As with any of the fun things in life, owning a pool comes with some strings attached. The costs of owning a pool in Wisconsin can be broken down into three categories: seasonal, energy, and water treatment.
The seasonal costs of pool ownership typically include opening the pool for the season and closing it for the winter. This part of pool ownership is one place the DIY pool owner can trade some of their time for a lower cost, or do everything themselves depending upon their skills and the service provider they choose to partner with. If the client chooses to have the pool opened and closed professionally in a full service manner they can expect to pay around $800.00 (on the low end) for both the opening and the closing depending upon the options the pool may have (ex. type of winter cover, in floor cleaning system, if there is a spa involved etc.). This generally does not include cleaning of the pool during the season and at winterization.
All pools have a circulation pump that will consume power to circulate the water to keep it looking clear and safe for bathers. For years, there were only single and dual speed (much less common) pumps to circulate water in pools. The cost to operate these types of pumps was dictated by the size of the pump and whether the pool circulation system was designed to run 24 hours per day or 12 hours per day (which was based upon the design of the system by the builder). A general rule of thumb for power costs would be around $45.00 per month for a 12 hour/day run time on a 1 HP pump and around $90.00 per month for the same pump with a 24 hour/day run time. With the advent of the variable speed (VS) pump electric costs can be lowered as much as 90%, cutting the power costs to as low as $10.00 per month.
Determining the cost for heating a pool is a bit trickier since there are different elements that factor in to the cost: type of heater, if the pool is covered, pool size, weather and temperature the pool is kept at. Here in the Midwest, there are four common heater types: natural gas, propane, heat pumps, and solar). Natural gas heaters are the most common, so we’ll use that type for our baseline scenario. In an average season (about 16 weeks), heating costs will generally fall between $400 and $800. This scenario is based on a 16’ x 32’ pool, with a natural gas heater, the pool covered at night, and pool temperature around 80 degrees.
As with heating, the cost to treat the pool water can vary greatly due to factors such as: water temperature, environment, weather, pool size, bather load (how many swimmers), and what type system is used to sanitize the water. To give you a baseline, we will focus on chlorine based treatment systems since they are the most commonly used. Water treatment also has several components to it as well such as: sanitizing or keeping the water clean and safe for bathers, balancing the water to protect the pool surfaces and equipment, and finally accessory products that can enhance bather comfort and help make maintaining the pool easier. We will leave the accessory products out at this point because there is a wide range of products used for different reasons so it is difficult to provide an average.
When it comes to sanitizing the water the cost can range from $100-$200 per month depending upon the type of chlorine used.
On the balancing side, things are impacted by several factors including bather load, weather conditions, and whether we are initially balancing or maintaining the water balance once the pool has been balanced for the season. If the cost for the season is spread over the summer, the monthly cost would range between $50 and $100 per month depending upon the conditions listed above.
The above costs are based upon the pool being properly maintained and therefore may not include costs for products to troubleshoot problems that could possibly arise such as algae blooms and chlorine demands.
Costs for operating your pool could differ from our scenarios, but these should help give you an idea of the cost for owning and enjoying a pool for summers to come. Pool equipment is always changing and becoming more energy efficient. If you have an older pool, we can come out and do an energy audit and see if there are upgrades you can make to make things run more efficiently and cut down on your energy bills.
Owning a pool should be enjoyable!