During the warmer weather, an above or inground pool can be a lot of fun while giving you a relaxing escape from hot and humid weather. Unfortunately, fear about the cost to maintain a pool can scare a lot of people away from installing one of their own. If you don’t or can’t maintain it properly, it becomes a breeding ground for a host of different bacteria like E.coli and protozoa, viruses, and fungi in as little as two weeks. Each time a swimmer goes into the pool, they introduce a host of contaminants like cosmetics, lotion, fecal matter, urine, body oils, and dirt. Left alone and not maintained properly, all of these things can turn your pool’s water into a toxic soup that turns green and slimy.
When you get into a routine, the cost to maintain a pool isn’t as high as it would be if you had to try and fix a pool that you neglected. Ideally, you’ll work to maintain your pool on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis all year-round to keep it healthy and ready to swim in. There are several methods for pool maintenance, and the one you pick will influence your cost to maintain a pool. On average, you can expect to pay between $120 and $800 for the cost to maintain your pool, and $650 is the national average per month during the summer months.
For a one-time cleaning, you’ll spend just over $200, but this can go up to almost $400. The current state of your pool, type, and size will all factor into your one-time cleaning costs if you decide to go with a professional and not do it on your own. However, there are also smaller costs that factor into your cost to maintain a pool, and it’s critical that you know what all of them are and how much they cost before you go and install a pool in your yard so you don’t find yourself struggling to find the money to keep it safe.
In this guide, we’re going to outline the biggest factors that control the cost to maintain a pool. This way, you can see which ones apply to your situation, depending on which type of pool you have. You can set up your budget and keep your pool swim-ready all season long.
Ongoing maintenance costs can surprise a lot of new pool owners, and it’s essential that you know the biggest costs associated with it to ensure that you don’t blow your budget keeping it swim-ready. Backyard infinity pool by Michael Yon / CC BY-NC 2.0
Cost to Maintain a Pool on an Annual Basis
Per year, basic upkeep will run between $1,200 and $1,800. When you combine this cost with utilities and basic repair services, you’ll spend anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 every year to keep your pool in safe working condition and ready to use.
Weekly Pool Costs
A professional company will perform weekly or bi-weekly maintenance on your pool, and this can increase your cost to maintain a pool by $100 to $150 a month. They’ll usually come in and check your pool’s water levels, apply chemicals as needed, test your water chemistry, and empty your skimmer baskets. If you don’t have any time to complete these tasks on your own, you’ll want to schedule weekly maintenance. This will help prolong the life of your pool, keep it from breaking down and costing you money for expensive repairs, and potentially leaking and damaging any raised flower beds or plants you have around it.
Monthly Pool Costs
General maintenance performed by a professional-grade pool company will run between $75.00 and $150 every month. The cost will depend on which services you need them to perform when they stop by. A basic package for a lot of companies can start at around $75.00 to $80.00 per month. It includes checking the equipment, filters, settings, and your water chemistry. They’ll empty baskets and traps, brush down your pool’s surface, and check any robotic cleaners you have for an extra $10.00 to $20.00 per month. They’ll do everything listed above plus skim and vacuum for around $150 per month.
No matter if you choose a weekly or bi-weekly service, you’ll pay around the same as you will for monthly service. If they make more frequent visits, they have more time to catch problems early and reduce the overall time they have to spend getting your pool in top shape. Maybe they perform a weekly check and see that your filter needs service. They can include this for $50.00 to $75.00. The chart below outlines the average cost to maintain a pool by the different types of pool maintenance.
Your pool won’t stay looking nice and healthy to swim in by itself, and it requires a decent amount of ongoing maintenance and attention from you. If you neglect it, you can encourage mold, bacteria, or algae blooms that make the water unsafe. Winter Pool – POTD #166 by sdobie / CC BY-NC 2.0
Average Price for Different Types of Pool Maintenance
Although most people think that the cost to maintain a pool relies on investing in a good chemical testing system and the chemicals themselves, there are many more parts to this process that play critical roles in how much money you put into your pool. They include but are not limited to:
- Lubricate Plugs, Fittings and Valves
- Once a month and on pool opening
- $10.00 to $20.00
- Once a week
- $20.00 to $30.00 per month
- Water Sample Testing
- Monthly and on opening
- $20.00 to $40.00 per test
- Running Pool Filter System
- $30.00 to $50.00 a month
- Maintaining Water Levels
- On opening, closing, and weekly
- $30.00 to $60.00 a year
- Adjust and Test pH, Sanitizer, and Calcium
- Opening and two or three times a week
- $40.00 to $70.00 per month
- Debris Removal
- As needed
- $50.00 to $120 per month
- Empty Skimmer Basket and Brush Down Walls
- $50.00 to $120 per month
- Clean and Inspect Filters
- Once a month
- $50.00 to $120 per month
- Adjust and Check Water Temperature
- As needed
- $50.00 to $250 per month
- Vacuum the Pool
- Opening, closing, and weekly
- $600 for an automatic one or $50.00 to $120 a month
The type of water you have, the type of pool, and whether or not it comes lined or covered will determine if you need to clean or brush the liner regularly, check and adjust your chemical levels accordingly, check hardness levels, and maintain your equipment. A lot of pool cleaning services will factor all of these things in your cost to maintain a pool if you put them on a regular maintenance schedule. If not, you’ll have to do them by yourself.
Pool Cleaning Service Prices
Most professional pool maintenance and cleaning companies will charge between $75.00 and $100 per hour to come to your home and keep your pool swim-ready. They can offer regular equipment cleaning and opening or closing your pool for the season. The type of pool you have and how large or small your pool is will both factor into your total price.
They can come by on a weekly or monthly basis, and a lot of people will schedule them to come out once a week to check the chemical levels, clean the pool, and empty out the filter basket. If they’re at your home for an hour once a week, this means your cost to maintain a pool can increase by $300 to $400 a month. Weekly service is usually an hour while opening or closing is three to four hours on average. You can hire them for a one-time service, but most of them will work on repeat schedules.
It’s essential that you clean your pool a few times a week, and you’ll need to increase this if you use the pool heavily one week and not a lot the next. The more you use it, the more contaminants will get into the water. Swimming pool cleaning by Janice Waltzer / CC BY 2.0
Price to Maintain Different Types of Pools
Different types of pools mean that there are different costs to maintain a pool you have to consider. Maybe you have an enclosed hot tub as part of it, or you’re trying to decide between a regular and a saltwater pool. Knowing the costs ahead of time can help you make an informed decision.
Above or Inground Pools
Generally speaking, the cost to maintain a pool for an inground model is roughly the same as an above-ground model. They fall between $75.00 and $100 per hour. You’ll have to spend time sweeping the bottom and sides, and you can do this manually or buy an automatic pool cleaner. Above-ground pools usually have slightly less expensive cleaning rates because they’re generally smaller than inground pools. This includes models with a deck and without a deck. An above-ground pool’s interior is easier to get at, and this is the main reason why they’re slightly less expensive.
The cost to maintain a pool for chemicals if it’s an indoor model is right around $15.00 per month. You won’t have to perform much more maintenance than that. Indoor pools don’t get as dirty as outdoor ones, and this is especially true if you decide to buy a pool cover. The pool cover’s pricing ranges from $30.00 for a woven one or up to $10,000 for an automatic one. They help to keep the water warm while reducing evaporation and humidity levels to keep your water levels even.
Saltwater is one pool that has a lower average cost to maintain a pool. The yearly chemical and salt costs range between $70.00 to $100. You will want to replace the salt cell every three to seven years, and this can cost between $200 to $800. You will pay more upfront to set this type of pool up, but the much lower cost to maintain a pool will help it make up for it.
The salt may also cause corrosion to your heaters and seals and shorten their lifespans. However, a professional pool maintenance company can inspect the equipment and suggest multiple preventative measures to stop this from happening. One popular measure is to add a $20 zinc disk to your skimmer to help absorb the corrosion.
Pool Cleaning Methods
A large part of the cost to maintain a pool falls to cleaning, but the cleaning process will vary from pool to pool.The materials you used to build your pool will tell you the ideal cleaning method, and there are several cleaning methods available.
Drain cleaning is something almost every pool will need done on a regular basis. Additionally, cleaning out your pool’s drain is relatively simple for a professional to do. You should have the drain cleaned at least once every other week or once a month while your pool is open and people are using it. Leaf removal and a good cleaning of the drain should be part of your package.
Pool Vacuuming and Brushing
You want to keep your pool’s surfaces clean, and regular pool vacuuming and brushing can help you accomplish this. This is especially important for people who have warmer pool water because this can encourage bacteria, mold, and algae growth. You can run a pool vacuum if you have one, or you can have your maintenance service brush the pool’s sides and bottom when they come out.
Finally, pool draining is important. However, it’s highly unlikely that anyone will recommend this as part of your routine cost to maintain a pool budget. Instead, companies usually recommend pool draining if they need to make a repair they can’t make under water, to wash the pool with acid or chlorine, or to balance the dissolved solids amount in the water. A chlorine wash is only necessary if you have algae growth on the walls. An acid wash is much stronger, and it’ll actually strip the top layer off your pool. Both acid and chlorine washes should be last resorts if all other cleaning methods fail.
Pool Opening Costs
Each spring, you’ll have to open your pool and get it ready to swim in. This can increase your cost to maintain a pool by $150 to $300 for a professional to do it. If you have a very green or dirty pool, the prices can jump to $300 to $400 to open because they’ll use more chemicals and have to clean it more thoroughly. When you open your pool for the season will depend on your location.
When it’s time, you’ll have to remove the cover and put the filter system together again. You should refill any lost water to the appropriate levels and clean and test your water chemistry. It’s also important you test the pump and other equipment before turning it on, and this can take three or four hours.
Pool Closing Costs
At the end of the season, you have to close and winterize the pool to protect it from frost damage, just like you would your perennial flowers and shrubs. Generally, this will add between $150 and $300 to the average cost to maintain a pool a year. For this price, the company will come in and shock the pool, lower your water levels, clean it, backwash your filter system, and close or store filter elements. They’ll also clear your water lines to ensure they don’t freeze and install the cover.
You should also factor maintenance costs into closing the pool because it usually takes two or more visits from start to finish. They’ll have to shock your pool water several days before they close it to ensure it’s clean and it won’t grow mold or algae. If you do it yourself, closing it after you shock it can be a full day’s work.
Knowing the cost to maintain a pool based on the pool type will ensure that you can adequately plan to keep it running all year without going over your budget. Different pools come with different costs. Chewie inspecting pool by Howard J / CC BY-NC 2.0
Miscellaneous Costs to Maintain a Pool
There are also a few miscellaneous costs to maintain a pool that many people forget about when they’re trying to come up with a budget. Luckily, most of these costs aren’t more than a few hundred dollars, and this can help you control your costs.
Electricity Cost Per Month
Per year, you can expect to spend around $300 a year to run the pump for your pool. This is roughly $25 per month, but the exact price will heavily depend on the type of pool you have. Newer pools come equipped with variable speed pumps that will use less horsepower to lower the amount of electricity they draw. This lowers your overall operating costs. Older pool models have single-speed pumps that will run constantly at a higher rate, and this pulls more energy in to increase the operation cost.
Water Cost Per Month
For a 15,000 to 30,000-gallon pool, you’ll pay between $60.00 to $120 to fill it. After you do the initial water fill for your pool, you’ll pay an average of $0.004 per gallon. You’ll add water due to evaporation to ensure that it stays at the correct levels and doesn’t burn out your pump. If you live in a drought-prone area, you would have to pay a $100 overage fee when you do the initial fee.
Maybe you’re someone who wants to try and keep your cost to maintain a pool down so you decide to do it all yourself. If so, you’ll need a few tools to get started and keep your pool in good shape. You’ll spend around $10.00 on a skimmer, $30.00 in chemicals a month, and $600 for a vacuum if you don’t have one. If you don’t want to spring for an automatic vacuum, you’ll need a brush to manually scrub the sides and bottom of the pool at least once a week.
Chemical Testing Kits
You can buy chemical testing kits to check your water’s chemical levels by yourself. You should take your water sample to a professional company to see how accurate the test kit is though. They cost between $15.00 and $80.00, and you’ll have to buy a new testing solution periodically. You can test your pH levels, and they also test the levels of bromide, chlorine, acidity, and alkalinity. You should buy a new kit every season to ensure your solution is still good.
Homeowners Insurance Rates
Unfortunately, home insurance companies see a pool as a large hazard. It increases your likelihood that you’ll file a claim if something goes wrong with it or if someone gets hurt. In response to this elevated risk, they can choose to make your home insurance premiums higher every month. It may also require you to increase your liability coverage amount, and this can drive your premium up. On average adding a pool can increase your homeowners insurance rates by $50.00 to up over $100 a month.
Permit regulations will vary by state, and it’s always a good idea to check with your local county office before you go ahead and install your pool. If you don’t, the fines you incur will make your cost to maintain a pool go up significantly for each violation they find. For example, in Wisconsin, you have to have a permit for any pool over 18-inches deep. For a pool more than 24-inches deep, you’ll need a building and electrical permit, and some states require you to put up a five-foot tall barrier around it. On average, you can expect to spend between $100 and $300 for your permits.
Even the best pools can spring leaks. Depending on where it is, this can easily make your cost to maintain a pool go up significantly. You’ll typically need a professional to come out, and they charge by hours. If they have to drain the pool to fix the leak, this can take hours and cost you in water money. Since there are so many factors that go into pool leak repair, the cost ranges from $500 up to over $3,500. On average, you’ll pay $900 to detect and repair a leak in your pool.
Algae Bloom or Mold Remediation
If algae blooms in your pool, you could have a very expensive problem to fix because it usually takes multiple rounds of shock to kill it. Additionally, the algae can survive on any pool toys, clothing, or tools and reinfect your pool after you kill off the initial bloom. It can add to the cost to maintain a pool the more times you have to treat it to the tune of $60 to $400. It’ll cost more if you call in professional help.
For mold, you want to scrub at the areas with mold killers, chlorine, or bleach. This can be time-consuming, because you want to get to the bottom layers to ensure it doesn’t come back. This can be a significant health hazard, but you can do it yourself if you’re careful. Expect to spend between $40 and $150 to remove the mold each time you have to do it.
Where to Find Pool Maintenance Professionals
Rather than do it yourself, you can use this helpful resource to find professionals in your area:
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How often should you service your pool?
As long as you have your pool open and everything is working normally, it’s a good idea to have a professional come and service your pool once a month. You should test and clean it on your own at least once a week. If you can’t, it’s a good idea to have a professional come at least bi-weekly.
2. What should you include in your weekly pool maintenance?
Once you week, you want to skim any debris or leaves off your pool and brush any sediment from the pool walls. Vacuum your pool and clean your skimmer. Make sure your pump is running correctly, and check the filter. You may have to backwash it periodically. Test your pool water and balance the chemicals as needed.
3. Does removing a pool lower your property value?
Surprisingly, removing a pool can usually increase your property value if the pool is over 30 years old or if it takes up 30% or more of your backyard. If the pool doesn’t have a safety enclosure around it and you remove it, it can make your homeowners insurance premiums drop.
4. What percentage of your home’s building or purchase cost should you sink into your pool?
The goal is to make as much money as you possibly can when you sell your home while keeping your cost to maintain a pool low. You want to try to keep your pool’s building costs at or below 15% of what you paid to build or buy your home. Doing so will help ensure that whatever you invest in this pool you’ll be able to get back if and when you sell.
The cost to maintain a pool has several factors you want to consider before you choose to add one to your property. Doing so will ensure that you have enough money for the initial install, but it’ll also help you budget for ongoing maintenance costs. In turn, you’ll invest in something you get a lot of use out of that boosts your property value while keeping your relative cost to maintain a pool low.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.