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How much does it cost to run a swimming pool in Australia?

You could be paying up to $2,000 per year to maintain your pool. But there are ways to get the costs down.

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The average pool will cost you somewhere between $65 and $165 per month to maintain, depending on the size of your pool. You could pay hundreds of extra dollars every year to maintain a massive backyard lap pool versus a small one used for the occasional dip.

We know lot goes into maintaining a pool, so we've broken down the costs individually in the following sections.


Running the filter pump: Monthly cost of $7-$20

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To keep your pool clean and free of algae, you'll generally run your filter pump daily for somewhere between 6 and 8 hours (though less during the winter season).

Since you use your pump so frequently, it can chew through tons of electricity, but more energy efficient models help drive those costs down.

You should expect to see many pool pumps rated for efficiency, similar to the ratings you find on heaters and refrigerators. As of 2021, pool pumps are scored under the E3 Program with 1–10 stars, with each extra star representing a 25% increase in efficiency.

These ratings can make a big difference to running costs, so we've chosen 2 recent Zodiac pool pumps to demonstrate the price gap. Yearly consumption figures are taken from the Energy Rating database.

Yearly energy consumptionMonthly energy cost
Zodiac Flo Pro E3: 6-star rating657kWh54.75kWh (monthly consumption) x 26.5c/kWh (usage rate) = $14.51
Zodiac Flo Pro VS: 9-star rating305kWh25.42kWh (monthly consumption) x 26.5c/kWh (usage rate) = $6.74

As you can see, the more efficient model cuts your pump's energy use (and costs) in half. Less efficient pumps will always consume more power, so it can be well worth investing in decent equipment.

  • Keep in mind. No pumps rated below 6 stars currently participate in the program. However, a 3-star pump (about as inefficient as you'll find) will consume around 30–40% more power than the Zodiac 6-star, hence the $20 upper limit in our calculation.

Heating the water: Monthly cost (over 6 months): $16–$40 (with solar), $50–$250 (no solar)

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Unless you love cold baths, heaters are essential for a pleasant swimming experience. There are 3 types of heaters: electric, gas and solar.

Here's a rough guide of how much you might spend per month during a 6-month swimming season (October to March) using:

  • Solar heating, $16–$40 per month. We discuss solar heaters in greater detail further down, but these are the cheapest to run (on bright days) because the sun does most of the work for you.
  • Non-solar electric heating, $50–$170 per month. Electric heaters last a long time and are a reliable choice regardless of weather, but are slow to heat your pool.
  • Gas heating, $100–$250 per month. Gas heaters will heat your pool up in a flash no matter the season, but can be difficult to repair and aren't too environmentally friendly.

You might notice these estimates vary widely. This is because heating costs heavily depend on lots of external factors, including:

  • Where you live. Brisbane is the cheapest place to heat a pool, while Hobart is the most expensive. Colder climates mean more energy dumped into heating.
  • Your target temperature. Heating your pool to 26℃ is much more affordable than a toasty 28℃, for example. Each extra degree can raise your heating costs by 30% or so over a swimming season.
  • Your swimming season. Heating your pool during spring and summer months (October to March) is generally affordable. Trying to extend your swimming season into autumn or winter will see your costs skyrocket.

Other maintenance costs: Monthly cost: ~$50

Man Cleaning Pool

  • Replacing lost water.

According to data from the Bureau of Meteorology, about 5.21mm of water will evaporate from the surface of your pool daily during the month of December.

In a 6m x 4m pool, that's the equivalent of 125L lost to evaporation every single day, adding up to 3,750L per month (about $9 @ $2.50/kL). You'll lose even more water when the humidity drops or the temperature rises.

  • Chlorination/cleaning.

If you buy all your own chemicals to keep your pool clean, it can cost you around $200 per year or $17 per month. However, even the most dedicated pool owner will need a professional clean from time to time.

Pool cleaning companies will charge you around $60–$150 for a standard clean (or up to $1,000 for specialised cleans). You might need them about 4 times a year on top of your own cleaning. This route is more expensive, costing around $400 per year or $33 per month.

Pool cleaning companies will charge you around $60 - $150 for a standard clean (or up to $1,000 for specialised cleans), and you might need them around 4 times a year on top of your own cleaning. This route is more expensive, costing around $400 per year, or $33 per month.

  • Additional maintenance

A lot goes into keeping a pool functioning. This can range from $10 pool nets up to $1,000+ water pumps, plus occasional expensive repair jobs like patching cracks or replacing worn-out lining.

You can expect to budget in another $100–$300 or so per year to cover these various maintenance costs or around $17 per month.

  • So how much does it cost in a year?

Adding all these various costs together, a swimming pool will cost somewhere in the region of $800–$2,000 per year to maintain.

Can I save with a solar pool heater?

If you're relying on gas or electric heaters, yes.

Solar water heaters work by pumping water up onto tubes on your roof, transferring heat from the sun into it before pumping it back into the pool. You only need to pay for the energy used for pumping, not the actual heating itself (unlike electric or gas heaters).

While they aren't the cheapest to install ($1,000–$5,000 for the heating system itself and up to $2,500 for installation), solar water heaters are far cheaper to run and should last a decade or two with proper maintenance.

Pros

  • Cheaper to run than gas or electric heaters
  • Low maintenance
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Can be paired with a gas or electric booster for less sunny days

Cons

  • Worse in cloudy or cold weather
  • Heats water up gradually
  • Solar collector requires a large surface area for heating
  • Roof pipes are prone to damage from storms or animals

How else can I reduce my running costs?

Beyond investing in a solar heater, here are the best ways to lower your pool running costs:

  • Buy a pool cover. Pool covers drastically reduce evaporation. This not only helps reduce water loss, but also helps maintain your pool's temperature by keeping the warm water in. Plus, they keep your pool clean by catching debris.
  • Run your pool pump at night. If you're on a time-of-use tariff, consider running your pool pump at night during off-peak hours when power is cheaper.
  • Buy a more efficient pump. Many pool pumps are now rated for efficiency by the E3 Program. A 6-star pump could cost more than twice as much to run as a 9-star pump, for example.
  • Regular maintenance. Keeping on top of your pool maintenance can prevent serious problems developing that will take a lot of money to fix down the line.
  • Pool insurance. If you have a home insurance policy, check that your pool is covered for unexpected damages. If it isn't, consider investing in a policy that does cover it. Pools are expensive investments.

Images: Getty Images


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