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Swimming Pools: To Inspect or Not To Inspect?
The heading is a little misleading because it shouldn’t even be a question. You should always inspect anything you purchase. A swimming pool with a new house is no exception. If you are considering purchasing a home with a swimming pool, I recommend hiring a professional pool inspector. I’m sure you’re wondering, “if I have someone inspecting the house, can they check out the pool at the same time?” The answer is they could, but I don’t recommend it. The majority of home inspectors do not have any pool experience or have a pool background.
What kind of pool is it?
Is this pool an in-ground? A above ground? Concrete? Vinyl? Fiberglass? Etc................
The main difference between different types of pools is how the basin is constructed. There are several different pool styles, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Make sure the Inspector you choose knows the different types of pools, and equipment required for each.
Is there a state law?
YES!!!! When it comes to inspecting a pool, I recommend using an Inspector familiar with the State of California's new law. The California Senate Bill 442 was passed, signed by the Governor, and codified as Business and Professions Code, Section 7195, effective January 1, 2018. This Statute provides standards for new residential swimming pools and spas, or any remodeling of an existing pool or spa. If the subject property has a pool or spa that is covered under the new law, get in writing that the home inspector is aware of B.&P, Code Section 7195 and has training.
Caveat Emptor is a latin phrase that means let the buyer beware. It’s an old saying that the buyer alone is responsible for checking the quality of goods before purchasing. Usually, whenever someone purchases a home with a pool, it comes as is. Meaning, the buyer is responsible for upgrading, replacing, or fixing any equipment that isn’t working.
You cannot determine the quality or the condition of any pool equipment by sight alone. So how do you inspect the equipment without taking anything apart? First, you definitely want to turn on all major equipment to make sure they run.
Large equipment such as the pump, filter, chlorinator, or heater can be a pretty penny to replace or repair. You don’t want to start your pool ownership in the negative or having to replace something. It’s counter-productive and annoying.
You should run the pool pump and filter for at least thirty minutes. Thirty minutes ensures that the equipment is working properly and that there is proper circulation throughout the pool system. Thirty minutes also allows you to walk around and inspect for leaks around the pool. Also, older units are more prone to leak than newer ones so it’s a good idea to check for leaks around major O-rings and gaskets on the pump, pump basket, filter body, valves, and gauges.
I also highly recommend a pressure test for leaks in the plumbing. Re-plumbing the system to fix leaks can cost as much or more than the cost of replacing the roof to the house. So it’s very important that you make sure that the plumbing is intact and isn’t in danger of leaking from within. Observe the main drain and other suction ports. All suction ports should have anti-vortex covers to reduce the chance of holding someone underwater through the force of the suction.
So, Does GSR Home Inspections offer pool inspections?
No......Pool inspections carry with them the potential of significant liability. Pool accidents can be catastrophic resulting in death and long-term physical and mental disabilities. According to the Centers for Disease, Control and Prevention (CDC), drowning has been a leading cause of injury deaths in the United States for decades and small children are at highest risk, particularly around residential pools. Pool repairs can also be catastrophic, if paid for by the home inspector. With this in mind, I have chosen to disclaim pools. In California where pool inspections are not expected as part of a home inspector’s service, I have decided to let a certified pool inspector do the inspection. Although not a pool inspection, I will however insert a section in the report to indicate certain pool conditions. I will always recommend a certified pool inspector complete an inspection before closing escrow.