Diving into the Costs and Benefits of In-Ground Pools

Some home buyers think an in-ground pool is a bonus, while others consider it a deal breaker. But does it add value to a home? The answer depends on several factors.

There's nothing like diving into a crystal-clear swimming pool on a hot day. To many homeowners and buyers, a pool is a plus—an upscale amenity that will enhance your life and make your home desirable to prospective buyers in the future. But the thought of swimming laps in the privacy of your own backyard may distract you from the realities that come with owning a pool, particularly the increased liability and maintenance costs.

✯Average cost to install a pool

When it comes to installing an in-ground pool, the average cost will be between $35,516 and $65,067, according to Dan DiClerico, a remodeling and home expert at HomeAdvisor. The initial average cost of a concrete pool is $40,000, while a vinyl pool is about $30,000. And a fiberglass pool is even cheaper, at approximately $28,250. DiClerico says there are other factors, like the size of the pool, that determine the cost of building an in-ground swimming pool.

Cost of swimming pool maintenance

If you're toying with the idea of buying a home with a swimming pool, you'll want to know how much it's going to cost you to maintain it. DiClerico says homeowners will pay an average of between $1,200 and $1,800 in annual upkeep.

Opening your pool, which includes removing the cover, reassembling the filter system, cleaning and testing the water chemistry, and refilling the water, typically costs between $150 and $300. However, he says, this cost could be higher if your pool is dirty and requires extra labor and chemicals. Closing and winterizing the pool also falls within the $150 to $300 range. “Monthly maintenance could cost anywhere from $80 to $150 a month, depending on the services,” DiClerico explains.

If you decide to maintain the in-ground pool yourself, DiClerico says you’ll spend at least an hour a week doing so, and will likely need the following:

  • Chlorine to neutralize harmful bacteria: $60 to $70 per 25 pounds

  • Muriatic acid to lower pH levels: $8 a gallon

  • Soda ash to prevent excess acid: $8 per 6 pounds

  • Test kit to gauge pH levels: $15Replacement test kit solutions: $8 a set

  • Pool skimmer: $7Vacuum to pick up items missed by skimmer: $20 to $600

  • Filters (replacement filter cartridge, $7 to $75; replacement filter sands, $12; diatomaceous earth, $20 per 25 pounds)

  • Pool cover: $600, depending on the material and size of your pool

Occasionally you'll also probably need chlorine to "shock" the pool to eliminate the buildup of ammonia, nitrogen, and other contaminants. The chlorine comes in 24- to 50-pound bags, ranging from $55 to $120.