The true cost of adding a pool

Learn how much adding a pool costs, what maintenance costs are and how it can affect utility and insurance bills. Plus, we share tips on reducing those costs.

Lee Huffman
November 6, 2023

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Many homeowners look at adding a pool for summertime fun with family and friends. This upgrade can also make a home more appealing when selling it. However, they may not understand the total cost of owning a pool. Not only do they have to pay for it to be installed, but pools require maintenance and could affect homeowners insurance rates. Learn more about how much it costs to add a pool, what other costs to expect and how to reduce costs of owning a pool.

How much does it cost to install a pool?

The cost of installing a pool varies on numerous factors. These factors include the size, shape, type of materials, location and the accessories you order. Additionally, adding decking, water features, cabanas and other outdoor living elements increases the cost.

Inground pools typically cost more than above-ground pools. However, some homeowners reduce the cost of an inground pool by purchasing a fiberglass inground pool. The average costs to install different types of pools are as follows:

Homeowners often use their home equity to pay for a pool. To access home equity, homeowners can refinance their mortgage, get a HELOC or home equity loan or use a Home Equity Investment (HEI) from Point.

In addition to the pool installation, there are other building costs to consider. Most cities require that homeowners get a permit before doing any major renovations of their home or property. Costs vary by city, but it is critical to get a permit before starting construction. Many homeowners also want a beautiful backyard to highlight their new pool. These additional costs could include new landscaping, furniture, gazebos, BBQs and more.

As wonderful as pools are, they can also be dangerous. Installing a fence protects children, animals and others from accessing the pool when they should not. Aside from being a good idea, local laws and your insurance company may require that you have a fence installed around your pool.

The cost of maintaining a pool

Once your pool is installed and paid for, the costs don't stop there. Pools have to be maintained as well to keep them clean and healthy. Some homeowners hire a pool cleaner, while others handle this chore themselves. Hiring a pool cleaning service costs around $20 to $50 per week. To save money, some homeowners handle the basic tasks and hire a professional for more in-depth service or repairs.

Chemicals

Pools require numerous chemicals to maintain a healthy balance. Common pool chemicals include chlorine, shock, algae control and water balancers. Additionally, if you're handling your own pool maintenance, you'll need to buy a water testing kit to determine which chemicals to add. These chemicals have a wide variety of costs, but you can expect to spend about $750 per year in total.

Maintenance

Your pool and its filter need to be cleaned on a regular basis too. If you have trees nearby, your pool may accumulate leaves, bark fragments, pine needles and other debris. Beyond larger items, you may also have to clean accumulated algae and dirt from the pool floor, walls and steps. Typically this is handled with a pole with various attachments, like a net and scrub brush. Some homeowners invest in an automated vacuum to reduce the manual labor required to keep their pools clean. An automated pool cleaner may cost between $500 and $1,000 or more, depending on the model and where you buy it.

Seasonal expenses

When you live in an area of the country that freezes during the winter, it is important to understand seasonal maintenance costs. As temperatures drop below 65 degrees, you'll need to "close" your pool and winterize it. Winterizing costs around $250 and involves reducing the water level, using specific chemicals in your pool, and treating the equipment to prevent it from damage due to freezing and non-use.

As temperatures warm in the spring, you'll "open" your pool by adding water, cleaning the pool and adjusting chemical levels. You should also inspect and clean your equipment to avoid damaging the pool or equipment as you turn everything back on. On average, it costs $350 to open a pool for the season.

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How much does a pool cost per month in electricity?

Beyond chemicals and maintenance, adding a pool also impacts your monthly electricity bill. Pool pumps need to run several hours per day, which adds up quickly. Electricity costs vary based on your pool size, the type of pump you have and how many hours it runs.

Typically, pool pumps need to run more during the summer to reduce algae growth. The pump runs less in the winter, especially if you "close" your pool for the season. On average, pool pumps run for 10 to 12 hours a day during the summer and 6 to 8 hours in the winter. Depending on how much you use your pool and how well you maintain it, you may be able to reduce the time your pump runs. Purchasing a more energy-efficient pump and ensuring that the pump size matches your pool size can reduce your electricity costs.

Running a pool pump typically adds $50 a month to your electricity bill. However, rates vary by location and what time you run your pool pump. Some cities offer lower rates when running your pool pump at night because there is less demand for electricity.

Pool lights, fountains and other accessories can also add to your electricity consumption. Put these items on timers or only turn them on when being used to keep from paying for unnecessary electricity.

Additional pool expenses to budget for

As a pool owner, you need to be prepared for additional expenses as well. Some of these expenses occur regularly, while others only happen occasionally.

Insurance costs

When you have a pool, it is wise to increase the liability coverage on your homeowners policy. Your home may become a popular place to hang out among your friends and family. If anyone gets hurt, they may attempt to sue you for their injuries, even if you feel that it wasn't your fault. Additionally, some insurance companies require higher limits or additional coverage when you have a pool.

In some cases, your current insurer may cancel your policy if you have a diving board or a slide on your pool. Changing insurance companies could cause you to lose out on discounts with your current provider. However, this could also prompt you to shop around your insurance policies to find a better deal.

Repairs and unexpected maintenance expenses

Even with regular maintenance, your pool will require repairs and other maintenance costs every so often. For example, your pool pump may break down and need repairs or to be replaced. Inground pools require an acid wash every five to seven years to restore its surface. The plastic liner of above ground pools can be torn and need to be replaced or patched. Consider setting aside a regular amount into a high-yield savings account dedicated to repairs. This money can soften the blow when larger expenses occur.

Upgrades and renovations

Adding a pool to your home may inspire other upgrades and renovations in your backyard and inside the home. People with a pool often want to surround it with an equally attractive backyard. These upgrades can increase enjoyment and make it more appealing when hosting friends and family for swim parties.

Is installing a pool worth it?

Although adding a pool requires a sizeable upfront investment and ongoing costs, many families believe that it is worth it. The bonding time creates lifetime memories before kids grow up and move out, or when kids return with grandchildren.

On the financial side, adding a pool can increase your home's value by 5% to 8%. However, the boost in your home's value may not cover the upfront cost and ongoing maintenance that you've paid. Since the costs often outweigh the benefits, adding a pool should be based on the experience more than the finances.

If you have bad credit, you may still be able to get a loan to access your home's equity. However, you may be better off focusing on improving your credit first. Then, once your credit score improves, you can finance your pool addition on more favorable terms.

Depending on your local market and homebuyer tastes, your home may be more or less attractive to potential buyers when you have a pool. Some buyers do not want the hassle, responsibility and added cost of maintaining a pool. Others may have a pool high on their wishlist when searching for homes.

Cost-saving strategies for pool owners

The costs of owning a pool may be overwhelming for some homeowners. However, there are simple strategies to reduce these expenses.

  • Conserve water. Reduce the frequency of refilling your pool by keeping a cover on the pool when it's not in use. Pool covers also help to heat the water and keep leaves and other debris from getting in the water.
  • Maintain it yourself. Handling the chemicals, cleaning, and maintenance of your pool also keeps your costs down. While it may seem intimidating at first, homeowners can quickly learn how to properly maintain their pool.
  • Invest in energy-efficient equipment. This can reduce your monthly electricity consumption and lower your bill. Having the right size pool pump ensures that the motor isn't working harder than it needs to.
  • Run pool pump when needed. Adjust the number of hours that your pool pump runs based on the season. Running it during off-peak hours can also trigger lower electricity rates if your city uses tiered pricing.
  • Install solar panels. Some homeowners install solar electricity to offset the added costs of running a pool. Solar panels can also reduce your overall electricity bill, depending on the number of panels you buy. Local and federal incentives can help to cover some of the cost of adding solar to your home.

Maintaining pool safety on a budget

As a pool owner, it is also important to ensure a safe environment around your pool. Even if you have a fence around your pool, consider installing a safety cover or pool alarm. Children and pets are clever and can figure out ways to get over or around your fence and into danger.

Schedule regular inspections of your pool and its equipment. These inspections can identify small problems before they become larger and more expensive. In some cases, the savings from fixing a small problem can easily cover the cost of the inspection.

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Final thoughts

Many homeowners dream of adding a pool to their home. Pools provide hours of entertainment and a place for family members to create wonderful memories. Adding a pool requires a significant upfront cost. Plus, owning a pool leads to ongoing maintenance costs, higher electricity bills and an increase in insurance premiums.

There are ways to reduce these costs, including doing maintenance yourself, buying an energy-efficient pump and using a pool cover. Adding a pool can increase the value of your home, but the upfront cost often exceeds the added value. For this reason, the decision to build a pool should be based on affordability and a desire to enjoy the pool more than an increase in its resale value.

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