Summer is here and that means it’s officially time to shimmy into your bathing suit, get out the floaties and pool toys, and beat the heat by spending the afternoons in the pool with your family. If you own a pool, then you’re probably the envy of all your neighbors—that is until they find out how much you spend on pool-related expenses. But don’t worry, you’re not going to have to resort to charging admission to your pool to offset its cost. There are several ways to save on pool expenses.
How to Save on Water
- If you are using city water to fill up your pool, it will cost you anywhere from $100 to $250 to fill up your pool depending on the size of your pool and water usage rates in your area. To save money, consider getting your pool filled by your local fire company. Depending on your location, you may be able to get your local fire department to fill up your pool for a $50-$75 donation to the fire department. As such, this is typically a cheaper option than filling your own pool with city water.
- Don't drain and refill your pool when opening up your pool for the year. Regardless of how bad the old pool water looks, using pool chemicals to treat the water rather than replacing it is a safe and cost-effective option.
- Due to evaporation, you may have to top off your pool with water from time to time. To prevent costly evaporation, invest in a pool cover. Not only will a cover cut down on your water bill, but also it helps keep debris out of the pool and maintain chemical levels.
How to Save on Heating
- The American Red Cross recommends a pool water temperature of 78ºF for competitive swimming. However, young children and the elderly will typically be most comfortable in water that is 80ºF. Depending on the climate where you live, each degree rise in temperature will cost 10%-30% more in energy costs.
- Consider investing in a solar pool cover which can warm the water as much as 10ºF. Keeping the cover on the pool when it is not in use also helps hold in the heat. Pursuant to the U.S. Department of Energy, it costs $810 to heat an outdoor home pool in Chicago to 78ºF from May 1st to September 30th (this costs drops to $105 if you use a pool cover). For the U.S. Department of Energy’s table of estimated costs for heating pools with outside heating pumps by location, by water temperature, and with or without using a pool cover, click here.
- A pool heater can cost $1000-$2000 to replace. To prevent the premature replacement of your pool heater due to corrosion, keep your pool's calcium hardness level between 200-350 ppm, which is the ideal level to keep the heater's copper heat exchanger from corroding.
- If you won't be using your pool for several days, turn the heater off or the temperature down. It is a myth that it takes more energy (and thus more money) to heat the pool back up to the desired temperature than the amount of money you'll save by turning off the heater or lowering its temperature.
How to Save on Chemicals and Pool Supplies
- Around Memorial Day, some suppliers will offer seasonal discounts for chemicals and other pool supplies. While you can save money buying bulk chemicals and supplies for the entire summer, do not try to store these chemicals over the winter as they may lose their effectiveness.
- Keeping your pool covered when not in use can reduce your chemical costs by up to 50%.
- If you are using over 10 pounds a year of pH increaser or decreaser, ask your pool service professional to perform an alkalinity reading as it is most likely not in the ideal range.
- If you notice that your pool is going through chlorine quickly, ask your pool service professional to check the pool’s Cyanuric acid Levels. Chlorine will last longer in a pool with ideal Cyanuric acid levels.
How to Save on Maintenance
- Regular pool maintenance will save you money in the long run. Every day, clean your skimmer basket and skim the water's surface with a pool net to remove debris. Additionally, test your water daily to determine the pH and alkalinity level and whether more chlorine is needed.
- Use a pool cover to keep debris out of the pool when it is not in use.
- Trim tree limbs that hang over the pool area. Get rid of plants and trees near the pool with invasive root systems that can compromise your water pipes or lines.