Pool Life – what’s the real cost?

With summer fast approaching, it has us thinking about pools and how nice it would be to have one in our own backyard. Our previous homes all had pools, so it was always assumed that we’d put one in when we purchased this house. But as the decision nears, it isn’t as easy as we expected. In the past, we installed aboveground pools because it was convenient and easier based on the topography of the yards. In this home, we imagined french doors leading to a beautiful patio with an inground pool surrounded by concrete and grass. However, it’s been well over ten years since we last installed a pool, and the cost is giving us pause. Beyond installation, the maintenance costs must also be considered. So what really goes into installing and maintaining a pool? 

Having a pool is really a choice in lifestyle. It can be convenient to have your own and certainly elevates your leisure time. Swimming is also a great form of exercise, especially for those rehabbing or who are prone to injuries. It provides cardio with virtually no stress on joints, tendons, and ligaments. Pools can also be a key entertainment piece for families. Strategically placed in a yard, pools very much become an extension of the home. We’ve all experienced that cookout with friends or family gathering where the pool was the highlight for the kids. And who doesn’t love being the popular parents that have everyone over to enjoy the space? 

On the flip side, there are other factors to consider aside from family enjoyment and lifestyle. Pools can be expensive. Aboveground pools are typically a more affordable option and can be installed for as little as $10-15k. This may not include the decking that is necessary around the pool itself. Inground pools have a much higher price tag since they must be excavated to a certain depth. And if a pool with diving capacity is required, there is an added cost. This, along with the pool installation itself, can cost up to $50-60k. Some neighborhoods require fencing around inground pools, which would add another $2-5k to the total cost. 

Whether the installation cost seems reasonable or not, it is only the beginning to owning and maintaining a pool. Pool maintenance is often overlooked and is the key to extending the life of your pool. They must be cleaned at minimum on a weekly basis. Aside from skimming leaves, bugs, and other small debris from the pool, the sides and bottom must be checked and cleaned for algae and vacuumed to collect debris along the bottom of the pool. Pool pumps should also run for at least 10 to 12 hours each day. This is to keep circulation in the pool water, which will reduce the likelihood of algae buildup. Investing in pool chemicals is also a must. The types of chemicals you’ll need will ultimately depend on the system you choose (salt water, chlorine, UV). Homeowners are likely to see a slight increase in the utility bills due to the extra water and electricity needed to run the pool. Annual maintenance costs on average are around $3-4k. 

Overall, pools are beautiful features that can complement those with an active lifestyle. But it doesn’t come without a cost. The most important thing when buying a pool is to complete your research. Know your budget and how much time you are really able to spend each week cleaning and maintaining the pool. 

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