Pools are a lot of fun in the summer, but check out the list of forgotten pool maintenance costs below before you decide to dive in.
We’re in the dog days of summer and just about every day is around 90 degrees and humid here in New Jersey. That means it’s time for my wife and I to have our annual debate about getting a pool for the backyard.
Jeri is dying for a pool. She hates the heat and gets tired of being cooped up in the air conditioning all summer long. Plus, with three young kids a pool would give them something fun to do during summer break.
And I totally get that. The kids can be a real pain in butt sometimes. They always want to go to the beach or the water park, or the spray grounds…you know, something fun where they can keep cool.
Plus, having a pool in the backyard would make our house the hub for all their friends who don’t have a pool of their own.
I kind of like that idea. I love having my kids around and I want them to feel comfortable hanging out with their friends at our house. I’m totally cool with a couple of their friends splashing around in the pool while I grill up some burgers for dinner.
And who am I kidding? I would love a pool too. When we have friends over for a summer BBQ the adults can jump in the pool with the kids too.
I’m also thinking about how gross I feel after mowing the lawn or doing yard work. Being able to hop right into a pool to cool off is pretty tempting!
I should clarify that when I mention a pool I’m not talking about building an expensive in-ground pool. That is WAY out of our price range and not even up for discussion.
Nope, a good-sized above ground pool is more than enough to keep me happy.
Actually, we did have a small pool in the yard for a couple of years. It was one of those do it yourself Intex pools that you can buy in the store or from Amazon. I built in myself in just a couple of hours, and I really enjoyed having that pool.
The only problem was the size. It was just too small. My kids were younger then and I underestimated the size we would need. I think it was 12 feet wide and only 36 inches tall, which means the water was only about 30 inches high.
That DIY pool served its purpose well but only lasted two years. We left it up year round which normally wouldn’t be a problem.
But as fate would have it, Hurricane Sandy came along and our little pool was no more.
I’m not complaining though. Other than some missing roof tiles and a damaged fence the pool was our only casualty. I know people who lost everything in that storm.
But let’s get back to the discussion of whether or not we should get a pool.
I checked out a local pool place and it would cost me about $1,600 for a 15 foot round pool. I haven’t shopped around yet so I might be able to find a better deal but let’s just use that number for now.
I’d also need to get some electrical work done to add an outdoor receptacle for the pool filter and I’d want a light in the pool area too. So let’s say the total installation cost is $2,000.
Pool Maintenance Costs
Of course the price of the pool itself is just one part of the overall expense. If you’re thinking of getting a pool for yourself you should consider these hidden costs of owning a pool.
It’s important to keep your pool clean and safe to swim in and that requires maintenance. At the minimum you’ll need some chlorine and PH, as well as a pool testing kit so you can check the levels of each and make adjustments as needed.
There are two types of test kits to choose from. You can either get strips that change color when you place them in the pool water or a liquid dye that you add to a small sample of the water. I always preferred the liquid one but it’s just a preferance.
The PH I use just gets sprinkled on the water’s surface, but the chlorine comes in tablets that have to be added to a floater so they slowly break up and dissolve into the pool water. In addition to the floater, you’ll need a skimmer which is a big net that you use to clean bugs, leaves, and other small objects from the surface.
You’ll also need some kind of vacuum to clean the bottom of the pool. There are a variety of vacuums with replaceable heads and hoses that hook up directly to your pool’s filter.
Make sure you get a good vacuum because if you get a piece of garbage your pool will never look clean.
Pool Toys and Accessories
Particularly if you have kids, you’ll also have to add in the cost of goggles, beach balls, inflatable rings, floating noodles, maybe a volleyball net, and other assorted pool accessories.
These inexpensive items can add up to a significant expense if you let them. make sure you add them into the cost of owning a pool.
Even a small pool like mine required a few thousand gallons of water to fill up (that first water bill of the summer is a doozy!) and you’ll probably have to top it off every once in a while as the water level decreases due the kids splashing around.
Your electric bill will also go up as you keep the filter running for hours every day to keep the water clean.
Increased utility bills are a pool maintenance cost that catches many people completely off guard.
One pool maintenance cost that most people almost never consider is their homeowner’s insurance. Statistics show that people who own a pool are more likely to file a claim.
Pool accidents are common and most insurers will increase your annual premium if you add a pool to your yard.
When you add all these hidden expenses up, the real cost of owning a pool is a lot more than you realize. And that doesn’t even include the TIME spent cleaning and maintaining the pool.
I’m not convinced a pool is worth the cost right now, but as the summers seem to get hotter every year I’m starting to waver. If I can find a good deal I might just use part of this year’s bonus toward an above ground pool.
What about you? Do you have a pool? If not, would you ever consider getting one?