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Are you interested in a pool and wondering about the operating costs that you face each year? Regardless of whether you are moving into a house that already has a pool or would like to build one yourself, ongoing costs must always be taken into account. Depending on the size, equipment and operating time, pools can lead to quite high costs over the year. This article gives you an overview of the annual operating costs.
Running costs for a pool
Before you start building a pool, it is important to understand what you are going to incur in terms of running costs. A swimming pool isn't just a big bathtub, it's a permanently filled basin with filters, heaters, pumps and other equipment. These cause costs that, depending on the size of the swimming pool, are no longer affordable for some people. This makes planning ahead so important, as it is the only way you will know if you can operate the pool in the future. Running costs for the pool are made up of several cost items and some depend on the location of the pool. That is, whether it is an indoor or outdoor pool. You can find out the cost items in the following sections.
Many people forget to calculate the running costs for the swimming pool according to the term. This means the length of the season in which the pool is operated. Since the majority of pool owners have an outdoor pool, they are not operated all year round, which of course saves costs in terms of heating and the use of equipment. The typical season for the outdoor pool starts in early May and lasts until the end of September or the first week of October. After that it gets too cool for many people to swim. In addition, heating pool water outdoors over the winter would waste far too much energy. An indoor pool, on the other hand, can be operated all year round. You must note the following runtimes:
- Outdoor pool: about 150 days
- Indoor pool: 365 days
Of course, you don't have to keep your indoor pool running all year round. But if you don't want to do without this, you have to include the operating costs for the whole year in the calculation. Since the term itself only describes the number of days in which the pool is operated, you must adjust the number accordingly when making the calculation. Of course, with an indoor pool you must not forget to include the special devices such as the dehumidifier in the calculation and to adjust the days for them.
Running costs for a pool are not adjusted by some pool owners to the operating time or this point is simply ignored if they are not familiar with it. But do not forget about this point, so as not to unnecessarily increase the final cost.
notice: If you live in particularly mild areas such as the German wine-growing regions or south of home, the running time of the outdoor pool is usually significantly longer because the winter is either warmer or shorter. In this case, the running time is extended according to the outside temperatures.
One of the most important cost items that accounts for the running costs of the pool is the filter pump. Without the filter pump, the water would no longer circulate and you would have to swim more and more in your own dirt. For this reason, it is important to know how high the operating costs for the filter pump can be. The operating costs for the filter pump depend on the number of hours, which average eight to ten hours a day. Typical filter pumps use 0.5 kWh, which is four to five kWh per day. The average kWh price is around 0.25 euros. That means you pay between €1.25 and €1.25 per day to operate the pump. That's between 150 and 187.50 euros per season.
Pools must be heated to allow for the preferred bathing temperature. On average, outdoor pools cool down by around 1°C to 2°C per day (in the example calculation, 1.5°C is used). To counteract this heat loss, a fixed factor of 1.16 kWh is used, which describes the amount of energy required for heating. Accordingly, three different systems are used for heating, which incur different costs:
- Oil and gas: 0.08 euros per kWh
- Heat pump: 0.25 euros per kWh
- Solar energy: 0 euros per kWh
Note here that the cost per kWh depends on your supplier or your equipment. These values are typical estimates. Solar energy is free because you generate it yourself. However, the cost of operating the facility can increase due to the pool.
notice: The calculation of an indoor pool in terms of heat supply is much more complicated, as ongoing heating costs for the entire building must be taken into account. This is where you should consult a professional.
Water costs are calculated based on volume. The important factor here is the price per cubic meter of fresh water, which varies from region to region. To simplify this process, many calculations assume five euros per cubic meter, although this can be significantly cheaper in your case. Water costs are needed for heating costs, seasonal initial fill and backwash.
tip: Especially very large outdoor pools can cause high additional costs in spring when they have to be refilled with fresh water. Since the water in indoor pools usually does not evaporate as quickly as outdoors, large pools are sometimes cheaper because they have to be refilled again and again, but not completely emptied, which can turn out to be cheaper in the long run. A cheaper alternative can also be to fill the pool with well water.
During backwashing, there is always a loss of water that has to be compensated for with fresh water. Around 20 to 25 backwashes are required over the season, and double that over the year. A backwash uses an average of 300 liters of water. 20 to 25 backwashes cost 30 to 40 euros per year at a price of 5 euros per cubic meter.
Water treatment means chemical agents such as chlorine that keep the water clean. This includes:
- pH reducer
- pH raiser
- salt electrolysis plants
- active oxygen
Since these costs can differ greatly from one another, experience and estimates are usually used here. These can be between 150 and 250 euros per year, depending on the effort involved and the degree of soiling. There are also cleaning agents for the system.
Running costs for the pool can be illustrated more easily with a sample calculation. You can use this to see exactly how you can calculate your pool and its consumption. For this sample calculation, a swimming pool measuring 2 m x 4 m is assumed, which is a simple size for the calculation. A depth of 1.4 m is assumed here, which is typical for a domestic swimming pool.
A sloping area, as is the case in swimming and outdoor pools, is extremely rare in private pools and it is worth hiring a professional here. The calculation of such a pool can turn out to be very complicated.
The calculation of the water requirement comes first in the sample calculation. For this you need the volume of your pool:
Height in m x length in m x width = swimming pool in m³
So when planning a pool, you need to calculate the volume as follows:
1.4m x 4m x 2m = 11.2m³
This is the volume calculation for a rectangular pool. If you have a round pool in mind, the following formula comes into play:
Pi x radius² x height = pool in m³
The radius is required for the volume calculation. Since a cylinder is the typical shape for round pools, the above formula is used here. Since a cylinder cannot have dimensions of 4 m x 2 m, a radius of 2 m is assumed here if the swimming pool is to have a diameter of 4 m. The calculation as follows:
Pi x 2² x 1.4= 17.6 m³
A large part has already been completed. As soon as you have the volume of your pool, you only have to calculate the individual cost items and within a short time you have an exact overview of the possible additional costs for the operation of your pool.
Now it's time to calculate the heat requirement, which, as described above, is made up of the volume and the heat capacity factor of 1.16. It doesn't matter whether you have a round or square pool:
11.2 m³ x 1.16 = 12.992 kWh
This value, the kilowatt hours per degree, is now multiplied by a factor of 1.5 (since the heat loss is 1-2 C°) as described above. This enables the actual heat requirement to be calculated so that your pool achieves a permanently comfortable temperature:
12.992 kWh x 1.5 = 19.488 kWh/day
Now you know how many kWh your pool consumes per day to cover the heat requirement. Of course, this value is not enough for you to see the total running costs of the pool over the season, since you are not only calculating a single day. This value is now multiplied by the days you use the pool. That is, you need to calculate the value according to the period of operation:
19.488 kWh/day x 150 = 2,923.2 kWh
You're almost done with the hardest part of the calculation. Now these kWh are calculated accordingly with the above-mentioned euros per kWh for the type of heat development. For clarification, the outdoor pool is used. You can calculate the indoor pool in the same way:
Oil or gas: 2,923.2 kWh x 0.08 euros/kWh = 233.86 euros
Heat pump: (2,923.2 kWh / 5) x 0.25 euros/kWh = 146.16 euros
Solar: 2,923.2 kWh x 0 euros/kWh = 0 euros
Together with the costs for heat development, you now have to offset all other cost items with each other. In addition to heating costs, you also need to calculate how much water you will need to fill up the pool at the beginning of the season. To do this, take the filling volume again and multiply it by the price for a cubic meter of fresh water:
11.2 m³ x 5 euros = 56 euros
The total calculation for a pool with dimensions of 2 m x 4 m x 1.4 m with an operating time of 150 days a year, which is heated by a heat pump, is as follows:
- Heat: 146.16 euros
- Electricity for filter pump: 187.50 euros
- seasonal first filling: 56 euros
- Backwash: 30 euros
- Water treatment: 150 to 250 euros
- Total costs: 569.66 to 669.66 euros per year
As you can see, even with a small pool, the operating costs are not to be trifled with. Special devices such as lighting systems or Jacuzzi pumps are not integrated into this calculation. Likewise dehumidifiers for indoor pools. These must be added to the actual operating costs separately. Depending on the cleaning effort, the costs for the seasonal initial filling of an indoor pool are eliminated, while the costs for water treatment and backwashing can double in costs.
notice: Despite the simple dimensions of the sample calculation, you should not simply double the values if you have a larger tank, such as 4 mx 8 m or 8 mx 16 m need to double or quadruple, but the water requirement cannot be so easily multiplied.