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Thread: Purchasing a home...pool inspection in winter??

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    Purchasing a home...pool inspection in winter??

    Hello everyone, thrilled to have found this site!! Hubby and I are in the process of purchasing a home with an in-ground pool. Current homeowners haven't opened it in years. The equipment looks old and I don't have many details. Hoping for info from the inspection, which is expected to happen this week. My realtor has found a "pool inspector" who may check it out also. Thought I'd post to see what you guys recommend in this situation. I can post pics of some of the equipment when I am back at the house, but the pool is covered. Can you take a cover off in the winter? It might be frozen to the pool, right? I have absolutely NO pool experience. Just found the site today and though I plan to read the pool school in depth, worried I won't have time to finish before inspection period is over. Thanks in advance!!

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Purchasing a home...pool inspection in winter??

    Welcome to TFP!!

    Generally home inspectors exclude pools except maybe the electrical sub-panel. A pool inspector will be able to provide more information, but will be unable to assess the equipment as it can't be turned on while winterized.

    If it hasn't been opened in several years I might expect damage if it is a liner.
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    Re: Purchasing a home...pool inspection in winter??

    Thanks for responding! What's a liner? Is this something that's expensive to replace?

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Purchasing a home...pool inspection in winter??

    It is one type of pool wall style.

    Off to Pool School for you......

    Pool School - Pool Surfaces
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    Re: Purchasing a home...pool inspection in winter??

    Wow, not opened in years!?! Any water in the pool will likely be a green mess. We can help you clear it up but it will likely take a lot of time and money.

    Here's something you might consider - put a liner replacement in your contract. It's expensive to replace the liner (a few thousand dollars for the liner plus installation costs). This way, you get a "new" pool surface plus new water. Depending on what the pool inspector finds, you might have to put up a few thousand dollars worth of equipment replacement (pump, filter, automation, etc).

    Good luck!!


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Purchasing a home...pool inspection in winter??

    One caveat - if the liner gets replaced, there's no telling what structural problems might be uncovered when they pull out the old liner. Structural repair of the pool walls or floor will add to the cost so you might want to start getting some initial quotes from pool builders to see what you might need to set aside in the contract.


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Purchasing a home...pool inspection in winter??

    To hedge your bet, you might consider purchasing a home warranty with express coverage for pool equipment. While there might be some co-pays to repair/replace anything that's not working, it will be a whole lot cheaper than paying for this yourself. And, if by chance, everything is working nicely, you would not have "wasted" much money on the policy since they are relatively inexpensive.
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    Re: Purchasing a home...pool inspection in winter??

    Quote Originally Posted by JoyfulNoise View Post
    Here's something you might consider - put a liner replacement in your contract. It's expensive to replace the liner (a few thousand dollars for the liner plus installation costs). This way, you get a "new" pool surface plus new water. Depending on what the pool inspector finds, you might have to put up a few thousand dollars worth of equipment replacement (pump, filter, automation, etc).
    Matt, I was just "guessing" a liner. could be gunite or fiberglass. Who knows until they pull back the cover.

    Quote Originally Posted by JayBauman View Post
    To hedge your bet, you might consider purchasing a home warranty with express coverage for pool equipment. While there might be some co-pays to repair/replace anything that's not working, it will be a whole lot cheaper than paying for this yourself. And, if by chance, everything is working nicely, you would not have "wasted" much money on the policy since they are relatively inexpensive.
    They could also have a home warranty included in the contract paid by the seller. But, verify they will cover things like a liner and not just mechanicals like pump/filter.
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    Re: Purchasing a home...pool inspection in winter??

    Quote Originally Posted by tim5055 View Post
    Matt, I was just "guessing" a liner. could be gunite or fiberglass. Who knows until they pull back the cover.
    Ah, ok.

    Probably a good guess on your part though. The OP is in NJ and liner pools are way more common up north than they are down south.


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Purchasing a home...pool inspection in winter??

    Thank you everyone, these are great ideas! Exactly the kind of advice I was hoping to get. I'm reading the pool school info about SLAM right now, and hoping to get through as much as I can. What will the pool inspector be able to assess? Should we bother with having him come?
    Approx 22000, oblong
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    Re: Purchasing a home...pool inspection in winter??

    I am going to follow this one..........it will be fun to help you learn how to care for your new "baby".

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Purchasing a home...pool inspection in winter??

    Quote Originally Posted by Poolmor View Post
    Thank you everyone, these are great ideas! Exactly the kind of advice I was hoping to get. I'm reading the pool school info about SLAM right now, and hoping to get through as much as I can. What will the pool inspector be able to assess? Should we bother with having him come?
    Can I ask a question - how urgent is this home buy? Can you put it off until the pool thaws?

    This is totally my personally opinion so take it for what it's worth - I would never buy a home with a pool that is covered up and basically inoperable with a questionable history of pool care. Even if I really, really wanted the home, I would wait. If there are any major structural or equipment issues, you could be, worst case scenario, looking at over $10,000 in repairs and replacement costs (assuming the worst about the pool structure). That's too big of a risk in my book unless the selling price is severely discounted to reflect that. Because remember this, the bank is going to give you a mortgage/loan for what the house costs at closing. They are not going to give you extra money based on unknown conditions. So unless you have a deep cash reserve to handle the worst case scenario, I'd hold off on the purchase.

    Pulling back on the purchase might also spur the homeowner to get the pool properly looked at to ease your concerns.

    Just my opinion.


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Purchasing a home...pool inspection in winter??

    Hi. The pool inspector should at least be able to check that the pumps turn on. If they don't turn on you have an answer. If they do it doesn't mean they can pump water properly. Talk with your attorney and make sure they know the details. They should put some type of contingency in the contract about the pool. Maybe that they pay x amount toward getting the pool up an running. This could become a significant financial cost to you. Worth it imo but it's something you need to guard against and negotiate for. A house that needs a new roof sells for x dollars less so assume the pool needs a lot of work and use that to your advantage when negotiating.
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    Re: Purchasing a home...pool inspection in winter??

    Matt, we love the house. We just had another baby and need to move. We want to be as smart as possible but we do want THIS house. Getting the warranties mentioned in some of the responses above would be awesome. We appreciate any suggestions and tips the forum has to offer!
    Approx 22000, oblong
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    Teledyne Lars Series 2 Heater, Model ESG
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    Re: Purchasing a home...pool inspection in winter??

    Quote Originally Posted by Poolmor View Post
    Matt, we love the house. We just had another baby and need to move. We want to be as smart as possible but we do want THIS house. Getting the warranties mentioned in some of the responses above would be awesome. We appreciate any suggestions and tips the forum has to offer!
    Understood. Good luck with the purchase. Hopefully the seller is willing to meet you part of the way with any pool needs/costs.

    And congratulations on the new baby. We're expecting the arrival of our 4th child in about 3 weeks or so. Having lived in some pretty cramped quarters when my other kids were infants, I totally understand needing a bigger space.

    Best wishes,

    Matt


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Purchasing a home...pool inspection in winter??

    Most home warranties won't cover items that were not working at closing.

    I would have a good pool inspector or pool builder or service person inspect the pool. That would include removing the cover and inspection the walls and liner (if it has one). They should also pressure test the plumbing and check the pump and filter on the equipment pad.

    As stated above you may want to update equipment or have to do structural repairs. It may need a new liner. If the pump is old you may want to replace it with a modern energy efficient pump. If it has copper piping that may need replacement. Over the last fifteen years pools have had major safety improvements such as bonding and anti entrapment drains. Whether those are incorporated or can be added is something that should be addressed.
    22k gallon IG pebblefina, Jandy 1.5 HP VS, Jandy CV Cartridge filter, Fafco solar panels, Polaris 360 supply side cleaner, waterfall

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    Re: Purchasing a home...pool inspection in winter??

    Let me ask, do you have any idea of the age of the pool, if it was winterized or just abandoned, these things will give you some potential clues to the condition. Personally I do not expect much from a pool inspector, given what we have seen in previous similar threads like yours. It seems most pool inspections that people get are limited a, yes there is a pool there, and there are filters and pumps and they are connected, no clue if they run, are is the plumbing is cracked, etc. Having said this there are some things you just can not tell until you get into replacing it. There are things you can tell by age though, such as liner pools do have a limited life so if the pool is more than 10 years old and has never had the liner replaced you know it is getting close to time (some better quality liners may last 12-15 years, or more, but that is VERY rare), alternatively if chemical levels are poorly maintained those same liners may last only 3-5 years. I hate to sound to negative, but about all you can tell at this point, assuming it is a block of ice, is that it holds water, and even that is questionable.
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    Re: Purchasing a home...pool inspection in winter??

    Quote Originally Posted by gwegan View Post
    Most home warranties won't cover items that were not working at closing.

    I would have a good pool inspector or pool builder or service person inspect the pool. That would include removing the cover and inspection the walls and liner (if it has one). They should also pressure test the plumbing and check the pump and filter on the equipment pad.

    As stated above you may want to update equipment or have to do structural repairs. It may need a new liner. If the pump is old you may want to replace it with a modern energy efficient pump. If it has copper piping that may need replacement. Over the last fifteen years pools have had major safety improvements such as bonding and anti entrapment drains. Whether those are incorporated or can be added is something that should be addressed.
    So the pool cover CAN be removed in winter? I live in NJ, and though today is unseasonably 59, we are usually around or below freezing at night. I'm thinking the water will be frozen, so even if we remove the cover we might not see the lining/surface, right? The pressure test and checking; can that be done if the water is frozen? (equipment pad??? Total newbie and I have no idea what any of that meant.). This is exactly my concern....how can we show that anything was "working" if we can't use any of it in the winter? Will the pump actually do anything if the water is frozen? I'm worried about even trying to turn it on with frozen water.
    Approx 22000, oblong
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    Re: Purchasing a home...pool inspection in winter??

    Quote Originally Posted by Isaac-1 View Post
    Let me ask, do you have any idea of the age of the pool, if it was winterized or just abandoned, these things will give you some potential clues to the condition.
    I have no idea, but plan to ask the sellers soon. Just starting attorney review and wanted to get the forums thoughts preemptively.

    Clutching my pearls at that last line.....Yikes!!!
    Approx 22000, oblong
    IG, Cement
    Triton Sand Filter, Hayward Super Pump SP2610X15/C48L2N134B1
    Teledyne Lars Series 2 Heater, Model ESG
    Fill source assumed to be city

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    Re: Purchasing a home...pool inspection in winter??

    Perhaps you can agree on an escrow amount to ensure the satisfactory opening and inspection of the pool.

    Since it's THE house you want, make your best deal and see what happens this Spring.
    Dave S.
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