Swimming Pool Inspections: What to Check When Buying a Home with a Pool

Are you looking for a home that has outdoor space? Many are. This is why many house hunters consider buying a home that has an inground swimming pool. You can enjoy a private swimming pool in your backyard as soon as you move in.

Many homebuyers would prefer a vacant yard in which to build their own pool. It is important to take steps to protect your investment for homes with pools. Before you close escrow, make sure to inspect the pool and its equipment.

It doesn’t matter if you have owned a house with a pool in the backyard, it is important to get an expert opinion on the pool condition at the property you are considering buying. A pool and spa should be subject to a professional inspection just like a house.

A pool inspection in winter garden will reveal many key issues to potential buyers, including the height of the deck and the function of the pump.

Some mortgage companies may require a pool inspection to finance a home purchase. However, most state and municipal regulations do not. A good certified or state-licensed inspector might add the pool to his or her list for review. However, don’t expect it.

Even if the pool is included in your home inspection, it may not be sufficient. Because of the complexity of an inground pool structure and its complex mechanics, pool industry professionals strongly recommend that you hire a pool inspector.

Swimming pool inspectors – Is it worth hiring?

Interested buyers usually hire a home inspector before they purchase a house. An inspector will inspect a range of elements, including the functionality of light switches in bathrooms and the condition of the foundation.

Inspectors give a written report detailing their findings and a list of areas that they are concerned about. The kitchen sink garbage disposal could not function properly, or paint may be peeling from the front door.

The buyer and seller can then negotiate the items after the inspector has presented a checklist. Sellers may offer to repair all or part of the items. The seller might also provide a price credit for the buyer. Or, both the seller and the buyer could agree to multiple repairs or credits.

A home with a backyard swimming pool should also be included in the review process. A swimming pool consultant, Rick English says that not all home inspectors can properly assess a pool’s condition.

He says that a dedicated pool inspector can give you valuable information about the pool’s condition. He said, “More than a home inspector who may only have a checklist for a swimming pool.”

English states that swimming pools are complex and require an inspector to be familiar with all the parts, including heaters, filters, pumps, and heaters. Additional equipment and accessories are often added to pools.

English recommends that potential buyers of home/pools check with their local chapter of American Society of Home Inspectors for a referral of experienced swimming pool inspectors. He advises that you ask ASHI and not rely solely on a realtor.

A typical pool inspection can cost around $100, just like a home inspection. Highly skilled pool inspectors may charge up to $600 for more detailed knowledge.

English says this level of inspection is worthwhile, especially if the itemized report contains dozens of pages of detailed information that can be used by a homebuyer to trade for credit on the total purchase price of the house or pool.

Let’s now take a look at the five main areas that should be inspected during an in-depth inspection of your pool.

Safety features that comply with local regulations

Inspections will check if the pool is in compliance with all safety regulations. These vary from one state to another and from one municipality to another. Any local regulations should be familiarized with your pool inspector.

A common pool-safety requirement is for a fence that measures at least 5 feet in height and surrounds the pool’s perimeter. The fence gate should be open to the outside and have a self-latching lock.

Local regulations might also require that pools be protected by additional safeguards such as: alarms at all doors leading to the pool, safety glass on all windows less than five feet from the edge of the water; a pool cover that can keep the water in place if a child steps on it; and an alarm that activates when someone touches the water.

Even if the safeguard isn’t in place, there are still ways to remedy this problem. You can request that the seller either corrects the problem or provides you with a credit for the final purchase price, so you can add the item as necessary.

The pool structure, the interior and the materials of the deck are subject to the physical conditions

It may not be difficult to spot signs of wear on a pool. An expert will know where to look in terms of pool deterioration. An expert can assess the need and cost of replacing or repairing certain materials.

You should inspect the main physical elements you see every day like the interior finish. The less obvious factors, like the grout between rocks in the rock waterfall, or the uneven spots on the deck, are also important. These are the main features you should inspect your pool.

* Interior Finish (plaster)

Plaster is the name given to an interior finish for an inground pool. There are three main types:

  • Marcite (white Portland cement mixed finely with marble).
  • Quartz aggregate (a higher quality version of marcite which includes granules from natural quartz).
  • Pebble (the highest level of pool finishes that offer the best durability, aesthetic quality, price tag, and value).

A pool’s finish should be uniform and free from stains, discolorations, major streaks or other irregularities. Some stains can be easily removed with minor effort. Others require the pool to be drained and treated with an acid wash to eliminate the undesirable blemishes.

There may be hairline cracks that look spider web-like. These cracks are common with aging finishes, which is the good news. Professional inspections can help you determine if cracks are serious or if they indicate structural problems.

English recommends that a pool be resurfaced only if it is absolutely necessary. English says that if a seller is responsible for refinishing the pool, he will want to choose the [more affordable] plaster. It is better for the buyer to obtain a credit and the quartz, because it will be more durable.

* Tile

To waterproof the pool’s perimeter and to add color, colorful tiles are used. The pool builders will also place tile on raised bond beams (walls that are raised above the pool surface) as well as areas like the facade of an elevated spa.

It is easy to determine the condition of pool tiles. The grout, which is the mortar or paste material that connects each tile to each other, should be completely around each tile. It must also be in good condition. Check for chips or areas where the grout has become brittle and exposes a sharp angle. You don’t want tiles to fall off, or curious children or adults scratching at corners.

You should also take a look at the entire tiled area and examine each section for any tiles that may have been replaced but are not in close alignment with their neighbor’s colors and patterns.

* Coping

Decking cantilevers may be used to cover the pool’s perimeter in some parts of the country. In most areas, however, the pool perimeters are coping.

Coping typically measures 12-18 inches deep. You can find coping in many materials such as brick, natural stone and premade concrete coping stones. It defines the shape of the pool and separates the surrounding deck and pool structure.

The coping material must be strong and free from any broken or loose pieces. Each piece of grout should be in good shape. The grout between each piece may contain mastic. This is a sealant that forms between the deck and the coping.

Also, your pool inspector will inspect for cracks or stains in coping pieces. If there are large cracks or deep ones, it could be a sign that the deck is moving. This could indicate a problem. Your expert will be able to advise you if it is minor or major.


You should not overlook the hardscape surrounding your pool, unless there is grass or bare ground.

You will want to evaluate the condition of the deck in terms of its surface, color and overall condition.

You should also examine the position of the deck. Are the deck’s dimensions correct so that rainwater and pool-water “splash out” flows away from your pool to an area where it can drain? Are there drains in the deck that drain the water? If so, how clear are they?

According to Jerry Jackson, an uneven surface is another common problem to be aware of, who owns Home Team Inspection Service. Jackson states that soil can settle on the deck, creating gaps or unevenness. It can cause cosmetic issues, but it can also pose a safety risk.

In serious cases, there may be depressions if the deck is too far from the ground.

–Special advice for saltwater pools:

You should check the salt chlorine system for any damage to the pool, including railings. Surfaces that are exposed to water splash-outs can also erode. Wood decks, unsealed stone coping, natural rocks waterfalls and plants in landscape boxes or pockets right next to the waterline are all common victims of salty splash-out.


Also, you will want to evaluate the condition and line-up of equipment running your new pool. You would consult an expert if you were purchasing a car. The same applies to a pool that is “second-hand”.

You can’t disassemble equipment during a pool inspection. However, you and your inspector may take the equipment out for a test drive. You can turn on all the systems and watch them work.

Verify that each part is secure. Any unusual sounds that you hear could indicate mechanical problems. Are the systems operating correctly? Does the desired effect occur, such as water flowing or lights turning on?

Your inspector should pay close attention to the key pieces of pool equipment. These include the filter, pump, heater, and filter.

* Pump

The heart of any pool’s equipment is the pump. It is responsible for providing water flow and circulation to maintain a healthy swimming environment.

It also operates pool features such as waterfalls and pool cleaners. Inspection should verify that the pump is securely bolted to the equipment pad, and that there are no leaks. It should be wired properly and grounded using a ground fault interrupter (GFI). It should also be functioning properly.

It’s important to note the type pump that is connected to the pool. Is it one speed, two speeds, or variablespeed? Variable-speed units are more efficient and can help you save as much as 70% on your energy bills.

* Filter

The pool filter collects dirt and other debris from the water that passes through it. There are three types of filters: cartridge, sand and Diatomaceous earth (DE) These cartridges are cylindrical tubes made of pleated fabric and placed inside a storage container. They are becoming increasingly popular with homeowners due to their environmental and convenience benefits.

English claims that he recommends them often to potential buyers and that the largest cartridge is the best. Large pool cartridges can last up to a year without needing to be cleaned.

A pool inspector will ensure that the gauge on the filter is working properly. He will also inspect the clamp that holds the filter tank in place to ensure it is working properly.

* Heater

A heater may be included in the pool you’re buying. These heaters can be expensive so make sure you consider that if the heater is not available and you intend to use the pool during the summer heat. You should also know that if your pool has a heater, it is unlikely that you will need to replace it soon.

Although natural gas is the most popular type of heater, some areas and communities rely on propane. Solar pool heating is popular in some areas of the country. In others, an electric-powered heater is a more common option.

It is crucial to ensure that the heater, like the pump, is properly grounded during a pool inspection. The inspector will turn it on to ensure that the heater is heating the water.

Gas heaters come in different sizes. The size of the heater should be appropriate for the pool’s water volume. This is critical to ensure that the pool heats quickly and efficiently. Keep energy consumption in mind and ensure that the heater has a 90 percent and 95 percent thermal efficiency rating.

Additional features and accessories

You should carefully review any additional design, comfort and convenience upgrades to the pool. You should inspect the pool’s condition, regardless of whether it has a tanning ledge and an alternative purification system. These are some of the most common features and accessories.

Pool with a Spa

Spas can be a great addition to any pool. Check that the spa blower is working properly and that it is grounded. Verify that the wires are correct. Does the blower provide enough air to the spa’s hydrotherapy sprays when it is turned on? Each jet should produce a strong, balanced output.

* Automatic pool coverage

An automatic pool cover can be a great safety and water-saving accessory. You will want to make sure it is working properly. Is it easy to open and close? Are there any worn parts? How is the cover material?

* Automation

The inspector will verify that the wiring is correct and will inform you of the various equipment and features. Each button and group program must work. For example, does the unit turn on the heater, cleaner, pump and pump? Is it able to turn on or off any water features?

* Remote control/or remote platform

A pool that is upgraded to work with an internet-compatible computer or mobile app, or a handheld remote control, may offer the best convenience. Check their functionality. If there is a handheld unit, test it from inside the home.

* Diving board, or slide

While accessories like slides and diving boards are great fun, they can also pose safety risks if they are not properly installed. Make sure they are thoroughly inspected by your inspector. Consider how the item is attached to the deck to see what the deck will look like after the item has been removed.

Water features

Pools can be outfitted with bubblers, laminars and deck jets. They also have cascades, waterfalls, spouted, and grottos that provide flowing liquid flourishes. They can also leak. Sometimes, water may get lost. A poorly calibrated or malfunctioning one could cause water to be pushed off the deck and not back into the pool.

Bonus tip for natural stone waterfalls: Check the condition of grout used to hold stones in place.

Infinity edge

The pool inspector will inspect the hydraulics if the infinity edge is present. This is also known as a vanishing edge, or negative edge.

* Multicolor LED lighting

The advanced LED lighting technology provides long-lasting, energy-efficient illumination that lasts for many years before it starts to burn out. This technology is far superior to traditional incandescent lamps and rarely causes any problems. Your inspector must ensure that the LED lighting is working and that color-changing lights are activated.

Advanced Sanitizing Technology

Ask if the pool has any technology that can replace traditional chlorine. Many options include chlorine generators (salt-generators), ultraviolet germicidal lights, and Ozone systems. It is important to ensure that the system is properly sized, correctly plumbed into equipment, and that it is functioning effectively.

Equipment systems and infrastructure.

An inground swimming pool can be affected by a variety of conditions. You might also need to inspect the pool for other issues.

The electric runs and plumbing lines are essential for the operation of the pool equipment. Your inspector will make sure that all breakers are correctly labeled. Your inspector will also check for leaks in the equipment’s plumbing lines. He will inspect the return lines for bubbles, indicating a suction leak.

Inspectors who are the best will also consider surrounding variables. Drainage is crucial. If the pool is close to your home, you should note the gutters on the roof. Why? Depending on where they are located, rainwater may be drained onto the ground below. This will cause it to collect and eventually overflow into the pool.

Inspectors may point out other factors. You might be told that the wind blowing from the canyon constantly blows dust into the pool. Are the trees blocking the sun or will they shed leaves? If you don’t have an automatic pool cleaner, you might need to clean the trees.

Closing the deal

You can always sell the house without a pool. Many pool-loving home buyers prefer to purchase a house that is not “second-hand”, and hire a builder to create the perfect space. This is always an option.

If you find the perfect home with a pool, make sure to get a complete evaluation.

Given all the intricacies involved, it can be difficult to conduct a thorough evaluation of a swimming pool’s condition.

Engaging a pool professional or trained inspector will give you valuable advice. With all safety measures in place, you can rest easy. You can ensure that all physical components and major equipment are in good condition. You will also learn whether any structural or mechanical parts may require repair, replacement, or credit for the buyer in the home purchase price.

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