Being a pool owner means you can swim whenever you want. But in order to enjoy that convenience, your pool needs to stay clean.
And unfortunately, that doesn’t happen by itself. Your pool demands regular skimming, brushing, vacuuming, and chemical maintenance. Which requires you to invest time, money, and energy to get it done.
So naturally, that raises a few important questions:
“How much time do I have to spend maintaining my pool?”
“How much does it cost to maintain a pool?”
In this post, we answer both of those questions,and give you a better idea of what to expect going forward.
The Cost To Maintain a Pool & How Much Time It Takes
Skimming your pool is what keeps all those leaves and bugs floating on the surface from sinking to the bottom and clogging up your filter. And it’s a great way to keep your pool looking aesthetically pleasing, while reducing your filter’s workload.
Time: 5-10 mins | 2-3 times per week
Cost: $10-$20 (One-time cost for skimmer net) | Just 5-10 mins of your time
Emptying skimmer baskets
Whatever you don’t pick up when skimming, your pool’s built-in skimmer probably will. But over time, the skimmer basket gets filled with leaves and can clog up.
To avoid any circulation problems, clean out your skimmer basket once a week. It’s an easy way to maintain good water flow, and keep your filter system working at it’s best.
Time: Less than 2 minutes | Once per week
Brushing takes care of all the debris and buildup that latches onto your pool walls. The same buildup that’s often responsible for green and cloudy water — which makes brushing your pool a must. It’s a little work now, to avoid a lot more work later.
Brush your pool walls and stairs around 2-3 times per week.
IMPORTANT: Each type of pool requires a different kind of pool brush
- Gunite pools: Stainless steel brush
- Concrete pools: Stainless steel & Nylon pool brush
- Fiberglass, Vinyl, Painted Concrete pools: Nylon pool brush
Time: 10-20 mins | 2-3 times per week
After you brush your pool, it’s no secret that all the buildup you loosen has to go somewhere. And that somewhere is either your pool floor, or filter.
Vacuuming your pool is like the cherry on top. It cleans up after your brushing, and removes leftover debris.
Vacuum at least once per week, or after each brushing.
Time: At least once per week | 10-15 minutes
Cost: $20-$30 (One time cost for vacuum head & hose)
Related: How To Vacuum a Pool Manually
Running the filter
Running your pump powers your filter system, which purifies your water and keeps your pool clean. Luckily, this is one of the easiest parts of pool maintenance, since all you have to do is turn it on each day.
For the best results (and the most energy savings), run your filter pump at least 8 hours a night.
But if you don’t want to do every single day, an automatic pool timer can do the job for you. Just adjust the settings, and have the time power your pool equipment for you automatically.
Time: Daily | 8 hours (passive)
Cost: Cost of running pool pump ($50-$250) per month
Cleaning the filter
In order for your pool filter to continue working effectively, it needs to be cleaned regularly. Or at least when the filter media (cartridges, sand, DE grids) get dirty.
When filter media gets clogged up, your filter becomes less effective, and your pump has to work harder to circulate the water.
You can read about cleaning and replacing filters here:
Overall, just remember to clean your filter at least once every month. Or every few months during off season.
Time: Less than 1 hour | At least once per month
Cost: FREE (+Cost of filter media replacement when needed)
Adjusting water temperature
What’s a well-maintained pool worth, if it’s too hot or cold to swim in? Not much.
That’s where your pool heater comes in. Using a pool heater extends your pool season, and lets you swim at whichever temperature you enjoy most.
After the first heating, you only need to run your heater a few hours a day to maintain your desired temperature.
Pro tip: To avoid heat loss and speed up heating time, use a solar cover
Time: Initially run for 24-48 hours | 3-7 hours Daily
Cost: $50-$150 month (heat pumps) | $150 – $500 month (gas)
Related: 7 Cheap Ways To Heat Your Pool
Balancing the water
Keeping your pool physically clean is one thing. But maintaining healthy, germ free water is another story.
For that, your water needs to be balanced. This involves adjusting the levels of sanitizer, pH, Total Alkalinity, and Calcium Hardness using different chemical.
Balancing your pool water is what keeps it safe and healthy to swim in.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on balancing pool water: Balance Your Swimming Pool in 7 Easy Steps
- Chlorine: $60-$80 for 25lbs of tablets
- Alkalinity Increaser & Decreaser: $30-$50 for 16lb bags
- pH Increaser & Decreaser: $30-40 for 10lb bags
- Calcium Hardness Increaser: $50 for 25lb bucket
Time: 10-15 mins | 2 – 3 times per week
Cost: $15 – $40 per month
Adjusting water level
Every swimming pool is prone to water loss. Whether it’s from leaks, or just natural evaporation.
And while using a solar cover can reduce your pool’s evaporation rate, it doesn’t stop it. Which means you have to replace the water that your pool loses.
Luckily, that’s as simple as grabbing your garden hose and letting it run until your water line returns to mid skimmer level.
But the more often you keep your pool covered, the less you’ll have to do this. So consider keeping your pool covered whenever it’s not in use.
Time: 1-3 hours | As needed
Cost: Cost per gallon of water
While brushing your pool, and keeping it balanced are great ways to avoid green water, there’s one more step you can take. And that’s adding algaecide treatment each week.
Keeping your water balanced prevents algae from growing. But adding algaecide is what kills it off for good.
Time: Once per week | Less than 5 mins
By doing everything above, you’ll already have some impressively clear pool water.
But if you really want to take things to the next level, and have the kind of water that reflects the sun like diamonds — use a clarifier.
A clarifier clumps together all of the contaminants floating in your water, so your filter can grab theme easier. So essentially, it’s a filter enhancer/booster.
Time: Once per week
Stain and scale remover
The last essential chemical in the list is stain & scale remover. As the name implies, this product keeps your pool spot free, and prevents staining.
Most stain & scale removers last at least 30 days, which keeps them fairly affordable. A few popular stain & scale removal products include:
- Pool enzymes
- Metal sequestrates
Time: Less than 5 minutes | Once or twice a month
Cost: $15 -$25
Swimming Pool Maintenance Cost Guide/Chart
|Type of maintenance||When to do it||Cost|
|Skimming||2-3 times per week||Free (Plus $10-$20 for skimmer net)|
|Emptying skimmer baskets||Once per week||Free|
|Brushing||2-3 times per week||Free (Plus $15-$30 for pool brush)|
|Vacuuming||Once per week||Cost of running pump (Plus $20-$40 for vacuum)|
|Running filter||8 hours daily||Cost of running pump | $50-$250|
|Cleaning filter||Every 1-3 months||Free (Plus cost of filter media replacement)|
|Heating water||4-8 hours daily||$50-$150 per month (for Heat Pumps)|
|Adjusting water level||As needed||$30-$50 annually|
|Testing & balancing water||2-3 times per week||$15-$40 per month (Chemicals)|
|Adding algaecide||At least once per month||$15-$30 per treatment|
|Adding clarifier||Once per week||$15-$30 per bottle|
|Adding stain & scale remover||Once per month||$30-$50 total|
Don’t want to spend time & energy on pool maintenance? Consider these solutions
Pool cleaning services
A quick Google search of “pool cleaning service” will bring up a few local companies in your area.
Most pool cleaning services cover everything listed above at a rate of $50-$125 per visit (typically an hour or so). And typically, most pool owners schedule 2-4 cleaning services per month.
So if you rather have someone else handle pool maintenance for you, this is the way to go.
Cost: $50 per hour/ $100-$250 per month
Automatic pool cleaner
If you’re not ready to hire a pool cleaning service, but still want to save time and money on cleaning, an automatic pool cleaner works great.
Essentially, it’s a pool vacuum/brush that drives itself around the inside of your pool — cleaning the walls and floors for you.
Using an automatic pool cleaner easily cuts your workload in half, since it’s takes care of some of the most time-consuming maintenance jobs (brushing and vacuuming). Which means you spend less time cleaning, and more time enjoying the water.
There are three main types of automatic pool cleaners:
- Pressure Side Pool Cleaner
- Suction Side Pool Cleaner
- Robotic Pool Cleaner
You can learn more about automatic pool cleaners here: Automatic Pool Cleaners 101
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