You can buy an inground pool kit for as little as $5000, but is that all you need? Of course not, you're going to need to at least buy a shovel!
Jokes aside, in this blog post, we'll discuss the other expenses, beyond the pool kit package - that you can expect to pay to maintain your own inground pool.
Prices for utilities and services vary by region, and every pool is different - hence the cost ranges.
Although costs have been rising, water is still an inexpensive resource in most American towns. An average cost is less than $5 per 1000 gallons. Filling a swimming pool, in most areas, costs less than $100. You'll need to add some replacement water during the year, to replace splash out and backwash water.
Well Water. In areas without city water, those of you with a water well, you may be able to fill from your well. But, unless your well is very deep and your well pump very strong, many homeowners with water wells may fear running the well dry, or burning out the pump. Well water that has not been treated can sometimes make poor pool water, with high levels of metals and minerals.
Fire Truck Water. In some small rural areas, you can work with your local fire department to fill your pool. In some cases, they'll bring over the fire truck to fill the pool, or if you have a fire hydrant nearby, they'll set you up with a meter, wrench and enough hose to run from the fire hydrant to your pool. There is usually a small charge (or donation) for this service.
Water Truck. Most areas have water trucking services. These trucks have a permanent permit with the county, and fill their trucks from nearby fire hydrants near your pool. Most trucks hold 5000 gallons or so, and can make repeated trips to the hydrant until your pool is full. Water truck companies usually charge by the load, and a complete fill of the pool can be expensive, as much as $50 per 1000 gallons.
The average inground pool will spend about $50-$100 per year on water, after the initial filling of the pool.
You'll need water balancing chemicals, to adjust the pH, Alkalinity and Calcium Hardness. You'll also need chlorine or bromine. Using an alternative mineral purifier or an ozonator can reduce your chlorine expense, as can using Stabilizer, which protects your chlorine from depletion by the sun. The pool may require other specialty chemicals from time to time, such as clarifiers or algaecides.
The average inground pool spends about $100-$300 per year on pool chemicals, after the initial balancing.
Filter Pumps consume more electricity than other pool equipment. Using a two-speed pump or a variable speed pump can dramatically reduce your energy consumption. Standard pumps operating with the use of a timer can also cut energy usage in half, since there's no need to run the pump 24 hours per day.
Pool Lights can also consume lots of energy, especially the old style incandescent, 500 watt bulbs. Newer LED or Halogen pool lights consume much less energy. Electronic ignition heaters and salt chlorinator cells are electric, but the consumption is very low.
The average inground pool spends about $200-$1000 per year on electricity, depending on where you live and if you have an efficient pool pump.
Inground pools do not need too many parts by themselves, but the pool equipment may require repair from time to time. Filters, pumps, heaters and cleaners can run fine for many years before requiring a few parts, and in most cases, pool parts costs are low. Skimmers and pool lights may also need some parts after several years.
The simpler the pool is, the less there is to go wrong. If your pool has every bell and whistle available, plus maybe a water feature or an attached spa, automatic covers or cleaners, or other upgrades, you could expect to have higher maintenance costs.
Looking down the road, at future expenses, you may find that within a 10 year period, you'll need or want, a new pool liner. Also, about every 10 years or more, you'll probably need to replace (or repair), much of your pool equipment - namely the pump, filter, cleaner or heater. Replacement value can be set for each equipment item, and amortized over a ten to fifteen year period to compute an annual pool equipment replacement cost.
The average inground pool spends about $50-$500 per year on repair parts or replacement equipment.
Cleaning Tools, such as brushes, skimmer nets and poles may need replacement every few years. And although not required, you may want to buy some fun accessories like pool floats or pool games for your pool.
Other cool pool accessories are fountains or floating lounges. If you have kids, you'll want some fun pool games and pool toys. Fitness equipment or water sports gear is popular with active pool owners.
You do not really need to contract a pool service company for opening or closing the pool, although many snowbelt pool owners do just that. And, of course you do not need to hire a weekly pool maintenance service either, although I know some folks who do that.
If you built your own inground pool, chances are that you are pretty capable of handling most pool service demands of your pool, including cleaning the pool, seasonal maintenance and occasional repairs to the equipment. And, since you are a reader of this fine blog, we have articles already written that describe how to winterize and summerize, or even replace the liner, for example.
The average inground pool spends about $0 -$1000 per year on services provided by a pool service company.
Pool heating can be accomplished by a Solar heater (free), Electric heat pump ($1-2/day), or a Gas heater ($3-6/day). Or, you can choose to not heat your pool at all. If you do heat your pool, using a pool cover at night, and using fences to block high winds can reduce heat loss considerably.
The average inground pool spends about $0 -$500 per year heating their pool.
TOTAL COST OF POOL OWNERSHIP
My pool costs no more than $500 per season. In the Northeast, our utility rates are reasonable, and I take care of most everything around the pool.
Of course, having access to discounted pool parts and products is hard to resist, so I do find myself spending more for replacement equipment than is really needed.
If I add-in my replacement equipment expense, over a ten year period, to calculate my total cost of pool ownership. It would cost me about $3000 to replace my liner and my equipment. Amortizing that cost over ten years, would add another $300 per year. So, I suppose my total cost of pool ownership is closer to $800 per year.
Money well spent - we really enjoy our pool!
SPP Pool Expert