How Much Are Swimming Pool Maintenance Costs?

Written by Michael Dean
April 25, 2024

common swimming pool maintenance supplies you have to pay for

Swimming pools are not a one-and-done investment. The harsh reality that many pool owners will face after installing a pool is that swimming pool maintenance can be expensive. There are many ongoing maintenance costs for swimming pools, from costly repairs to purchasing new equipment or simply re-upping your chemical supply.

In this article, I will break down all of the swimming pool maintenance costs you should expect to pay from your pool. Let’s dive in!

Main Takeaways

  • On average, pool owners spend around $1,300 per year on swimming pool maintenance.
  • Maintaining saltwater pools is cheaper than maintaining traditional chlorine pools, although saltwater pools have a higher initial cost.
  • Maintaining your pool yourself is the cheaper option, but hiring a pool maintenance company is a lot more convenient.
  • You can break down swimming pool maintenance into daily, weekly, and monthly tasks.

The Average Annual Cost of Pool Maintenance

The average pool owner’s spend on maintenance is about $110 per month or $1,300 a year. But this number can rise to as much as $200 per month or $2,400 per year, depending on what type of maintenance your pool needs throughout the year.

Buying new parts, such as pool vacuums, or carrying out hefty repairs can quickly raise your annual maintenance costs. In general, your annual pool maintenance costs can be broken down into cleaning and servicing costs, the cost of repairs and replacement parts, and ongoing costs such as electricity, water, and chemicals.

Average Cost of Pool Maintenance by Category

A homeowner can determine basic maintenance costs by first pricing the pool chemicals and equipment to understand the base cost minus the labor.

Equipment Costs

  • Skimmer and skimmer basket (From $20-$100, depending on the kit you buy)
  • Telescopic pole and net (Less than $15-$50)
  • Vacuum for smaller debris (From $50-$1,600, depending on whether you opt for a simple manual vacuum or an automatic cleaner)
  • Filter media to keep the pool sparkling (Replacement filter cartridges are $25-$100 depending on size, replacement sand for sand filters costs less than $20 per 50-pound bag; DE costs around $50-$100 for a 50-pound bag)
  • Pool cover to prevent evaporation and heat loss (Can cost as little as $70 for a solar pool cover and over $1,000 for a solid or mesh safety cover)
  • Pool brush to clean the surfaces ($15-$45)

Pool Chemicals Costs

  • Chlorine for keeping the pool sanitized ($75-$200 for 25 pounds of tablets)
  • Muriatic acid for lowering the pH ($20-$30 per gallon)
  • Soda ash for acid reduction ($2-$4 per pound)
  • Testing kit for chlorine, bromine, alkalinity, and acidity (Less than $20 for the kit, or about $8 for replacement solvents)
  • Algaecide for clearing green pool water(Around $20-$50 per quart bottle depending on the brand)
  • Pool shock for treating your pool water($5-$10 per pound)
  • Stabilizer/cyanuric acid to prevent chlorine for breaking down ($3-$5 per pound)
  • Pool clarifier to clump debris ($10-30 for 1 quart)

Electricity Costs

The amount you can expect to pay for electricity for your swimming pool depends on the size of your pool, how often you run your pool heater, the pool lighting you use, and the cost of electricity in your region.

Running a large pool pump alone can cost you as much as $450 per year in electrical costs. Look for variable-speed pool pumps to control consumption costs to keep prices down.

If you live in a particularly cold region and plan to heat your water for several months, your electrical costs can rise astronomically. For example, an electric heat pump can cost as much as $200 per month to run. So, keep in mind that while an 80-degree pool may feel amazing, you are definitely paying for it!

The size of your pool plays a huge factor in the cost of running your pool heater. You can figure out the details for your specific setup with my heater sizing guide.

Impact On Your Water Bill

It seems obvious that installing a large pool of water in your backyard will also increase your water bill. When you initially fill up a pool, you’ll want to calculate how much it will cost by multiplying your water rate by the number of gallons in your pool. Use my pool volume calculator to help you calculate this.

On average, water costs one-third of a cent on the low end and up to one cent, so it’ll cost you between $80-$250 to fill a standard pool of approximately 25,000 gallons (though this could be more if you live in a state with water scarcity). Once you have filled it up, you shouldn’t have to add water to the pool often, especially if you use a solar cover to prevent evaporation. Expect to pay an extra $10+ a month to top up your pool water with normal evaporation.

Equipment Maintenance Costs

Pool equipment can be expensive, so it is important to look after the equipment after purchasing and installing it. Maintaining your pool equipment can make a huge difference in your overall pool maintenance costs as you will spend less money repairing or replacing the equipment.

You should maintain your filter on a monthly basis or when the pressure reads 10 psi above the normal range. Backwashing and clearing water lines is a must, but in some cases, you may need to deep clean the cartridge or DE filter grids by soaking them in muriatic acid and scrubbing any built-up residue. Hiring a pool professional to maintain your equipment saves you the hassle of doing this yourself, but you will pay around $150-$250 per service. Replacing DE filter grids can cost between $100-$200.

In the winter, you must store all of your pool equipment properly. So, if you don’t already have a shed, you may need to shell out between $80 to $300 for a proper weatherproof storage box/shed.

Equipment Repairs

The repair of major appliances and equipment will incur much of the cost of repairs, costing between $100 to $1,200, depending on the pool part and the severity of the damage.

The most common repair issues include:

  • Major rips or cracks in the liner or cement – $1,000-$5,000
  • Smaller liner rips – Less than $250
  • Brand new liner – $1,000-$4,500
  • Repairs to the filter pump – $50-$1,000, depending on the severity of the repair and whether or not you have to replace the motor
  • Pool heater – Less than $500 to repair or $1,600-$4,000 to replace
  • Pool filters replacement (cartridge, sand, or diatomaceous earth) – $300 to $1,700
  • Plumbing obstructions – As little as $100 for minor issues and up to $10,000+ for major plumbing repairs
  • Pool cover repairs – As little as $20 for minor patching or over $1,000 for a complete replacement

Pool Opening and Closing Costs

Most people do not use their pools year-round. As the colder months come around, you will also need to consider the costs of closing the pool for the winter. To close the pool properly, you must ensure the water is chemically balanced, cleaned, and partially drained. Once that’s done, you will also need to cover the pool.

Besides the usual chemicals, you will need to purchase the following items to close your pool correctly:

Winterizing costs involve installing a cover, shocking the water, lowering the water levels, cleaning the area, backwashing the filter, clearing water lines, and opening or closing the cover.

Read my research on pool opening costs and pool closing costs for more information on the average costs for those tasks.

Additional Maintenance Costs for Saltwater Pools

The type of pool you have can significantly affect maintenance costs. A big reason why chlorine pools are generally more popular than saltwater pools is that the latter has a much higher upfront cost. Namely, to get a saltwater pool, you need to purchase a saltwater generator. Expect to pay around $1,000 to $2,000 for the generator itself.

However, once you purchase the saltwater generator, saltwater pools are cheaper to run than traditional chlorine pools. This is because salt is much cheaper than chlorine (especially nowadays when chlorine is so expensive). Salt can cost around $15 per 40-pound bag of pure pool-grade salt. And once you put the initial salt in your pool, you will not need to replenish it often, as salt does not dissipate.

Although not necessary, an additional expense you should consider for your saltwater pool is zinc anode. A zinc anode can help protect the metals in your pool from corroding. Expect to pay around $20 to $80, depending on the model.

If you’re thinking about a saltwater pool, read my saltwater pool maintenance guide and my comparison of saltwater and chlorine pools for more information.

Additional Costs for Indoor Pools

It is generally cheaper to maintain an indoor pool than an outdoor pool. Indoor pools are not exposed to elements that cause the chemical balance to alter. However, you must purchase a dehumidifying system to help maintain your indoor pool. Expect to pay $2,000 for a budget option and upwards of $30,000 for an industrial-grade dehumidifier.

Since indoor pools are open year-round, you should also expect to pay a higher yearly electricity bill. Check out my breakdown of indoor pool costs for more on this.

Should You Hire a Pool Cleaning and Maintenance Service or Try DIY?

Maintaining and looking after your swimming pool by yourself is the cheaper and more budget-friendly option, but a more convenient route would be to hire a pool maintenance company. While paying a pool cleaning service will not save you from the expenses of repair or replacement parts themselves, the professionals can perform any maintenance and cleaning services for a monthly fee. Average pool cleaning service prices are roughly $100-$200 per month.

You can save approximately 150% by opting to maintain the swimming pool yourself. However, I’ve learned firsthand that when it comes to highly technical issues, the best option is to work with a specialist pool service company in your area that can quickly identify the issue. I’ve seen too many horror stories of pool owners trying to fix complex issues themselves and only creating more damage.

Final Tips: How to Maintain Your Pool

You can break down swimming pool maintenance tasks into three phases: daily, weekly, and monthly maintenance.

Daily maintenance involves skimming the debris (mainly outdoor pools, where twigs and leaves fall inside). This improves circulation, reduces the need for extra cleaning chemicals, and maintains the proper pool water levels.

Evaporation gets rid of water every day. If you also have a small leak, you must constantly refill that loss. Generally, you want to refill one inch (or 25mm) per hour. Buying a pool cover can help with both issues.

Weekly maintenance involves vacuuming the pool floor for small debris, backwashing the filter, brushing the walls and floors to get rid of algae, and maintaining the proper chemical balance.

The pH level of a pool should range between 7.2 – 7.6 for chlorine to work. Maintaining these levels and frequently testing your water chemistry will help prevent bacterial infections from algae buildup. Muriatic acid can help with this issue.

The pool’s filtering system runs 24 hours a day to prevent algae development. In addition, to shocking with chlorine (chlorine levels should be between 1-3ppm), maintenance also involves testing for calcium hardness, total alkalinity, and bromine levels (3-5ppm), oxidizer, and stabilizer.

Monthly maintenance involves cleaning various pool parts, lubricating fillings, searching for leaks or cracks, chemically cleaning the filter, and testing water quality.

If you’re building a new swimming pool, check out my inground pool cost analysis as well.

Get My Free Pool Care Checklist

Download my free, printable pool maintenance checklist to help you accomplish regular pool care tasks for any type of swimming pool.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Type of Pool is the Cheapest to Maintain?

The cost of maintaining your pool will vary depending on what kind of pool you have.

Concrete: This is the most expensive type of pool to maintain. This is in part because concrete is the most susceptible to algae infestations. In turn, forcing pool owners to run the pump more often and use more chemicals to keep the pool clean. Concrete pools also require acid washing every few years, costing up to $500!

Vinyl:  Vinyl liners may not require as much constant maintenance as concrete pools, but the weak liners do not last very long and must be replaced every 4-8 years, costing up to $5,000!

Fiberglass: Fiberglass pools are the easiest on your checkbook in the long run. Although they come with a higher initial price tag, they require up to 70% fewer chemicals than other pool types and can last over 20 years if well-kept.

What is the Average Cost of Hiring a Pool Maintenance Company?

The cost of hiring a pool maintenance company to clean and service your pool will vary depending on your region and what services you want. On the low end, you can expect to pay $70 for a basic pool cleaning, but for a more extensive cleaning and treatment service, you may spend upwards of $300.

Is it Cheaper to Maintain an Above Ground Pool?

It is generally easier and cheaper to maintain an above ground pool because of its smaller size. Equipment for above ground pools typically costs less, and the pumps are smaller and more energy efficient. However, it is worth noting that these smaller pumps are also less effective, which may make the pool dirty and algae infested.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking to build a swimming pool soon or already have one, you know the importance of staying on budget. Not anticipating maintenance costs and repairs can cause you to exceed your projected expenses.

By planning, you can take care of your new pool and swim worry-free for years! Questions? Leave me a note!

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