When it comes to swimming, we all want the pool temperature to be comfortable. That is the whole reason most pool owners have a pool heater to warm the water. When the outside temperatures are high, the swimming pool needs to be a body coolant. So what’s the best pool temperature?
Ideally, the best pool temperature ranges from 72°F (22°C) to 86°F (30°C) depending on your swimming purpose and the weather around the swimming pool. If you want to enjoy your swimming pool without risking your health, these are the temperatures to watch for. If you go below this range, you risk improper breathing, shock, or even death.
Don’t go away yet. As you can see above, the best pool temperature is a range. There is more to this that I’ll discuss in this post. Read along!
What Pool Temperature Should You Consider The Best?
The best pool temperature is a highly debatable subject. The best swimming pool temperatures depend on the swimming activity. You need to note that there are health concerns in both freezing and too hot swimming pool temperatures. Experts recommend that every person approach pool water with caution.
According to World Health Organization, the best, comfortable and safe pool temperature ranges from 78°F to 86°F for moderate physical activities. That means, if you change the activity intensity, pool temperature changes too.
The official water pool temperature required for the Olympic swimming competition ranges from 77°F and 82°F (25°C-28°C).
United States Water Fitness Association recommends pool temperature to be between 84°F and 86°F for an average multi-purpose pool in the USA.
United States Water Fitness Association Swimming Pool Temperatures Suggestions
The range can be confusing especially considering it’s all dependent on the type of pool activity involved.
The best way to decide the most comfortable pool temperature for your swimming pool is to break it down depending on the purpose of your swim.
It’s also likely not everyone will be pleased by your pool temperature, even if it’s in the appropriate ranges.
If you are swimming in a warmer swimming pool, it’d be best to drink a lot of water and swim for shorter sessions. It’d also be best to have a lifeguard present to help if an emergency was to occur.
If you love exercising in a cooler swimming pool but you’re bothered by the low temperatures, and there’s no way you can increase it, wear earplugs and a silicon cap to reduce heat loss. You can also try thermal swimwear.
If your swimming activity is moderately rigorous, but you still feel cold, you could have a hormonal issue or an extraneous central nervous system.
Why Is It Necessary to Know Ideal Pool Temperature?
Now you know the best pool temperature your swimming pool should be before you can dive in for a swim. What are the consequences of jumping into pool water without knowing the pool temperature?
Risks of Swimming in Too-Hot or Too-Cold Pool Temperature
Swimming in the appropriate pool temperature range can help prevent muscle cramps, overheating, and dehydration, heat exhaustion, drowning, heart failure and stroke, cold shock, and other health concerns.
Warmer Pool Temperature Risks
Swimming in hot water can cause rapid blood pressure decrease, leading to loss of consciousness or dizziness.
And that’s why it’s always recommended to keep hot tub temperature below 104°F and why swimming competition authorities give different temperature guidelines.
If you want to engage in strenuous water activity like aerobics, it would be crucial to keep the water temperatures less warm.
According to United States Water Fitness Association, high aerobic activities in warmer temperatures can be dangerous.
Another thing, warmer temperatures can increase your dehydration rate. You don’t have to be in an overheated pool to get highly dehydrated; it could be 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
That’s why health experts recommend drinking a lot of water and have shorter swimming sessions when in warmer waters.
You could also suffer heat exhaustion and muscle cramps. Take caution by ensuring you’re swimming at the right pool temperature.
Besides all the above, algae enjoy a warm habitat. Warm pool temperatures favor algae growth. They grow pretty fast; they almost triple their expected growth rate in high temperatures. They can do quite well in temperatures above 80°F.
Knowing the pool temperature and keeping it low can help prevent these nasty pool contaminants from growing.
Colder Pool Temperature Risks
Pool temperature below 72°F is considered too cold. Coldwater can kill a person in less than a minute. According to National Center for Cold Water Safety, controlling your breathing in cold pool temperature becomes more difficult as the water temperatures fall below 70°F (21°C).
If you jump into a cold swimming pool, your skin is the first thing to contact cold water. Immediately it sends a signal to the brain, and you start experiencing cold shock that can lead to loss of breathing control. If you fail to coordinate your breathing, you might drown.
With blood vessels constricting in response to a sudden skin cooling, immersing in a cold pool can cause massive and instantaneous blood pressure and heart rate increase. And if you’re a vulnerable individual, it could lead to heart failure or even stroke.
The cold shock might be over quickly, but the breathing problem might persist for a more extended period while you swim. As you continue to swim, the threat might even shift to physical incapacitation. It can lead to loss of control of your hands for minutes. What follows is drowning.
Besides this, it can take you at least 30 minutes to become hypothermic if you tried swimming in freezing pool temperature.
How to Measure Pool Temperature
What do you use to heat your pool? A swimming pool heater, solar cover, or leave it to be? If you use the modern swimming pool heater, it has a built-in thermostat designed to constantly monitor the pool temperature and turn off the heater when your set pool water temperature is reached.
If you don’t have a pool heater and want to know how cold or hot your pool temperature is, you can use a pool thermometer. You can use either of these three options:
- Digital floating pool thermometer: it comes with a digital display built on the unit, or it can have a wireless display that you can place somewhere convenient.
- Analog floating pool thermometer: Probably the hardest to use as it delivers the reading with a mercury line. It works similarly to those old analog thermometers used in high school labs in the old days.
- Infrared pool thermometer: If you want instant pool temperature, this is it. It gives you the reading whenever you point the device to the pool water.
How to Control Pool Temperature
Now you know the best pool temperature to swim in, but what can you do to keep it at your most comfortable level. Here I have a couple of ways you can heat or cool down your swimming pool to not only make it comfortable to you but also make it safe for any swimmer that might use it.
Raising the Pool Temperature
When the pool water temperature is below 72°F, you will want to raise it a bit to make it safe for everyone and comfortable for you. What’s the best way to do it?
Use a pool heater with a thermostat
An electric pool heater is the first thing most pool owners with an open budget run for when they need to heat their swimming pool.
However, not all pool heaters can control how they heat your pool water. Remember, you need a model that can heat the water and prevent the water from becoming too hot.
The best electric pool heater to buy is a model that comes with a built-in thermostat. The thermostat will help monitor the water temperature and shut off the unit once the water gets to your comfortable temperature.
It might also have a mechanism to start the pool heater because the pool waterfalls below a specific temperature, depending on the model.
Use a Pool Heater Pump
Since the goal might be to raise the pool temperature and keep energy bills low, it could be better to use a pool heater pump.
A pool heater pump might cost you more upfront than a pool heater, but it can save you on energy bills.
It works by transferring energy from the hot air around the swimming pool to the pool water. However, it takes longer to raise the pool temperature.
Use a solar heater panel
If you’re worried about your electric bill skyrocketing when you use electric heaters, you can use a solar heater that uses solar panels and tube-web-tube design to heat the water.
It can save you time and hassle since it’s easy to install. And once installed, you neither need to maintain it nor will you need to pay extra bills because of it. However, it might take a long to heat the water.
Use a solar cover
The next option is to cover your swimming pool with a solar cover. There are three options here:
Solar Blanket: It’s the most effective as it covers the whole swimming pool ensuring every solar energy that enters the swimming pool remains there to raise the pool temperature. It’s also the most tedious and costlier.
Solar Rings: they are available as round rings of bubbled covers. They are used to trap some solar rays in a swimming pool to help heat it. Because they leave some spaces, they are not as effective as the solar blanket.
Liquid Solar Blanket: it comes as a liquid cover that you apply to your swimming pool. It’s made using a lightweight solution that floats on water and spread all over the pool. It does the same job of trapping solar energy in the swimming pool to raise the pool temperature. It’s the easiest to use but also the least effective, especially during a windy day. Read more about liquid solar blankets here.
The benefit of using solar cover is, all the options available can also help preserve your pool water by reducing evaporation.
Lowering the Pool Temperature
It might come as a surprise, but there is a time you will want to swim in a cold swimming pool, but not below 72°F.
If you live in an area that experiences scorching summers, then your pool water might stay warm unless you do something to cool it down.
You might be surprised by the fact that pool ice is a common product used in cooling pools. The fact is, you can get a ton of pool ice at a fair price. It’s the most used method for fastening pool cooling.
If you add bulk of pool ice to your swimming pool, it can help lower the pool temperature quickly. The pool water warmth will meld down the ice, thus cooling it down.
According to an online how-much-ice-to-cool-water calculator, you need 2,187.5 pounds of ice to cool down a 10,000-gallon pool by 5 degrees.
Install a Pool Features
If your swimming pool temperature is too high, installing a pool fountain can help reduce it to a desirable range.
When the water is splashed through the cold air, heat is radiated away, thus lowering the water droplet temperature.
If that is repeated, your pool temperature will reduce too. And the best part is, you will also be improving your pool’s aesthetics.
Reverse Cycle Pool Heat Pump
Check to see if you’re using a reversible pool heat pump, a model that can change the heating to cooling automatically if the water becomes hot.
It tends to consume a lot of electricity, so don’t be alarmed if your energy bills are more than last month’s.
Partial Drain and Refill
If the temperatures are too high or you need the swimming pool ready faster, draining your swimming pool partially and refilling it with cold water can help.
However, you’ll want to make sure you’re using clean water. You will also need to test the pool water after refilling and balance the chemicals if out of the optimal ranges.
I have an entire post on cooling down a swimming pool; you can read it.
What are the Benefits of Controlled Pool Temperatures?
Besides protecting yourself and swimmers’ health, keeping the pool temperature with the discussed range can also help protect the swimming pool itself. Here are the benefits of controlling the pool temperature.
Keeps the Swimmers Comfortable
You will want to control the pool temperature to make the swimming pool swimmable to all, including the elderly and kids.
Chilly or too warm water isn’t ideal for anyone. Not everyone will love to swim in a cold pool, and not everyone will want to swim in a warm swimming pool.
Ensuring the swimming pool temperature is comfortable can be an inviting factor. If the outside temperatures are warm, the swimming pool can be a coolant. You can keep it slightly above 75°F.
If the outside temperatures are cold, the water will be even colder. Try setting your thermostat to anything between 78°F and 82°F; most swimmers are comfortable within this range.
Helps Control Algae and Bacteria
As I mentioned somewhere, algae love warmer temperatures. When you raise the pool temperature, you’re also inviting the algae and bacteria.
Typically, you’d control them with chlorine or other pool sanitizers and filtrating the water. But when the swimming pool stays warmer for longer, the algae growth triples. It’s a matter of time before they get out of hand.
The low temperature won’t get rid of the algae and bacteria, but it can prevent algae blooms from growing and multiplying.
When you raise the temperatures to make the swimming pool comfortable for your guests, it’d be best to shock it as often as you can to kills these intruders. Afterward, try to lower the pool temperatures down.
How can you save energy and money when heating your pool?
If you don’t have any kids or the elderly to worry about, you can lower the temperature by one degree to save yourself 10%-30% in energy costs. You can also use a solar cover during the day. It will help capture the sunlight and use it to heat the water. The third option is to cover your swimming pool during the night. It does help preserve the pool temperature.
What is the ideal pool temperature for arthritis?
According to health experts, the recommended pool water temperature range is between 77°F and 82°F. At these temperatures, the water can give them much-needed therapeutic benefits. It’s also an ideal pool temperature range for lightly intense exercises for arthritis patients.
Balanced Pool Temperature – You Control
Everyone has an opinion of the best pool temperature. Others even argue they can swimming in freezing waters, which could be magical if they don’t get sick or die. But what I can recommend as the best pool temperature, after all the research I’ve done, is anything between 74°F and 86°F. The specific reading will depend on the water activity involved, preference, and the weather around the swimming pool.
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