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Thread: Pool Diagnostics upon move-in

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    Pool Diagnostics upon move-in

    In general whenever you move into a new house you do a general inspection. However, many times they do not inspect the pool. If they do inspect the pool, it is just turning on the pool pump and if it turns on then all is good. This leaves many owners unaware of the true status of their pool and equipment and then when they move in, the pool instantly turns to a pond since the seller (or their associate) stops throwing in pucks.

    I know when I moved in to the house I moved in I went to clean the salt-cell and it literally broke off so I had to get a whole new unit.

    When my brother moved in his salt-cell was broke too, plus the pool was in shambles in terms of chemical balance.

    So what I am wondering is... is there a way to "get certified" on how to do a good diagnosis of the condition of a pool? Like how would I go about testing certain items to give them a GO or NO-GO status? And what items would be the tops of your list to include in the inspection? My goal is to team up with a home inspector and do a pool inspection and test everything so the new owners know the status of their pool so they don't move in and find out that the pump is broke and the filter is so old that it has a colony of aliens living in it. Maybe, I'd even give them a quick and skinny on how to care for their pool BBB style.

    Hope all that makes sense.
    NEW POOL: 11k IGP, Pebbletec, Hayward Pro-Grid 3620 D.E. Filter, 1HP Pentair?/Emerson
    OLD POOL: 12.3k IGP, Pebbletec, Pentair 60 D.E. Filter, 1HP Pentair/Emerson + 1HP Pentair waterfall, Pentair IC40, and borated

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    Re: Pool Diagnostics upon move-in

    I went through this very thing when we purchased our house two years ago. I hired a certified pool inspector and he either didn't do a thorough inspection or lied on the report (I know this sounds harsh, but I tried to call him back after we moved in and he would never ever return my multiple calls so I believe he might have known the owner!). The pool had a leak and it was obvious it had a leak. He stated the pool had no noticeable leaks.
    5900 G Fiberglass IG pool (circa 1990), SWG Hayward Aqua Rite GoldLine (2013), IntelliFlo Variable Speed Pump (2013), Hayward Pro Sand Filter (circa 1990), Well water (no iron or other metals fortunately), test with Taylor K2006C, Charleston, SC

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    Agent99's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Diagnostics upon move-in

    When we bought our home (with pool), we asked the previous homeowners to get the pool inspected and submit a report.

    Since I knew diddley-squat about pools back then, I hoped that everything was fine. It turned out that things were fine but as I took over, the pool would eventually have problems but mechanically, everything was basically sound for a few years.

    So the report is only as good as the inspector and who knows what they looked at. You can only hope they were thorough. If you're a complete pool neophyte, then you are in their hands and god help you.

    To address the main premise of your post, I would bring along my TF-100 kit and test everything water-wise as we've learned here. Since you know something about SWGs, you can include that as well. Turn on all the pumps, move all the valves, check that the heater works and actually heats the water. Check for leaks and you might need to climb the roof to check the solar panels. Check the timers to see if they work. I dunno if you want to tear into filters to see the shape of the innards but you probably should do that. Do your due diligence and soon you'll have a good reputation as a pool inspector and you might make a decent living. If you find problems AND can fix them, the new owner will keep your card around for future service.

    Finally, I'd get their email address and you can send them links to here to learn!
    ----Chris----
    25k IG/Spa Figure 8, 18x36, Pebble Sheen Blue Granite, Sta-Rite S8M150 Cartridge Filter, Pentair 460805 400k BTU Heater & 011018 IntelliFlo VarSpd
    Liquidator, Fafco Solar Heat, Polaris PB460 Booster Pump w/280 cleaner, Katchaleaf Cover, TF100 Test Kit, FAKE MAIN DRAIN

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    Re: Pool Diagnostics upon move-in

    When I got my house 3 years ago I was new to pools. The extent of my knowledge was "that is a pump, that is a filter." The extent of my chemical knowledge was "it needs chlorine." So it was a learning curve for me, and I'd like to help other people who don't have experience in the actual equipment or chemicals make good decisions. Nobody wants to buy a house with a pool only to find out that the previous owners rigged it so it wouldn't look like a swamp for two days - the viewing date and the home inspection date - only to move in and find out that everything is in shambles and thus adding hundreds or thousands to the cost of the house.

    I am not an expert by any means. I am an engineer by trade, and curious to boot. But I just want to be as prepared as possible to give new homeowners the best change at getting a fully-functional pool that they can enjoy. As I said, I moved in and my pool had trouble with the SWG and my brother had even more problems than I did with his pool.

    Just hashing things out on the fly here:

    PUMPS:
    (1) Check to see if pump(s) turn on
    (2) Check to see if pump strainer baskets are in good shape (not sure about elsewhere, but here in AZ they warp and crack due to heat)
    (3) Check to see if impeller spins freely
    (4) Check to see if pump primes
    (5) Inspect trap/basket lid O-ring
    (6*) Not sure really how to check the life of a pump... maybe the capacitor? But then again, if it turns on...
    (7) Get as much information about pump - make, model, HP, etc. for homeowner record keeping

    FILTERS:
    (1) Inspect fins or grids or sand levels/cleanliness
    (2) Inspect filter O-rings (at least the big ones)
    (3) Inspect pressure gauge for functionality
    (4) Get as much information about filter - make, model, type, etc. for homeowner record keeping

    PIPING:
    (1) Inspect all above-ground piping for leaks
    (2) Any bubbling coming out of piping
    (3) Leak test? I could do the bucket test, but that is a 24hr test. There are also more elaborate ways of pressurizing a pipe and seeing if the pressure drops, but I don't have that equipment
    (4) Check return jets to see if they are all spraying water
    (5) Check automatic water refill mechanism, if present
    (6) Inspect O-rings on backwash valve

    SWG:
    (1) Honestly not sure how to test this one... not sure if there is a way to test the cell separate from the power/computer unit. And this is the big one that seems to have the most problems so I want better way then looking at it and going "yep, it is there"
    (2) Get as much information about SWG - make, model, rating, duty cycle, etc. for homeowner record keeping

    HEAT:
    (1) I have no experience at all with propane, heat-exchanges, or solar so I'm not sure how I can diagnose anything outside of it leaking water on the ground or not.

    CHEMICAL BALANCE:
    (1) General chemical test - FC, CC, pH, CYA, TA, CH, NaCl, and Borates

    What else am I missing?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by otter86753 View Post
    I went through this very thing when we purchased our house two years ago. I hired a certified pool inspector and he either didn't do a thorough inspection or lied on the report (I know this sounds harsh, but I tried to call him back after we moved in and he would never ever return my multiple calls so I believe he might have known the owner!). The pool had a leak and it was obvious it had a leak. He stated the pool had no noticeable leaks.
    When you say certified pool inspector, what exactly did that mean to you as an end user?

    Is there a certification for such a thing or was he just a pool-guy who took a gander at the pool?

    Did you watch what he did? Any guarantees on his part?
    NEW POOL: 11k IGP, Pebbletec, Hayward Pro-Grid 3620 D.E. Filter, 1HP Pentair?/Emerson
    OLD POOL: 12.3k IGP, Pebbletec, Pentair 60 D.E. Filter, 1HP Pentair/Emerson + 1HP Pentair waterfall, Pentair IC40, and borated

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    Re: Pool Diagnostics upon move-in

    Quote Originally Posted by peacefulkancer View Post


    When you say certified pool inspector, what exactly did that mean to you as an end user?

    Is there a certification for such a thing or was he just a pool-guy who took a gander at the pool?

    Did you watch what he did? Any guarantees on his part?
    I used a certified home inspection company that deals with pools as well. I don't know if there is certification for the pool part particularly, just for the home inspection as a whole. I was not able to be with him when he performed the inspection as we were out of town when he performed it. He did guarantee, but I was worn down from all parts of the process and he probably was banking on that. I fixed the leak for $300 so I count myself lucky.
    5900 G Fiberglass IG pool (circa 1990), SWG Hayward Aqua Rite GoldLine (2013), IntelliFlo Variable Speed Pump (2013), Hayward Pro Sand Filter (circa 1990), Well water (no iron or other metals fortunately), test with Taylor K2006C, Charleston, SC

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    Re: Pool Diagnostics upon move-in

    Quote Originally Posted by peacefulkancer View Post
    What else am I missing?

    Go around the perimeter of the pool and inspect the tiles. Tap them every 6" to see if they're ready to pop off. Make sure the caulk looks good between the pavement and the coping. Do the bucket test on the pool water, both with the pool running and with it off. Look for general good maintenance, if things look like they're in good shape, including rusted screws, fixing broken items, and the pool is seems well groomed (crystal clear water, signs of maintenance around the pool), then it's a good sign.

    Bring a friend who has a pool and maintains it himself. He'll know. From hard experience

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    Re: Pool Diagnostics upon move-in

    Quote Originally Posted by tkrotchko View Post
    Go around the perimeter of the pool and inspect the tiles. Tap them every 6" to see if they're ready to pop off. Make sure the caulk looks good between the pavement and the coping. Do the bucket test on the pool water, both with the pool running and with it off. Look for general good maintenance, if things look like they're in good shape, including rusted screws, fixing broken items, and the pool is seems well groomed (crystal clear water, signs of maintenance around the pool), then it's a good sign.

    Bring a friend who has a pool and maintains it himself. He'll know. From hard experience
    What is the reason for bringing a friend who has a pool and maintains it himself?
    NEW POOL: 11k IGP, Pebbletec, Hayward Pro-Grid 3620 D.E. Filter, 1HP Pentair?/Emerson
    OLD POOL: 12.3k IGP, Pebbletec, Pentair 60 D.E. Filter, 1HP Pentair/Emerson + 1HP Pentair waterfall, Pentair IC40, and borated

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Diagnostics upon move-in

    One thing a lot of people don't understand about home inspectors is that in many states they are legally liable for their inspections, but the kicker is they are only liable for things that they see, or that are in plain sight and should have been seen. This means if they do any advanced testing and miss something they can be held liable for missing it, but if they choose not to do the advanced testing then they can't be held liable if the fault was not in plain sight. This topic causes much debate in the home inspector online community as more and more non destructive testing options are appearing all the time and many keep getting cheaper to purchase. Examples are Infrared thermal imagers, electrical insulation test meters, electrical ground test meters that don't require driving a separate ground rod, .... This has divided the home inspectors into two camps, the ones that say NEVER use any of these advanced detections systems because if you miss something you are liable, and the other group says use them as you can give a truer evaluation of condition. Of course it does not help that many of these pieces of advanced testing equipment don't have a simple pass / fail readout, but instead often give results that say a problem is reasonably suspected, but confirmation may require destructive testing, ....
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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