How Much Does Pool Maintenance Cost?
If you’ve decided to install a pool in your backyard and are curious about pool maintenance costs, you’re in the right place. You can expect to spend $110 to $349 for pool cleaning or an average of $229.
- Typical Range: $110 to $349
- National Average: $229
Before diving into the deep end, you’ll want to have all the facts about what to expect when maintaining a backyard pool. Whether you set up a vinyl above-ground pool or install a full inground concrete pool, keeping pool water clean and safe is a necessary step for enjoying a cool dip in the water on a hot afternoon. Daily cleaning routines are the best way to keep an eye on the pool water’s clarity and cleanliness, but you might want to work with a pool service company to coordinate a monthly (or weekly) cleaning routine, too. On average, pool maintenance costs range between $110 and $349, with a national average of $229 for a complete pool cleaning service. For busy homeowners or pools that see a lot of use, professional pool cleaning is a great way to alleviate the tedious task of keeping your pool crystal clear.
Factors in Calculating Pool Maintenance Cost
The frequency of your pool maintenance will affect the total cost, but other factors like the size and type of pool will also have a bearing on the price. The cost of an inground pool is only one aspect to consider when budgeting for pool maintenance costs. Above-ground pools cost about the same to maintain as inground pools since they basically have the same structure. The number of tasks the pool cleaning service takes care of will also affect the cost. You can expect to spend between $1,200 and $1,800 per year on basic pool maintenance costs.
Yearly pool service costs are driven by the frequency of maintenance visits you choose to schedule. If you prefer to handle only skimming the pool and running the filter, a pool cleaning service will need to come more often to treat the water and thoroughly clean the pool. For homeowners who enjoy the therapeutic effect of cleaning and scrubbing a pool as often as needed, a pool service company could come less frequently. Weekly pool maintenance typically costs less ($100 to $150 per month for weekly or biweekly visits) since the pool cleaners can keep up with the cleaning schedule and avoid water quality challenges.
Type of Maintenance
Pool service companies can handle any pool cleaning task, from skimming debris and vacuuming to repairing broken filters or pumps. The more services you schedule, the more the visit will cost since the pool cleaner will be spending more time working on your pool. Opening or closing a pool for the season is an additional cost not included in regular maintenance fees. The most basic cleaning package averages $80 per month (skimming, water testing, checking filters), and adding other services will run approximately $10 a month for each service.
Pool Size, Type, and Material
The smaller the pool, the less cleaning required. Most above-ground pools are usually smaller than their inground counterparts, which is why it seems cheaper to maintain an above-ground pool. Inground pool costs should include weekly treatments, scrubbing, and cleaning. Saltwater pools require extra maintenance since the salt mineral accelerates corrosion over time. Indoor pools are cheaper to maintain than outdoor pools since debris doesn’t blow into the pool, and the weather doesn’t negatively affect the pH balance or bacterial growth.
Regular maintenance can help prevent most pool parts from breaking down completely. The average cost to replace a filter is $150 to $1,500, depending on the filter and how much of the filtration system needs to be replaced. Replacing a pool pump motor typically costs $185 to $350. And while no pool owner wants to find a leak in their pool, a pro can help repair the leak for between $200 and $1,550, depending on the complexity of the leak and the pool material.
While chemicals and equipment make up most pool maintenance costs, the remainder of the cost is made up of labor fees. In general, pool service companies charge $75 to $100 per hour, but that price varies by location and the size and type of pool. Searching for “pool service near me” will bring up local companies who might have posted their fees online.
Pool Maintenance Cost: Types of Pool Maintenance
When budgeting for pool maintenance costs, keep in mind these other factors that influence the total price: opening and closing a pool seasonally, pump or heater maintenance, cleaning filters or drains, and more. Choosing how much pool maintenance you allow the pros to handle will affect your weekly or monthly pool maintenance price.
Outdoor pools in most regions are only used during the warmer months. For an average of $150 to $300, your pool can be ready for the season in no time. If the pool was not appropriately winterized or the pool cover didn’t adequately protect the pool, the water may be an unappealing green color when you open the cover in the spring. You’ll likely pay up to $300 or $400 to thoroughly scrub and treat a bacteria-laden pool before jumping in.
Winterizing a pool is also necessary for most outdoor pools and costs $150 to $300 to complete. Over 1 or 2 days, the water will be shocked with chemicals and cleaned. Filters and pumps will be maintained, water lines and drains cleared, the water level lowered, and the pool securely covered.
Pool Pump Maintenance
Pool pumps help keep the water circulating so that debris is filtered out and chemicals are evenly mixed into the water. These are designed to operate with little interference, but emptying the strainer basket and inspecting the O-ring are two ways to make sure it works smoothly. Keep the pump running at least 8 hours each day to promote excellent water circulation and prevent bacterial buildup.
Pool Heater Maintenance
If your pool has a heater to keep the water temperature up, you’ll want to keep the area around the heater free of debris and rodents. Hot, sunny days and an overactive pool heater can both affect the water chemistry. A pro can quickly check the pool heater during each visit to make sure it’s operating correctly. A complete pool inspection is also recommended each season and runs between $100 and $200.
Keeping the pool filters clean is the best way to keep them in great shape for longer. Clean them when the pressure gauge measures 8 to 10 psi or when you’ve noticed that debris isn’t filtering out of the pool as well. The system may also need to be backwashed to clear the filter and water line. This task can be added to a monthly service if you notice the filter gets dirty quickly with frequent pool use, or it can cost $60 to $65 as a stand-alone service.
Pool drains are an essential part of your pool system, but sometimes they get clogged with leaves, twigs, or hair. Make sure to keep pool drains free from debris so they don’t allow bacteria to grow in the pool, which eventually requires extra chemicals to treat. If the pool is open for use, drains should be regularly cleaned. The cost of pool drain cleaning ranges between $60 and $125, depending on how many drains the pool has.
Brushing a pool is just as necessary as brushing teeth. It helps to get all the scum and grime off of the pool walls or floor. The kind of brush that’s used is dependent on the material of the pool—vinyl or fiberglass pools need a soft brush, but a plaster or concrete pool needs a stiff brush. Brushing before vacuuming weekly is the best method to ensure the pool is free of any dirt or scum. Adding brushing to your regular pool maintenance schedule will cost approximately $10 more than a basic pool service plan.
Using a pool vacuum is a weekly task that’s important for getting rid of any debris that can’t get skimmed or filtered out. It’s the most time-intensive part of maintaining a pool if you use a manual vacuum attached to long poles to reach the bottom of the pool. Automatic vacuums are also available. They clean the pool floor in a back-and-forth pattern similar to an indoor robot vacuum. A basic vacuum could cost only $20, but more powerful or automatic vacuums cost between $200 and $600.
Drain and Clean
Staying ahead of a dirty pool is the key to avoiding the unpleasant task of draining and cleaning a pool, but sometimes it’s the only way to get a contaminated pool back to pristine condition. It typically costs $500 to $700 to drain and clean a pool and usually takes several days. Since it’s more expensive, a pool company will try other common treatments to clean the pool first. Still, stubborn algae stains, significant floor dirt, and unresolved murky water usually indicate the need for a complete drain and clean.
On rare occasions, you may want to remove stubborn scum from the sides of your pool by applying an acid wash using muriatic acid. To prevent skin irritation, be sure to wear safety gear or just leave this task to the pros. For $8 per gallon, this acid can be used to lower the pH balance of a pool, reduce mineral buildup, and prevent bacterial blooms. The acid wash will remove a thin layer of plaster to expose a fresh, clean layer that’s free of grime. Overuse of this chemical can be dangerous, so use it with caution.
Pools are usually kept bacteria-free with the help of chlorine. If a storm, excessive heat, or a pool party disrupted the delicate balance of your pool water, regular chlorine treatments might not be enough to overcome the bacterial bloom. A chlorine wash is more potent than even a chlorine shock treatment and costs $300 to $500 on average. It’s carefully applied to all the pool walls to help remove stubborn bacteria, viruses, and scum.
The pH balance of a pool is a critical element to test and maintain—not only to keep the pool in good condition but to prevent skin irritation or other potential health problems. Too much chlorine can lower pH levels, so while it may be tempting to simply toss in some chlorine every day, it’s not the best method to keep the pool balanced. Maintaining a neutral pH between 7.4 and 7.6 in the pool is recommended. Pool test kits are available for about $15. Some kits only measure pH, while others can also measure chlorine and bromine levels.
Shocking the Pool
While it may seem counterintuitive, shocking a pool with more chlorine can help rebalance certain chlorine levels. Sometimes ammonia, nitrogen, algae, or bacteria build up in the pool; the latter two happen when free chlorine levels reach zero. Adding chlorine specifically made for shocking a pool can correct the cleanliness of the pool in most cases. Follow the instructions on the bag to add the right amount for your pool and its condition. A 24-pound bag costs around $55 but having a pro shock your pool costs $25 to $50, depending on pool size and severity of the issue.
Pool Maintenance Cost: Do I Need Professional Pool Maintenance?
Maintaining a pool is not as simple as it sounds. Many uncontrollable factors affect the quality of your pool water, from sunshine to wind to sunscreen chemicals. If you don’t have an abundance of time on your hands, keeping up with testing, cleaning, and maintaining your pool can become overwhelming. Water quality can quickly deteriorate to unsafe levels that make it unappealing to hang out poolside. Consider the following reasons for hiring a qualified professional for pool maintenance.
The appearance of a professionally maintained pool usually surpasses that of a DIY-maintained pool simply due to the skill and available time a pro has to commit to keeping your pool sparkling clean. While you’re busy working or on vacation, they can keep an eye on the pool to make sure a sudden algae bloom doesn’t happen on their watch. You can jump in the pool any time knowing that the chemicals are safely balanced.
Preventing Water Loss
Water evaporation can happen faster than you realize. On average, a pool can lose up to 2 inches of water in a week. It’s easy to forget to check the water levels frequently until you notice the pool is nearly a foot lower than usual. This can become dangerous if you have a deep end for diving that is now shallower than expected. Additionally, if the water level drops below the skimmer basket intake tubes, the pump could be irreparably damaged. Pool service companies will make sure that the pool is always topped up no matter how much evaporation occurs each week.
When homeowners think of pools, visions of backyard barbecues, pool parties, and relaxation ensue, but there’s a hidden aspect that’s less pleasant: water quality safety. Pools are the perfect breeding ground for all manner of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and protozoa. Spending the time to stay on top of the cleanliness and clarity of your pool should be paramount when considering installing a pool—or be prepared to set aside funds for monthly pool maintenance costs.
For inground pools, maintaining your pool also includes keeping the pool deck clean and tidy. Less debris on the ground means less debris blowing into the pool. Once a pool is overwhelmed by debris or bacteria, it can be challenging to bring it back to a usable level without the help of a pool company.
Pool Maintenance Cost: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
Many pool owners choose to DIY pool maintenance on small pools or less permanent above-ground pools that only last a season or two. With less surface area to clean, it’s easier to stay on top of running the filter, testing the water, adding chemicals, and scrubbing the walls. If a pool is installed that uses saltwater-based chemicals to clean the pool, preventing mineral buildup may be challenging and time-consuming. Keeping bacteria levels to a minimum while avoiding an overabundance of chemicals can be a tricky balance to keep regular users safe. And while you may be willing to handle the daily tasks of skimming dead insects or leaves from the pool, vacuuming a 20-foot pool weekly may be more than you bargained for.
A common decision for pool owners is to handle the easy skimming and sweeping tasks independently while leaving the weekly or monthly tasks to a pro. Letting a qualified pool technician handle the chemical balance of your pool can bring some peace of mind that regular users can enjoy the pool safely. Pool technicians are also adept at handling those long-handled vacuums that reach the bottom of deep-end pools. With monthly inspections, they’ll also make sure the filters, drains, and pumps work optimally and replace them before they break down and upset the water quality.
How to Save Money on Pool Maintenance Cost
There are more ways to save on pool maintenance costs than just DIY-ing as much as possible. Implementing any of the ideas below can help you save on pool maintenance costs.
- Use a pool cover. A pool cover is the best way to keep debris from contaminating your pool. A solar cover can also double as a heater if one isn’t included in the pool. As a bonus, covering the pool when not in use prevents evaporation.
- Run your pump for only 8 hours per day. Though some homeowners prefer to run a pump for 24 hours, running it for 8 hours a day is usually sufficient and will save on energy costs.
- Install a variable speed pump. A variable speed pump can save up to 90 percent on energy costs over time—and may qualify for an energy rebate in some locations.
- Keep equipment and chemicals stored in a shed. Over time, UV rays can damage pool equipment like skimmers and vacuums. Storing equipment and chemicals properly prolongs their lifespan and safety.
- Buy in bulk. If you’re willing to handle your own testing and chemical balancing, buy your chemicals in bulk to save on volume pricing. Keep an eye on expiration dates as liquid chlorine shock lasts only a few months.
- Stay on top of pool cleaning. Regular prevention is the key to avoiding expensive treatments to correct a water quality problem.
- Lower the temperature. If you have a heated pool, running the heater only when in use or at a lower constant temperature can save on electrical costs.
Questions to Ask About Pool Maintenance Cost
When you’re ready to talk to a pro about pool maintenance costs, these questions can help you ask the right questions to avoid miscommunication and understand expectations.
- Are you licensed and insured?
- What are your qualifications?
- How long have you been in business?
- Do you have any outstanding litigation?
- What services do you recommend for my pool?
- How much do you charge for full-service visits compared to basic service visits?
- Do your technicians complete whichever tasks they think need to happen at each visit, or do they follow a specific task list?
- If I book weekly service visits, will you spot clean or do full service on each visit?
- What if I only want a few specific tasks done, as I plan to do the rest?
- Are your technicians qualified to repair broken parts?
- How can we protect my pool if I’m gone for a few weeks and I don’t want the pool serviced while I’m gone?
- Have you ever had any safety complaints due to poorly applied chemicals?
- Can I speak with a few customer referrals?
Knowing as much as possible about the complexities of pool maintenance costs will help alleviate concerns and confusion. Here are some frequently asked questions about pool maintenance costs to help guide your budget planning:
Q. Is it expensive to maintain a pool?
There are associated costs with pool maintenance that can’t be avoided. For general upkeep and supplies, you’ll likely spend $1,200 to $1,800 per year. On top of that, utility fees and potential repairs could average $3,000 to $5,000 per year. It’s estimated that homeowners spend an extra $300 per month on electricity and another $20 to $60 on water each month. Installing an efficient variable speed pump and lowering the temperature are quick ways to reduce the monthly costs.
Q. Do I need to clean my pool every day?
For outdoor pools, yes—to some degree. Daily skimming and debris removal should become a habit. Running the pump for 8 hours each day will also help to keep the pool cleaner longer. If the pool is used infrequently, then it may not require daily chemical testing and maintenance. Indoor pools require less maintenance overall.
Q. Is it enough to clean my pool once per week?
Most pools only require weekly cleaning unless they are used heavily throughout the week. In that case, brushing and vacuuming twice a week may be the best option to keep the walls of the pool clean. It’s important to also test the water quality more frequently if the pool is used a lot.
Q. What if I put too much chlorine in my pool?
If you happen to put too much chlorine in your pool, make sure to keep everyone out of the pool—including pets. Excessive chlorine can cause skin and eye problems and lung irritation, especially for those who have asthma. Beyond the personal health concerns, excess chlorine makes the pool acidic, which can corrode metal or plastic parts in the pool. A chlorine test is the only sure way to know if there is too much chlorine since it may not smell overwhelming. Follow these steps to correct excessive chlorine in your pool:
- If the test shows only slightly elevated levels, wait at least an hour before getting in the pool if the sun is out and can burn off some of the excess chemicals.
- Make sure the pool is uncovered so that UV rays can burn off the chlorine.
- Remove a chlorine floater or feeder if you’re using one.
- Use a chlorine-neutralizing chemical according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- If you prefer not to work with additional chemicals or the sun isn’t getting the job done well enough, you can call a pro to correct the problem safely and quickly.