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A swimming pool can be a relaxing oasis, but to prevent expensive repairs, it should be regularly maintained and inspected. At a minimum, a pool should be inspected every time a home is put on the market, to look for problems such as hidden leaks as well as to test the heating and cleaning equipment. An inspection doesn’t include the cost of repairs, so costs vary depending on the amount of time the inspector must spend on-site. Ask for a copy of a sample pool report before you hire an inspector, to make sure his or her inspection work is thorough. The report should include comments and recommendations for action, not just a checklist of the items inspected.

Basic home inspections don’t always include the pool, and home inspectors aren’t necessarily trained to evaluate a pool. Check home inspection reports for any disclaimers about a pool. Instead of using a general home inspector, hire a certified pool builder or inspector, such as Palm Beach Pool Doctor, Inc., in Boynton Beach, Florida, or Today Pools in Cypress, Texas.

Testing and inspection

Pools are more complex than they seem at first glance. In addition to the pool itself, which must be solid in the ground and free of leaks, the equipment that keeps it clean and heated—the pumps, heaters, filters and sweep—must be operating properly. The electrical equipment and the plumbing also need to be tested. Finally, the inspector should check the decking surfaces surrounding the pool, drains, safety covers and any hardware that secures them. The inspector will run all of the equipment to see if it’s running properly, but cannot dismantle any of the parts. The inspector should also test the water to make sure the chemical levels in the pool are balanced to keep germs and algae from growing in the pool while protecting the equipment.

State laws

Make sure the inspectors verifies that the drains—any suction outlets—are outfitted with a federally approved anti-entrapment cover. The inspector should be familiar with any state laws applicable to your pool.

Pool safety

Pool inspectors are looking for safety hazards, from loose stones in a deck to noncompliant drains to insufficient fencing. Diving boards and slides, which are less common but may still be installed on older pools, must be closely inspected for rust, sharp edges and other safety issues.

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