Let’s begin with the obvious: there is no magical way to eliminate the cost of maintaining a swimming pool. Outside of filling it in and “boarding it up”, having a swimming pool means bearing some ongoing costs. The size of your pool—and correspondingly whether it is an above ground pool or an in ground pool—affects the amount of those costs, but you can never get rid of maintenance costs altogether regardless of your swimming pool’s size.
With that reality out of the way, let’s get into the various ways to bring down your pool’s maintenance costs. First, an unfortunate fact: the more you spend on your pool equipment at the time of initial purchase, the lower the ongoing and long-term maintenance costs associated with that equipment tend to be. You get what you pay for, right? Cheaper pool equipment, such as pumps and filters, typically have design components and parts of poorer quality, and are thus more likely to break down. This results in the pool owner needing to buy new parts, pay for repair service, or in some cases, buy a whole new piece of equipment. Often, spending more to get higher quality defrays or eliminates these potential pool equipment maintenance costs.
The first pool maintenance cost-saving tip, then, is to purchase new equipment. This tip goes beyond avoiding upkeep costs simply because the equipment is brand new. Newer pool equipment saves swimming pool owners in a variety of other ways. One way is that it typically runs more efficiently and thus requires less energy to complete its task(s), thereby saving you money on your monthly energy bill. For example, old pool pumps may be worn down and consequently work much less efficiently than they day they came off the factory floor. This costs you money every month. Old pool pumps also lack the advanced technology of today’s pool pump models, which run much more efficiently due to improved engineering and technology. This, too, saves you money every month. For example, did you know that some new variable-speed pool pumps have internal sensors that detect the pressure and resistance of the pool water in the components and piping and automatically adjust the pump’s speed as a result? It’s that kind of advancement, paired with more advanced components and improved cleaning and performance results that save you money every month.
If you are in the majority of pool owners whom would love to go out buy fancy new equipment for their swimming pool but don’t have the disposable income to do so, don’t fret. There are still a number of things you can do to decrease your pool maintenance costs now.
The first step is to become a Do-It-Yourselfer aka “DIY-er” by getting rid of your pool service professional. There’s no doubt pool service professionals can be of great help, but if you’re looking to save money, it’s a quick and easy place to cut costs. Here are many more:
- Handle the cleaning yourself. No time? What about a spouse or child? Chores help build responsibility, right? Use your leaf skimmer and your pool wall brush. Empty the pump strainer baskets. Clean the filter. Do what your pool requires without resorting to paying for outside help.
- Purchase, add, measure, and test your own pool chemicals. Need help? Check out some of the resources in the PcPools Pool Library. We have articles on a pool owner’s basic pool chemistry need-to-knows and a more detailed step-by-step pool care guide.
- Maintain your pool equipment yourself. Preventative maintenance is the cheapest kind, so be sure to follow the “maintenance instructions” in your equipment manuals to test and inspect their parts and operations as often as recommended.
- Keep your swimming pool covered when it’s not in use. Don’t have a cover? This is a place where it may be worthwhile to splurge. Solar pool covers are cheap, and they will not only cut heating costs, but also help keep out dirt and debris. That cuts down your cleaning time and any cleaning costs associated with running your pump or automatic pool cleaner more frequently. Safety covers work great for in ground pools.
- Another benefit derived from solar pool covers is that they help limit pool water evaporation. This will save you on your water utility and pool chemical bills.
- If you are adding a new part or piece of equipment to your pool, install it yourself. The high-tech variable speed BADU EcoM3 in ground pool pump, for example, states no electronic or programming knowledge is needed to easily install and operate the pump. Self-installation of any pool product may not come easy for everyone, but with enough effort and the right instructions, most pool-related projects can be done by swimming pool owners themselves.
- Please note that replacing parts or servicing certain elements of your pool equipment (e.g. gas valves and ignitions in pool heaters) can be dangerous if you are not properly trained. Do not attempt such repairs and or service without speaking to a trained professional.
- Turn off your pool heater. If you have a gas pool heater or pool heat pump it very obviously costs you money to run it. If you have a solar heater it also, albeit indirectly, costs you money to use: your pool pump is forced to run harder and longer to pump water into and through the pipes and panels where the water is heated. Don’t use it and save $.
- If you are unwilling to do so completely, turn it off when you don’t need it. Especially if you don’t use your swimming pool regularly. Sure, leaving it on at a lower temperature allows you to bring it to a comfortable swimming temperature more quickly, but consider whether it’s worth the extra expense.
- Turn off unnecessary water features and swimming pool lights. Avoid turning off pool lights that augment safety—e.g. lights that illuminate the bottom of a pool late at night when nobody is watching the pool—but lights such as these can safely be shut off during the morning, day, and early evening.
- Don’t swim in the pool. This last tip largely defeats the purpose of owning a swimming pool to begin with, but it will save you money on maintenance costs. You’ll avoid the inevitable splash-out which requires refilling the pool and adding chemicals. Cleaning costs and general chemical costs will decrease because less dirt and grime get into the pool and upset the established chemical balance. Preventing anyone from swimming in the pool probably isn’t the best way to handle things, but to the extent it makes sense to limit the hours of swimming or number of swimmers, know that it will lower pool maintenance costs.
A few last things. If you notice a problem with your pool or swimming pool equipment, investigate it right away and take care of it if necessary. Don’t ignore the strange clicking sound coming from your pump or the suspiciously cloudy water. Inspect and fix things before doing so inevitably becomes more expensive due to further damage. Finally, don’t be afraid to pay for a little help where it may save money in the long run. Some things are better left to professionals.