Whether you like it or not, owning a swimming pool is an expense you can’t ignore. Trying to skimp on regular maintenance is actually much more expensive than just staying on top of it in the first place. But there are ways that you can control the costs. The Pool Butler believes that swimming pool maintenance should be affordable. That’s why we offer top-notch swimming pool cleaning and maintenance services at competitive prices. But we also want you to know about ways to reduce the cost of swimming pool maintenance. Being smart about how you care for your pool can save you money and leave you with more time to enjoy your pool.
How Do You Save Money on Pool Maintenance
In Part One of this series, we identified the major factors in the cost of swimming pool maintenance.
If you’re going to save money, you need to take each category and find ways to save. We discussed last week how to save on water and electricity, so we’ll continue this week with how you can save on heat, chemicals, and repairs.
Spend Less Money Heating Your Pool
Heating a pool can be expensive. Depending on the temperature outside, you may be raising the water temperature quite a bit. Raising the water temperature of a standard 15’x30’ pool just one degree takes a whopping 166,000 BTUs. How much you will actually spend on heating depends on the type of heater, how much you are heating the water, and how often. A propane heater is usually the most expensive heater to run, natural gas is cheaper, and electric is the cheapest. However, running any of these heaters will add up quickly. To save money on heating, you really have only two options: use the heater less, and heat the pool more efficiently.
Use the Heater Less
To use the heater less, you could just lower the target temperature. Maybe the water doesn’t need to be so toasty. Reducing the water temperature by just one degree can result in significant savings. But there are ways to use your heater less without sacrificing water temperature. We mentioned in Part One how a solar pool cover can help prevent evaporation. It can also help prevent heat loss. Think of it as putting a blanket on your swimming pool. Instead of losing heat to the atmosphere all night long, your pool water stays warm and cozy under its blanket. That means fewer hours of heater time to get your pool back to your desired temperature.
Get a More Efficient Water Heater
You can also save money by heating your pool more efficiently. If you want to heat your pool during the cold winter months, you may be stuck with gas or electric. But if you’re mostly using your pool when the temperature is 50 degrees or higher, there are other options. A heat pump uses the outside air temperature to heat your pool water. It still uses electricity but is much more efficient than a traditional heater. It gets less efficient as the temperature drops but should work just fine during prime swimming season.
Another low-cost heating option is a solar heater. A solar heater is cheap to purchase, install, and run. A solar heater just runs your water through a series of pipes in a solar collector. The water is heated by the sun, and the warm water flows back into your pool. The only cost to run a solar heater is the cost of running your pump to keep the water flowing. It is obviously more efficient as the weather gets warmer, but it will continue to work even on cool spring and fall days, as long as the sun is shining. A solar pool heater can also be combined with a conventional heater to preheat the water, so the conventional heater needs to do less work.
Save on Pool Chemicals
Keeping your water balanced is one of the most important things you can do to keep your pool healthy. However, if you are proactive and keep the water balanced on a regular basis, you can avoid overspending on chemicals. Keeping your pool clean will also help to avoid situations that require extra chemicals.
Protect Your Chlorine
Of all the chemicals you add to your pool, the most important is chlorine. Chlorine works to keep your pool clean, and without it, all kinds of bad things start to happen. Chlorine levels should stay between 1 and 3 ppm. If you let them drop below 1 ppm, your pool can quickly turn into a green lagoon. Algae flourish, along with harmful bacteria and other disease-causing microorganisms. Once your pool has reached that state—and it doesn’t take long—you are in for some expensive remediation. You will need to shock the pool repeatedly and either clean it yourself or pay someone to do it for you.
Since chlorine is so critical to your pool’s health, you never want to skimp on chlorine. However, there are things you can do to extend the life of your chlorine. Cyanuric acid is like sunscreen for your chlorine, so much so that it is often just called chlorine stabilizer. Many pool stores sell chlorine that already has stabilizer in it. Without stabilizer, UV rays from the sun quickly break down chlorine. With it, your chlorine will last much longer, and you won’t have to add new chlorine as often. A solar pool cover can also protect your chlorine. (You may have noticed by now that a solar pool cover is one of the most cost-effective tools out there to reduce the cost of swimming pool maintenance.)
Chlorine comes in many forms. You can add it as a liquid or powder, or you can get a chlorinator to release chlorine slowly over time. Some chlorinators are installed along the pool’s plumbing, just after the heater. Another option is to use a floating chlorinator that holds time-release chlorine tablets that slowly disperse into the pool water.
Save on Pool Repairs
One great way to protect your investment and avoid overspending on your pool is to prevent unnecessary repairs. Just keeping an eye on the condition of your pool can help you spot small repairs before they become big, expensive repairs. As you do your regular cleaning and maintenance, check for cracks, scaling, and corrosion on your pool’s surfaces. Also, take good care of your pool equipment. A pool shed should be clean and mostly empty. Your pool equipment works best when it is kept cool and dry. Allowing garbage or yard waste to pile up can trap heat and moisture that will prematurely age your equipment. A messy pool shed also attracts bugs and rodents that can damage your equipment.
Consider how you treat your pool cleaning tools as well. Get hooks to hang up your telescoping pole, skimmer net, pool brush, and other tools. Keeping them off the ground will reduce wear and unnecessary damage. As pool service specialists, we see a lot of pools, and there’s a big difference in how people treat their pools and equipment. Everything from pool cleaning tools to pool toys to pumps and heaters lasts longer when it is treated right.
Finally, you can avoid big, expensive repairs by getting your pool inspected regularly. We recommend a full inspection at least once a year, just to catch any damage before it spreads.
If you want to save on the cost of chemicals, repairs, and other regular maintenance, contact The Pool Butler to find out how we can help keep your pool in great condition at competitive prices. You can find our full list of services here.