Swimming pools are one of those things that people either really want or absolutely don't want when buying a home. It's especially usually a factor when considering a luxury home. If you find yourself on the side of the fence of wanting one, you sure don't want any surprises...such as code violations, construction flaws or maintenance mistakes.
Pool inspectors aren't always real estate agent's favorite kind of people because real estate agents deal in fulfilling dreams while pool inspectors look for nightmares. However if you have a good real estate agent, they'll bear with the process as a perk of the pool inspection could be potential bargaining chips with the seller.
When inspecting pools, inspectors may first run into a fence or screen. Different areas have different height requirements for these and rules on the measurement of any gaps. Additionally, fences are usually required to have self-closing gates with locking hardware out of a child's reach.
Next, an inspector will look at water level. If the level isn't near the middle of the skimmer opening, one can assume there's a leak. If there's many layers of pool putty, the leak has either not been found yet or it keeps re-occuring. If there's a hose running into the pool or fresh pencil lines, then it means the leak is bad and is currently happening.
Next, the inspector will look at the tile for missing and cracked tiles or wide gaps in the grout. These are all signs of deck movement. If the inspector sees what looks like icicles growing out of the grout, it's a sign of chemical imbalance or dirty grout which is a clear indicator of a major lack of good maintenance.
Now, they inspector will look at the color of the water. Is it pea green? If so, the pool will need to be drained to get a look at the surface.
When looking at the surface, they're looking for missing plaster or cracks (especially a vertical one under the skimmer or anything coming from the main drain. Cracks like this are cosmetic or structural depending on whether they leak or not.
The deck will be examined also. The plastic deck drain will need to be examined for cracks or splinterings which could mean deck movement or settlement.
The breaker box will be checked too for rust, exposure to the elements (not covered) and how old it is. Other equipment that needs to be checked besides the breaker box is the motor, pump, electric conduit, valve and filter. A previous and angry homeowner may take these because they know that's where the money is. If any of it is gone or missing, find out what it would cost to replace and re-install these items.
If the pump is there, the inspector will turn it on and check for noises. Humming is not good but may be easy to fits. Grinding sounds may mean bad bearings and air leaks cause the pump to make turbulent sounds in the strainer basket.
Your pool inspector will let you know what problems you can overlook and which ones are deal breakers. They can also let you know what can be fixed yourself and what problems or repairs require a professional. Image by Chris Hsia Flickr Commons