Costs/time spent up keep of a pool

Hi, I have a friend who is currently looking to buy a property, and some he has seen have a pool.

(first world problem here I know)

but; if you have a pool, do you empty it during the winter? how much time do you spend keeping it clean and ph balanced? and how much does all this cost?

thanks so much in advance for any advise,


Hi Katherine,

No not usual to empty the pool in winter, in fact often not a good idea as many tons of water would be removed and the ground can swell over winter with extra water so could damage the pool. More common to just lower the water level a bit to make up for the extra rainfall. Even better if the pool builder actually connected up the overflow from the skimmer but that seldom happens.

The better the pool the easier it is to keep clean. A good winter cover (NOT MESH) will keep things nicely over winter. A good water flow circuit aids the distribution of pool chemicals and also the removal of dirt, leaves etc. A bad water flow gives the owner more to do. Pools like Desjoyaux and Waterline use all in one filtration systems so you friend should try to avoid those as they don't work very well. Balancing the chemicals is easier with a chemical dosing machine and easier still if it's a liner pool. That is providing the water chemistry is understood, which sadly isn't the case in most areas and pool shops I have come across on either side of the channel.

To run an average 8m x 4m pool for a summer season would cost around €360-€400 for the filtration system and €100 for chemicals. 3 hours a week maintenance. Compare that to my running cost of €30 for the filtration system and €50 for chemicals and around 1 hour for maintenance per week. Big difference isn't it?

Thanks! very helpful advice.

Time? Very little except at start-up in the spring, when you'll have to factor in several hours to clean out the inevitable leaves and muck on the bottom; or if after very hot weather the pool starts to go green. Running costs are quite low unless you want a pool heater to warm the water at the start and end of the season, in which case add another 100 to 200 euros per year. We run a salt system, much less fuss and expense with chemicals. You instal an electrolyser and just chuck in a couple of 20kg sacks of salt in April! And the expense and work are SO well worth it!


Inevitable leaves on the bottom plus muck, demonstrates exactly what I mean. A well designed and kept pool doesn't have to have either of those.

Running costs quite low isn't a quantifiable statement, one person low is another persons too much.

Salt system a lot less fuss and expense, as it's partially automating the process yes like having a chemical doser rather than manual it removes part of the work. However as is always forgotten the salt conversion cells wear out and the replacement cost is high so the difference between the direct dosing and salt conversion isn't that great as it depends where you have to get to (Brico Shed) to get your javel and acid supplies. Salt chlorinators by their nature cause an upward drift in pH so more pH- (acid) is required to maintain a suitable pH level and of course the salt chlorinators use additional electricity. Pool owners who let their properties should not use salt chlorinators as it's against the French regulations.

Not putting salt chlorination down but all the facts should be mentioned when comparing.

you do not mention electricity costs which are significant for a salt pool with a robot cleaner as when the temperature is high it is recommended to run the system longer.

The magic 15 degrees is the water temperature to watch, above that and a pool with no filtration will turn green very quickly.

I find that I have to add 6 bags of salt in my 10 by 5 pool to compensate for water drained off and rainwater overflow.

Think very carefully before you have a pool built, good attraction for gites, Chambres d'hotes but quite demanding for a couple and only occasional use.


It's a pool without chlorine that turns green, without filtration it gets dirty. Otherwise I agree with the overlooked elements of salt chlorination.

Old badly designed pools can be quite demanding, modern well thought out and engineered pools need very little attention for low batherload pools. The biggest problem is finding a really good pool builder, they are as rare as hens teeth.

Hi Katherine,

Never leave the pool empty over winter, the wager will give it a balast/weight, which will keep it stable, also being in Provnece, we are in an eartquake zone. Our pool man lets a some of the water out, treat the pool before closing down. He put big black plastic (do not know what you call them, but they look a bit like old swimmng belts kids used to swim with many moons ago) belts all over the water, then the cover.

We will have the pool (hopefully) opened next month which will include cleaning the cover, remove the plastic belts, treatment and visits to make sure our pool is ready 'for consumption' again.

We are changing our pool mna, as thought he was very good the first year, last year he screwed us over by insisting that we needed to keep the pool open until well into November, which we knew was absolute rubbish, so it ended up costing us quite a bit of money, and he was never particularly reliable incl contactable when we needed him to come, so enough was enough, so next month we are supposedly due a new pool man, however, he too seem difficult to contact...never quite understand this, do they not want to earn a living, but we live in hope that we do indeed have a pool man!

We will pay, and to some will thin this is expensive, but that is the price we have heard from several people we know, 250.00Euro per month, which will include opening (which will be the biggest job incl cleaning the cover which is a good size) and closure of the pool. A visit and treatment every week for 4 months.

As I am on my own a lot of the time, I simply cannot manage the pool myself, and running a, however a small B&B, our pool has to be in tip top condition all the time!

we pay someone to do it... its not as easy as people say above unless you know what you are doing and are at the house full time... we pay our pool Man 800 euros a year and the pool is open May-October that includes all Chemicals and the pool is big 10/5/2m.

The thing I would recommend is to have the pool seen working and all the mechanics checked.. pump/filter etc before buying.

thanks so much everyone; such helpful advice... He is visiting houses and many of them have empty pools! so I am very interested in your comments regarding empty pools and cracking and I will suggest that he requests the pool be filled and in working order before following through with a purchase that might involve then repairing or religning a pool!

Hello John,

It is interesting that you have indicated a couple of pools not to use because of the filtration systems and that the running costs of your own are low. Could you say what make / type of pool and running gear you have as I am contemplating a pool in the future and could do with some info on good ones. Cheers, Stuart.

SIX bags of salt??!! Wow, I've never put in more than 3 during a season! But you are right about the electricity. Fortunately we have solar panels which produce the most elec just at the time when the pool demands are highest!

Salut Katherine, not privvy to what expertise JW has but would totally disagree with his assessmant of the Desjoyaux system. I've had two Desjoyaux pools now and the filtration system works perfectly. Negates the need for a separate pump room and antiquated sand filter too. Remember dinosaurs, they became extinct too.

Running costs, less than €100 pa

When designing a race horse, ask to many people for their input and you'll end up with a camel.

Ask the professionals and make you're own judgment.

As a footnote, Desjoyaux was designed by a Frenchman. . . .

Good luck . . .

thanks John,

I am not actually looking at building a pool, just curious on behalf of a friend of mine who is currently looking to purchase a property, and has visited several with pools already installed... looks fab in the pictures, but I was surprised when he mentioned they were all curently empty. So I was just wanting some feedback on what the running costs etc involved with having a pool... everyone, yourself included has given me some very informative feedback. so thank you!

Guaranteed to bring out someone to defend Desjoyaux, that's why they are so successful. Despite all the evidence they still get a following, that's what intrigued me so much and prompted me to do far better.

Now I didn't say it doesn't work but there are far more efficient ways of doing things.

My experience as a pool professional is I have years of hands on on lots of pools whereas many owners are on their first or possibly second but as you bought Dessy again you don't know how much better things can be.

"The filtration works perfectly" Does it? Well it's not so much filtration as a strainer bag that cannot physically capture anything small, Bacteria and virus's are small and those which are not killed by chlorine have to filtered out so thankfully they are at the moment rare but they do exist like cryptosporidium. You cannot use flocculent to capture small particles with Dessy bags so an algae problem goes on and on for ages with cloudy water that can take more than a week to eradicate.

That's one big difference when something goes wrong (especially if you are renting) how quickly can we get the pool back into shape.

That means the electricity you are using is straining out the larger stuff but the rest is just going around and around only it doesn't do that very well either. Not too bad on a small pool but as they get larger 8m x 4m + the situation gets worse. This is for two reasons.

1. The skimmer and single return jets are very close together, the water leaves the return jet and moves about half way up the pool before it runs out of steam, some of the water doesn't go that far and does a quick U turn and back into the skimmer.

2. The filter bags are on the pump intake and trying to suck water is very inefficient, water behaves like air and is better pushed. Try it for yourself, try sucking out the candles on a birthday cake compared to blowing them out. Same lungs different result.

Running costs less than €100 pa, well that depends on how short a period you run for but as the standard Dessy setup includes a less than efficient salt chlorinator (more efficient ones are available) . They also use dedicated pumps so when one fails the shock of an €800+ replacement has never sat well with any customer I have met as it's around 3 times the price of any other pump.

Negates the need for a separate pump room, They use a monoblock setup for quick and easy install as they can't trust the unskilled monkeys to be able to join pipes and drop in is much more profitable. Whats wrong with an area put aside for the equipment? I could just as easily state the large ugly plastic covers are hideous compared to tucking away the equipment out of sight.

Antiquated sand filters? Your drinking water is delivered via antiquated sand filters why? because they work far better the a strainer bag. Pathogenic micro organisms that pass straight through the dessy bags get trapped in sand filters and with flocculation available even the tiniest parts of oocysts can be caught and filtered out. That is important because the more you remove by filtration the less chlorine is required to maintain the pool and that means less of the volatile disinfection by products we don't want that can trigger asthma etc. That means every euro of electricity is actually removing more and more of what you don't want from the water rather than recirculating it.

Desjoyaux was designed by a Frenchman, so what? Ask the professionals and make your own judgment, well I am a professional but I am grateful to Desjoyaux, over the years going out to work on those pools has made me an income. It is also the main reason why I designed the low energy pool as I realised if something as bad as Desjoyaux can actually work with such poor water flow if I used slightly better flow and circulation how much lower could I get the energy usage? Answer very low. My pool filtration uses about the same as an old standard light bulb to run per hour (50 watts) I have also engineered other pools as large as 12m x 6m and that stays beautifully clear on 86 watts which is a long way down form the 2.2kw pump that was "designed" for that pool.

Katherine, One of the reasons the pools could have been drained is they don't have the required safety equipment on them, complying fence, alarm or cover and the owners are not going to pay for such so draining them could be the only answer.