Pools: What’s the true cost?
Pool or no pool? Year after year the approach of summer has us crunching numbers to determine the cost of maintaining a pool. Whether the pool is already installed in your backyard or is on your list of projects, make sure you’ve correctly estimated how much it will cost you when you’re putting together your family budget. To that end, here are a few pool maintenance costs you’ll want to consider.
Opening, maintenance and closing costs
When summer arrives, you can buy a pool opening kit with all the products you need for $30. Plan to spend between $150 and $200 if you want to hire a professional to prepare the pool for you.
For a new pool, the initial purchase of a pool filter will cost you between $500 and $2000, while regular maintenance fluctuates depending on the type of chlorination you choose, traditional or salt. If you opt for a chlorine water purifying system, depending on the capacity of your pool you can expect to spend between $60 and $120 a year on chlorine, either in liquid, granulated or tablet forms. For salt water chlorination, you’ll need to buy an additional system at a cost of $800 to $1500, as well as diminishing fees for salt. So, the first year you should expect to pay between $30 and $100 for salt depending on the capacity of water in the pool, and then between $15 and $50 for the following years.
Once pool season is over, a pool cover (optional) will cost between $100 and $1000 depending on the quality. A pool closing kit will run you between $10 and $40 for all the products you need. You can also contract out the closing of your pool to professionals for a cost of about $150 to $200.
Don’t forget to consider the ancillary costs of owning a pool, like products to correct the quality of the water if needed, pool accessories like a trampoline or a waterslide, occasional repairs or even the services of a professional electrician for the lighting system and other electrical elements, which could cost up to $300.
Economical : $370
Luxury : $1700
The cost of a water heater
A water heater will allow you to enjoy your pool from the very start of the season, right into the fall.
A heat pump will cost you between $1500 and $4000, and just under $500 in hydro for a season of swimming.
A gas heater – by far the costlier option, but the fastest-acting – will cost you between $1500 and $3000 to buy, plus usage which can easily run up to $7 an hour.
Solar powered systems remain the most affordable. Expect to spend between $1000 and $1500 for a solar heater, or a little more than $50 for a solar cover – it’s the reel, which sells for about $200, that brings up the price.
When you’re buying a pool, a water heater seems like an extravagant expense that could easily be left out. But make sure you’ve thought it though, because installing a heater years later can have supplemental costs attached that you could have avoided by installing the heater at the same time as the pool. Think travel expenses for the professionals doing the installation, landscaping and the day of work you might have to take off to supervise a second phase of work.
Economical : $250
Luxury : $4000
The best time to buy
The end of summer and early autumn are the ideal times to pick up the maintenance products you will assuredly need to open your pool and maintain the subsequent summers. Take advantage of sales to also buy the pool games kids love so much, or to get the pool furniture you dreamed about all summer, for less.
Fall is also the best time to buy a pool. You’ll be able to take advantage of end of season pricing and most of all, you’ll avoid winter price hikes.
As for pool installation and repair, avoid delivery delays and the rush of the busy season and get the work done before the frost in the fall, or very early in the spring. Note that the busiest time is in the summer, when you’ll experience price hikes and annoying delays.
A pool: An expense or an investment?
Starting from the assumption that an expense constitutes money you spend without receiving any compensation in return, an unused pool represents a big one, particularly in terms of the costs related to maintenance, installation permits and municipal taxes.
But if you consider your pool to be an opportunity to get family and friends together, and spend your whole summer in the water, you can absolutely consider it an investment. Though it costs a significant amount, you’ll get significant benefits to match, like the ability to take a staycation – a well-deserved and low-cost alternative to taking a trip.
Note that in no circumstances will a pool add to the resale value of your home. At best, it might be the deciding factor for a buyer who always wanted a pool… Or it could be a competitive disadvantage for buyers who don’t like to swim and don’t care to pay to upkeep a pool.
The decision to have a pool should be based only on how much happiness it will bring you (and your friends and family!).
Pool insurance: A must
There are no guarantees against bad weather or faulty installations, but taking an all-risk insurance policy with a deductible will allow you to enjoy your pool with peace of mind.
By opting for pool insurance, you’ll get coverage that includes damage caused by the ground freezing and thawing, by snow and ice, and even wind. It’s a good way to protect the pool itself, as well as the systems that make it work, furniture and landscaping – that often represent considerable sums.
Summer is meant for having fun… not for worrying. Find out about what pool insurance will best meet your needs.
In short, keep in mind that the most profitable pool is the one you actually use. This summer, forget the AC and dive in!
Edited on 4 May 2017