What’s the Perfect Swimming Pool Temperature for Comfort and Safety?

The two things that need to coincide when you want to take a dip are the weather and your mood. The latter cannot be manipulated. It’s the mood that makes you want to enter a swimming pool.

But the weather – yes that can be managed. Whether it is freezing cold or piping hot outside, the temperature of the pool can be tinkered with so that you get the result you want.

That’s why keeping your pool at the best temperature is important. And, of course, it is crucial to maintain the health of your pool.

swim pool temperature

The Importance of Pool Temperature

The temperature at which you maintain your swimming pool, no matter the size, is important in managing the water chemistry levels. You can manage it with chlorine and sanitizers but bacteria and algae love to make a home out of any place that has warm water. The warmer you keep the pool, the better it is for them.

Consider this. If your pool is about 85 degrees Fahrenheit, bacteria and algae get so comfortable that they start reproducing. But the solution is not to keep it cool all the time. This messes with the water chemistry in your pool because there’s only so much chlorine can do. This even messes up the pH levels in the pool.

If the water temperature is too high it can mess with the balance of your pool water – it can reduce the effectiveness of your pool stabilizer (cyanuric acid).

Reducing the temperature will help decrease the rate at which bacteria and algae multiply but it won’t help you get rid of them. What you need to do is shock the pool once in a while so that you can keep it hot and not worry about contaminated water.

Algae growth can lead to green pool water – find out how to fix it in this guide!

About the Ideal Pool Temperature

When it comes to water temperature, everyone has their own personal preference. But, if we look at categories of people, we find that senior citizens and children like the water to be a bit warm. Competitive swimmers like it to be cool.

Experts agree that setting the thermostat of your pool to a temperature range of 83 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit works for most swimmers. However, some others suggest that 78 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit is a comfortable middle ground.

This depends on the weather of the region you live in. The World Health Organization says that the best range is 78 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. So, that answers the question of what keeps the bacteria and algae at bay.

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Too Hot or Too Cold

A lot of people believe that a swimming pool must be kept at a temperature that is comfortable for the swimmers, irrespective of the ideal range. This section is for them. Here’s why you should discard that theory.

If you have senior citizens with arthritis, you will find that they prefer higher temperatures because it eases joint pain. This is because warm water helps with blood circulation and makes the muscles a little loose.

This leads to easier movement underwater. This is something swim coaches do when they are taking an aerobics session. To facilitate that, you can take the temperature up to 90 to 92 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you have beginners in the pool, the US Water Fitness Association recommends that you keep the temperature at 84 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Remember that a pool should never be over 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

When a pool is too warm, your blood pressure may drop and lead to dizziness. You may even lose consciousness. And depending on the intensity of the workout, you want the temperature lowered.

That’s why competitive swimmers like cooler pools because they are already doing all the work. In fact, that is why hot tubs are meant to be under 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

On the flip side, swimming in pools that are below 70 degrees Fahrenheit increases your heart rate and blood pressure. This is a risk for people with heart conditions and it only increases if the pool temperature drops to below 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

This is the reason regulatory bodies have mandated that competitors wear wetsuits in open water competitions. If you go under 50 degrees Fahrenheit, you will experience breathing problems and sometimes even a cold shock. If you go under 40 degrees Fahrenheit, you will feel your skin burn.

At such low temperatures, swimmers will get muscle spasms. The wetsuit retains the warmth in their body. There has been a lot of talk about the health benefits of swimming in cold water. But you must not go under the recommended values.

Competitive swimmers can tamper with those temperatures but only under the supervision of a professional coach.

How to Measure and Control Pool Temperature

There are many devices in the market that help you keep an eye on your swimming pool’s temperature. Some are powered by solar energy and some have alarms in case the temperature goes out of the set range. But a standard pool heater has a thermostat which simply gives you a steady reading.

Nowadays, many use a pool thermometer along with the heater so that they can compare both the readings for the sake of accuracy. These pool thermometers come in digital, analog and infrared forms.

The digital pool thermometer model typically has a wireless display screen that can be placed away from the unit. Or a simple dip in thermometer with a digital display.

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The analog ones, of course, give a mercury line reading like the good old thermometers used to take your temperature. Some fun designs out there as well!

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The infrared thermometers need you to point to a particular place and the device will measure the temperature there. These are popular and easy to use.

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The best way to control the temperature of your swimming pool is to make sure you get a built-in thermostat. These machines make sure that the pool is at its optimum temperature by shutting off the heaters once the water is there.

But, if you keep them running 24×7, there will be heat (and energy) loss. You should get a pool cover to make sure that doesn’t happen. If you get a solar cover, your heater will get a breather.

You should also make sure that the repair and maintenance of the heater is up to date to make sure the temperature of the pool doesn’t go out of whack bringing the original problem of bacteria and algae.

How Much It Costs and How Efficient Is It?

Avoiding heat loss also helps you conserve energy. Experts say that with a rise in every degree, energy consumption goes up by 10 to 30 percent. You might want to keep that in mind before postponing the repair of an old or inefficient heater. You are not saving any money by making do with such devices.

Parting Words

While we have our preferences, there is such a thing as optimum temperature for the pool. Different experts have different opinions on who likes which range but everyone agrees that keeping the pool between 78 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit is great for the swimmers and the health of the pool.

Energy consumption is another aspect of it. Start at the lower end of the temperature range to make sure your bill is not skyrocketing. Those who have health concerns, like arthritis, should start at the higher end of the optimum temperature and bring it down if required.

In any case, all swimmers must remember that exposing their skin to extreme temperatures for a prolonged period of time is bad for their health too. Keep that in mind the next time you take a dip.

michael keenan author

Author - Michael Keenan

I'm Michael Keenan the owner and creator of the Outdoor Care Guide. I'm a trained horticulturist with over 30 years experience in pool care, plant care and landscape care! Seemed like a good idea to share - I think I can make your life easier and save you some time and money!