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Old 11-27-2011, 06:21 PM
86 posts, read 268,782 times
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What is average cost to keep up with a pool monthly when you do it yourself? and how much if you pay a person to do it for you?
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Old 11-28-2011, 04:47 AM
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This is the first house I've lived in that had a pool. I thought having a pool would be expensive but I clean it and do the chemicals myself.
If I opted to have a pool guy come out once a week, it would be about $80.00 per month but I just do the cleaning myself.
2 or 3 times a week, I spend about 15 minutes vacuming the pool. Very simple and at least for me, kind of enjoyable so depending on how valuable your personal time is, that must be considered.
Anyway, the day to day expenses aren't much. A small amount of manual labor, a few chemicals now and then and a little electricity. I probably spend about 30 to 40 dollars a month and a couple hours to keep my pool in shape.
There are a few other things to keep in mind. The day to day stuff isn't what catches you off guard. It's the suprises. A pool pump goes bad. There is $300.00 dollars or more. The pump itself goes belly up. That can be $300.00 or more. Plumbing, wiring, timers, tile or plaster repairs.
There are lots of things to remember that can get costly very quickly but if you keep on top of things, to me having a pool is well worth the effort.
Some additional things to consider. Are you going to heat your pool? If so, that's a major expense. $300.00 to $500.00 per month or probably more than that.
In my case, I spend very little so far to keep my pool up. I figure about $25.00 per month on electricity, if all goes well, maybe $15.00 per month on chemicals but that can jump up a bit if there is an algea problem and a few hours per month of my labor for sweeping and brushing the pool. I could cut that in half if I used one of those auto vacumes that sits in the pool 24/7.
I'm in the process if installing a solar heater to extend my pool season. It won't probably get warm enough to swim in December and January but come mid Feb. or early March, you know where I'll be.
This is my first pool and so far, I really enjoy having it.
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Old 11-28-2011, 07:09 AM
Status: "a new reality" (set 24 days ago)
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We clean our own--vacuum it 1/week in the summer, less in the cooler/winter months. You can buy that vacuum thingy that does that for you, too. The chemicals are mostly for the hot months, the rest not so much. YOu have to skim it and clean it esp. after monsoon storms/heavy winds. We run the pump at night. Not much to it at all. I changed the pump running from day to night and the electric bill dropped around 30-35 month.
I think it's about 80/month as above poster stated is someone comes weekly.
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Old 11-28-2011, 07:34 AM
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I pay $80 a month to have someone come once a week. If you do hire someone, make certain the pool company is actually doing their job meaning they are actually showing up. Ask them specifically what is involved with each cleaning; bad companies just want to manage chemicals and leave. They will tell you they clean but they really just manage chemicals and do superficial work. You want a company that empties the filter baskets, scrubs the sides of your pool, removes surface debris and backwashes your pool from time to time. If they don't do that, keep looking because any honest pool company includes that in their basic service. Many pool companies have poor work ethics and do too many homes and will often skip your home from time to time knowing you aren't home to observe them or when they arrive, they won't do a complete job. I won't use any company that doesn't leave a statement or some type of paper receipt showing they were at your home. The bad companies or techs don't want to leave that because that is proof they were there. Also, make sure you talk to the pool tech and tell them what you expect so that they know you actually watch their work.

Lastly, if you buy a pool vacuum (which I'm assuming you will do) do NOT buy a Hayward pool vac. I've owned 3 of them in my life and they are a headache. They have too many moving parts and they break down frequently and require servicing. For whatever reason, they are often advertised as the best pool vac but they are lousy. I've had a Barracuda and it works so much better and I've not had any problems. Unlike the Hayward, they dont have a lot of tiny moving parts and they are much more durable and work better. The Barracuda is cheaper too.

Last edited by azriverfan.; 11-28-2011 at 07:43 AM..
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Old 11-28-2011, 07:38 AM
Location: Sonoran Desert
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If I spend an hour a week, there is a problem. I have one of the self cleaners that attach to the suction side. It works great. They run about 400 bucks and last about two to three years before the parts get too worn. You can buy replacement parts but they are expensive and it is cheaper/easier to just replace it. I clean the filters maybe every two weeks, but much more frequently in summer because of monsoon. Sometime two/three times a week!

I have a chlorinator (salt system) but only use in when we are out of town for a while. I prefer the trichlor tabs because the pH is more stable with them. I buy a bucket at Sams Club for about 100 dollars and it lasts many months. One tab per week in winter, two tabs twice a week in summer. Rarely have to add acid unless I run the chlorinator and then pH creeps up slowly. Note: In my experience, new pools use a large amount of acid because the plaster leaches out for several months to a year.

I run my pumps on the off peak time of day rates so it costs only a few cents a day for electricity. No idea on water, but it is practically nothing Nov-May and maybe a couple thousand gallons replacement per month in summer. I drain and refill every two years because of high dissolved solids from the hard water. That runs about 20 dollars if you do it in the winter when water rates are lower.

In summary, I hardly notice the costs relative to other things like cell phones and cable and there is minimal work involved unless there is a dust storm.

Maverick mentioned pumps and there is something to keep in mind about them. AZ law now requires that pumps be replaced with these energy saving ones that run nearly 1000 dollars installed. If you DIY, you can still buy the old style on the web for a couple hundred. The newer ones will pay for themselves but only if you are on standard electrical rates. Time of day rates make recovery of that kind of cost difficult.
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Old 11-29-2011, 08:58 AM
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Ponderosa is right in the sense that you don't need a pool cleaning service. It is something that is fairly manageable on one's own. It's a luxury. It doesn't require a lot of time but it does require diligence and consistency. You have to stay on top of it because if you don't you can have a lot of problems with your pool. I used to manage my own pool but I'm happy with my service. I like the peace of mind of never having to worry about my pool or purchase chemicals and supplies. But yeah, I don't need it and I wouldn't say that one needs a pool service. If managing your pool is an intimidating process, you can hire a pool service for a few months and ask the tech how to manage your pool. He or she will probably be happy to show you how to manage your pool because he or she likely won't own the company and have no vested interest if you quit using them. Ask him or her to show you the basics.
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Old 11-29-2011, 09:55 AM
Location: SW OK (AZ Native)
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One of the best investments I ever made with a pool was a Heet Sheet, essentially a really large sheet of bubble wrap. I would have to buy one every 2-3 years, it was a large rectangle that I would cut to fit the contours. It kept the evaporation down to such a low level that in a good Tucson monsoon season I never needed to add water. It also extended the swimming season from April to October through passive solar heating. Also, it kept leaves, dirt, and gila monsters out of the water, and significantly reduced chlorine use. Drawbacks (no one rides for free, right?) included the potential for a very warm summer water temperature (100 degrees!) and an increased propensity to have mustard algae. Leaving the sheet off at night allowed the water to cool off while minimizing evaporation. I'd remove it in the winter. I figure the $75 cost paid for itself in water savings and extended use, as well as how it raised the water temperature enough so that my attached spa took less time (and gas) to heat.

It's very important, especially in the summer, to check CL and ph levels daily. At the first sign of algae it was vital to get the proper algaecide into the water ASAP. An oxygen or chlorine shock ($3-5 a bag) after a lot of use helps, too.

Other expenses, if no one is doing it for you:
  • Filter media. There are diatomaceous earth filters (DE is pretty cheap, a large bag may last a season), sand filters (periodic recharge), and cartridges (free to clean them but a tough task, and replacement every few years is over $100).
  • Chlorine. Trichlor tablets are best, over 90% available chlorine. They're stabilized, so they are less affected by sunlight. $7-10 per pound, the amount used depends on temperature and pool size.
  • Muriatic acid or soda ash. Depends on your water, but keeping ph at around 7.0 goes a long way to keeping the pump impeller and pipes in good shape, making swimmers' eyes happy, and reducing algae. I remember the stuff being cheap, and a couple gallons lasted all season.
  • As mentioned earlier, there are surprises that can add up. A new filter, pump, etc. An older pool may need to be drained and replastered... an expensive task.
I found my electric bill went up about $25 a month for the pump on a timer, 6 or 7 hours a day.

Vacuuming or brushing the sides is also important. I had a Jandy Ray-Vac that was perfectly awesome but they stopped making them.

Post-monsoon cleaning sucks, but is necessary. I worked as a lifeguard in PHX in the 70s and we'd practically Rochambeau to avoid cleaning after a monsoon (Olympic-sized pool). Later I worked on pools on Camelback Mtn; it's amazing what you find in some pools.

I do miss pools. Yes, they can be an expense, a hole in the ground you pour money into, but they are a really nice addition when it's 115 outside.

Last edited by SluggoF16; 11-29-2011 at 10:07 AM..
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Old 11-29-2011, 12:14 PM
Location: Gilbert - Val Vista Lakes
6,069 posts, read 13,426,175 times
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Default Pool service in Gilbert

We have a pool service by an individual. He is excellent, and we pay him $99/mo including chemicals. That is based on a 48 week year, so there are 4 weeks during the year that he may not be here because of time off. (not all at the same time) That has never been a problem.

Each week he sweeps the pool (we have self cleaning pop-ups but the pool still needs sweeping), empties the filters, tests and services the chemicals. He does backwashing at intervals, also included in the service.

Once a year the filters have to be removed and cleaned. That is an extra charge because it takes around an hour or so. Any parts or other labor that's required is an extra cost.

I would estimate that our repair bill for the year, including the annual filter cleaning is around $400.

He limits the number of customers and the area so he can spend more time with each account and not spend it driving.

During the week, if we have winds, especially during monsoon season, we need to empty the filter baskets because they can fill up with leaves in one day, before he has a chance to get there.
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Old 11-30-2011, 04:39 PM
517 posts, read 1,529,007 times
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Would it be practical to "mothball" a pool during the winter if you didn't want to pay to heat it? I'm not sure how you'd do it. I'm guessing you'd have to empty it for a few months and refill later?
If changing the water is too expensive, could you let the water sit undercover, and then chemically clean it back up ready for summer?

Dunno, a crazy idea?
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Old 11-30-2011, 04:48 PM
Location: SW OK (AZ Native)
18,765 posts, read 8,451,854 times
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Originally Posted by Guitarmaan View Post
Would it be practical to "mothball" a pool during the winter if you didn't want to pay to heat it? I'm not sure how you'd do it. I'm guessing you'd have to empty it for a few months and refill later?
If changing the water is too expensive, could you let the water sit undercover, and then chemically clean it back up ready for summer?
If it sits completely unattended, even in the winter it may get an algae infestation. I usually removed the cover, kept up the chlorine and ph (doesn't use as much). My spa was attached so I could selectively heat that part only, but never heated the pool... too much $$$.

I've seen it both ways when drained. No effects at all, and plaster which dries, then cracks, then breaks free from the gunite base.

Note the custom-cut pool cover with the 2x4. Also, the dog in the pic sometimes pulled the cover from the pool.

Last edited by SluggoF16; 12-30-2011 at 07:59 AM..
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