Above-ground pools can be an affordable way to enhance your summer. But just like in-ground installations, above-ground ground pools require routine maintenance, which adds additional costs. So what can you expect to pay for maintaining an above-ground pool?
Maintenance costs for an above-ground pool depend on factors like location, size, and season. The average annual maintenance costs for above-ground pools range between $1,000 and $1,500 for chemicals, electricity, and routine maintenance. However, DIY solutions can significantly reduce costs.
Don’t be intimidated by the maintenance costs of owning an above-ground pool. There are a lot of factors to consider, and DIY solutions can significantly reduce yearly costs. Here’s everything you need to know about the maintenance costs of an above-ground pool.
How Much Does It Cost to Maintain an Above-Ground Pool?
New above-ground pool installations aren’t a “set it and forget it” kind of job. Above-ground pools require yearly and monthly maintenance that can vary depending on the location, size, season, and more.
Pool maintenance costs can range between $5 to $15 for DIY solutions. Professional services will cost somewhere between $90 and $150 per month, depending on the scope of the project.
The total annual costs for above-ground pool costs vary, but you might expect to pay between $1,000 and $1,500 for chemicals, electricity, and routine maintenance.
Upfront Maintenance Costs
There are upfront maintenance costs and requirements for a new above-ground pool installation. You might purchase chlorine generators, chemicals in bulk, cleaning equipment, floaties, and other products. Here are some price ranges to keep in mind:
- Skimmer: $20 to $60
- Filter Cartridge: $8 to $35
- Pool Brush: $10 to $18
- Pool Vacuum: $28 to $126
- Test Kit: $10 to $22
- Chemicals: $60 to $180
Costs Depend on the Season
The costs of continual above-ground pool maintenance will vary depending on the season. As you might guess, the majority of the maintenance costs will occur during warmer months. Spring and fall seasons will be less expensive, while you might not pay anything during the winter.
For example, you might pay anywhere from $0 to $35 each month from November through February. However, you might pay $80 to $100 each month from May through August.
On a yearly basis, your costs can vary between $400 and $900 for chemicals and electricity. These costs will depend on the size of your pool, location, chemicals, and electricity rates.
Pool Cleaning & Closing
Above-ground pool maintenance costs can include cleaning and winterizing as well. You’ll need to close and winterize (scale down your cleaning routine) your pool right before the winter.
Professionally winterizing a pool can cost over $250 for final cleaning, chemical adjustment, protecting equipment, and covering the pool.
Although it isn’t mandatory, professional cleaning services are also an option for above-ground pools. You might spend $150 per cleaning service depending on the size, type, and scope of the project.
Above-Ground Pool Liner Replacement
Above-ground pools can include vinyl liners that need to be replaced. Lower quality liners might only last one to three years. Good-quality, heavy gauge vinyl liners usually last between five to eight years, depending on the circumstances.
Above-ground pool liner replacements can cost between $350 and $1,500 (including installation) depending on the quality, size, style, brand, and more. If your pool liner lasts five years, you should add $70 to $300 on yearly maintenance fees.
Pump Motor Replacement
Pool pumps have two parts: the pump and the electric motor. The pump will last longer than the electric motor. Electric pump motors usually last around five years before they need to be replaced. However, this will vary depending on where you live and the climate. Pump motors last longer in colder climates because they aren’t used as often.
Electric pool pump motors cost around $400 to replace, including parts and labor. Since they typically last five years, you can add around $80 per year for maintenance fees.
Filter Repair/Cartridge Replacement
Above-ground pools have an option between three types of filters. Filter options include cartridge, sand, and D.E filters. All of these options include long-term maintenance fees of some kind.
Cartridge filters might be the preferred option. However, the cartridge element inside needs to be replaced every three to five years. The average filter element costs around $75, depending on the quality and size.
Sand filters include multi-port valves that run into issues at around the five-year mark and will require repair or replacement. Some homeowners also replace the sand inside, but this may or may not be necessary. The fees can vary but typically range between $20 to $50.
D.E filters are another choice, but they need maintenance around every five years as well. D.E filters include interior grids that can break down and develop holes. The fees can vary, but replacing a D.E filter ranges between $20 and $50.
Total Maintenance Costs
The total maintenance costs for an above-ground pool will depend on location, size, season, and more. You might expect to pay between $90 and $150 a month for professional services, depending on the scope of the project. DIY solutions can be much more affordable and cost between $5 to $15 in some cases.
However, the average annual maintenance costs for above-ground pools range between $1,000 and $1,500 for chemical, electricity, and routine maintenance. These price ranges will vary and include maintenance fees that don’t happen each year.
Self-Maintenance vs. Professional Maintenance: Price Breakdowns
You can decide between completing above-ground pool maintenance by hand or by hiring professional services.
As you might expect, doing above-ground pool maintenance on your own will usually cost less but take more time. Professional pool services can vary in price depending on the location and scope of the project.
Professional Pool Maintenance
Professional pool maintenance services can cost anywhere between $50 and over $250 per month, depending on the location, size, and scope of the project.
Professional pool maintenance might include brushing the interior, chemical adjustment, skimming the water, and more.
Weekly pool maintenance services can cost anywhere from $25 to over $100, depending on the size, location, and scope of the project.
Most pool services operate on a bi-weekly basis, making them more affordable. Weekly services typically include cleaning, brushing, skimming the water, and adjusting the chemicals.
Monthly pool services can cost anywhere from $50 to over $250, depending on the location, size, and scope of the project. Smaller pools and projects will cost less. More comprehensive maintenance packages will naturally be more expensive. Professional monthly pool services can include:
- Water Analysis and Chemical Balancing
- Backwash Filter
- Clean Out Skimmer and Pump Baskets
- Clean Out Auto Pool Cleaner Bag
- Brush Pool Walls
- Skim the Surface of the Pool
- Vacuum Pool
- Winterize Pool
- Open Pool for Spring
Basic services might only include water analysis, chemical adjustment, backwashing the filter, and cleaning out pump baskets. More comprehensive packages will include cleaning, vacuuming, skimming, and winterizing the pool.
Professional pool cleaning services usually cost between $60 to $90 per hour. The average cost of a first-time pool cleaning is between $120 and $270. More specific cleaning packages or comprehensive one-time cleanings can cost between $200 and $400, depending on the size and the scope of the project. Cleaning services can include:
- Pool Drain
- Acid Wash
- Chlorine Wash
- Pool Brush
- Pool Vacuum
- Drain and Clean
- Spring Cleaning
- Winter Cleaning
Opening and Closing
Opening and closing a pool is necessary each year to keep it in working order. The average cost for opening a pool is between $350 and $500, depending on the size and the scope of the project. Additional services like vacuuming, draining, and cleaning pool covers will be more expensive.
Closing or winterizing a pool can range between $350 and $650, depending on the size and scope of the project. Additional services will also cost more and can include vacuuming, cleaning the filters, and cleaning the pool cover.
The cost to maintain a pool on your own will greatly depend on the size, location, and scope of the project. Self-maintenance might save you over $1,000 a year. Self-maintenance can include cleaning, vacuuming, draining, chemical adjustment, and more.
Maintaining an above-ground pool by hand can save you over $1,000 a year, depending on the size and scope of the project. A lot of the DIY maintenance costs include initial fees and investments. Keep in mind that you might not need all of the products listed below.
Chemical Kit: Chemical kits are used for monthly and seasonal water adjustments. Chemical kits typically cost between $25 and $50, like the In The Swim Deluxe Chemical Start Up Kit (on Amazon).
Muriatic Acid: Muriatic acid is used for reducing pH levels and preventing bacteria and mineral development. Muriatic acid costs around $8 per gallon.
Chlorine Tablets: Chlorine tablets are also used for reducing pH levels and preventing harmful bacteria and minerals from building up. Chlorine tablets vary in price but usually cost around $25 for a five-pound bag.
Soda Ash: Soda ash or sodium bicarbonate is used to raise the pH levels and ward off excessive acid. Fifteen pounds of soda ash cost around $40, like the pH Increaser by FDC (on Amazon).
Floating Chlorine Dispenser: Floating chlorine dispensers hold chlorine tablets or sticks and disperse them slowly into the water. These devices usually cost between $7 and $20. Swimline offers an extra large capacity one (on Amazon).
Skimmer Net: Skimmer nets are handheld tools used to clean the surface of the water and typically cost between $10 and $40.
Skimmer Basket: Skimmer baskets protect the pump and filters from debris. Skimmer baskets usually cost between $5 and $15.
Handheld Pool Brush: Handheld pool brushes are lightweight vacuums used to clean the interior of the pool. They typically cost between $15 and $65.
Pool Cleaner/Vacuum: Pool cleaners and vacuums clean the floor, walls, and interior of the pool. These devices range in price anywhere from $50 to $625, like this robotic model by AIPER (on Amazon).
Water Analysis Test Kit: Water test kits are used to inspect the pH balance of your pool water. They typically cost around $15 for 50 strips.
Digital Test Kit Test: Digital test kits can be used instead of manual options and typically cost between $15 and $40.
Replacement Filter: Replacement filters will vary in price depending on your model but can cost between $25 and $100.
Pool Cover: Pool covers reduce evaporation and lock-out debris. Pool covers vary in price between $550 and $6,000. You might find cheaper models as well.
Pool Water Leveler: Water levelers automatically add more water from your hose every day. These devices can cost between $15 and $65, depending on the model.
Pool Test Kits
Pool test kits are essential for maintaining your above-ground pool by hand. These kits are used to access the water’s chemicals so you can adjust them as needed. Pool test kits assess the amount of free chlorine, alkalinity, and pH levels.
Manual pool test kits typically cost around $15 for 50 strips. Digital devices are more expensive and cost upwards of $50. You’ll have to pay more for a digital saltwater tester, as they typically cost over $100 on average.
How Often Does an Above-Ground Pool Need to be Cleaned?
Above-ground pools need to be cleaned often to protect the water and interior, but the frequency of cleaning also depends on the level of usage. You might need to run the water pump on a daily basis to prevent stagnation or skim the surface.
Weekly Cleaning Schedule
Weekly above-ground pool cleaning schedules can help keep your pool clean and safe and prevent damage to the interior liners. A weekly above-ground pool cleaning routine might look like:
- Skimming the surface for debris, vacuuming and brushing the interior
- Testing the alkalinity levels, which should be somewhere between 80 and 120 ppm
- Cleaning the pool deck, surrounding areas, and exterior of the pool
- Adding doses of algaecide, clarifier, and metal control as needed
- Adding chlorine tablets to refill the floater or chlorinator as needed
- Backwashing or cleaning filter if the pressure gauge rises above 7 to 9 psi
You should skim the surface of the water, vacuum the interior, and thoroughly brush the pool. You might require cleaning tools like a tele-pole, skimmer net, leaf rake, pool brush, and a vacuum hose. Brushing is essential for removing films and dust debris from the surface so they can be filtered out of the water.
Maintaining Your Pool Chemistry
Your pool’s pH levels are alkaline-dependent. The complete alkalinity level keeps your pH stable. If the alkalinity levels are too low, the pH will fluctuate and become challenging to maintain.
Doses of algaecide and clarifier are essential for above-ground pool maintenance. These chemicals prevent the water from becoming gross and unusable. Algaecide is used as a safety net if your chlorine or filtration system isn’t working properly. Clarifiers prevent cloudy water and algae blooms.
Chlorine tablets are used to raise chlorine levels. The ideal range is around 2-4 ppm. Above-ground pools typically use two to four chlorine tablets per week but will depend on the size, location, and other factors.
How Often Do I Need to Refill My Above-Ground Pool?
Generally speaking, you should replace your pool water every five to seven years. In some cases, you might need to replace your pool water after three years.
It’s best to drain and refill your pool during mild weather to avoid damage from intense sunlight and heat. Be sure to consult your professional pool maintenance company for the most accurate information.
It’s possible to reduce your water draining frequency with proper maintenance routines. Proper maintenance will control harmful elements and keep your pool safe. Draining a pool can be a complex task, so it might be best to hire professional maintenance services to avoid unnecessary damage.
Should I Hire a Professional to Refill My Above-Ground Pool?
It’s entirely feasible to refill an above-ground pool by hand or by utilizing professional services. The costs to fill up your pool will vary depending on the size, location, and situation. On average, homeowners pay somewhere between $4 and $10 per thousand gallons.
You might pay somewhere between $75 to over $200, depending on the size of your pool and utility costs. For instance, $1 will pay for around 129 gallons of water in the United States. With these rough numbers, we can estimate the following expenses:
- 1,000 Gallon Pool: $7.75
- 5,000 Gallon Pool: $38.84
- 10,000 Gallon Pool: $77.68
- 15,000 Gallon Pool: $111.11
- 20,000 Gallon Pool: $155.36
Using professional water deliveries can cost around $375 or more for around 9,000 gallons. However, the price will depend on the circumstance. Professional water services can be an excellent choice if you need a lot of high-quality water or live in certain regions.
Salt Water vs. Chlorine
Pool water must be analyzed and adjusted, regardless of whether it is chlorine or saltwater. The chlorine, alkalinity, pH, and calcium hardness are adjusted to keep the water safe.
Traditional pools use liquid chlorine or tablets. Saltwater pools don’t use chlorine but might occasionally require shocking the water.
Saltwater pools create chlorine through electrolysis. Adding pool-grade salt to the chlorine generator converts the salt into chlorine and sanitizes the water. The best option will depend on your preferences, pool, and situation. Each option has advantages, disadvantages, and best-use cases. Here are a few to keep in mind:
Saltwater Pool Advantages
- Cheaper day-to-day costs. You can have a full summer’s worth of salt for around $20 to $30, while chlorine can cost between $150 to $180.
- Saltwater is gentler on the skin, eyes, and hair. It also causes less damage to swimsuits.
- Saltwater doesn’t have a strong chemical scent compared to chlorine.
Chlorine Pool Advantages
- Leaving a traditional pool as-is can be cheaper than converting it to saltwater.
- Some people enjoy the chemical smell of chlorine.
- Chlorine works on cold summer days.
Saltwater Pool Disadvantages
- Salt can speed up the erosion process.
- Salt generators require frequent inspections and cleaning.
- Generators are another mechanical piece of equipment that can break or require repairs.
- Salt water will not produce chlorine in temperatures below 60 degrees.
Chlorine Pool Disadvantages
- Chlorine can cause irritation to the skin, eyes, throat, nose, and lungs.
- Chlorine can bleach swimsuits.
- Chlorine can be expensive and needs to be readily available.
- Stronger chlorine smells can be irritating.
Above-Ground Pools vs. In-Ground Pools: Which is a Better Investment?
There’s a lot to consider if you’re weighing the options between an above-ground or in-ground pool installation. Each of these options has advantages, disadvantages, and best-use cases. Here are some things to keep in mind when considering the two options.
Above-Ground Pools are Easy to Install and Remove
In-ground pools require professional services like excavation, land preparation, insulation, and more. Above-ground pool installations are much more straightforward and can be a fun DIY project. Above-ground pool installations are typically less labor-intensive and much faster to complete.
Above-ground pools don’t impact your yard as much as in-ground pool installations. You can easily remove an above-ground pool without professional services, landscaping, or yard damage. It’s also possible to resell an above-ground pool or transport it if you move.
Above-Ground Pools are Usually More Affordable
Above-ground pools are much more affordable than in-ground installations. In-ground pools can cost $28,00 to $55,000, depending on the scope of the project. New above-ground pools usually start between 1,500 and $6,000. DIY projects can be even more affordable, ranging between $800 to $3,500.
One of the reasons above-ground pools are less expensive is because they don’t require as much labor and materials. However, they aren’t usually taxable as they aren’t permanent installations.
You can include additional features or decks because above-ground pools have lower upfront costs, giving them another advantage.
Above-Ground Pools Require Less Maintenance
Above-ground pools typically require less maintenance than in-ground installations. The elevation helps prevent dirt, bugs, and debris from sinking into the water.
It’s easier to install above-ground pool covers, which also help to keep them clean. Damage and holes can happen occasionally, but the repairs are typically much more affordable comparatively.
Above-Ground Pools are Usually Safer
Above-ground pools can also be much safer options than in-ground installations. Above-ground pools aren’t as deep as in-ground options, ranging from 48 to 52 inches.
You can easily get in and out of above-ground pools thanks to the edges and handles. Because of their height, it’s less likely that children, pets, or wildlife will suffer accidents or injuries.
Above-Ground Pools are Prone to Damage
Above-ground pools have an average lifespan between 10 and 15 years, but regular maintenance can add even more time. Unfortunately, that’s around half the lifespan of in-ground installations.
Severe weather conditions, such as storms, wind, or heavy wind, can damage the lining and walls of an above-ground pool. Damage can result in thousands of gallons of water spilling into the yard, resulting in more repairs and fees.
Above-Ground Pools Have Limited Versatility
It’s possible to upgrade above-ground pools with heaters, custom lights, and water features. Unfortunately, the designs are usually limited and less visually appealing than in-ground pools.
Above-ground pools have a maximum depth of 52 inches and a width of around 41 feet. These limitations can make above-ground pools feel less enjoyable than in-ground installations.
The depth also makes it so you can’t install diving boards or other unique features, limiting versatility even further.
Above-Ground Pools Can Look Cheap
One of the main downsides to above-ground pools is that they can look cheaper and less visually appealing than in-ground installations. Some believe above-ground models look like eyesores, kiddie pools, or cheap hot tubs.
It’s possible to improve an above-ground pool aesthetic with wood-paneling, landscaping, or patio decorations, but many still consider it less stylish than an in-ground installation.
Will an Above-Ground Pool Increase My Home Value?
There’s a lot to consider if one of the factors you’re thinking about is the resale value. Unfortunately, above-ground pools don’t provide much resale value or increase your home’s market value. Above-ground pools aren’t permanent fixtures and are considered personal property items.
Pools can be a gamble when it comes to returning on investment, but in-ground installations are more likely to increase property value. However, in-ground swimming pools might only increase your property’s value by about 7%, depending on the location, climate, and other factors.
Living in a nicer neighborhood in a warmer climate will surely help your resale value. You’ll also need to have some space left in your backyard, as large pools can turn off potential buyers.
Swimming pools also age over time. You might lose buyers’ interest if you have an old, outdated pool that’s in poor condition. On top of that, swimming pools can be a safety hazard for families with young children. The type of buyer is something to consider depending on your location.