For Oklahomans, the summer heat can extend into as far as October. Because of this, increasingly more homeowners are considering the benefits of purchasing a pool. Home value, privacy, quality time with family – the list goes on. But, a key factor that’s often overlooked is maintenance.
In today’s blog, we’ll be weighing ongoing pool expenses with the value of pool ownership. We hope this information helps you plan more efficiently for the costs associated with a pool. Shall we get started?
First, you’ll need to evaluate the upfront costs. If you’re planning on installing an in-ground pool, you’ll need to account for construction, materials and the cost of labor. We recommend paying close attention to the placement of your pool as well. Study the way natural daylight travels around your home (specifically in the backyard). You don’t want to install your pool in an area that’s dark. Likewise, if you place within reach of trees, you may find yourself fishing leaves and twigs out often.
Next, it’s onto supplies. Before you start planning your day-to-day maintenance, here are some pool parts and products you’ll need to have on hand:
1. Skimmer: A skimmer is a shallow net attached to a long, often metal pole. It’s used to skim leaves, bugs and other debris from the surface of your pool. How often you use will be determined by the amount of use your pool receives. Skimmers can cost anywhere between five and $10.
2. Chlorine: Chlorine is a necessary item used to neutralize any bacteria in your pool. You have a variety of brands and forms to choose from – liquid and tablet form. It’s often used as a part of routine maintenance. The cost really depends on the brand. Some tablet containers can cost around $40 while some liquids (in smaller amounts) can ring in around $20.
3. Muriatic Acid: Muriatic acid lowers the pH levels of your pool, preventing bacteria blooms and mineral buildup. You won’t use this too often unless you’re having issues balancing your pool. (If this happens, be sure and take advantage of our free water testing at Thompson’s). Most muriatic acid gallons cost around $10.
4. Soda Ash: Soda ash, another name for sodium bicarbonate, combats and neutralizes excess acid. Similar to the muriatic acid, you’ll only use this when you’re having issues balancing your pool. A typical container will cost about $10.
5. Testing Kit: A basic kit is a must have for any pool. This tool helps you gauge your pH levels by taking small water samples and adding chemicals to test chlorine, bromine, alkalinity and acidity. A typical testing kit will cost about $15 and replacement solutions will ring in around $8.
6. Pool Vacuum: While a skimmer helps you clean the surface of your pool, heavier debris has a way of settling to the bottom of your pool. A vacuum travels along the bottom, steadily filtering your pool. The cost depends on the type and brand of vacuum you choose. We’ve seen some basic ones around $25, while we’ve seen some high-end as far as $200.
7. Filters: The cost of replacement filters is based on size and capacity. For example, a 5-inch would be around $15 while a 10-inch might be $75. Keep in mind that the sand will need to be replaced every three years. You can purchase a container for about $15.
8. Pool Cover: Lastly, you’ll need a cover to protect your pool during the cooler seasons. They may be expensive upfront, but finding a proper cover will save you time (and money) in the long-term. A pro tip: make sure the cover extends two feet beyond the edge of your pool. The cost of a good cover will vary based on need, type and brand.
Before purchasing a pool, it’s important to assess your level of commitment. If you have a lot of time on your hands, establishing a day-to-day maintenance routine may be a breeze. On the other hand, if you’re busy with work or travel, you might consider hiring a pool service for weekly or biweekly cleanings. You can also opt for a mixture of the two — having a pool service open and close it seasonally while you take care of the smaller maintenance task.
Here are the most common tasks you can expect as a pool owner:
- Cleaning Filters
- Pool Heater Maintenance
- Leveling the Water
- Maintaining pH
- Shocking the Pool
- Detecting Leaks
Repairs and Replacements
When you don’t regularly maintain your pool, you run the risk of costly malfunctions. The cost of replacing motors, pumps and covers varies depending on the brand, model and size. But no matter how well you maintain your pool, though, you’ll need a repair at some point. Here are the four places to inspect regularly:
1. Pump Motor: When your pump motor fails, the water can’t circulate through the filter properly. One of the most common repairs, it’s a fairly expensive one as well. We’ve seen this repair priced anywhere from $175 to $350. It really just depends on the motor specs.
2. Pool Filter: Issues with your pool filter will arise if you aren’t replacing the cartridges often — or if it’s experiencing oil buildup. A typical cartridge costs $15 to $75 depending on the size. If you have to replace the filter itself, a sand filter system costs $150 or more.
3. Leaking: If you’re experiencing leaks in your pool, the most important factor is the source. Leaks occur most often in the filter or pool itself. If it’s a small leak, you can purchase a vinyl liner around $20. If it’s a fiberglass, you’ll need to have it repaired by a professional.
4. Heater: As water travels through the heating tubes, your pool can experience mineral buildup — creating blockages. The average cost to fix this is around $400.
Keep in Mind
If you have homeowners insurance, it typically covers your pool. But, we recommend increasing your coverage for liability (if your property isn’t fenced). Keep in mind, though adding a pool may increase your annual property taxes, it also raises the value of your home. When purchasing a pool, aim for building cost to ring in around 15% or less of what you paid for your home. This ensures you’re making your money back.
It's Time to Weigh In
With price, home value and happiness at stake, only you can determine whether a pool is a right investment for you. It’s easy to put a price tag on the installation and supplies, but the quality time spent with family and friends is priceless.
If you have any questions about pool parts or maintenance products, feel free to reach out to our team! Better yet, stop by our store and one of our pool pros would be happy to help you troubleshoot and provide recommendations.