As we approach the end of winter, it is time to start getting ready to open your pool. Having an idea of what opening the pool looks like and the costs involved will ensure you won’t have any surprises when the warmer weather finally arrives.
In this article, I will dive into the costs of opening an above ground pool, inground pool, and saltwater pool and compare costs between DIY and hiring a professional at the start of the season.
- Above ground pools cost between $175 to $225 to open.
- Inground pools cost between $250 and $400 to open.
- Saltwater pools cost between $100 and $400 to open.
- Opening a pool yourself is cheaper and will generally cost around $100, but may be much less, depending on how many chemicals you already have in store.
The Costs of Opening a Pool
As you prepare the tools and chemicals you need to use to open your pool, it is wise to have an idea of what it will cost to open your pool. This way, there are no unpleasant surprises halfway through the process. The costs will vary according to the type of pool, the pool size, the type of plaster finish, and the condition of the pool.
Here are the costs to consider when opening your pool.
Chemicals are essential to opening a pool as they are used to prepare and clean the water after being covered for so long. After taking the cover off the pool, you should clean the pool and balance the water chemistry before you jump in for the first swim of the season.
The chemicals you will need are:
- Pool water testing kit: Less than $20 for the kit, or about $10 for replacement solvents
- Chlorine: $75 for 25 pounds of tablets, or $5-10 by the gallon
- pH and alkalinity adjuster: $10 per gallon of muriatic acid; $10 per container of baking soda
- Calcium hardness increaser: $25 for a 5-pound bucket; $60 for 25 pounds
- Cyanuric acid: $20 for a 5-pound bag
- Stabilizer: $30 for 1 quart
- Algaecide: $20-$50 per gallon
- Shock: $50 for 1 pound
If you’re lucky, you’ll still have many of these chemicals stored safely away, so you won’t need to purchase additional chemicals. But in some cases, you’ll need to replenish your stock by purchasing the above for the start of the season.
Many pool stores sell start-up kits specifically for opening pools. You can generally expect to find chlorine, shock, filter cleaner, and algaecide in these kits. These kits will cost around $40 to $85.
Your other option is to buy all the chemicals separately. Although this may cost more upfront, it may save you money in the long run, as you will need these chemicals throughout the pool season anyway.
One of the first steps of opening a pool is cleaning the pool cover and removing water that has collected on top of the cover. One of the easiest ways to remove this water is by using a submersible pump or sump pump. A sump pump will also come in handy if you need to drain some water for the pool to adjust the water chemistry.
The cost of these pumps varies between the different sizes and brands, but for a small submersible sump pump, you can expect to pay around $30, whereas the larger pumps can cost upwards of $100.
Other than your chemicals and sump pump, you’ll need a few other supplies to open your pool. Here are the tools you’ll need (if you don’t have them already) and their average costs:
- Pool vacuum: $100-$500 (depending on whether you go for a manual or automatic pool cleaner)
- Pool brush: $10-$40
- Telescopic pole: $30-$50
- Skimmer net: $10-$50
Hiring a Professional
You can easily open the pool yourself. However, hiring a professional to do it for you is easier and, in some cases, costs only a bit more than buying all the supplies and doing it yourself. But remember that you’ll still need to purchase the chemicals mentioned above to maintain your pool throughout the pool season.
The average cost for hiring a professional to open a pool in the USA is around $250 – $300. Particularly dirty pools will need to be cleaned at an extra cost, and these services usually cost $400 and up. Pools that have been closed for years will require extra cleaning, repairs, and inspections, which cost much more than the average. For this type of pool, opening prices will start from $500.
Other Add-On Costs
On top of the standard costs of opening a pool and cleaning, there are some other costs you may need to consider:
- Extra equipment (ladders, diving boards, etc.) setup: $30 – $50
- Light installation setup: $30 – $50
- Vacuuming: $50 – $75
- Salt cell cleaning: $15 – $30
- Anchor replacement for safety cover: $18 – $30
- Scale removal: $15 – $40
Ask your pool opening professional for a quote beforehand; however, you will only be able to tell the condition of the pool and the water once the cover has been removed, so you should be prepared for any additional costs.
Costs for Opening an Above Ground Pool
Your pool type will impact the final cost of opening your pool. Usually, above ground pools are smaller than inground pools, which will also help to lower the cost of opening the pool. Removing a winter cover from a smaller above ground pool is also easier, so you may not need to hire professional help.
The average cost of opening an above ground pool with the help of a professional is about $175 to $225.
Since you don’t have to account for labor costs for DIY, the only costs you’ll have to consider for opening an above ground pool yourself are buying the start-up chemicals. You can generally find a start-up kit for $40 to $85. However, you should ensure you also have a water test kit, which can cost between $10 to $20, and all necessary cleaning equipment, such as a brush and a vacuum.
You can read my research on how to open an above ground pool for step-by-step instructions.
Costs for Opening an Inground Pool
Opening an inground pool will cost slightly more than an above ground pool, especially if the pool has a lot of surface area. On average, fiberglass pools will require fewer chemicals and will be easier to clean than concrete pool surfaces as the non-porous surface does not offer as many places for dirt and algae to hide and grow.
Inground pools also typically have more equipment that needs to be hooked up when opening the pool. So, there are more labor costs to consider, especially because dealing with your pool’s plumbing can be complex.
The size of the inground pool also factors into the final costs, as larger pools take more time to clean and require more chemicals.
Opening an inground pool costs between $250 and $400 if you are hiring a professional.
The DIY approach costs much less because you won’t be paying for labor. Depending on the pool chemicals and supplies you have on hand, you can expect to pay between $50 to $200 to open an inground pool yourself.
You can read my research on how to open an inground pool for step-by-step instructions.
Costs for Opening a Saltwater Pool
The process for opening a saltwater pool is similar to above ground and inground pools. However, saltwater pools have a few more pieces of equipment that need to be set up.
The saltwater chlorinator is usually uninstalled and stored during the winter, so this needs to be hooked to your plumbing and might need a thorough cleaning. You may also need to replenish the salt content of your pool water after the winter. But don’t worry! Pool salt is not very expensive; it only costs between $10-$25 for 40 pounds.
Opening a saltwater pool costs between $200 and $400 if you hire a professional.
Opening your own saltwater pool can be done for as little as $50, depending on the chemicals and supplies you have on hand.
You can read my research on how to open a saltwater pool for step-by-step instructions.
Should You Hire Someone To Open Your Pool?
There is no correct or incorrect answer to whether you should hire a professional. I recommend hiring a professional if you have the budget and have never opened a pool before. That way, you can ensure everything is done correctly and get your pool season off to a good start.
Hiring a professional will ensure that you don’t accidentally damage the pool cover when or any of the equipment. You can also shadow the pool professional to do it yourself next year!
That said, if you know what you are doing and don’t mind the extra work, DIY opening your pool is not rocket science and is a great way to save some money.
Steps to Opening a Pool for The Season
Whether you have chosen to open the pool yourself or hire a professional, here’s what to expect step-by-step:
- Clean the pool cover.
- Remove the cover.
- Remove all winterizing plugs and ice compensators.
- Add more water to your pool.
- Reconnect all deck equipment.
- Ready the filtration system.
- Clean the pool.
- Shock the pool.
- Run the pump for 24 hours.
- Balance your pool chemistry.
- Use algaecide and/or clarifier if necessary.
Get My Free Pool Care Checklist
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Questions about the costs of opening your swimming pool for the season? Let me know! Always happy to help. When it comes time to shut down for the season, I have research on the average pool closing cost as well. Also, be sure to read my research on when to open your swimming pool – I have recommendations for every climate across the country.