The Real Cost of Owning a Pool

After moving to a new home last summer and finally having a good-sized yard with a fence surrounding it, we decided to buy a small pool so our kids can have a place to cool off during the summer.  It’s nothing fancy, just one of those Intex models that you build yourself and take down at the end of the summer.  The pool itself is 14 feet in diameter and cost $249.  That also included a filter, ladder, and cover for when the pool is not in use.

Of course the price of the pool itself is just one part of the overall expense.  If you’re thinking of getting a pool for yourself you should consider these hidden costs of owning a pool.


It’s important to keep your pool clean and safe to swim in and that requires maintenance.  At the minimum you’ll need some chlorine and PH, as well as a testing kit so you can check the levels of each and make adjustments as needed.  There are two types of test kits to choose from.  You can either get strips that change color when you place them in the pool water or a liquid dye that you add to a small sample of the water. 

Cleaning supplies

The PH I use just gets sprinkled on the water’s surface, but the chlorine comes in tablets that have to be added to a floater so they slowly break dissolve into the pool water.  In addition to the floater, you’ll need a skimmer which is a big net that you use to clean bugs, leaves, and other small objects from the surface.

You’ll also need some kind of vacuum to clean the bottom of the pool.  There are a variety of vacuums with replaceable heads and hoses that hook up directly to your pool’s filter.  Since I only have a small, do-it-yourself pool I decided to try the Aqua Broom.  It works really well for a small pool, but I wouldn’t recommend it for a really big pool.  If you want to check it out you can get one on sale at Amazon here.

Pool Accessories

Particularly if you have kids, you’ll also have to add in the cost of goggles, beach balls, inflatable rings, floating noodles, maybe a volleyball net, and other assorted pool accessories.  These inexpensive items can add up to a significant expense if you let them.  make sure you add them into the cost of owning a pool.


Even a small pool like mine requires a few thousand gallons of water to fill up (that first water bill is a doozy!) and you’ll probably have to top it off every once in a while as the water level decreases due to splashing.  Your electric bill will also go up as you keep the filter running for hours every day to keep the water clean.  


One pool expense that most people never consider is their homeowner’s insurance.  Statistics show that people who own a pool are more likely to file a claim.  Pool accidents are common and most insurers will increase your annual premium if you add a pool to your yard.


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Mike is a freelance writer and blogger who specializes in finance and parenting topics. He is a dedicated husband and father of three who is obsessed with creating multiple streams of income and building wealth so he can achieve true financial freedom for his family. Like what you're reading? Subscribe to our free RSS feed and follow us on Twitter.

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    • says

      It’s a very hard decision…there’s lots of work and more expenses than most people realize. But we’re in the middle of a heat wave in NJ and my kids are sure glad we decided to get it! :)

  1. says

    Phew, looking at this whole list of expenses am having second thoughts about having a pool, especially since we don’t have kids yet! It would sure be nice to have it sometime, but for now given my financial situation, it would probably be more financially prudent to swim at public swimming pools…however inconveniencing that would be! Eye-opening post Mike!

    • says

      Hey Simon, it’s definitely more expensive than most people realize so if you’re unsure than waiting is probably the best thing to do. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Ray says

    This is just a basic article. Not much research done here. Estimated costs in the article would have made it better and more informative. Missed opportunity.

  3. says

    If you break down all the costs, many folks can join a neighborhood pool for $300 – $600 a season. The walk/drive to get there is less convenient, but you don’t have to mess with all the chemicals and cleaning and stuff. So, that’s probably a wash. All that being said, I think the allure of owning a pool is overrated.


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