Owning a swimming pool makes warm weather a lot more fun, but filling it for the first time or at the beginning of each season can seem like a chore. The amount of water you need and trying to figure out the best way to get it can seem like a headache, but it doesn’t have to be.
You can choose to fill your swimming pool from your home water supply. You can also pay for pool water delivery where a truck comes and fills it for you. Both options have pros and cons, depending on how much you’re willing to spend and whether you have city water or a well.
Pool Water Delivery Isn’t the Only Method For Filling Your Pool
You can fill your pool with a pool water delivery service, but that’s not your only option. Your choices boil down to:
- Using city water
- Well water
- Calling on a pool water delivery service
I think the best method for filling your pool depends on whether you think time, cost, or convenience is more valuable to you.
Using City Water To Fill Up Your Pool
If you’re on municipal water, you can walk out to your backyard or patio and hook up your garden hose. The size of your pool and the amount of water pressure you have will determine how long it’ll take to fill the pool, but you’re looking at a minimum of several hours. Some pools could take days to fill.
Most water bills itemize the price you pay for the water coming into your tap and the cost of that water going through the sewer system. You may be able to cut your bill by letting the city know how many gallons you’re putting into your pool.
A once-a-year pool credit or reduced sewer charges might be available. Some cities don’t offer this discount because the pool water will eventually go through the sewer system if you drain your pool according to the laws in your local area.
If you’re in an area of the country suffering from drought with water usage restrictions, filling a pool may involve extra charges or limitations you need to know about before you start. I recommend you always call your local water department before you turn on your hose. This method is my favorite, and I call my local water department every year before I start.
- It’s easy and convenient
- The only equipment you need is a hose
- It’s usually less expensive than pool water delivery
- Great for a smaller above ground pool
- It takes a long time to run thousands of gallons of water through a garden hose
- It may be expensive in drought-stricken or water-restricted areas
How To Fill Your Pool With City Water
- Call your local water department to find out about pool discounts and water restrictions, and get an estimate of the cost
- Turn on your hose
- Check the pool level every few hours to get an idea of when you’ll need to turn off the water
Using Well Water To Fill Up Your Pool
If you’re on well water, you have a free source of water to fill your pool. The cost could be no more than the electricity used for your well pump to run at length.
While the low cost is a perk, filling a pool with a well can come with challenges. Three potential issues can cause problems when you use a well:
- The potential to run your well dry
- Minerals and other compounds in the water
- Wear and tear on your well pump or water softening system
Avoid Running Your Well Dry
To avoid draining your well, you should know your well’s flow rate and recovery rate. You may be able to pump out several gallons per minute, but if the water flows back into the well slower than you’re removing it, you’ll end up running the well dry and potentially damaging your pump.
You may already know all the stats and details of your home well and be able to calculate how fast you can fill your pool while sustaining water for other uses. If you don’t know these measurements, you can run tests and calculate based on those results.
Some of the tests could run your well dry temporarily. Do them when you can afford to be without water for a couple of hours, and you can turn the pump off immediately. The results could indicate a problem with your well or pipes, which could save you significant expenses if you tried to fill a pool with a water system that can’t handle that capacity.
You could also pay experts to estimate whether or not filling your pool could cause problems. A recovery test can tell you how fast water flows back into the well as you pump it out. However, the cost of the test could offset any savings from using well water.
If you’re unsure whether your well can handle it, the least expensive solution is to fill your pool in bursts rather than at one time. You can employ a start-stop method by letting the water run for a few hours before turning it off to let your well recover for an hour or two. This is the method I would use unless I had confidence my well could handle more.
Test Your Well Water
If you use a water softener, as many people with wells do, the quality of your water won’t be a problem. You can run a hose into your pool and fill it as you would if you had city water, as long as you’re sure your well can stand up to providing thousands of gallons of water in such a short time.
If you don’t use a commercial softening system, you’ll need to test your well water for minerals and compounds that can make treating your pool water difficult and expensive. The quickest way to test for these compounds is to buy a container of biocide and add the suggested amount to a bucket of well water.
The color of the water after you add the biocide will tell you what contaminants are present. All pools need treatment to achieve the proper chlorination and pH balance, but well water might need a lot more work. I recommend you test the water ahead of time to determine the cost of the chemicals you’ll need to keep your pool water safe.
A pool supply store or most department stores that carry outdoor toys and equipment sell the testing kits and chemicals you’ll need.
Monitor Your Well Pump and Water Softener
Free pool water isn’t a bargain if it burns up your well pump and requires you to purchase and install a new one. Fortunately, well pumps can last 10-20 years, and filling a pool isn’t likely to cause problems.
If your pump is ancient, you might consider an upgrade or maintenance before you fill the pool. Even if your pump is new, you can burn a pump out fast if it continues to run after a well has run dry. Monitor the water flow to ensure that you don’t run the pump on a dry well. If you happen to deplete the well, turn the pump off quickly and give it time to refill.
Your pump may need a filter change during the fill-up. Your water softening system may also need new salt or other supplies to handle that much water flow in a short time and stay running at peak efficiency. I’d keep an eye on these systems to avoid trouble filling your pool from your well.
- If you soften your well water and your well can handle the capacity, free water!
- It’s as easy and convenient as turning on your hose
- It may take longer than other methods because of the need to stop and start the water flow and monitor your water levels
- The water can be harder to treat and balance the pH than the city or delivered water
- In a drought-stricken area, wells may run dry faster and refill slower, dragging out the process.
How To Fill Your Pool With Well Water
- Fill a bucket and add biocide to know how much treatment the water in your pool will require
- Turn on your hose. If you’re uncertain about your well’s capacity to keep up, run water for a few hours at a time with an hour or two between sessions to let the well refill.
- Carefully monitor the water pressure and flow to be sure your well isn’t dry
- At the first sign of water slowing down drastically or stopping, turn off your well pump to keep it from burning up.
Using a Swimming Pool Water Delivery Service
The fastest and easiest method of filling your pool is a pool water delivery service, however it is also the most expensive. Most people have a company that provides water hauling close enough to them to make this a viable option.
You should still test the water in the pool to ensure the chlorination and pH balance are correct. However, that’s all there is to it. Shop around, order the water, pay for it, and enjoy your pool. You’ll pay for the convenience, of course, but if filling it from your home supply isn’t a good option, a pool water delivery service can save the day.
- It’s the fastest method of filling a pool
- All you do is schedule the company to come and pay the bill
- You pay for the convenience, so it’s the more expensive option for filling a pool.
When and Why Your Pool Needs Refilling
It’s easy to know when your pool needs refilling.
- When you’re opening it for the season or anytime you’ve drained it
- To replace water lost through natural evaporation
- To replace water from a leak
How Much Water Does Your Pool Need?
The water department in your city may have a pool volume chart or a pool volume calculator online (we have one). If your pool’s exact dimensions don’t appear in any of the charts, a few math calculations can help you estimate the gallons of water you’ll need.
- Round pool: multiply diameter times diameter, times the depth of water, times 5.9
- Rectangular pool: Length times width, times average depth, times 7.5
- Oval pool: Length times width, times average depth, times 5.9
How To Reduce Pool Water Loss and Cut Costs
Pools lose water every month because of evaporation. During the height of summer, a 400 sq. ft. pool can lose almost an entire foot of water per month through evaporation. You can’t eliminate this type of water loss, but you can minimize it by using a pool cover. A cover keeps wind from leaching water away from your pool at as fast a rate.
You can also watch your pool depth to discover leaks early and repair them. Above ground pools with vinyl liners can develop small tears that leak water slowly but add up over time. You can purchase inexpensive kits for DIY repairs. Inground pools can be repaired more easily when the leak is small, too.
Call a pool professional if you suspect a leak because of unusually high water loss and don’t feel you can repair it yourself. The cost of the repair will save you money on refilling the pool over time.
Questions? Let me know.