A swimming pool can be one of the most valuable assets in a home and it can be the place where family and friends share some of the best times of their lives. Remember Clark Griswold in the movie Christmas Vacation and his vivid dreams of owning a backyard pool. Maybe you have your own visions of backyard barbeques by the pool and cannonball contests with the kids. But, before you close on your new home with this picturesque pool, you need to consider a few things. First and foremost, you should consider getting a pool inspection.
Some buyers assume that the home inspection covers everything, but a home inspector is a generalist and sometimes you need a specialist. A pool is one of those cases as pools have complex equipment that can be very expensive to repair or replace. There are a lot of moving parts to operate a pool, from the actual pool to the pumps. A lot can go wrong with a pool and you will want to ensure the pool is in good working order before you close. If you want to be sure that are not going to have any unforeseen pool expenses early on, you should get an inspection by a professional, preferably a certified pool builder. You want someone who knows the features and potential pitfalls of a pool. This inspector should have years of experience and familiarity with a variety of pools.
Pool inspections can vary but a thorough inspection should include the following items:
- Test the pool by running the equipment. Keep in mind this is a visual inspection as you or the inspector cannot take anything apart. The inspector will be looking to see that the pumps for circulating water are working and pumps for vacuuming or cleaning are operating correctly.
- Conduct a pressure test for leaks
- Check the drains and ensure that the pool is equipped with federally approved anti-entrapment covers on all drains in the pool
- Evaluate the liner condition
- Evaluate heaters if applicable
- Inspect steps and ladders
- Check for proper water levels
- Identify any safety issues
- Verify that electrical outlets are on a Ground Fault Circuit
Once inspected, you should receive a detailed inspection report. The details should include the various things inspected on the pool and outline any areas of concern.
This written documentation will give you the ability to negotiate possible repairs or for a reduction in the sales price of the home.
Hot Tub Inspections
If you are buying a home with a hot tub you should also consider getting a hot tub inspection. Hot tubs and spas require additional expertise beyond the realm of a regular swimming pool. Hot tubs and their equipment can also require more maintenance than a swimming pool, depending on how often they are used. Because a hot tub is kept at a high temperature, its heating system is run frequently. As a result, this equipment will likely need to be replaced more often than systems that run less often. So, you will want to know the condition of your hot tub before buying your new home if you plan to use it.
Typically, you can find a certified hot tub inspector at a local pool service provider. You should ask your agent for recommendations.
A hot tub inspection typically includes but is not limited to the following:
- Condition of exterior housing
- Condition of interior finish
- Condition of cover
- Open service compartment
- Visually check for leaks
- Visually check electrical connections
- Visual check for proper electrical bonding
- Activate heater
- Activate blower
- Activate pump motor-jets
After the inspection you should receive a detailed report of the findings of the inspection. Like the pool inspection report, you can use this report to negotiate with the seller to repair or reduce the price of the home.