We get asked a lot how much it costs to build a pool. But an important question to consider is how much it will cost to operate once it’s up and running. Pool maintenance includes chemicals and electricity, and repair of broken or
There are a variety of the pumps on the market that use differing amounts of electricity: They can run for one timed cycle, several timed cycles, or constantly at different speeds. Single speed are the most expensive–and less spendy to run are the variable-speed and two-speed pumps. The reason some choose to run a pump constantly is that it filters and sanitizes the water all day, but it does use more electricity than if you ran it at intervals. Pumps with multiple speeds give you more options for how long and at what speed you run your pump. Online calculators can help you determine the cost, using the size of your pool, what type of pump you have and its horsepower.
Heating your pool is optional, but it makes the pool comfortable for more of the year. There are several heating options. Solar heaters use the sun’s energy to heat the pool. While these might need maintenance, they don’t need fuel or electricity to run and essentially lack a monthly cost after installation. You can also use a heat pump, which does require electricity. These don’t generate heat, but rather remove existing heat from the air and transfer it to the water. It’s an efficient option so long as the ambient temperature is above 37 degrees—that’s the recommendation for the Hayward Low ambient heat pump we use. (It’s perfect for Oregon with our average winter temp being in the mid to high 40s.) A third option is a gas heater, which uses gas to generate heat, and then circulates the water through the heater to warm it. Gas heaters use more energy than the other options, but they are the most common type of heater. Several factors determine how much energy a heater will use, including how large the pool is, the amount of sunlight and the air temperature. There are calculators to assist you with this. In addition, using a solar cover over the pool will help to keep the heat in during the night, which means that you don’t have to use as much electricity to heat the pool again in the daytime, keeping costs down.
Swimming pools can need a lot of chemicals in order to be safe and enjoyable. You need to test the pH of the pool regularly, and add acidic or basic chemicals in order to keep it pH neutral. How much this costs depends on how often you need the chemicals and what type or brand you purchase. You may need chemicals to combat hard water if it is a problem, and you need chemicals to combat the growth of organisms in the pool. Chlorine is the traditional method, but there are a lot of “green” alternatives available, all of which have different costs. For example, some systems use salt to maintain clean water. Table salt, at a chemical level, is composed of sodium and chlorine. Systems that use salt rather than chlorine use electricity to separate the sodium atoms from the chlorine atoms, then return the chlorine to the water to kill bacteria and algae. Salt is less expensive than pool chlorine, so this method can save money, though the initial installation can be pricey.
A cost that can get overlooked is the cost for generally maintaining and fixing a pool. Pools can develop cracks or rips in liners, pumps can break or malfunction, and filters need replacing. In general, a pool can cost about 10 percent of the original installation cost per year, more if you use a pool service company. Multiply the installation cost by 10 percent, then divide by 12 to get an idea of this cost per month. As another consideration, you may want insurance that protects you from the liability that comes with having a pool, an additional cost. Don’t miss our safety blog on using pool chemicals wisely–you can check it out here.
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