Over the years of sharing information about taking care of your swimming pool, I’ve come across some really interesting ways to save money while operating and maintaining your swimming pool.
These tips really help out the current-day pool owner who is trying to cut back spending while actively trying to maintain a healthy, stress-free lifestyle by actually enjoying the swimming pool sitting in the backyard.
1. Store Your Vacuum Head Correctly
The number one reason pool owners replace their vacuum head is because the brushes on the bottom of it have either flattened out or completely fallen off. A great way to get a longer life out of your vacuum head is all in how you store it.
Store your vacuum head upside down and out of the sun. Over the winter, be sure you keep it away from any chlorine. If you do this, you will double the life of your vacuum head, which can be expensive to replace.
Bonus: If you don’t know how to use your manual vacuum, check out our video on vacuuming your swimming pool.
2. Use A Solar Cover With Your Pool Heater
Solar covers are great for many reasons. They maintain the heat in the pool, they keep debris out, and they help attract heat from the sun. If you have a gas or electric heater you might say, why would I need a solar cover if I have a heater?
Solar covers help to keep the heat that’s collected from the sun in your pool. If you ONLY use a solar cover at night, it helps to keep the heat from escaping your pool – especially on those really cool summer nights.
If you have a heater, you can crank the heater up to the desired temperature, shut it off, then keep a solar cover on at night. By doing that, you can make that initial heat last for a long time, if not the WHOLE SUMMER!!! Imagine only running your heater once, maybe twice a year. That will save you a ton of green (money).
You can think of it like heating up your coffee in the microwave and then keeping a lid on it while you’re not drinking it.
Bonus: If you don’t feel like taking a solar cover on and off your swimming pool every night, then you can invest in liquid solar blankets. They are easier to use and cost much less in the short term.
3. Use Baking Soda
When I worked at the pool store, I got asked this question all the time:
Can’t I just use baking soda to increase my alkalinity?
The short answer is yes.
Baking soda will increase your pool’s alkalinity levels. However, is it really cheaper? That would depend on what type of baking soda you’re buying and what type of alkalinity you are buying. I would only use baking soda if you needed to bump up the alkalinity just a little.
Buying boxes and boxes of baking soda to increase your alkalinity by 100ppm would be ridiculous. Not to mention, it might end up costing you a lot more money.
Baking soda is also more “powdery” than your standard Alkalinity Increaser. This may cause your pool to be cloud up. Although, it shouldn’t really be a huge deal if you only adding small amounts at a time.
Before you assume (or the guy at the pool store recommends it, thinking he’s doing you a favor) check the prices of the pool store alkalinity increaser VS. boxes of baking soda at the grocery store. You might find that buying it at the pool store is cheaper than you thought.
4. Close Your Above Ground Pool Yourself
In my head, everyone who reads this title will say “DUH!!!” However, I don’t think folks realize how big of a money saver this chore can be.
Do you know it can cost you up to $250 to close down an Above Ground Pool? Of course, that depends on how big your pool is. So the best thing you can do is learn how to close down your above ground pool yourself. It’s so easy a…caveman can do it? I don’t know, but it’s pretty easy.
What You’ll Need
- Pool Cover
- Closing Chemicals
- Winter Plugs
- Air Pillow
- Water bags (if you have a deck)
How To Close Your Above Ground Pool: The Fast And Simple Method
- Add your closing chemicals to the water
- Drain your pool, 6 to 8 inches below the skimmer
- Remove the hoses from your pool filter and pump
- Remove all the drain plugs from your pump and filter and store them in the pump basket
- Store your pump and filter in a safe place (unless you have a sand filter)
- Install a winter plug in the return line
- Blow up the air pillow and float it to the middle of the pool. You can use The Pool Pillow Pal to keep it centered (I don’t get paid for that endorsement, it’s just a really neat product)
- Drape the cover over the pool and secure it using cable and winch and/or winter cover clips
- Add water bags to deck to hold cover in place
That’s it! It’s very simple and doesn’t require any special technique.
Bonus: For a more detailed version, check out our how-to guide on closing an above ground pool.
5. Keep Your Winter Cover Clean
To some, this may be a no brainer. Keeping your winter cover clean throughout the winter will save you a ton of money in spring.
Most pools, when opened in the spring, look like the black lagoon. This will cause some folks to dump a ton of chemicals in the water just to clear it. Some concrete inground customers may even drain the entire pool just to start from scratch. If only you kept your winter cover cleaned.
Inground pools with mesh safety covers do not have to worry about this. Their covers are always clean.
Throughout the winter, make sure you use a pool cover pump and get the water off the top of your cover. Every time it rains or the snow has melted, tend to your pool and get that water off the cover.
When the cover is dry, use a broom and get as much leaves and debris off the top of your cover as you can.
Come spring time you will thank yourself for keeping a clean cover. It will be much easier to remove and you’ll be able to re-use your cover for the next winter. No one wants to buy a new pool cover every single year. It can get very expensive.
Bonus: Got snow? Learn why you should and how to get the the snow off your winter cover.
6. Run Your Filter Less In Mild Climates
Personally, I live in the North East. This means, I close my swimming pool every winter. However, I know in some parts of the world you keep your pools open year-round. So here is a little money saving tip to cut down the costs of running your pool all year long.
Run your filter less. Yup, it’s that’s simple!
In the summer time, when it’s hot, I always recommend owners run their pools for 8 to 12 hours, even more when it’s dirty. You need to keep that water clean and moving so that you don’t run into any problems, such as an algae growth.
The summertime is great for algae, because algae loves warmth. When the water is colder, it’s harder for algae to grow. This is a good reason why you are able to get away with running your filter less when we have milder weather.
So you can either cut back that pump to only running 6 hours a day, or invest in a 2 speed or multi-speed pump that runs slower and uses less energy.
7. Buy Your Pool Chemicals Early
At the beginning of every pool season, I always mention starting up the pool early or buying chemicals early. I think it’s a tip that warrants repeating. It’s a tip that people have trouble getting behind and I understand why – they don’t wanna think about opening their pool early.
Now, I’m not sure about your big box retailers like Wal-Mart and Target, but your smaller pool stores generally run spring start-up specials to entice people to get in the door early to get a jump start on the season. It’s a good move, especially if stores have some leftover chemicals from last year that they are trying to get rid of to make room for the new shipment of chemicals.
Also, make sure you buy in bulk at the beginning of the season whether it’s on sale or not. Buying in bulk will save you money, especially in chemicals. Make sure you stock up on chlorine (or whichever sanitizer you use) and shock, since you’ll be using these chemicals all summer long.
8. Run Your Pool Pump At Night
Let’s face it, everyone is trying to cut corners and save a buck. Heck, that’s why I even write these series of blog posts. It’s our most popular segment and this week, I think I got a really good one. It’s short and sweet…
RUN YOUR POOL FILTER AT NIGHT!!!
I wrote that in all caps so that it really drives my point home. I also gave it away in the title of the post, so I figured I’d say it again anyway.
The peak hours for most electric companies are from 7:00am to 7:00pm during the week. This is when it costs the most money to use electricity. So, to save some green, run your filter during the off peak hours.
9. Shock Your Swimming Pool Every Week
Let’s say it’s the middle of the summer and you’ve been good at shocking your pool every week. Your pool has been crystal clear all summer long. You’ve been testing your water regularly and everything is going perfect! Then, you decide that you’ve been so good that you’ll skip a week taking care of it. Remember, now it’s hot and your kids have been swimming in it. All of the sudden your pool turns green and/or cloudy.
Now instead of following your normal routine and shocking it once a week, you are forced to triple shock it this week to get rid of the green. And you also have to run your filter system 24/7 to help clear up the cloudy water. Now you have just wasted all that extra money pumping more shock into your water and running the filter longer.
In short, shocking your pool every week helps maintain a healthy and clear pool, which will prevent these kinds of things from happening.
10. Use A Robotic Pool Cleaner
Robotic pool cleaners are self-contained units that run off of electricity and can clean an entire swimming pool faster than YOU. They drive around the pool on their own, climbing up walls and stairs and collecting all kinds of debris in their fine mesh filter bags.
These filter bags also filter the water, so by running your robotic cleaner while the filter and pump ARE NOT running, you are actually saving money while keeping your pool clean. It costs much less to run a small pool cleaner than it does to run your filter system.
11. Keep An Eye On Your Chlorine Stabilizer Level
For those of you who don’t know, chlorine stabilizer or cyanuric acid is a chemical that protects the sun from eating up the chlorine you put in your pool. When you add chlorine to your pool via shock or chlorine tablets, the chlorine is un-stabilized (for the most part). Meaning, it doesn’t last very long in the water to fight bacteria and other harmful contaminates.
By adding Chlorine Stabilizer to your water, it will help keep that chlorine in your water longer to fight what it needs to kill to keep your water sanitized. Chlorine is quickly oxidized by the sun and the stabilizer helps protect the chlorine from being oxidized quickly.
How To Add Chlorine Stabilizer
Chlorine stabilizer should be added at the beginning of every year. Sometimes, you may have enough stabilizer left over from the year before and won’t need to add it. Make sure you get your water checked for cyanuric acid just in case. Here is step by step instructions for adding cyanuric acid to your swimming pool water:
- Make sure your filter is cleaned. Back wash and rinse your filter out.
- Find out how much chlorine stabilizer your pool needs by visiting your local pool store and asking. Commonly, you’ll need 1 pound per 3,000 gallons of water.
- Because it dissolves slowly, the best way to add it is by pouring it into the skimmer and through your filter system, SLOWLY. It will dissolve instead the filter and be released into the water. Remember, do this SLOWLY. You don’t want to clog the filter and pump.
- Run your swimming pool for a full 24 hours and do not backwash or you’ll lose the stabilizer.
12. Buy Your Pool Chemicals In Bulk
Most pool supply stores will run sales at the beginning of the spring and summer on pool chemicals. Take advantage of these sales. Check your local newspapers and coupon magazines. Purchase chemicals in large quantities at the start of the season, especially chlorine and powdered shock.
When it comes to pool chemicals, make sure you always have a big supply of shock, chlorine, and alkalinity increaser. These chemicals are usually sold in bulk and will last more than 1 year. If you have any leftovers, you can use them the following year.