What are the costs of pool upkeep?

Consumables

We sell all our swimming pools with auto testing and dosing salt chlorinators. These units use salt dissolved in the pool water and convert it to Chloride ions which act as the sanitising/oxidising agent to kill organic matter within the water column. The average side swimming pool would use approximately 200kg of salt a year. This can be bought in 20kg bags of salt from Bunnings and pool shops from approximately $8 per bag. This means that the total cost for salt  usage / sanitising the pool is around $80 per year. The pool chlorinators also test and dose to manage the pH of the pool  – they do this through dosing pool acid. A 15 LT drum of pool acid can be bought from Clarke Rubber for $22  a drum.  The average pool will go through 3  – 5 drums of acid  / year. This totals a figure of approx. $100 / year. At the start of and completion of each swimming season (October to April) additional pool water testing for Stabiliser concentration, total alkalinity and calcium hardness is required. Pool shops test water for free and will happily sell you the chemicals you need. A yearly budget of approx. $200 for these items is ample.

This means the average pool will cost approx. $400 for chemicals  / year

Electricity

Swimming pools are energy intensive to maintain primarily they use electrical energy to move water through the filtration and heating  systems etc. But in addition they use gas to heat the water and  even the sun to heat the water in solar pool heating systems.

Item Electricity Cost per Year*
Pool Filtration Pump $305
Solar Heating Pump $317
Salt Chlorinators $105
Infloor Cleaning $1,058

*Based on 2015 electricity prices of $0.29 per KWhr

Upkeep on Plant and Equipment

There are some commercial realities that need to be considered in first answering this. Nearly every commercial product manufactured is not built prioritising durability; but rather commercial advantage. Pool equipment manufacturers are no different. Their business models are built around innovation and  functionality with  durability and longevity being supplanted by the knowledge that continuous re-imagining of function will make even the most durable product  – out of date: Just think of mobile phones, the market drivers are functionality; whilst the concept of longevity needs to just meet the expiration date of your mobile phone contract.

So an honest reflection of the likely durability of significant pieces of pool machinery is as per the following:

Item Warranty Lifetime Common Issues
Pool Pumps 3 years 5 – 10 years

Likely service issues include bearings and seals.

Approx $200 to fix per item.

Salt Chlorinators Up to 5 years 5 – 10 years

Likely to require salt cell replacement after 6 yrs. Cost $500

Gas Heater 1 – 2 years 6 – 10 years

Likely to require replacement of PCB board and screen – up to $500.

Replacement of heat exchangers and burners $2-3K – may be required after 6 years or more years of use.

Sand filters Up to 10 years   Sand requires replacement after 5 yrs cost $400; multiport valve may require replacement or servicing of seals after 5 or more years cost upto $500
Infloor cleaning 1 year   Infloor heads and water valves 5 – 10 yrs cost to change up to $5K