Friday, June 1, 2012

New Home, New Pool !

I recently read another blog written by another blogger about pool safety, and what to look for if the home you are buying has a pool.  Pools can either  be an asset to a home or a huge drawback for buyers.  This is something that is very hard for a homeowner to understand because they almost always love their pools, and have spent alot of time enjoying them.

I personally had an oversized pool before I had my son, and once he was born I took it down because as a new mother I was nervous and I really did not have the time to take care of it.  Recently I went ahead and purchased one of those new it yourself pools, after about a week I decided that the work to maintain that pool was more work than a true pool so my son and I will now be enjoying a brand new pool in the next 2 weeks.  The reason I bring this up is because while at the local pool store we were reviewing what I needed to do take care of it, and I became suddenly overwhelmed even though I had a pool previously! This blog is going to generally overview what a homebuyer should look for when purchasing a home that comes with a pool, but also give you a true idea of what needs to be done to maintain and upkeep a pool in the simplest terms possible !!

Here is just a quick punch list of the things you will want to look out for if your thinking of purchasing a home that comes with a pool:
  • Electrical Outlet is a Grounded 220 Volt, minimum of 3 feet away from the actual pool. For the Town of Babylon this is and has been a requirement for over ten years so if an agent tells you otherwise, they are unfortunately incorrect. 
  • Wiring underground must be buried 2 feet underground in a protected cylinder.  This may seem like a huge deal but if the homeowners have correctly had the outlet installed any electrician should have known the requirements.
  • Filter & Pump should be on a level grounded area preferably not on grass but some sort of brick/wood foundation.  
  • Self-Closing Gates on any gate that accesses the pool.  This again is a requirement by the town. In some cases like my home I have a fence around my yard, as well as a smaller decorative fence sectioning off the area of my yard where the pool is.  It is NOT necessary to have a additional fence around the pool but for inground pools I would definitely suggest taking that precaution.   There are many options when it comes to easy assembly fences for this purpose, even if you do not have children small pets can also need to be protected from falls into the pool. 
  • Pool Alarm This is a new rule that they have come out with, and I am still looking into it myself, so once I have gotten more information I will add onto this blog.  I did take the time to price them while I was at the store and they seem to run from about $150 & Up because this is a new rule the current homeowner may not have this.   It is not something that needs to be installed, it simply hooks onto the side of the pool and seem to be universal. 
  • Liner Rips & Tears A new liner in a pool can become costly depending on the size of the pool, if the homeowner is representing the pool you should take the time to look and see if you notice any sort of rips or bubble spots behind the liner this could indicate a liner issue. 
  • Age Of The Pool & Accessories Most homeowners will be able to tell you how old the pool is, but remember it is just like a car just because the body has 120,000 miles on it does not mean the motor does as well.  Most above ground pools were made of Galvanized Steel, but over time they have of course upgraded the material.  The pool I took down was over 20 years old and the pool itself was still in good condition, I did need to replace the liner and pumps a few years before taking it down.  If you are considering buying a home with a pool I always suggest taking a ride to your local pool store and talking to them about the costs and differences between pumps & filters. 
  • Clear Depth Changes If your purchasing an inground pool you will want to make sure that you know the depths of the pool, since most are 2 depths with a gradual decline into the deeper end you will want to make sure you know where this is because finding it once your in the pool is only funny for the onlookers ! This is not something you need to negotiate with the sellers most will have sort of marking, just make sure once you take ownership you take the time to mark where the depth is what. 
Next up is the list of things you need to be prepared to do to maintain your pool.  This is where I began suddenly overwhelmed by the amount of "stuff" I forgot I had to do.  Thank god for the very nice boy and the pool store who went ahead and gave me my own little cheat sheet to work from !! The one downside to going into the pool store can be that they see a new pool owner coming, and they will load you up with tons of things you don't need to be doing.  After purchasing your home you should treat it as if you just opened it, in case the homeowners did not properly adjust their chemicals before they left.  Please be aware this is only for homes that use chlorine to keep it clean!

Day 1 - Afternoon
  • Put in the required amount of PH into your pool, & than wait 2 hours.  The bag will tell you how much to use for what size pool.
  • Add in your Alkalinity (This is the chemical that adjusts your PH)
Day 1 - Evening
  • Shock your pool either by spreading the shock around the pool or simply pouring into where the skimmer circulates the water, and allow the filer to run overnight
Day 2 - Morning
  • Check your chlorine & PH levels of the pool, begin using your chlorine tabs in the pool if you levels are ok.  The local pool store will have safe canisters that will float in the water keeping the tablets away from children/pets. 
PH Level Should Be 7.2 - 7.6
Chlorine Level Should Be 1.5

When shocking your pool the chlorine level can be higher then 3, you should shock your pool in the evening so by the next day the levels have returned to normal before you go and take a dip.  It is not considered harmful but my personal opinion is do not go in your pool if any of the levels are extremely high or extremely low just to be on the safe side.  You should shock your pool at the beginning of the season, after you have a had a large amount of people swimming, or if you see it getting cloudy or green. 

The amount of work that goes into upkeeping a pool is sometimes overwhelming so I want to take the time to do another punch-list of the general care you need to be ready for while owning your pool !
  • Checking your chemical levels daily
  • Running your filter (setting up a timer makes this much easier)
  • Weekly vacuuming (you can also get a auto-vacuum for about $250)
  • Spring Opening & Closings
  • If your filter has a cartridge system you will want to rinse and dry this out every 2 weeks or so

Please keep in mind I am writing this as a pool owner, and a real estate agent.  Every town is different along with there town codes, so you or your agent should be sure to check out the local guidelines.


  1. That is such a beautiful home with an amazing pool.

  2. Thanks for sharing, Kristin! I think would-be homeowners should bear these advices in mind when they scout for a house that comes with a pool. And I definitely agree that future homeowners should make it a point to know exactly the age of the pool. With this, you will know if there are some parts that need replacement.