, the bottom line is: can you afford to hire a pro? A professional may cost anywhere between $100 and $200 for basic maintenance tasks. If you simply cannot justify the costs, then the decision is plain and simple—stick to DIY, end of discussion. If you have the budget for it, it’s time to weigh in other factors between DIY and pro.


The key to pool care is consistency. Your pool is like a garden: you have to regularly tend to it to eradicate threats and keep chemicals in balance. Even if you’re enthusiastic about pool care, you might have an inconsistent schedule or travel a lot, making it hard to keep up with it consistently. In this case, it would make more sense to hire a pro.

On the other hand, if you have a clockwork routine consistent with pool maintenance, DIY can save you heaps of money.

Time Commitment

Pool maintenance requires time. While the tasks are generally simple and short, these can add up to 1 to 2+ hours of labor each week, depending on the size of the pool. And you’ll need to commit even more time if your pool has an algae infestation or another pressing issue.

If you have the time to do all of that, DIY makes sense. If you’re simply too busy to commit a couple of hours every week to your pool but still want it to be bright and sparkling, go with a pro.

Size and Depth

How big and deep the pool is may also affect the decision on whether you should opt for professional help or do it yourself. A small, shallow, 8,000-gallon pool is easy to brush, skim, and vacuum, but a large, deep, 25,000-gallon pool is significantly more labor-intensive. If you cannot manage the maintenance of a larger pool, hire a pro. But if you can handle a larger pool with the help of automation or family, or you simply have a smaller pool that’s easier to handle, DIY is a great option, too.


Maintaining a pool can be physically demanding, which makes it hard for some. It requires a lot of walking around, bending down, cleaning up, scrubbing the walls, etc. In fact, cleaning a pool is estimated to burn anywhere around 300 to 500 calories! That’s some good exercise!

While it is a good form of exercise, it might not be for everyone. If you’re disabled or already have a physically demanding routine, you might be too tired to handle day-to-day pool chores, in which case hiring a professional makes sense. If you’re mostly sedentary but would like to burn some calories and don’t mind getting your hands dirty now and then, DIY is a great option.

Work or Relaxation?

How you personally view pool maintenance is also critical to making this decision. In a way, puttering around your yard, skimming leaves, and scrubbing some grout off the tiles while a podcast plays in the background can be therapeutic for some folks—even a form of relaxation and exercise.

However, if you dread pool maintenance chores and find them difficult, do them grudgingly, and would rather be elsewhere doing literally anything else, hiring someone to do them for you is more sensible in the long term.

Pool Maintenance Costs: DIY vs. Professional 

As I’ve mentioned, cost is one of the main considerations when determining whether or not you should go the DIY or professional route. But how much can you expect to shell out for pool maintenance? In fact, even DIY pool maintenance costs money, so how much should you budget for that?

On average, a DIY pool owner will spend about $110 to $200 per month, or around $1,300 to $2,400. However, keep in mind that these costs can go up drastically, depending on whether you need to buy expensive replacement parts for your pool or carry out big repairs.

Buying new parts, such as pool vacuums, or carrying out hefty repairs can quickly raise your annual maintenance costs.

On the other hand, if you go with a professional, they will charge $100 to $200 per visit for basic cleaning and maintenance. Depending on how often you hire a professional, that can quickly add up!

An average pool owner can save about 150% by maintaining a swimming pool themselves.

For more on this and a thorough breakdown of costs, check out my full article on pool maintenance costs.

Need Some Maintenance Help?

Send me a message! I can answer any of your pool maintenance, equipment, or other questions.

Pool Maintenance 101

If you’re completely new to pool maintenance, no worries. I’ve got you covered with my swimming pool maintenance 101 guide. In this guide, I cover everything from maintaining proper pool circulation and cleaning your pool to properly balancing your pool and shocking your pool. I also go over how to create a regular maintenance schedule to help you with the myriad of little tasks you’ll need to complete to properly take care of your pool.

DIY vs Pro: What’s Right for You?

Looking after your swimming pool by yourself is naturally the cheaper and more budget-friendly option—you save roughly 150% by maintaining the pool yourself. However, convenience can be priceless. Whether you go the DIY or professional route depends on what you value, the time you have, and the energy you are willing to expend.

A suggestion I have is that you could opt for a mix of personal and professional maintenance—perhaps hire a professional to clean your pool once a month. That way, you’ll be able to relax for one week while also ensuring your pool gets the best care it deserves.

Do you have any other pressing questions regarding pool maintenance? Just reach out!

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