The Top Hidden Costs of an Inground Pool After Installation
If you've been researching inground pools for a while, you probably know that owning a swimming pool comes with its fair share of expenses.
For those of you who are new to the pool scene, you can expect to pay for pool chemicals (to sanitize the pool and maintain balanced water chemistry), testing kits, maintenance service, and utilities for running the filter, pump, and heating or cooling. Water is another regular expense as well as refinishing the pool or replacing the vinyl liner. (Read more about all of that here.)
What you might not know is that there are more expenses associated with pool ownership and maintenance. A lot more. In fact, there are at least 12 hidden costs that many homeowners don't consider until they're in the final stages of buying a pool, or even after the pool is installed.
At River Pools, we've spent many years manufacturing fiberglass pools and installing and servicing those pools near our home base, so we know all of the expenses associated with owning a pool. To make sure you're prepared for your inground pool, we've compiled a list of the top hidden costs of pool ownership that you need to consider.
By the end of this article, you should have a sense of what pool maintenance costs really look like before you dive in and get your inground pool.
Top Hidden Costs of Owning a Pool
When it comes to your swimming pool, there are two areas of coverage that you'll need to consider: 1) damage to the pool and 2) liability. Because swimming pools can pose a risk of drowning, liability insurance is an absolute must-have. Even if you take every safety precaution in the book, you can still encounter situations that leave you liable for accidents (like kids breaking into your pool at night and injuring themselves on a diving board).
It's rare for something like this to happen, but like car insurance, you'll need liability in the event of an accident. Since you own a home, you'll likely have homeowners insurance anyway, but you can expect the pool to increase the price. More than likely, you'll need to increase your coverage, which can add to your overall yearly expenses.
#2 Safety Features
Speaking of safety...safety systems are essential on any inground pool where children, pets, or prying neighbors are present. While liability insurance can cover an accident, it's always better to prevent one before it happens. Many pool owners install security cameras, alarm systems, and additional barriers like child-proof fencing around their pool to monitor the area or notify them when someone has entered the pool zone.
#3 Pool Covers
Pool covers aren't exactly a hidden cost, but they can be if all you've considered is the pool's upfront price. If you decide to splurge on a pool cover, we want to make it clear that it won't be a one-time purchase. The reality is that pool covers need to be replaced over time, which can cost hundreds of dollars or more each time. They can also tear or require replacement parts, like automatic pool cover track pieces, and service costs will likely be added to that.
Does your pool cover require a cover pump during the offseason? Expect to pay a few hundred dollars to replace it if it breaks down. Installing your pool cover in the fall and taking it off in the spring can also be tough to do alone, and you might need to hire a pool service company to help you out.
#4 Filter Cartridges, Sand, or D.E
Your pool's filter is going to need some TLC over time, including paying for a new filter cartridge, D.E., or filter sand. Most filtration systems won't require you to replace these parts often (cartridges can last 1-2 years and sand usually lasts 1-3 years), but it's an expense nonetheless that you'll need to factor in.
Note: With a D.E. filter, you'll be continually adding D.E. to the system, which is why they require the most maintenance.
#5 Pool System Replacement Parts
You don't think it will happen, but sometimes a part of your filtration system can break down and need to be replaced. That can be anything from a broken valve to your pool pump completely burning out. Costs to replace parts of your system can vary, and you might not need to pay anything if you still have your warranties intact. But being prepared for an $800 pool pump replacement, for example, can take away the sting of an unexpected expense.
Wondering how much a fiberglass pool might cost with all your favorite pool accessories?
Use our Design and Price Tool to walk through your options and approximate price!
#6 Pool Repairs
This is a big one, and it's not something pool owners like to think about when first getting a pool. While it's not inevitable, your inground pool can leak, or the structure can crack. It may also develop small surface cracks or, if you have a vinyl liner pool, your pool liner can tear. These problems are more common than you might think, but nine times out of ten, they aren't a big deal to fix (but you'll still have to pay for them!).
Here's a list of some possibilities to consider across the different inground pool types.
- Pool plumbing leaks
- Concrete plaster cracks (surface)
- Vinyl pool liner tears
- Structural concrete cracks
- Collapsed pool wall (vinyl liner)
- Vinyl pool liner replacement
#7 Pool Light Replacements
LED pool lights can last a long time, about 30,000 hours, but not forever. Replacing an LED pool light bulb (the most common) can cost $50 to $650 plus the price to hire a professional to do the replacement. If you have incandescent lights, you might pay less at $30 to $70 per bulb. Fiber optic lights may cost $20 to $60 to replace.
Remember, if you are having problems with a pool light, get it checked out immediately to ensure the safety of all pool users.
#8 Pool Accessories
All those pool floats and in-pool furniture pieces won't be free. More than likely, you'll pay a minimum of $150 for a quality piece of in-pool furniture (you can pay up to $900 for a single in-pool chair) and more in smaller purchases on pool toys and pool floats. If you like competitive pool games, a poolside basketball hoop can run you $150 to $350 and up.
#9 Pool Landscaping
Your pool landscaping can be simple with nothing more than a gorgeous patio and some outdoor furniture. But many people find that they want to have professional landscaping incorporated to highlight the beauty of their new pool. Swimming pool landscaping can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 and up depending on the size of your yard and the scale of the project.
#10 Obligatory Pool Parties
As soon as you get a pool, don't be surprised if friends and family expect you to have them over. While this can be a blast, hosting summer pool parties can also add up, especially if you go all out with food and decorations. Here's our advice: make your parties potluck if you want to save some cash. After all, you are supplying the entertainment.
#11 Opening and Winterizing Your Pool
Like putting on and removing your pool cover, opening and closing your pool can be a lot of work, and it helps to have a professional assist you (or do it for you). The cost to hire someone to close or open your pool might be around $275 and up (or $550 and up each year).
#12 Pool Patio Furniture
Pool patio furniture is another thing that can seem like a one-time purchase, but with regular exposure to sun and the elements (not to mention storms), it can quickly wear out and need replacing. A good set of pool patio furniture, like dining or seating, can cost $500 to over $2,500. Replacing it several times over the course of ten years can easily run you $5,000 or more.
Do you own an inground pool? What are some of the hidden costs that you've encountered? Please share them with us in the comments!
At River Pools, we manufacture high-quality fiberglass pools for customers across North America and distribute them through our network of certified dealers. If you're interested in installing a fiberglass pool in your backyard, feel free to browse our pool gallery, visit our video library, or request custom pricing from us using the button below. Happy swimming!