Cut the Cost of Owning an Inground Pool

There is nothing better than coming home and jumping into you’re beautiful Inground pool but an Inground pool can be much more expensive to keep than a smaller above-ground pool. The cost of Chemicals, equipment, and Energy can be hard on you.  Everyone needs ways to save money these days. How You Can Cut the Cost Of Owning an Inground Pool?

  • Keep H2O chemistry Balanced
  • Use a Pool Cover in Winter
  • Reuse Pool equipment each year
  • Size your Pool, Pump & Filter
  • Switch to LED Lighting
  • Install Timers on Filter & Pump
  • Use Quality Chemicals & Testers
  • Run pump & Filter on Off-Peak Hrs.
  • Make a Maintenance Plan
  • Lower Insurance Rates by removing the diving board

Inground pools and their upkeep can be an endless money pit that will turn a wonderful addition to your home into a huge expense. After years of running water systems and owning my own Inground pool,  I’ve learned that the best defense against pool problems is an Offense. That Offense is a Scheduled Maintenance Plan.


How Much Does It Cost To Maintain an Inground Pool


To open your pool at the beginning of the season, you will need certain chemicals to kick start the water’s chemistry and get the pool back to where it was last season.

If you were smart, then you stored all your equipment like the skimmers vacuum and brushes away to protect them from the cold weather. You drained the filtering system and water lines coming and going to the pool. Put away the plugs and baskets and everything you will need to start over again in the spring.

Putting the cover on and protecting the last season’s water, is important. So start here. Water costs money. Then parts like plastic plugs, leaf baskets, and poles all add up and cost money.

The things you need every year like chemicals and reagents for test kits have to be purchased yearly. There might be some PH Plus or Algicide that you held on to that still is good but you still need to get to the pool store and buy fresh chemicals. You can’t get around it.  I used prices of Pool Chemicals that I just took off offline and estimated a full season of chemicals for mid to large Inground Pool.

The cost will be much more if you need to buy equipment or you can’t control the chemical balance in your pool. I am taking for granted that you saved the pool water and the pool’s equipment. The cost here will be to turn the water and get ready for opening day, along with the operational cost to keep it going until Labor Day. I’ll include the Chemicals and Electric costs and how you can reduce them. 

 Costs to run a Moderate to Large Inground Pool- For the Season 

  • Chlorine–  InTheSwim-Used in Floaters-3 Inch Swimming Pool Chlorine Tablets 50 lbs-99% Trichlor-S-Triazinetrione. Dosage: approximately 1-2 tabs per 10,000 gallons of water per dosage. **  10-25 lbs.Extra
  • PH Increaser–  Pool & Spa pH Increaser (Pure Soda Ash, Sodium Carbonate) –45 lbs.
  • PH Reducer | pH Down | Sodium Bisulfate | Muriatic Acid Replacement – 25 lbs. Pail 
  • Algaecide–  InTheSwim Super Pool Algaecide – 2 x 1/2 Gallons-Non-foaming formula. Safe to swim immediately after use.  Dosage: 2 oz. per 10,000 gallons. NOT recommended for use in well water.
  • Shock– The Swim Chlorine Pool Shock – 24 X 1 lb. Bag24 x 1 pound bags.  Powerful and effective chlorinated shock treatment.  Provides a quick chlorine boost when fast action is needed
    Contains 68% Calcium Hypochlorite for fast-acting oxidation, Dosage: 1 lb. per 10,000 gallons
  • Pool Test Kit–   TAYLOR TECHNOLOGIES INC K-2006 TEST KIT COMP CHLORINE-Tests for Total and Combined Chlorine, pH, Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness, and Cyanuric Acid Comes with Taylor 9058 comparator Includes .75 ounce reagents
  • Clarifier-    WQA Certified – SeaKlear Natural Clarifier for Pools, 1 Gallon Bottle Best-in-class performance clears cloudy water within 24 hours Highest concentration clarifier provides the lowest cost per dose Improves filter efficiency, Can’t be over-dosed! Naturally clarifies cloudy water Removes oils and oily scum
  • Alkalinity Increaser–  InTheSwim Pool Alkalinity Increaser – 50 lb. Pail

These chemicals can be bought online through MyWaterEarth&Sky and Amazon and will get you going and most likely will last the whole season. You may have to purchase a smaller container of Chlorine tablets to get you through the entire season.

The online price will be approximately $550.00 dollars **plus a small container of Tablets.


Pool Maintenance Cost Calculator

These are the chemicals you will need to get through until Labor Day. All top-rated for strength and will be exactly what you need to get your pool back on track.

  •  Buy quality chemicals, especially chlorine.
  • Use the highest Active Ingredient and strength Chlorine that contains a stabilizer.
  • Don’t ever buy leftover chlorine even if they cut the price in half. 
  • Add Chlorine Granular or Shock at night only. If you are using the “Bump method”with Granular Chlorine or normal Shocking, you can mix and dilute in a 5 gal. bucket and add it slowly walking around the parameter of the pool.
  • Keep a Well Balanced Pool-Alkalinity-PH & Chlorine Residual= Well Balanced Chemistry The easiest way to reduce chemical usage is to keep complete control of your pool. A well-balanced pool is the number one control that will absolutely save you money. Once you lose that control you will be back up to the Pool Store with your credit card out.
  • Pick up a 1-gallon container of Muriatic Acid.  it’s cheap and great for cleaning Algae and stains around the pool and it can soften and lower the PH in a pinch. Be careful handling it.
  • Use a Maintenance Program -Scrub the Walls and Floor in your Pool-Use-Shock-Algaecide then Clarifier waits for the pool to settle then Vacuum to Waste- then Backwash. You can do this once a week or according to usage and temperatures. You’ll know when the pool needs it twice.
  • If you are using Granular Chlorine you can “Bump” the system by Super-chlorinating once a week instead of Shocking. It will also save you time and money on buying Shock Chlorine which is costly and sometimes recommended but not necessary.


How Much Does A Pool Raise Your Electric Bill 


According to national study homes with Inground Pool use about $400.00 dollars per year or more on electricity than the average household without one. Your pool pump is one of the highest energy appliances that you own.

More than your air conditioner a pool pump can drain the bucks right out of your pocket without some kind of preventative action. If you know how much you are spending then you can start to budget.

You can adjust the amount of time your pool pump is running by using a timer on the filtering system. You should have a dial timer if you don’t, get one installed.  Then figure out the size and volume of your pool. This is just an example of a Standard Inground Pool size. 

If your pool is 25 ft. long and 12 ft. wide and  4-8 Ft. Deep or (6 Ft. average Depth) then the Volume equals.

Length x Width x Average Depth. = Volume Square Foot.

Ex: 25 x 12 x 6 = 1800 square ft. then multiply square foot by how many gallons of water are in a square ft. which is 7.5

So 1800 sq. ft. x 7.5 = 13,500 gallons

There is 13,500 gal. of water in your swimming pool.

Now you can size your pump that is already properly sized to your filter. That job was done by the Pool Supply people that sold you the Filtering System.

Now you need to figure out how much pool water your pool pump is moving and how long it takes for the pump to turn over the pool. What I mean is how long does it take for the pool pump to pump 13,500 gallons of water.

Ballpark it, you don’t want to get into specific influences like Head and Lift. It’s not an exact science. You are making clean pool water, not nitroglycerin.  

If your pool pump is designed to move 30 gallons per/minute then 30 x 6o minutes in an hour = 1800 gallons an hour in 8 hours your pool pump will move approximately 14,400 gallons through the filter. Your pool pump has the capacity to turn your pool over in around 8 hours.

To save money you should turn the Dial-Timer down and run the pool filter less. Start with 12 hours and 12 off. See if there is a difference in the clarity and appearance of the water. You’ll save a lot of money and you can always lower and raise the amount of time as you go along.

If the rates are 8 hours for a turnover then come down to 8 hours a day. Most pools are designed for pumps to be able to turn the pool over in about 8 hours. Take into account the number of people using the pool and the temperature. These will all have a bearing on filtering time. I like 12 hours of running time.


Pool Pump Motor Power Consumption in Watts

If you know The pool pumps Power Consumption multiply that by the Amperage then you can get Watts-divide that by 1000 to get kW to multiply that by the Electric Company rate x hours/day= Total cost.

My Pool Pump is a single phase 115/230 volt and 18.6/9.3. If you run on the lower Voltage then you use the Higher Amperage. If you run the pump on the higher voltage you use the lower Amperage.

 My Power Consumption estimate looked like this. 115 Volts x 18. 9 Amps = 21,39 Total Watts divide that by 1000 and you get 21.39 kW x 12 hours per/day x the Energy Rate = $ 2. 82 per/day or $84.70 per/month = $254.11 for 3 months or the season. If I run the Pool Pump only for 8 hours per/day

My Inside and Outside Pool lighting Cost Adjusted for a 3-month usage (the Pool Season) Set a timer on the lights so that there not on all night. If you got kids, then you know what I’m talking about.

Underwater Incandescent Pool Light-300 watt would run at about 8 hours a night during summer would cost $ 9.90 per/month that would look like this. 300 x. 11 Watt x 8 x30 days $9.90  x 3 months (pool Season) = $ 29.70 

4 Outdoor Security Flood Lights -150 Watts a piece are  $17.28 per/month or $51.84 for the Pool Season

Pool Chemicals:   $550.00 +                      ** some extra Chlorine at the end of the season

Pool Lights:           $81.54 

Pool Pump:          $254.11

Total Cost             $885.65

Locate the voltage and amperage rating of the pump. The specifications should be listed on the motor label. In our example, we used a 1.5HP Hayward Super Pump. The voltage rating is 115/230 and the amp rating is 18.6/9.3. If you run a pump on the lower voltage rating (115) you will select the higher amperage rating (18.6). If you run the pump on the higher voltage (230) you will select the lower amperage rating (9.3).

  1. For my example, I used 115 Volts and 18.6 Amps.
  2. Multiply the voltage rating by the amperage rating. This will give the total watts. Example: 230 volt x 9.3 amps = 2,139 watts
  3. Divide the total watts by 1,000 to get kilowatts (kW). Example: 2,139 watts / 1,000 = 2.139 kW
  4. Multiply the hours per day you run the pool pump by the kW. This total will be in kWh per day. Example: 8 hours/day X 2.139 kW = 17.112 kWh per day.
  5. Multiply the kWh per day by the cost per kWh. The cost per kWh can be found on your most recent power bill. The result will tell you how much it costs to run your pump each day. Example: 17.112 kWh a day x .12 cents per kWh = $2.05 per day to operate the pool pump


How to Lower Free Chlorine

How Long Should I Run My Pool Filter Each Day


  1. Reduce Restrictions in the Pump’s Lines: the resistance that the pump must overcome is in proportion to the amount of Work the motor has to do. Check valves, directional valves, chlorinators, or purifiers all add restriction, as does a pool heater. Finally, the fewer bends in the pipes, to and from the pool, the better. Every bend or turn in the pipe adds resistance to the system. It’s kind of nitpicking but it may save some bucks.
  2. Run The Pump Less:  Most pools are originally designed to turn over all of the water in a pool within an 8-hour time period. For this reason, most operators should run the pump at least 8 hours per/day, up to 16 hours during periods of high use or high temperatures. First If you don’t have a Dial Timer on your system then you need to get one. Start with running 12 hours and keep the pool up or else you will ” screw the pooch” and have had a mess on your hand. Experiment a little at a time.
  3. Install a Variable Speed Pump: Variable speed pumps use lower speeds to consume less energy. When you reduce impeller speed (RPM) by half, you reduce the amperage required by 8 times! We here at MyWaterEarth&Sky recommend a Variable Speed Pump that can make a huge difference for you in years to come it’s called the Pentair 011018 IntelliFlo Variable Speed High-Performance Pool Pump, 3 Horsepower, 230 Volt, 1 Phase – Energy Star Certified Energy savings up to 90-percent vs. traditional pumps
    Dramatically quieter operation 8 programmable speed settings and built-in timer assure optimum speed and run times for maximum efficiency and cost-saving. When you decide to replace the pump take a look at this. It’s a cost saver


  1. Install an Energy-Efficient Motor: When it’s time for a new pump, upgrading to an energy-efficient motor can save up to  30% more energy by improved designs and are not much more money than a Standard Pump. The average cost difference between a Standard and a EE Efficiency Pool Pump is only about $100.00 difference.  You could make up the difference in one pool season with this upgrade.
  2. Install a Smaller Horse Power Pump:  Not all 1 hp pool pumps produce the same amount of flow and pressure. There are medium flow, high flow, and very high flow pumps.  A smaller pump horsepower translates to lower energy costs because they use fewer amps. Replacing a medium-flow high-hp pump with a high-flow low-hp pump might be worth looking at.
  3. Keep the Pool Well Balanced and on a Maintenance Schedule- Keeping a routine maintenance program that includes scrubbing and using the vacuum will help the whole filtering process. If the pool is well balanced, and chemically fit, it will be effective in preventing any organic waste from setting up shop in your pool and creating more organic matter. It’s a 50-50 responsibility for the Filtering and Chemical process. Both complement each other.


  1.  Run Pump At Off-Peak Hours-The cheapest time to run electricity is during off-peak hours in the middle of the night, So you can set the Dial Timer to come on at Midnight and turn it off in the morning. That information is available on you’re Energy Company Bill.
  2. Install LED Pool and Outdoor Floods that can knock the cost of power down considerably.  Zodiac Watercolors Led Pool Light that is sold on Amazon with stainless steel face ring. Stainless steel housing for corrosion-free performance. Microprocessor blended colors for smooth transitions and no moving parts. Long-life up to 50000 hours, less than 50 watts of power compared to incandescent light and does the same work.
  3. Install a Timer on Pool area Lighting-Until you switch Incandescent lights over to LED, install a timer that will shut the lights off at night. If you got kids then you know what I mean. I woke up and looked at the light in the pool area still left on overnight. Just a waste of money.


Should You Shower Before and After a Swim

After the initial cost of installing an Inground Pool, you can get years of pleasure and enjoyment from owning one. I’ve always had one in my family because of the size of our family (10 kids) and the fact that it would save you the cost to go on a family vacation. You can literally go on vacation every day when you own a beautiful pool.

Don’t let the overhead scare you. The insurance rates aren’t a factor as long as you have a fence and sign on your property. Take care of your equipment and pool water and you should go through 4 or 5 years without buying equipment or changing the water. In fact, EPA says that 3- 5 years is fine to keep the same water in your pool. We actually do five years in ours.

Owning an Inground Pool can add money to the value of your house and most of all add lots of happy memories that can’t be counted by cost.  A Pool is worth every Penney and what it cost to operate it is a learning process. The longer you have one the better at it you get. This information hopefully will take you to another level that can reduce the cost of operation.

There is always a way to save money without compromising the control that you maintain over your Inground Pool. As long as you don’t lose that control you can squeeze more bang for your buck.

How to Keep a Pool Clean Cheaply


  •  Keep your Sand for 4-5 years. Manufacturers say 3-5 There is no reason to change it sooner unless there was a spill of something in the pool that clumped or corrupted the sand and won’t backwash out. which brings up another tip;
  • Portable Shower can save you a ton of money over a course of years from filter time or chemicals and sand. Oil-based products like suntan lotions, hair products, sweat, and all kinds of yucky things that make it into the pool then the Filter. A poolside shower like this one that we recommend here at MyWaterEarth&Sky purchased through Amazon is a great way to prevent your filtering system from having to work overtime especially if you got little kids or grandkids buy a shower for your pool. GF Garden Sunny Style Premium Solar Shower – Portable Pool & Garden Shower 



  • Keep the pool cover clean and dry. When you take the cover off in the Spring, lay it out in the open and wash it out with dawn dish detergent. This will remove any oil and algae. Don’t forget to clean both sides. Rinse and dry it in the sun before you fold it up and store it away till Fall. This will keep it in good shape for years to come.
  •  Telescoping Skimmer Poles especially the 20 ft. long vinyl ones are very expensive and last a while and are a great tool to use around the pool. A lot of people ruin them when skimming.  They will tap the pool fence or someplace with a hard surface to clean the skimmer. It will bend and crush the ends of the poles rendering them useless. If you have a pool then you know what I’m talking about. Don’t let anyone tap the skimmer nets to clean them. Shake them clean but don’t smack the ends. Those poles are $35.00 dollars and if you bend the end, you can’t take the skimmer off or put a new one on. I had to get that off my chest!!


  •  Measure out your chemicals instead of dumping them in the pool. Especially with Algaecide which can be expensive. Know the dimensions of your swimming pool and the amount of water the pool holds. This will keep you on top of all chemical doses that you need to calibrate according to your size pool. It is smart and saves money.
  • Know your filtering rate and pumps rate and make sure that if you swap any Filter/Pool Pump parts that they are sized to work together efficiently. They have to be made for each other. The specs are all available online.
  • Take any objects out of the pool before you add chemicals. If there are leaves or any debris especially organic get it off the bottom of the pool and skim off the top for the same reason. It’s Smart It Saves Money!
  • Buy the aluminum Hooks that attach to the pool fence and will hold you’re poles and brushes and after using them replace them on the same hooks. They will always stay safe and sound. You won’t be looking for them or buying new ones every year. Now That’s Smart That will Save Money!!


How to Test Pool Water


JimGalloway Author/Editor





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