No doubt, having a swimming pool in your backyard can bring long hours of fun for you and your family. But, it doesn’t come cheap. The average cost to build a backyard pool these days ranges between $7,561 and $30,312. Factor in your pool chemicals, electricity and other expenses to maintain your backyard pool, and you can see how quickly the cost can add up.
The good news is that there are several ways on how you can shave dollars off and save money while still keeping a well-maintained and pristine swimming pool for you to enjoy.
Money Saving Tips When Building a Swimming Pool
Set a budget and stick with it
When it comes to saving money, the number one rule is always to set a budget, especially if you’re planning to make a really big purchase like building a swimming pool in your backyard. Setting a budget will help serve as a guide to every decision you make when it comes to the kind of swimming pool you get to your pool equipment and even your pool maintenance.
Putting together a budget and allocating an amount of building your pool, your pool equipment, and maintenance will help you keep your finances in check. It will also keep you in check to where your money is going.
Take advantage of referrals
Some pool companies would be more than happy to give you a bit of a discount if you tell them that you were referred by a friend or a family member. So be sure that you ask your friends and relatives that have a backyard pool which pool company handled their swimming pool installation.
Do your research
Take some time to carefully research different pool companies, even those that have been recommended to you by friends and relatives. Building a pool is a huge investment, and entrusting someone with that much and responsibility without first doing a background check may not always end well.
Get multiple bids.
It is a good idea to get swimming pool installation bids from at least three different pool companies. This gives you a point of comparison when it comes to the pool prices and services they include. Also, you are more likely to negotiate a lower quotation when a pool company knows that you’ve already received quotations from others.
Consider an above ground pool
Above ground pools may not look as impressive as inground pools. However, with the average cost of an above ground pool is just about $6,200, this can be a more reasonable and economical option if you’re working on a relatively tight budget.
Opt for a self-sustaining pond
Swimming ponds are slowly becoming increasingly popular among inground pool owners for several reasons.
First, it brings a natural look to the yard by having a zone that is lined with aquatic vegetation which acts as a biological filter, and a man-made waterfall to provide aeration to the plants while keeping the water moving. Because of this, you won’t need to do additional landscaping to make your pool area beautiful.
Second, the water is maintenance-free. Swimming ponds are considered as self-cleaning mini-ecosystems, so there is no need for you to deal with any of the common problems faced by conventional inground pool owners. It also means that you don’t need to have to stock up on pool cleaning supplies and equipment consistently.
Finally, the water is chemical-free and extremely safe for swimming. According to Morgan Brown of Whole Water Systems, the water is chemical-free and safe that you can drink the water if you want.
Follow the KISS principle
When it comes to the design of your inground pool, keeping it as simple as possible is a great way to save money on your swimming pool installation. An inground pool design with multiple curves, steps, and other add-ons like an outdoor spa, waterfall, and exotic tiles on the pool deck can easily add thousands of dollars to the overall cost of building your swimming pool.
Size does matter
Another way how to save money on your swimming pool installation is to keep the size of your backyard pool small. Bigger swimming pools would require more piping, more powerful pool pumps and filters, and longer man hours charged by the pool company you’ve chosen to do your swimming pool installation. On top of that, you will also need more pool chemicals to maintain your pool. By trimming down the size of your pool, you will also be able to shave off hundreds, even thousands, of dollars when it comes to having your pool built.
Have your pool built close to your home
Building your backyard pool close to your home is another way how to save money. By building it close to your house will help reduce electricity and water expenses. It will also benefit a shade from the shadow of your house without having to worry about any falling leaves and other debris.
Install a removable pool fence
Most states in the country have passed a law requiring pool owners to install a pool fence to prevent accidental drowning, which is one of the main causes of deaths among children living in homes with swimming pools. A money saving tip to make sure that you meet your local state requirements is by buying a removable fence from a local supplier. It costs only a fraction of what you will pay to have a permanent one constructed.
Probe about your pool’s warranty
What many pool owners don’t know is that there are three different kinds of warranties pool companies can provide: the warranty to the pool itself, pool equipment warranty, and workmanship warranty. The coverage and length of time of each of these warranties differ. Taking time to learn more about the different warranties the pool company will include for their swimming pool installation beforehand will help save you money and unnecessary frustration once it’s already built.
Always think of the long-term
Believe it or not, cheaper doesn’t necessarily always mean better. In some cases, choosing equipment and materials for your swimming pool installation that will require you to make a larger payment up front can actually lead you to huge savings in the long run.
This is especially true when choosing the surface material for your pool. Pool surfaces like white plaster or concrete, for example, may seem to be an ideal choice if you’re planning to build a pool on a budget because they are cheaper by up to $10,000. However, they don’t last very long. Most concrete pools need to be repaired after only 10 years. These pool repairs can cost up to $12,000. So, in effect, you actually end up spending more long-term.
Money Saving Tips on Pool Equipment
Hold off on the pool heater
One huge money saving tip when it comes to your pool equipment is not to buy a pool heater along with your other pool equipment, especially if you live in a region where the weather is relatively warm. Wait for a season or two after your pool is built to test the water’s temperature to see if you really would need to heat your pool’s water.
Use a solar pool cover
Solar pool covers are considerably much cheaper than propane or electric pool heaters, and they come with a load of benefits.
As its name implies, solar pool covers use the energy from the sun to heat up the water of your pool, so you don’t need to worry about spending more on electricity or buying fuel. Since it covers your pool, it helps keep falling leaves or any debris from getting into your pool’s water during the day and traps the heat in your pool water at night.
Solar pool covers also help regulate the evaporation of your pool’s water. This keeps you from having to regularly add water into your pool so that it’s at the right levels, lowering your water bill.
Solar pool covers also help you save money on your pool chemicals, too. By regulating the evaporation rate of your pool water and keeping debris and rainwater from contaminating it, your pool water’s chemistry will not become diluted too quickly. That means that you will need to adjust your pool water’s chemical less frequently.
Go for manual pool vacuum cleaner
Manual pool vacuum cleaners are not as flashy as those robot pool cleaners, but many pool owners swear that they are more efficient in cleaning your pool and getting rid of contaminants and algae from your pool. They are also so much cheaper. You can get a manual vacuum cleaner for as little as $20. Not to mention that it can also give you a pretty good workout.
When storing your manual pool vacuum cleaner, make sure that thoroughly rinse it to get rid of the chlorine from your pool water and keep this in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight with the vacuum head pointing upwards. This is to prevent the brushes under the vacuum head from getting flat or the bristles from becoming brittle and fall off.
Downgrade your pool pump
Many pool owners still believe in the myth that the bigger and more powerful their pool pump, the better. In reality, having a pool pump that is too powerful can actually cause you a lot of problems.
For starters, having a really powerful pool pump will push your pool water through your pool filter too fast so the contaminants and debris may not be completely removed as the water passes through. Also, this can cause your pool filter to run in shorter cycles. Powerful pool pumps also consume a lot of amperages, which can cause a huge spike in your electricity bill.
Downgrading to a pool pump with a lower horsepower would course your pool water through your pool filter at a slightly slower rate. But it will still be able to course your pool water through your pool filter at a flow rate that will allow it to efficiently get rid of the debris and other contaminants more efficiently, so you don’t have to add that much pool chemicals to compensate.
At the same time, downgrading your pool pump will help trim down your electricity bills. Switching from 1 ½ horsepower pool pump to a 1 horsepower pool pump can save you about $19 per month. That’s a total of $228 per year.
Run your pool pump with an EE motor
Replacing your standard pool pump motor with an Energy Efficient (EE) motor can shave 33% off from your current electricity bill. That’s about $13 per month or about $156 per year!
Keep your winter pool cover clean
Going outside during the winter months just to clean your pool cover may not sound like a lot of fun. But this can save you a lot of money.
Cleaning your winter pool would lower the chances of your pool water from being contaminated. When you open your pool during the spring time, you will not have to do too much work and use a lot of pool chemicals to clean your pool water and get it ready another swimming season.
Keeping your winter pool cover clean also means that there is a lesser chance for tears and rips to form, so you don’t have to replace this later in the year when it’s time to winterize and close your pool.
Invest in a variable speed pool pump
Variable speed pool pumps may initially cost more than single-speed pool pumps, but they can help you save money in the long run.
Pool pumps only have to run consistently at normal speeds during the spring and summer months to prevent algae growth. As the temperatures begin to drop later in the year, it becomes harder for algae to grow. During this time, you can then switch the speed of your pool pump so that it runs more slowly and for shorter periods.
Whenever possible, consider getting pool equipment that runs on solar energy. They may be more expensive at first than their conventional counterparts. But since they don’t need any other source of energy other than that coming from the sun, you get to save money on your electricity bill and fuel.
Money Saving Tips on Pool Accessories
Use LED pool lights
Adding pool lights help extend your swimming hours, make your pool safer, and look really cool at night. Installing LED lights instead of the cheaper incandescent pool lights saves you money for several reasons.
For starters, you don’t need to install a lot of them to make sure that your pool is well-lit. One small LED pool light is enough to light up a 30-feet long pool. Their lifespan is also six times longer than incandescent pool lights. More important, LED pool lights consume less electricity than other types of pool lights.
Wait for the excitement to die down
Having your own backyard pool can easily tempt you to binge on different kinds of pool accessories like water jets, diving boards, fountains, and pool slides. While they may help make your pool look better, they don’t really help at all when it comes to keeping your expenses down. Each of these can easily cost you thousands of dollars to install, not to mention they add on to the things that you have to maintain.
Hold off from buying these pool accessories for a few months after your swimming pool is built. By that time, the initial excitement would have already gone down, and you can really decide if you really want to add these things to your pool.
Ditch the diving board
Believe it or not, your diving board is perhaps the most expensive pool accessory that you can possibly have. While it does not put a dent on your electricity bill or require too much maintenance, owning one can lead to serious problems with your home insurance. That’s because installing a diving board can cause your new premium payments for your home liability insurance to hit the roof.
This is what Wayne Mielczasz from Virginia experienced. He had a diving board installed to add a bit more to the fun factor of his swimming pool. He took this down recently after he discovered just how much he needed to pay for his insurance premiums just to keep it.
“Our insurance agent said that it would increase our liability insurance by approximately 75%,” he said.
Some home insurance companies go even one step further. Instead of just merely increasing your premiums, they would cancel your home insurance policy altogether until you take down your diving board.
Money Saving Tips on Pool Maintenance
Use baking soda
If you need to slightly adjust your pool’s alkalinity levels, adding regular baking soda will do the trick. Just like your standard alkalinity increaser, baking soda contains sodium bicarbonate which can help increase your pool water’s alkalinity levels so that they are within the normal range.
Run your pool pump less often during milder temperatures
During the summer months, you need to run your pool pump regularly to keep your water flowing and prevent algae growth. Once your pool water’s temperature starts hitting the low 60s, it is no longer conducive for algae to grow so you can reduce the time your pool pump runs.
According to Florida Power and Electric, reducing your pool pump’s running time by 2 hours each day can save you $10 on your electric bill each month. The more you’re able to cut back your pool pump running time, the more you’re able to save money on your electric bill.
The length of time to keep your pool pump running depends on the type of pool pump you’re using and the size of your swimming pool. The best way to do this is to slowly reduce the time you keep your pool pump running by 2 hours each week, and observe the quality of your pool’s water. Keep doing this until you notice your pool’s water becoming cloudy. Bring the time up again by 2 hours. This is the shortest time that you can run your pool pump without compromising the quality of your pool’s water.
Buy your pool chemicals and supplies early
Spring is the best time to stock up on your pool chemicals and supplies because this is when pool supply stores give out early bird specials and other huge discounts. To really get a great deal, buy your pool chemicals and supplies in bulk. That way, you can get them at the lowest possible prices and not worry about running out later in the year.
Shock your pool every week
A weekly shock treatment helps keep the quality of your pool water at its optimum and keep it away from pool water problems which can be very expensive to fix.
Throw a tennis ball into the pool
It’s true! The fluffy surface of a tennis ball makes an excellent absorber of makeup, sunscreen, and other organic materials that get left behind after a hard day of swimming. This helps prevent the chlorine in your pool to get depleted too quickly, so you don’t have to keep on replenishing your chlorine.
Do everything at night
This simple money saving tip can help cut your pool expenses by half in several ways.
For starters, the chlorine in found in most of your pool chemicals are unstable. Much of the chlorine added into your pool water break down not because it comes into contact with debris, organic material or other contaminants. Instead, they get broken down by the sun’s ultraviolet light, so you end up having to replenish it regularly. Adding your pool chemicals at night will give the chlorine in your pool more time to sanitize your pool. By the time that the sun is up, it has already done its job.
Night time is also the best time to run your pool pump. Most electric companies set their highest rates for the electricity you use during the peak hours, which is between 7:00 AM and 7:00 PM. That means that you pay a much lower amount for the same amount of electricity you use running your pool pump at night compared to doing it during the day.
These are only a few of the many ways how to save money on your backyard swimming pool. The amount that you get to save on some of the money saving tips may not seem like a lot at first. But add all of these together every month, and you will be amazed at just how much money you can save and use elsewhere.