Choosing the features to add to your pool is the most fun part of the planning process.
Spas! Grottos! Infinity edges! Lighting!
But the cost adds up. It’s only natural to look for ways to save money.
Here at Neave Pools, it’s not unusual for a client to ask: Where can we cut costs? Change the patio, maybe select different tiles.
But here are three areas where you just shouldn’t skimp. Cut back on one of these swimming pool features and it will cost you more money in the long run.
And there are lots of choices.
You want to use the strongest, most evenly applied plaster finish you can afford. Yes, higher quality will cost you more up front. Trust us — It’s worth it.
Remember, the finish on your pool is constantly under water. Water treated with chemicals. Some pool surface materials are better than others at handling the rigors of water chemistry.
The Key Word: Aggregate
The standard white plaster that coated your parents’ pool years ago is the least expensive option.
But it’s relatively soft compared to higher-end pool finishes. In five years, maybe 10, a lower quality plaster without aggregate will weaken and discolor and need to be replaced.
The key word here is aggregate. You want your plaster finish to contain it.
What is it? Aggregate pool finishes contain tiny pebbles and stones or glass beads for added durability.
Aggregates don’t break down nearly as fast as the marble usually found in white pool plaster.
You’ll pay between $5,000 and $10,000 more for a high-quality aggregate finish. But the cost down the road to replace a cheaper version when it breaks down in a few years is between $10,000 and $20,000.
Don’t skimp on your pool pump.
It’s tempting. A single speed pump will do the job, right? And it’s a couple thousand dollars cheaper than the fancier variable speed model.
A single speed pump is the traditional pool pump, in use for decades. Turn it on, and it runs at a constant speed.
It’s the least expensive to buy. But it’s also noisy and inefficient.
It runs on one speed — high — whether high speed is needed or not. That means you’re paying for high speed, even when you don’t really need to.
Variable Speed Pool Pumps: Quieter, Cooler, More Efficient
A much better choice is a variable speed pool pump. You’ll pay between $1,000 and $2,000 more. But running a single speed pump will cost you more to operate, and that cost adds up quickly.
A variable speed pump allows the speed to be adjusted to the exact flow rate you need — from off to high, and many speeds in between.
A variable speed pump runs quieter, stays cooler and lasts longer. And, most importantly, it uses much less energy.
Some manufacturers claim variable speed pumps because they don’t have to work as hard, will last three times longer than a single speed pump.
The Safest Option
Some variable speed pumps also offer a Safety Vacuum Release System, which means it shuts down if it senses a blockage.
This feature adds an extra layer of protection by automatically monitoring pump pressure and venting the suction line when outlets are blocked, to prevent accidental entrapment by swimmers at the bottom of the pool.
A heater keeps your pool at a comfortable swimming temperature — typically between 78 and 82 degrees — and makes it possible to go for a comfortable swim even when the day isn’t scorching hot.
Gas pool heaters are the least expensive option up front, so it’s tempting to opt for that.
Gas heaters can warm the body of your pool up to three times faster than an electric heat pump — but will also consume up to three times more energy.
Yes, gas heaters are less expensive up front, but they cost more over time to operate.
Electric Saves Money Over Time
A better bet long term is an electric heat pump, which uses less overall power than a comparable gas heater.
What’s the difference over time?
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates a gas heater will cost $1,448 a year to heat an outdoor pool in New York at a temperature of 78 degrees. The cost jumps to $1,904 to heat it to 80 degrees and to $2,384 for 82 degrees.
This is based on a 1,000 square foot pool, heated from May 1 to September 30.
Use a heat pump, and that cost plummets to $740 a year, with all the same factors. The cost jumps to $975 to heat it to 80 degrees and to $1,220 for 82 degrees.
Buying a heat pump will cost you $2,000 to $4,000 more up front.
But figure in the savings in operation costs and that higher-priced pump will pay for itself in two pool seasons.
Trust Neave With Your Swimming Pool Features
Neave Pools can help you select the pool features you’d like to include in your new or existing pool, and our team of construction professionals will install them to help you create your own backyard paradise.
If you’re in Hudson Valley, call (845) 463-0592. Westchester, call (914) 271-7996. Cold Spring, call (845) 463-0592, and in Connecticut, call (203) 212-4800. Or fill out the handy web form on this page, and we’ll get in touch with you to schedule a complimentary swimming pool consultation.
We know what features are well worth the money, and the areas where you can trim costs.