When a client asks what is the on-going operating cost of a private pool, I struggle to offer a precise answer. The upfront cost to install a private pool can be determined after a 30 minute consultation with one of the many pool builders in the Phoenix area. But what are the daily operating costs that a homeowner can expect? For luxury homes, a well appointed private pool can be a standard expectation. A family with children may look to a private backyard pool as a essential activity for the children during the 100+ degree summer days common to Phoenix. So what is the day to day cost of this hydrated desert amenity?
Breaking down the daily operating costs of a private pool in Arizona
I have always been curious about what portion of my monthly SRP electricity bill is due to the pool pump that recirculates and filters the swimming pool water and runs the water feature. Iâ€™ve read that a pool pump can be the 2nd highest usage of electricity for a typical home with a pool next to the air conditioner. Instead of asking somebody at the pool store and getting an anecdotal response, I looked for a more analytical answer.
The first step is to calculate the Watts used consumed. This is done by multiplying the volts x amps. To the left is the label from my pool pump. For a 230 volt motor, multiply this by 7.8 amps. The result is 1,794 Watts, or 1.8 KWh. The next step is to calculate the KWh/day by multiplying this by the hours per day the pump runs. During the summer, it is recommended the pump run 6 â€“ 8 hours/day, and less during the winter. For my calculations, Iâ€™ll use 8 hours. 1.8 Kwh x 8 hours = 14.4 KWh/day or 432 KWh/month. The SRP standard summer rate is $0.0806/KWh, so the cost/month is 432 KWh x $0.0806/KWh = $35/month, or a little more than $1/day. The winter rate is lower so this calculation is on the high side.
Pool chemical cost can vary depending on the system used to keep the chemicals in balance. Newer technology uses salt water systems to assist in chlorinating the pool. A rough estimate for chlorine, acid and misc. chemicals such as diatomacheous earth for the filter would be approximately $300/year or $25/month.
Evaporation of pool water
The Phoenix area has over 350,000 private pools. According to the Water Resources Deparment, an uncovered pool loses 4 â€“ 6 feet of water per year. This coincides with other estimates that a pool loses its entire volume once a year due to evaporation. If a pool holds 12,000 gallons and the residential water rate is $1.15/1,000 gallons, the yearly cost for water due to evaporation is barely $14 /year. This much lower than I would have expected and unfortunately such a low cost does not encourage water conservation which could be achieved through the use of a pool cover.
Major pool expenses
An important consideration is the type of lining, the cost and how often it will need to be replaced. When we installed our pool, we went with a basic plaster pool. After 9 â€“ 10 years it had to be replaced. The replacement cost to have the pool relined varies depending on the lining; plaster with quartz, or pebble tec. Pebble tec pool liners are more robust and can out last less expensive linings. A basic lining would be around $5,000 â€“ $6,000 which would equate to $600/year or $50/month over a 10 year functional life expectancy. And as with any replacement parts, watch out when your pool vacuum needs bearing or other replacement parts, youâ€™re looking at a miniumum of $150.
My estimate of the on-going cost of a Phoenix area pool would be $35 for the pool pump, $25/month for chemicals and $60/month for major expenses, so plan to budget roughly $120/month for the maintenance of your swimming pool. This estimate is based largely on my own pool which is from the mid 1990â€²s era and probably on the high side, so please do your own analysis based on the expense types Iâ€™ve outlined above. Your comments are welcome based on your experience!
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This article was originally posted in Phoenix Waterfront Blog.