What Costs Are Involved in Maintaining a Swimming Pool?

Thinking of getting a home with a pool or building a pool?  Wondering what it will cost to maintain?  While I will be unable to give you exact prices, because they vary from region to region, I can tell WHAT you will need to invest in, and continue to buy.  I run a swimming pool maintenance, repair, service and retail in South Orange County, California.  Any prices I mention, please take them in that context.  Things have gone up in price exponentially in the last couple of years, due to shortages, labor costs and shipping restrictions.  This has extended to the pool industry as well. A swimming pool is a luxury item, like a boat.  And much like a boat, it takes constant care or else you end up spending even more money to repair.  My motto is , “It is always easier to PREpare than to REpair.”

Cleaning Equipment

You will need to net, brush and vacuum your swimming pool at least once a week.  This requires a telescopic pole.  For a pool, you’ll want to buy one that extends from 8’-16’.  The good thing about poles today is they are universal, meaning most cleaning attachments are designed to fit on your pole.  They just clip on.  You will need at least one brush, although having an “everyday brush” and an “algae” (wire) brush.  For a universal brush, I recommend getting one with patented 360 degree technology so you can get every area of your pool with ease.

You will need a leaf rake, which has a deep bag that allows you to get debris out of your pool.  While these can also be used as a skimmer to skim your pool’s surface, some pool owners also get a separate skimmer, which has a flat surface and is a bit easier to navigate along your pool’s surface.  A good net can be $30-50.  A pole can be $30-50.  Think of these items like a pair of shoes. You can buy inexpensive ones that need replacing often, or you can get a better quality and have it last longer.

You will need a way to vacuum your pool as well.  There are manual vacuums that involve using the telescopic pole you already have, a vacuum hose long enough to reach your entire pool, and a vacuum head designed for your pool’s surface.  Hoses can run $35-$60 depending on the length.  A vacuum head is around $40-$50.  This method involves you doing the manual labor. Many people opt to purchase an automatic pool cleaner.  These come in suction, pressure and robotic cleaner.  Pressure cleaners are becoming less popular due to the need for a booster pump.  A suction cleaner plugs into your skimmer and utilizes your pump and filter.  The name brand (quality) ones are $300-$600 and many have rebates throughout the year.  Want a cleaner that is independent from your pump and filter and will also brush your pool wall? Go for a robotic cleaner.  Many can be controlled from an app on your phone.  I refer to these as “The Hummers of the Sea” because they cost significantly more.  A robotic cleaner could set you back $1,500-$3,000 and again , may have a rebate.  All cleaners have wear and tear parts and I recommend taking it in to a professional every 6 months for an inspection. 


Whether you have a salt, chlorine or bromine pool, you will need to keep your pool sanitized.  Salt pools require a salt system.  (APX $2,500 installed) and salt, around $15 bucks a bag.  When the cell goes bad, you are looking at just under $1,000 to replace.  Boards can be significantly more.  If it is a traditional chlorine pool you will need to keep not only the sanitizer levels in check, but adjust pH and alkalinity.  You will need to maintain a cyanuric acid level.  Calcium hardness must stay in range.  In my experience, it is wisest to buy in bulk.  (Except for liquid chlorine and acid.  In this case , you don’t want to buy more than you can use in a month as they lose their potency over time).  If you keep your water balanced and circulated you will spend around $600-$800 in chemicals per year.  If you let your water go, expensive algae treatments, chlorine washes and acid washes may be called for which can run hundreds of dollars.  So let’s stay on top of our water chemistry friends!  You will need to invest in test strips (less than $20) or a test kit ($15-$75 depending on the size) or bring in your water to a local pool store for testing.  (Most establishments will do this service for free)

Equipment and Operation

Pool water needs to be circulated to stay clean.  Hopefully, you have a variable speed pump, like our Black + Decker 2HP Variable Speed Pump, and are enjoying those energy savingsSingle speed pump owners, I feel your pain, but running your pump less to “save money” just means you’ll be using those “savings” on additional chemicals.

Making sure your filter is regularly cleaned involves doing it yourself, which the labor is free, but you’ll have to pay for diatomaceous earth, or cartridge cleaner, lube for your o-rings and possibly the o-rings themselves.  Or you can hire a professional to do it for usually under $175.

Keeping your equipment in good working order will allow proper circulation and help prevent any water quality issues.

Hiring Someone

Some people prefer to hire a pool professional to maintain their swimming pools.  This usually includes weekly service.  Your pool pro will check and balance the water chemistry, empty all the baskets, brush and vacuum the pool and net out any debris.  This can be costly, but ask yourself, “How valuable is my time?”.  Sometimes having someone else do the work can save money because you hopefully will not run into any major issues that cost extra money.  Pool service can be anywhere from $120-$250 for pool owners.  Again, this depends on the size of your pool and where you live.

So we have covered some of the costs of maintaining a swimming pool.  Whether you do it yourself or hire someone, there will be a cost involved.  The point is to enjoy your pool, so go with whatever route accomplishes this.  See you poolside!