If your family desires a pool, there are ways to save money on pool purchases. However, to really plan an accurate household budget, you'll need to factor in daily maintenance and energy costs.
How to Save Money on Pool Purchases
Save money on pool purchases by buying off-season. November through April is the perfect time, as many retailers, especially online, are clearing out the previous year's inventory. Also, evaluate the average number of swimmers expected. You might be able to cut costs by choosing a smaller pool or a different type.
For the sake of cost-saving comparison, this article will focus on:
- Above ground pools
- Inflatable pools
- Children's pools
Above Ground Pools
If you want a bigger pool with more stability, consider an above ground pool. It looks nice, and you have the option to leave it up all year or dismantle it. Most models have aluminum or resin panels to form the shell and a vinyl liner interior. Circular above ground pools have diameters ranging from 12 ft. to 33 ft., and oval and rectangular pools run as long as 33 ft. Prices average $1,600 to $3,500 for circular pools. Oval and rectangular pools prices start at around $2,500, but can be as high as $9,500. Many online retailers offer discounts as much as 25 percent during off-season.
You'll need to prepare a site for these types of pools. It's vital that the ground be level, and ballasted with sand, otherwise you'll put stress on the panels and liner. If you want to save money by doing the landscaping yourself, here are some guidelines for site development. You will apply some of these techniques to prepare a site for an inflatable pool as well.
If you really want to save money on pool purchase, but want a reliable and fun backyard entertainment alternative, these models might be the answer. Available for purchase at discount retailers such as Wal-Mart and Sears, these inflatable pools cost between $400 and $1,200. Again, shopping off-season will save you at least 25 percent off suggested retail.
If you choose to order this type of pool online, scout around for free shipping coupons first, as this item is expensive to ship. If coupons aren't available, try delivery straight to a retail location nearest you, instead of to your home.
Depending on the age of your children, you can save money on a pool purchase by choosing a durable plastic or small inflatable children's pool. Some plastic pool kits cost as little as $10, while inflatables average around $40.
Daily Maintenance Costs
Now that you have the pool, make sure you have refreshing, sparkling water to swim in. Above ground and large inflatable pools require daily maintenance.
Each pool requires a certain pH level and chlorine level to maintain water quality. Swimmers, rain, leaves - all these things affect clarity and safety. Expect to have a regular chemical routine for your pool that includes the following:
- Water quality testing kit
- "Shock" sticks
You may choose more environmentally-friendly water clarifiers, too, if you prefer not to use chemicals. A typical summer season, roughly four months of active use, requires up to $500 in water quality supplies each year. Supplies for larger volume or more populated pools will cost more.
Basic Pool Equipment
To keep pool water clear, chemicals alone won't do the trick. You have to clear the sides and bottom of the pool free of debris and microscopic algae. Bugs and even small critters sometimes get in the water, too.
Most large pools require the following equipment for routine cleaning:
- Pump or filter
- Vacuum device
- Net skimmer
- Squeegee skimmer
- Drainage hoses
A pump or filter is your largest expense, and this varies considerably - anywhere from $40 to $350. It all depends on the size of your pool. For the other supplies, start your budget at approximately $250. Once you purchase this equipment, you should have it for many years.
While you won't need any of this equipment for a children's plastic or small inflatable pool, you will need to empty and refill it every other day. This keeps the water free of debris and prevents mosquitoes.
Water and Electricity Costs
Keep in mind that if your pool requires a pump or filter, your electricity bill will increase. Many experts recommend operating the filter at night, when the draw from the power grid is in less demand. This will help you save energy. Plan to operate the filter no less than eight hours daily.
For above ground and large inflatable pools, you'll spend the most money on water during the initial fill-up. A bill for city-supplied water will spike up to $200 the month of the fill-up, depending on the number of gallons used. However, for a four-to-six month pool cycle, you won't have to add much water unless there's quite a dry spell. So splash away!