A home inspection of pools and spas includes safety issues, mechanical function, physical condition, and auxilliary equipement. A summary of the inspection items follows:
Each year in the United States, about 300 children under 5 years old drown in swimming pools, usually a pool owned by their family. In addition, more than 2,000 children in that age group are treated in hospital emergency rooms for submersion injuries.
I inspect for the following to help provide young children with the protection they deserve.
1. Barriers:** An outdoor swimming pool, including an in-ground, above-ground, or on-ground pool, hot tub or spa, should be provided with a barrier that complies with numerous standards:
- The top of the barrier should be at least 48 inches above grade.
- Openings in the barrier should not allow the passage of a 4-inch-diameter sphere.
- Solid barriers that do not have openings should not contain indentations or protrusions.
- A barrier composed of horizontal and vertical members should have the horizontal members on the pool side.
- Spacing between vertical members should not exceed 4".
- The maximum mesh size for chail link fences should not exceed 13/4" square unless provided with slats.
- The maximum opening formed by fences with diagonal members is 13/4".
- Access gates should comply with this section and be equipped with a locking device. Pedestrian gates should open outward and be self closing with a self latching device.
2. Doors: Where a wall of a dwelling serves as part of the barrier, one of the following should apply:
- All doors with direct access to the pool through that wall should be equipped with an alarm which produces an audible warning when the door and its screen, are opened.
- The pool should be equipped with a power safety cover that complies with ASTM F1346-91 listed below.
- Other means of protection, such as self-closing doors with self-latching devices, are acceptable so long as the degree of protection afforded is not less than the protection afforded by (a) or (b) described above.
3. Where an above-ground pool structure is used as a barrier, or where the barrier is mounted on top of the pool structure, and the means of access is a ladder or steps, then:
- The ladder to the pool or steps should be capable of being secured, locked or removed to prevent access; or
- The ladder or steps should be surrounded by a barrier which meets Section I, Paragraphs 1 through 9. When the ladder or steps are secured, locked or removed, any opening created should not allow the passage of a 4-inch-diameter sphere.
4. General conditions: I inspect for general safety conditions such as trip hazards, drain covers, slip resistant surfaces, properly marked steps, etc.
2. Electrical: I inspect for proper grounding, bonding, the condition of the electrical panel and switches, proper curcuit protection (GFCI), ligthing, overhead electrical hazards and outlet condition.
3. Mechaincal: I inspect the visible piping, pumps, valves and motors for general condition and operation at the time of the inspection. I check for visible leaks, the condition of the strainer pot, vibration, excess heat in the pump or motor, and other indications of corrosion.
**The guidelines on barriers were adapted from information by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission at http://www.cpsc.gov.