Pool Coping - YardDoc - Austin, TX - Paver deck around pool

Buying a Home with an Inground Pool? Here’s Your 13-Point Pool Inspection Checklist.

You’ll want to avoid unexpected pool repair costs if possible, especially after moving into your new dream home. Before you buy, follow this do-it-yourself pool inspection guide from the Austin pool service experts at YardDoc.

How to Evaluate the Condition of the Swimming Pool

Swimming Pool Inspection- Austin, TX - Chemicals Sitting Next to in Ground Pool - YardDoc
Pool Chemistry
Pool Inspection - Faulty Pool Filter - Debris in Pool Bottom - Yard Doc - Austin, TX
Sediment or Debris
Pool Inspection - Crack in Bottom of In Ground Pool - Yard Doc - Austin, TX
Cracks
Pool Pump Repair - YardDoc - Austin, TX - Pump and plumbing next to house
Pool Equipment
  • Check the clarity of the water—good clear water is what you would want to see. Cloudy water can indicate filtration or water chemistry problems. It may also signify prior algae or other issues still evident in the water.
  • Inspect the bottom of the pool for sediment or debris. Any residue could indicate a problem with the pool filter discharging material back into the pool.
  • Look for cracks, below or above the water level. And watch for signs of damage to the decking around the pool. Ensure the water level is as expected. Too low can indicate cracks or leaks.
  • Scan the visible plumbing to see if the piping looks normal, and there are no bulges, especially around the motors. If motors run dry, they overheat the water. Dry runs cause pipes to soften and then bulge when pressurized. If PVC piping has yellowed, it can also be an indication of excessive aging or heating. If PVC piping has been painted, it could be for aesthetic detail or a way to mask a problem with the plumbing.
When motors get worn out, vibration and sound levels will typically pick up. Listen to the equipment when it is running. Metallic-sounding noises are not a good thing.

The pool surface will wear over time and is one of the more expensive repairs. Typically, the entire surface needs replacing. It’s a good idea to estimate how soon pool resurfacing may be necessary, so you can plan for that expense.

To assess the quality of the surface, during pool inspection look for visible signs of damage or wear. In some cases, you will see exposed concrete underneath the surface material in one or more areas. This may be an area that was damaged by something knocking the surface material off, but generally, it is a sign that the surface material is wearing through. Visible cracking or pitting of the surface material are also indications of wear.

Discoloration of the plaster often happens when it is wearing thin. But it can also be surface staining or mineral deposits from poor water chemistry, which isn’t necessarily a sign of surface wear.

So, put your hand into the water and rub the pool surface. It should be smooth. You shouldn’t feel pitting or tiny protruding spikes. Also, you shouldn’t be able to rub off any of the surface. If you can, then the surface is in an advanced stage of wear and will probably need to be replaced soon.

See YardDoc’s comprehensive article on pool algae and its causes for more information. It can be a serious concern in a pool. Algae could indicate surface wear as algae take hold in broken-up surfaces. It could also indicate filtration or circulation problems as algae flourish in poor filtration situations. If there are visible algae in the water, then you will need a professional pool cleaning service to clean out the filter and grids.

Check that the water chemistry is within normal limits, specifically pH levels, Cyanuric Acid (or stabilizer) levels, and total hardness. pH that is too high or low will damage the pool surface over time and can also destroy a heater and other equipment. Cyanuric Acid (or stabilizer) that is too low may well indicate a leak, as added water will have no stabilizer in it.

Levels of stabilizer that are too high will mean that the pool water will need to be replaced soon because the high stabilizer levels will eventually stop chlorine from functioning. Hardness levels that are too high can cause problems with pool surfaces but can also get so high that proper chemical balance becomes problematic. In that case, the water either needs to be replaced or reverse osmosis performed to remove particulates.

Ask us about pool chemical automation using the Pentair Intellichem system.

Check that the pool lights come on. If not, it may just be a bulb that is out. But it can also be a fixture that is faulty and needs replacement, and this can be expensive.
During your pool inspection, check that the heater control panel works and that the heater turns on and heats the water. Ideally, let it run for at least 30 minutes to see that it runs continuously and heats as expected. There should be no water leaks around or underneath the heater, and there should be no gas smells either. Many things that can go wrong with a heater, and pool heater repair can be expensive.
A freeze guard switches the equipment on automatically in the event the air temperature drops below a certain level. This function helps prevent freeze damage to plumbing and equipment in winter. The freeze guard can be tested by placing the temperature sensor in a flask of water and ice cubes. Typically, within five minutes, the system should kick on automatically. Learn about liquid chlorine for pool maintenance winterizing.
Inspect visible plumbing for leaks, including around equipment, heaters, and the filtration system. There should not be any leaks. Imbalanced water chemistry and stabilizer levels may also be an indication of excessive leaking. If leaking is suspected, then it may be worth hiring professional pool leak detection services where plumbing is pressurized and tested.
The filter pressure should be in the normal range for the specific pool’s type of filter. The shell of the filter should be hard when the filter is off. If the shell feels soft, the filter needs to be replaced. You can test many types of filter shells by scratching the surface with your thumbnail. If you can scratch a line into the shell, then it is probably not in good condition and will need to be replaced in the short term. If there are any leaks around the filer, it probably needs to be replaced. When the shell ages and softens, it is more likely to go out of shape and start leaking.
Salt systems can be costly to replace. In most instances, YardDoc recommends changing to chlorine instead of salt. But if you plan to continue with salt, then check the control system that operates the salt cell to see if it is operating in the designed range. It is also a good idea to test the salt level in the pool. It should also be in the designed range for the system in use. Too low or too high, and the system is probably not being used, or there are operational issues.
Motors should run without excessive noise or vibration, and there should be no leaks coming from the motors, unions, or seals. Problems with motors are often more visible at start up, so it is suggested that the system is turned off for five to ten minutes and then started again to highlight any issues.

When performing a pool inspection, it is usually apparent whether the pool and equipment are generally maintained. Is the equipment-pad full of leaves or other items? Are pool skimmer baskets cleaned out or full of leaves?

Leaves can cause ventilation problems that overheat the motors, which then damage plumbing, etc. These types of items aren’t necessarily problematic, but give you an idea of how attentive the owners are to pool maintenance.

You'll also want to look at the health of the pool coping and overall pool safety. For additional information, learn 5 Essential Pool Maintenance Tips and browse our swimming pool FAQs.

Make Pool Inspection a Priority

If your dream home wishlist includes a swimming pool, save yourself some money and headache by following our DIY pool inspection tips or call in one of our certified pool operators.


GET A FREE QUOTE