Taking a Bath on Your Pool

chem geek

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Mar 28, 2007
12,082
San Rafael, CA USA
Yahoo just posted a link to an article entitled Taking a Bath on Your Pool. They make some statements with regard to the costs of installing and maintaining a pool:

  • Initial cost: $25,000 - $50,000 for an in-ground pool[/*:m:pr8ph1ns]
  • Annual chemical cost if purchased on your own: $500 - $800[/*:m:pr8ph1ns]
  • Annual Opening/closing pool (i.e. winterizing): $500[/*:m:pr8ph1ns]
  • Electric bill: $100/month[/*:m:pr8ph1ns]
  • Other costs: replacing filters, fixing pumps, new liner, fixing cracks and leaks[/*:m:pr8ph1ns]
  • Overall ongoing annual costs: $3000-$5000[/*:m:pr8ph1ns]

Obviously, they aren't looking at BBB pools such as those owned by members of this forum. Yes, the initial cost can be high for an in-ground pool and this varies a lot by area. Ours (in the expensive San Francisco Bay Area) was around $75,000 for a 16'x32' 6' deep-end 16,000 gallon pool and was considered mid-range (it has solar and gas heating, ramps and bars, and an automatic electric safety cover) where low-end was $40,000 and high-end $100,000+. There are many more above-ground pools than in-ground around the country and these are much less expensive.

Annual chemical costs will vary based on size of pool. Ours are very low at $15/month for an extended 7-month season so a little more than $100 per year, but if I didn't have the mostly opaque cover then it would be more like $200-$300 per year which is probably more typical for a 15,000-20,000 gallon pool. Smaller pools would be less expensive.

Opening and closing a pool should not be expensive if one does it themselves and even if they have someone else do it. We don't get to solid freezes here so there is no real closing/opening of our pool so no extra costs. Any estimates here?

The electric bill will vary a lot depending on the region of the country. Before I replaced my single-speed main pump and my booster pump, my electric costs were nearly $200/month, but now they are around half closer to $100/month for the 7-month swim season and around $15/month during the 5-month non-swim season. This high cost is due to the higher flow rates needed for the solar panels and the very high 40+ cent/kilowatt-hour marginal electric cost. Most areas of the country would have lower costs -- half or less. I also have high costs for gas heating to extend the season, but that's also because we use the pool as a therapy pool so keep it extra warm (88ºF) and extend the season to 7 months (mid-April to mid-to-late-November).

I replaced my cartridge filters after 7 years at around $280 for 4 cartridges so that's only around $40 per year. We need to replace our electric safety cover roughly every 4 years and that can run around $1500 so that's $375 per year. The solar panel spring/winter opening/closing is under $200 per year. I replace my bag on The Pool Cleaner every other year or so at around $50 so that's $25 per year. There are similar small costs for replacing pool brushes and sometimes nets.

So there's no way I can get even close to the $3000 per year "maintenance" cost unless I add in the high gas cost for the forced warm-pool extended season (around $1400/year in extra cost as described in this link and using lower current gas rates) which is not a common thing most people do since most would just live with a more typical 4-5 month swim season in this area. Even if I factor in a replastering every 10 years (and I hope to get to 15-20 or more), it shouldn't amortize that high.

How 'bout y'all? Is this article way off base?

Richard
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,880
Silver Spring, MD
This year so far we have spent $30 on chemicals, $10 for a large bag of salt, $10 for 4 lbs of CYA, and about $10 of boric acid. The SWG and careful balancing last year takes care of everything else. Our pump costs about $25/month to run. We spend $300 on closing and do the opening ourselves. We did need to replace the pump at the start of the season, which cost $600 with a professional install. Total costs just over $1,000 for the season.

Of course, the SWG cell and the liner are both going to need to be replaced in a couple of years. To be completely fair, those expenses should be spread out over several years. Count about $100 towards the cost of the cell that should be charged against this year, and perhaps $300 towards the eventual liner replacement, perhaps $25 towards a test kit, $100 towards a new PH probe for the Total Control system, and call it another $75 towards other equipment that will fail eventually, so another $600, or $1,600/year. Still nowhere near $3,000/year.
 

bk406

Well-known member
Dec 3, 2009
2,690
Central Massachusetts
Mines probably close to $1500-1800 per year. I use the heat pump which can add up to $150 per month in May, and September, bout half that in august and june. My pump is around $35 per month, chemicals this year have been almost nothing, bit of CYA and 10 pounds of baking soda and 3 quarts of metal control. I open myself, and closing is $230. Test kit supplies maybe $25. The rest is amortization. I saw that article too and thought that there is no way i spend that much on the pool. The real cost out of pocket if you dont count the amotization of liner, SWG, repairs, etc, is around $1000, give or take.
 

Lana537

LifeTime Supporter
May 16, 2009
242
The Triangle, NC
Hello all
I'm on the road for 2 weeks, but once
I can get a good Internet connection and some
time on a real computer (not my phone)
I'll come back here to tell you all exactly
how huge a bath we have taken on ours.
It's been overwhelming $$ to renovate
our pool and put in a decent paver surround
and patio. Talk about "shocking"!
;)......not to mention the control gear.
Oy!
Lana
 

crabboy

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 24, 2007
528
Suwanee, GA
With the rainy start we had this year I've had to add about 6 bags of salt and CYA as well. Cost of electricity aside, I'm probably under $300 for the year. The pool wasn't cheap to build, but we went in knowing we were not going to get it back out when we sold the house. We enjoy the pool and it keeps us away from the neighborhood cesspool.
 

anonapersona

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Nov 5, 2008
2,598
I think it all depends on the repair needs. A new pool will be in great shape for a while, then repairs can become a wild card.

I think we spend about $500 - $600 a year on chemicals (pool store and grocery store), $50 on parts. Electricity can't be much with the whole house at $180/mo on average billing, no idea how to divide that up but it is a pretty large house. Call it $60/month.

Total repairs in the almost 2 years has been $750, plus the overflow line we just put in which should have been part of the initial install. Might be fair to expect $500 a year. With occasional large costs if we have to acid wash. A replaster will cost thousands, that will be due soon perhaps.

So, $1800 a year for us, guessing at repairs going into the 11th year of the pool. Could go up fast if something big breaks. I'd budget more than that, however, for the big ticket items.

But really, I spend way more than that on landscaping. Flowers, sprinkler work, mulch, plants, pots, tools.
 

4JawChuck

Well-known member
Jun 13, 2010
223
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
I spend over $3000 just on fuel alone for my boat (200HP-16' Bass Boat), the cost and enjoyment I get from this pool would still be worth it if the amount was $6000. Maybe it was growing up in the summers at the cottage that made me a "water boy" and now I finally can enjoy the water in my backyard instead of some freezing cold rock bottom lake. Whatever the cost of doing business is to have a pool in your backyard is worth every penny if you ask me, the stress release factor alone is invaluable.

People are always asking me things like "So...you still like the pool now that you see how much work it is?" and I reply, "I spend 15 minutes a day skimming and checking chemical balance and tossing the krawler into the pool, I don't consider it much work. I used to waste 10 times that amount on the internet everyday or watching TV and now we spend it in the sunroom overlooking the pool listening to Elvis on Sirius or Margaritaville, everyday seems like a holiday!"

The ways in which this pool has improved the lives of me and my family can't be measured, I thank God for taking this leap of faith and buying this house even if it took a bunch of work to fix it up.

Its just what we all needed. :cheers:
 

poolgirl22

Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 14, 2010
595
Stephens City, VA
I'm a realist and try to be common sense logical about stuff like this. I think many people have an unrealistic expectation about the cost of a pool.

I guess I compare it to purchasing a luxury car or the house in the chic neighborhood. High end vehicles require premium gas...it's part of the commitment to buying that vehicle...you have the big house, be prepared to pay big taxes...you can't have the cool stuff and not want to pay for it. We all make choices and choices have financial consequences.

If you install or buy a pool with a house, then you commit to the expenses that go along with it. We're at about 1000.00 this year between chems (4-500) and service/parts/etc. I bought a liquidator so I had some plumbing costs there. We still need a new winter cover. I didn't keep good records the last few years because frankly, I didn't really want to know what I was spending as the trade off of the enjoyment offset the costs, but I know my chemical costs were higher pre TFP cuz I was spending 50-100 every time my water got tested. Keep in mind though, that we open in early april and stay open through late september so nearly 5 months of operating, and I had two rounds of shocking this season along with ridiculous heat so more chlorine usage.

Some of us may feel like we're taking a bath financially with the pool, but if you go into it knowing what to realistically expect, it won't be such a shock. :mrgreen:
 

Sportsman

Well-known member
Jan 27, 2010
233
Central Valley, CA
4JawChuck said:
I spend over $3000 just on fuel alone for my boat (200HP-16' Bass Boat), the cost and enjoyment I get from this pool would still be worth it if the amount was $6000. Maybe it was growing up in the summers at the cottage that made me a "water boy" and now I finally can enjoy the water in my backyard instead of some freezing cold rock bottom lake. Whatever the cost of doing business is to have a pool in your backyard is worth every penny if you ask me, the stress release factor alone is invaluable.

People are always asking me things like "So...you still like the pool now that you see how much work it is?" and I reply, "I spend 15 minutes a day skimming and checking chemical balance and tossing the krawler into the pool, I don't consider it much work. I used to waste 10 times that amount on the internet everyday or watching TV and now we spend it in the sunroom overlooking the pool listening to Elvis on Sirius or Margaritaville, everyday seems like a holiday!"

The ways in which this pool has improved the lives of me and my family can't be measured, I thank God for taking this leap of faith and buying this house even if it took a bunch of work to fix it up.

Its just what we all needed. :cheers:

The definition of a boat is a hole in the water that you pour money into. Been there done that and loved it - mostly. I think it's a good analogy becuase as long as I used and took care of my boat, it mostly cost me just gas. When I neglected using and maintaining it, the big bills and frustrations came.

New to pools but best part is there is no marginal costs. It doesn't cost me money to jump in and enjoy. My initial setup of an ABP does seem like a bit of a bath because the setup costs soared over initial expectations but I'm not worried about maintenance. If I didn't have to relocate so frequently, I wouldn't care about the initial costs as much.
 

Bama Rambler

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2009
23,036
SouthWest Alabama
Year to date we've spent $186.14 on chemicals and $357.98 on power. I keep very detailed records. If the trend continues, I'll spend $869.54 on power and chems for the entire year.

I plan on closing this year which I didn't do last year, so our chem and electric cost will go down after about November. While that's not much of a change it'll make a little difference in the total yearly cost. Even accounting for future repairs and replacement of items it's still in the $1,000 to $1,200 a year range.
 

solarboy

Well-known member
Aug 1, 2010
337
Europe
About 3000$ so far this year including rebar and concrete plus the pump/skimmers etc :lol: I'm reckoning on another 1000$ next year for the limestone coping and 1200$ for the glass mosaic tiles, and maybe 500$ for the SWG.
Oh you meant chemicals ! ... About 25$ for 5kg Trichlor, 5$ MA, 2$ Bleach, 20$ test strips, Total so far 52$, but we only opened the pool on the 4th July.
 

duraleigh

Admin
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In The Industry
Apr 1, 2007
31,680
Sebring, Florida
Even my large, open-year-round pool does not approach $3000 in maintenance.

My single biggest expense is electric which I roughly estimate to be around $500. Liquid Chlorine and pucks probably is close to $250-300 plus about 2 gallons of acid (which I pay $8.00 PLUS here in Raleigh....I saw someone on here getting it for $4.00)

An expense I have never bothered to calculate (or afraid to) is the electric involved in running the robot (blue diamond) That 12v motor is pretty strong and has to pull a lot of current. It runs 6-7 months out of the year about 10 hours weekly, perhaps 12.

However.....
The ways in which this pool has improved the lives of me and my family can't be measured,
....I'll second that!! :cheers:
 

hyperchord24

Active member
Jul 4, 2009
36
Upstate New York
As we all know, people throw money at their pool and hope all will be okay. They pay people to maintain it, they pay people to open/close, they pay for chemicals they don't need. I doubt most people who own a pool have come across here or the old forum. Most people over spend on maintenance. At least that's my short-sighted view of it.

If I had to buy a house all over again, I might have looked at more houses with an existing pool, since they don't really add to the price.
 

Johnl

LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2008
88
Montgomery County, PA
I read the article and agree with the rest of you that I'm not spending anywhere near $3,000. We spend about $50 per month (May - Sept) for electric and about $250 for chemicals, test kit refills, and other pool realted stuff. I do the opening and closings myself, so even if I amortize potential repair costs at $250 - $500 per year, I'm still only at $1,000 annually.

Not a bad deal considering pool memberships in my area are about $500 for a family.
 

Shane1

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 29, 2010
621
Buckeye, AZ 85326
Our biggest concern was having a monster electric bill but it hasnt changed one bit :party:. The only thing we've been spending more money on is adult beverages and sunblock :hammer: LOL
 
G

Guest

I think it's about $75 / mo or so for electric. Repairs / supplies $500 /yr. average for the 3 seasons I've owned this house. Closing $150. Bleach - $25 / mo. (maybe a little less) So maybe $1k per year.

New liner??? Not sure yet.

Biggest hit would be on resale of house. Pools limit the pool of buyers and lower the price near me (unless they're really stunning, then they might not lower price too much). My house was for sale for a really long time when I bought it, partly due to the pool.
 

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