A professional opinion is vital in pool inspections
Here in the Palm Springs area, swimming pools are a well-known and well-used feature of our outdoor lifestyle. Clearly, it’s important to maintain a clean, safe, efficient and attractive pool/spa system. We are here to help you identify potential and/or current issues that may interfere with that enjoyment.
Nowadays home inspections are a standard part of purchasing a home. Most prospective buyers hire a professional to go through the house, checking plumbing, electrical and engineering to make sure everything is in good condition. When buying a house with a pool, it’s vital that that part of the purchase receive the same attention. That means it’s time to call in a pro who knows the features and potential pitfalls of a pool. We invite your questions and concerns as a part of this process.
Not all pool inspections are performed on behalf of prospective home buyers, though. We do get calls from those who have just had pools built, and they want to be sure that the builder did his job correctly. Other homeowners have inspections just to catch problems before they get out of hand. There are so many things that people aren’t aware of, especially if they don’t have a pool service.
What To Expect From a Pool Inspection
Our reports state clearly what items are checked, if there are any items that need to be acted upon, and what should be done. Photos are a critical part of these reports, especially since we realize that the report will be read by laymen. (Please note the list of inspected items under the subheading “what we look for”)
During our follow-up, we take this time to make recommendations to homeowners on changes that might save money or make their pool more inviting. Pumps can be changed. Solar heat can be added, either to extend the swimming season, or to replace a gas heater. Our customers always appreciate knowing if rebates are available from their local utility for some of that equipment. Some pools might benefit by the addition of a chlorine generating system (aka: salt water system), and that may be brought to your attention.
What We Look For During a Pool Inspection
- The first thing most inspectors look at is the fence and gate leading into the pool area. The fence should be high enough to prevent a child from climbing into the pool area and have no holes or missing planks. The gate should be constructed so that the latch engages automatically. Codes for fencing and gates vary by municipality and state, so we are well aware of all our local regulations to ensure the fencing is at up to current code.
- Decking around a pool can be a trouble spot. Inspectors should look for major cracks in the deck, which can indicate settling around the pool and can pose a tripping hazard. Other tripping hazards can include improperly secured or incorrectly sized skimmer lids.
- The last step before reaching the pool is to check the mastic between the deck and pool coping. In some cases, the deck, mastic or both have been painted, which can hide problems.
- Finally, the inspector examines the pool. The first step is to get the vital statistics. When was the pool constructed, and of what material? How big is it? The surface of the pool should be examined closely for cracks and staining. If it’s a gunite pool, staining or the presence of calcium nodules could indicate a history of imbalanced water chemistry or a poor plastering job. Tile, and its surrounding grout, should be checked for cracks. If it’s a vinyl pool, ensure that there are no tears in the liner and that its bead is seated all around the pool. All jets should function properly.
- An essential task is to check main drain covers, suction covers and other anti-entrapment devices. Covers should be secured and all safety systems should be functioning as designed. Many older pools do not have VGB-compliant safety equipment. If that’s the case on a pool being inspected, the buyer/homeowner should be made aware of it, even if the pool isn’t required to be brought up to standard. Ports for suction cleaners should be examined. A cover must be installed over the port to prevent entrapment and injury. This is also the time to check ladders and handrails to be sure they’re well anchored and not broken or corroded.
- If there is an auto-fill device, make sure that it’s working as it should. The pool should be checked to make sure it hasn’t settled. The water level should be within a half inch on both ends of the pool.
- The equipment pad can be a common source of trouble. All electrical connections should be checked and ground-fault circuit interrupters must be in working order. GFCIs work by checking for variances between the neutral wire and the hot wire. If there is difference of 4 to 6 milliamps, the device assumes that current is leaking to ground and trips. This is an important safety measure.
- We will ascertain what type of filter is being used and ensure that the media is in good shape. Any O-rings on the filter housings should be examined. The rings might need lubrication or replacement.
- The pump should be checked for proper operation, as well as for rust on the housing or in the motor. This might be a sign that the pump was left uncovered. Another thing to look at is the size of the pump.
- Next, we take a look at the heater. It should have the proper clearances from flammable materials on all sides (including the top!). The heater inspection panel should be opened. Since it’s not uncommon for heaters to go unused for months at a time, the unit should be checked for rust and wild animal nests. Then, we fire it up to make sure it’s heating properly.
- Our inspector will also ensure that the pool and its equipment are properly bonded. The National Electric Code requires bonding of metal structures, fittings and parts that are horizontally within 5 feet of the pool wall and vertically within 12 feet of the pool’s maximum water level. This can also include fences, if they’re within the prescribed distance from the pool.
- If there is an in-ground spa, check that it empties and fills as it should. It’s crucial to make sure the drain is VGB compliant here as well; keep in mind that spas can double as “kiddie pools” for some homeowners.
As you can see, there are multiple concerns for purchasing and/or maintaining your pool/spa system. We invite you to call us for a thorough examination of all structural and mechanical related matters relating to your pool/spa system for a fun summer with friends and family here in our beautiful desert! Call now.