Q&A: Three things to know about repairing a pool

Local swimming pool professionals answer questions about pool trends and offer tips to homebuyers and sellers considering buying or selling a home in or around The Woodlands.

Bill England
Patten Pool Repair

1) What costs should homeowners expect when installing and maintaining a swimming pool?

The average homeowner with an underground pool, including a spa, will pay about $45,000 to $55,000 for one that [holds] about 18,000 gallons and features a rock waterfall, standard lights and a digital control system. If pool owners decide to maintain the pool themselves, then they should expect to spend about $50 per month on chemicals and about $90 per month in electricity. Using a weekly pool service usually costs about $160 per month.

2) What extra amenities could be added on to a pool?

The more popular upgrades for existing pools are digital automation systems, LED lighting and variable speed pumps. The LED lighting provides the ability to change colors, create light shows and utilize low voltage.

3) What is the cost and maintenance difference between salt water and chlorine pools?

Technically, both types use chlorine to sanitize the pool. The difference is the salt water systems save on [some] chlorine costs, but these are offset by having to replace the generating cell every 5-7 years. In addition, the salt water is harsh on natural stone, requiring the stone to be sealed. On the positive side, many swimmers claim the salt water is better on their skin. There are many pros and cons for both, so I would recommend you do your homework before deciding which way to go.

Three alternatives to chlorine

There are a  number of ways to keep swimming pools clean in addition to traditional cholrine use. Here are some options residents can try.

Ask a Pool repair professional

1. Bromine

Bromine works as a sanitizer but does not oxidize as well as chlorine. Most homeowners rely on a hybrid version known as BCDMH tablets that are typically 66 percent bromine and
27 percent chlorine. Bromine remains stable at high temperatures, which is why it is good for spas.

2. Ionizers

An ionizer is a device that uses a low voltage DC current to send metals into the water, which attracts bacteria, germs and algae. It does not irritate swimmers’ eyes and noses, and chlorine and an ionizer work better together better than chlorine alone.

3. Ozonators

There are two types of ozone generators: ultraviolet light and corona discharge.

3A. In a UV light system, special low-pressure vapor lamps installed on the water return line create ozone to kill pathogens as they float by.

3B. Corona discharge ozone generators can reduce chlorine usage up to 90 percent.