If you’re in the market for a new home, you might consider buying one with a pool. Picture yourself poolside in the sun, with the water gleaming and a smile on your face. A home with a pool has great benefits, but before you take the plunge, hire a pool inspector. Pool inspectors will examine your potential watery oasis to ensure it’s safe and won’t drain your bank account with repair costs.
What Is A Pool Inspection?
A pool inspection is a process in which an inspector examines the pool for any defects or potentially costly repairs. If you’re considering buying a home, or if you’re a seller wanting to get ahead of potential issues, you should schedule a pool inspection. Some pool owners also do this periodically if they have concerns about the condition of the pool.
If you own your own pool, there are warning signs indicating you should hire a swimming pool inspector for a closer look. If there are electrical issues with the pool, such as burnt-out underwater bulbs, improperly installed junction boxes, or missing ground-fault circuit interrupters, you’ll want an inspector. Slippery pool decks may indicate algae. You should call an inspector if you have a cracked liner or leaks within the cement or plaster.
Other issues you should be concerned about include incorrectly installed heaters, improperly bonded metal surrounding the pool, dirty filters, a lack of drain covers, and wrongly vented heaters. Any flow obstructions, such as incorrect plumbing fittings or pipe leakages, indicate a potentially significant issue. If the pool’s pump and heater are not properly bonded, it could lead to galvanic corrosion. Finally, suppose your pool has a lack of anti-drowning safety measures, including a lack of emergency equipment and anti-entrapment drain covers. In that case, you should discuss it with your pool inspector.
After an inspection, you will receive a detailed report — written feedback on all aspects of your pool. This report will include which elements of the pool were inspected (so you’re sure nothing was missed), information about their condition, and when you should replace them.
A good pool inspector will provide you with insight into your pool, identify potential hazards, instruct you when you need necessary repairs, and advise you of your options. They know how to find material defects – specific issues with a component or system that may significantly impact the property’s value or pose an unreasonable safety risk. An inspector can only determine the condition of components that are readily accessible. While they’ll do their best to be thorough, it’s always possible for unforeseen malfunctions to occur that the inspection missed.
Your swimming pool inspector should be licensed to perform pool inspections. Not all states require that pool inspectors be licensed, so you should inquire about any special training or certification they’ve received. It’s also essential to know if your pool inspector is fully insured. Once you’ve found a qualified inspector, they’ll schedule a time to come over and look at several major categories:
- The pool materials – They’ll ensure there aren’t any cracks or leaks in the construction materials that make up your pool. They’ll also note the basics — such as your pool’s size, depth, age, and manufacturer.
- The mechanical components – A pool inspector will spend a lot of time examining the pool’s heaters, filters, and pumps. To be marked safe in a pool inspection, each component must be in good working order. The main drain should be up to code, and the timing system should be properly wired.
- Safety features – Ladders and other equipment must be in excellent working order. Other safety mechanics of the pool include the water levels. Your water requires a proper level of chlorine, calcium, pH, and alkalinity.
- The pool accessories – Pool inspections involve a critical look at diving boards, platforms, and slides.
- Vinyl liners keep your water in the pool. These liners prevent leaks that seep into your yard or come close to your home. They tend to have a shelf-life of around ten years.
- Plaster cracks over time, especially in areas that experience large temperature fluctuations. Your swimming pool inspector will ensure the plaster is rated for your climate and that there are no chips or cracks. The plaster should be free of stains, streaks, discolorations, and rough or mottled areas. They’ll advise whether the stain appears relatively simple to remove or if it’s a real issue. If you find a problem with the plaster, it may be worth negotiating with the seller to provide a credit towards the replacement so you can use better quality plaster next time.
- The pool deck plays a significant role in safety, functionality, and aesthetics. A pool inspection checks for cracked or missing tiles and algae buildup.
- Tiles may crack due to age, sun, temperature changes, or impact from dropped objects. A pool inspector will point these issues out and note whether or not it’s a safety concern. They’ll look for grout, mortar, cracks, or deteriorating paste.
- Most pool perimeters have coping (while some have cantilevers over the pool edge), which should be stable. There should be no loose or chipped pieces, and the grout should be in good condition. The mastic (between the coping and the deck) should be in good condition and provide a waterproof seal. Numerous deep cracks could indicate the pool deck is shifting.
- Pool inspections point out missing or cracked grout. Grout protects the pool foundation from leaks or water spillage, which may lead to rot.
- Your pool inspector will check the caulking, which keeps the pool watertight and prevents leaks or structural damage.
- Pumps need maintenance as they age. A pool inspector will assess their condition and tell you if the pumps need replacing soon. Pumps are the heart of any pool, and any water feature requires the pump to operate. It should be free of leaks and bolted to the equipment pad. Also, you should make sure it’s adequately wired with a working time clock. The type of pump your pool uses can significantly impact your utility bills if left unchecked.
- Your pool inspector will ensure your pool filters are correct. Filters are essential to the safety and functionality of the pool. They’ll ensure the gauge on the filter works correctly and that there are no defects in the clamp to the filter tank.
- A heater can be costly to fix, so pool inspectors give their clients an idea of the condition of these components. The heater should also be properly grounded, with a high thermal efficiency rating.
- Any lights that aren’t working may indicate a leak or an electrical system issue.
Pool Safety Features
- Pool lighting is a necessity, so your swimming pool inspection addresses whether the lighting conditions are safe for evening use or dark hours.
- Pool inspectors will spot improperly installed, faulty, or failed wiring in the pool’s electrical system.
- The walkway should be free of slippery materials or any algae buildup.
- Some states have particular pool safety laws, which an inspector will evaluate for. This process may include fencing, outward-opening gates that self-close and self-lock, alarms on any doors leading toward the pool area, or even safety glass for windows within a specific perimeter of the pool.
Other Pool Damage
- Your pool inspector will examine any metal components for rust or corrosion.
- Diving boards, platforms, and slides deteriorate with age, so your inspector will check them for potential risks and faults.
How Much Does A Pool Inspection Cost?
On average, the cost of pool inspection is between $125 to $250. Your state, city, and pool size all factor into the price. If you live in an area where pools aren’t common, a licensed pool inspector may charge more because they will have less competition.
The process is similar to a home inspection, which is why some home inspectors are licensed for pools too. This fact is often the case in areas where pools are popular. Home inspectors who can also handle swimming pool inspections are likely to get you a package deal.
Like a home inspection, a pool inspection isn’t mandatory. It can save you a considerable amount in future repairs, and any faults found will give you negotiating power in a sale. If you’re thinking about buying a home with a pool, trust an expert who will provide you with all the facts. You’ll be happy you did.