10 Pro Tips for Reducing the Cost of Pool Ownership.
Updated: Aug 15, 2022
Over the past 12-16 months we've seen astronomical changes in the overall cost of goods related to the pool industry. Chlorine prices have more than doubled since the spring of 2021 and parts, when available, have also increased across the board. Parts include anything from the light fixture in your pool wall to the pumps, filters, and heaters keeping your pool clean and safe.
For more information on price, increases see this year-over-year price analysis done by the Associated General Contractors of America.
In an effort to inform our clientele and help ease the financial burdens of pool ownership, we have compiled a detailed list of 10 key tips for reducing the costs of owning a pool in 2022.
1. Opt for repairing over replacing when possible.
Let's consider a common scenario for a moment. It's the middle of swim season and your pool has been working great but suddenly you notice a change in the overall water quality. The pool looks murky and you notice a film developing on the surface of the water. After walking over to your pool equipment you realize that the normal hum of your pool pump is no longer there and no water seems to be moving through your system.
This situation is very common, especially after high use and hot days. There are many possibilities for a pump failure but most of them can be remedied by repair rather than full pump replacement. If your technician suggests replacement as the first solution then this would be a good time to ask if repairs are possible before moving to a completely new pump. In the high chance that you simply had a capacitor fail then it would be pointless to put in a new pump or motor when a good technician can easily replace most pump capacitors.
2. Make quality products your priority.
Pool equipment undergoes some of the harshest conditions of any home appliance. Often times pumps are running 12-24 hours per day all year long and are typically located in direct sunlight. This exposure coupled with the natural corrosive and scale-forming tendencies of pool water, rapid temperature changes, and high voltage electrical systems create a challenging scenario for pool equipment manufacturers. In most cases, these manufacturers know that their products will be exposed to high use and chemicals and the elements and design their products accordingly. However, there are products on the market that always fall short and that is typically reflected in their price these cheaper alternatives will likely fail more often and in some cases cannot be repaired. This means you'll end up spending more over the life of your pool and have the constant headache of bad equipment.
Get the good equipment first, pay attention to your warranties, and have a professional install your equipment. Choosing quality products that last longer and can be repaired will save you stress and money over the life of your pool.
3. Fix the small issues before they become big issues.
If you notice a small leak or strange sound coming from your equipment then get it checked out sooner than later. Something as simple as a slight wet spot under your pump can indicate a leaking main seal or seal plate. This water can eventually make its way to your pump motor or bearings and cause more damage to your pump.
Another thing to watch for are bubbles coming up in your pool or loud sounds every time your pump starts up. It may seem harmless but it could be an indication of an air leak which may lead to pump cavitation and system back pressure.
4. Close your cover and keep up on landscaping around the pool.
Any and all debris/vegetation that gets into your pool will use up chemicals and put a strain on your pool equipment. If your yard or cover is neglected then this will directly affect the cost of owning a pool. The longest-lasting pool systems we have come across are always located at homes with good cleanliness habits around the pool. Clean up your pool deck after every use and remove plants, shrubs, or trees that add unnecessary amounts of debris to the pool.
If you do have a pool cover, keep an eye on the weather each week. If you notice a chance of wind or inclement weather close the cover.
By keeping your yard clean and cover closed you can save up to 50% on chemical usage alone.
5. Drain your pool more often.
Chemicals, minerals, and metals all build up in your pool water over time. Even if your pool is perfectly clear and clean it still needs to be drained periodically to fight against TDS issues and stabilizer build-up.
If you notice relentless algae growth or increased use of chlorine then it could be an indicator that your pool needs to be partially or fully drained. As chemical and mineral elements build up in your water the overall effectiveness of your sanitizers (chlorine usually) is compromised. You might be using 2x the amount of chlorine needed to get the same or better results than if you were to drain and refill your pool with fresh water. With chlorine at an all-time high ( $278 for 50lbs at the time of writing ), this increased use can significantly outweigh the cost of water to refill your pool.
6. Ask bathers to shower off before using the pool.
The reasoning and severity of this topic are often overlooked by pool owners. If you have a high-use pool and don't practice good hygiene prior to swimming you are adding excessive chemical and mechanical strain to your pool system.
Pool filters capture and contain organic and inorganic matter that is left in your pool. By not properly rinsing or using massive amounts of lotion/sunscreen you are adding harmful oils to your pool system that will inevitably use more chemicals and reduce the life of filters.
Showering off saves your pool from the burden of processing oils and organic waste like sweat and bacteria that we all naturally carry on our skin. Rinsing off before showering and using oil-free sunscreens can help you expand the life of your pool and chemicals which directly saves you $$$.
7. Check your chemistry weekly and make necessary adjustments.
We have come across many pool owners who use sight and smell to make chemical adjustments. Although we commend your ability to use your senses and intuition to predict your pool's water balance, there are more reliable ways to measure chemistry.
Improperly balanced pool water will cause damage to your pool equipment and surfaces. In a recent case, a pool owner reached out to us to diagnose and repair a heater failure. This heater was only three years old and had already failed to do its job. After some investigation, we found that the heat exchanger, a copper alloy part located inside the heater, had been completely corroded and had gone so far as to compromise nearly every component in the heater.
What caused this catastrophic heater failure? Improper water balance. By testing and balancing your chemistry weekly you greatly reduce the risk of prolonged exposure to corrosive water conditions like low PH, low alkalinity, or high cyanuric acid build-up. These conditions will degrade your equipment and could cost you thousands of dollars in damages that are not covered under any manufacturer warranty.
8. Do not winterize your pool unless absolutely necessary.
It is a common misconception that winterizing a pool saves you money over the cold season. In most cases, winterized pools are simply neglected chemically and mechanically through the cold season and often need repair and major chemical adjustments at the beginning of the swim season not to mention the costs of professionally closing and opening the pool.
Instead, schedule your equipment to run much less and continue to balance your pool chemicals weekly. Water temperature is a major factor in your water balance and will affect your system as a whole. To properly and sustainably maintain a pool system the chemistry needs to be checked weekly at a minimum, all year long, even if the pool isn't being used.
9. Adjust your pool circulation schedule to match the use and climate.
If your pool is being lightly used and stays covered most of the time. You should be able to get away with shorter circulation schedules which reduce wear on equipment and consumes less energy.
Increase your pool schedule during bad weather, shoulder seasons, and high use. This way your pool can adequately clean itself and not get out of balance due to insufficient circulation. Once things calm down and the pool is nice and clear, reduce your schedule by an hour or two as it likely no longer needs as much circulation time.
10. Keep your pool clean.
By cleaning out debris, dirt, sand, and organic matter from the pool you reduce the strain on your whole system. Every element that gets into your pool will consume chlorine and affect your pumps and filters. By cleaning your pool more often you reduce the demands on your pool equipment and chemicals which will greatly affect the cost of owning a pool.
Key things to do to keep your pool clean and sustainable:
Remove toys after swimming
Empty pump baskets
Dislodge debris caught in the bottom of vacuum
Brush shelves and steps
Skim the surface of your pool
Scoop out leaves and other organic matter
Spray out your filters more often (cartridge filter systems)
Backwash as needed (sand filter systems)
Pools are undoubtedly an added expense to any household, but like a boat or motorcycle come with great joy and countless good memories with family and friends. Most pool owners find the expense well worth the reward. By practicing any of these mentioned tips you can expect to get more good experiences and less expense with your pool. As with any delicate system, maintenance prolongs lifespan. If you are uninterested in performing this maintenance yourself please consider getting a pool service quote from Zion Pools. We offer weekly pool maintenance to the community of St. George, Utah.