DIY Pool Maintenance: The Pros and Cons

Ryan Cuenca
October 4, 2018

In the interest of saving you time, DO NOT read this article about the pros and cons of DIY pool maintenance IF:

  • You make a lot of money and don't worry about the cost of paying for regular pool maintenance
  • You don't have 15 - 30 minutes extra a week to spare
  • The thought of doing your own pool maintenance is so painful that you'd rather pay someone else to take care of it for you
  • You don't have a pool!

If this is you, thanks for stopping by!

Still here?  If so, then you are likely someone who has a pool and:

  • Enjoys the money saved using a DIY approach
  • Doesn't mind getting your hands dirty or your feet wet
  • Takes satisfaction in a job well done

Let's dive in!

Pro #1: It costs less

In our experience, a weekly pool service runs (on average) $100 a month, plus chemicals.  You may live in an area where it's cheaper or more expensive than this, but our experience and research shows this is a  good national average.

That's at least $1,200 a year to maintain your pool.  I say "at least" because this assumes that none of your equipment malfunctions or breaks down.

For some of us, that's a lot of money!

On the other hand, a typical DIYer with an average pool size (20,000 gallons) will spend between $400 - $600 a year on chemicals, a 50% savings over weekly pool service from a local company.

This free DIY Pool Maintenance tool will calculate how much swimming pool chemicals you will need along with instructions for applying them. By answering a few questions, you get a custom pool chemical maintenance plan. It works for above-ground or in-ground pools, chlorine or saline sanitization systems, and for year-round or seasonal maintenance.

Pro #2: You develop a new skill

You may be thinking "How much could there be to pool maintenance?"

Initially, one might think "not a lot!" After all, anyone can skim and brush their pool.

But there is more to it than that. Simply put, proper pool maintenance involves more than just manual labor.  One must understand each role that each pool system plays.

Once you begin to understand how it all works together in harmony, you begin to appreciate it more.  And solve more of your own pool problems.

Pro #3: It brings satisfaction

Out of the three pros, this is by far the most subjective.  But I have found that many who do DIY pool maintenance report a certain level of accomplishment and satisfaction.  A clean backyard setting with sparkling clear pool water is a sight to behold... especially when you are responsible for it.

So, to summarize the pros of DIY pool maintenance: by investing a bit of your own time each week, you will save money (about 50% on average), build a new skill, and may end up actually enjoying the process.

Now, for the cons of DIY pool maintenance...

Con #1: It takes time

I know what some of you are thinking. "DIY sounds great, but you are forgetting one thing.  My time isn't free!"

And this is the heart of the matter for many people who prefer weekly pool service.  You see, some people assign a dollar value to their own time.  When they do the math, it comes out close enough to justify paying for weekly pool service.

I get it!  Taking care of your own pool will take time, especially when you are new and haven't figured it all out.

A DIYer can expect to spend 15 - 30 minutes a week maintaining their pool.  Sometimes more, depending on the pressures placed on your pool from use and the surrounding landscape.

And then, you have to take the time to shop for your pool chemicals.  Not to mention all the research required to figure out what you really need.

Like most things in life, it comes down to how you want to spend your time.  If you would rather be doing things other than maintaining your pool, weekly pool service may be the best option.

Con #2: It must be done consistently

While a number of factors (use, temperature, amount of debris, to name a few) dictate how often you must tend to your pool, generally speaking, it should be done at least weekly.  Sometimes, you may need to do two days a week, such as when nearby trees drop all their leaves in your pool.

It doesn't take much for an algae bloom to develop.  If you take off for two weeks on a road trip, you may arrive home to a green pool!

The point is: If your schedule does not allow for consistent pool maintenance, you may be better off with a weekly pool service.

Con #3: It can be an occasional source of frustration

Doing your weekly pool maintenance routine can be almost therapeutic in it's simplicity.  But the same doesn't hold true when you have a major equipment failure.

Having gone through this myself, taking a DIY approach to pool equipment repair can be frustrating.  Lucky for me, I found a repairman who fixed pools for a living. (And didn't offer a weekly service.  In my experience, many pool pros don't want to help you unless you are a regular customer.)

But many DIY pool owners are not so lucky, and spend hours researching their problem before calling it quits and hiring someone.

Unless you are handy and have the time, I would almost always recommend contacting a repair company to fix your pool equipment.  You may not end up liking the bill you receive, but it will be worth the headache and hassle you save.

To summarize the cons of DIY pool maintenance, it will take time, must be done at least weekly, and can occasionally be a source of frustration.


I hope that you have found this list of pros and cons helpful.

Personally, I have chosen the DIY path to care for my pool but I have spoken with many a pool owner who refuses to pick up a net or a brush.  When it comes to pool maintenance, there is no right answer.  It all comes down to budget and preference.

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