I live in Upstate SC, average pool season is May to September. We are considering an Inground Pool, not sure if we will go fiberglass or concrete. Please advise on the average cost of the maintanence of a pool.
A lot of the cost depends on your water chemistry and if you are going to be using pool store chemicals or regular chemicals.
If you go the pool store route (which is convenient and doesn’t require much knowledge of pools and water chemistry) then you can expect to spend up to $200 per trip to the pool store. You may need to make two trips a month to the store depending on your water chemistry, so this can add up pretty quick.
But there’s an easy solution to the pool store trap. Most of the chemicals you use in a pool can be purchased from Costco or Sam’s Club but don’t purchase pool chemicals. Household chemicals do the same thing, are chemically the same product, but drastically cheaper!
Pool store chemical : Grocery store equivilent
pH Up : 20 Mule Team borax (found in the detergent isle of your store)
Alkalinity Increaser : Arm & Hammer Baking Soda (purchased in 10lb boxes at Sams Club or Costco for less than $.40/lb)
Shock : Household Bleach (try not to get the Ultra or any other "flavored" bleach… 1gal bleach = 2/3lb of Shock)
If you opt for a fiberglass or vinyl pool then you don’t need to worry about calcium hardness, no matter how much the pool store tells you that you do! The only reason to worry about calcium hardness is if you have grout/tile/concrete/gunite/etc. Water will find a chemical equilibrium and will leech calcium from porous materials that contain it if the calcium isn’t in balance in the water. If you have a fiberglass or vinyl pool, there isn’t anything for the water to leech the calcium from, so it won’t ruin the finish or degrade the pool. Thus, you don’t need to worry about it.
Check out http://www.poolsolutions.com/ for more information. Ben is a great guy and has been in the commercial pool business for many years. The products he sells (his titration test kits) are top of the line and I’ve been using them since he released them.
You may wonder exactly how accurate my information is, especially since any pool store out there will tell you that my information is false. However, I can assure you it is 100% accurate and the only reason the pool store wants you to purchase chemicals from them is because that’s where they make their money. In maintaining public access Swimming Pools I have to submit to county health inspections for water quality. I have never failed a health inspection in 8 years of pool keeping, and have been asked (by the health department) to speak to different apartment complexes about how to maintain pristine pools such as the ones I am responsible for.
Good luck on your pool venture, and welcome to the world of pool maintenance.