What is the ideal pool temperature? The answer is best explored in context. Let’s look at why your swimming pool temperature is important. There are four basic reasons. One of them is obvious, and the other three less so.
4 Reasons Pool Temperature Is Important & Ideal Ranges For Different Situations
Let’s explore the reasons you want to carefully watch pool temperature, along with how the best swimming pool temperature differs based on user age and activity level.
1. The right temperature feels good.
The obvious reason people care about the water temperature for swimming pools is comfort. If the pool is icy cold, it will feel awful. The same is true if it is so hot it feels like a spa. What is a comfortable temperature for a swimming pool? Generally, keep it from 78 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Chemistry and maintenance concerns will convince many pool owners to stay within that range (see #3) too.
Water in that range is the best pool temperature in many cases – but there are key exceptions. The healthy, safe range for pool water extends to warmer temperatures. A warmer pool temperature is necessary when kids or senior citizens are using the pool (see #2).
2. The ideal pool temperature is healthier.
Strictly in terms of health, the World Health Organization (via US Masters Swimming) advises a pool temperature between 78 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Whether you are in open water or a pool, be careful with extremely hot or cold water. Plus, the safe level for water temperature for swimming pools differs based on activity level, as noted above.
Potential dangers of a hot swimming pool temperature, especially when exercising vigorously, include dizziness and loss of consciousness. Those physical responses result from blood pressure dropping precipitously. Even your swim spa should never be raised over 104 degrees Fahrenheit due to this concern. It is particularly critical to be certain the pool temperature is not too hot if you are swimming or performing other intense aerobics, per the US Water Fitness Association.
A cold pool temperature is problematic, too. Your blood pressure and heart rate rise when the water drops down into the 60s, exposing you to the risk of a heart attack. The threat of cardiac arrest becomes more pronounced if the water falls below 64 degrees. Rheumatologist Stephen Soloway notes that wetsuits are necessary for temperatures under 70 degrees, not just for heart health but to prevent muscle spams.
Again, seniors and kids deserve special attention related to temperature, as do those with arthritis:
- Senior citizens & people with arthritis — Are you a senior citizen, or do grandparents often use your pool? Be careful about water that is too warm or cool with seniors since our vulnerability to temperature fluctuations rises with age. An ideal temperature for seniors is 84 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit if they are using the pool for relaxation. The lower end of that range is generally fine for those with arthritis, regardless of age. The higher-end works best for anyone with arthritic functional limitations.
- Kids — If you are going to use the pool for swimming lessons (and the American Academy of Pediatrics advises lessons for children four and up), you want relatively warm water too. Kids should take lessons in water that is 84 degrees Fahrenheit minimum, per the Red Cross.
3. The ideal water temperature is better for your pool.
Your pool chemistry is negatively impacted by temperatures that are too warm. If your pool gets up into the high 80s, expect bacteria and algae spores to proliferate. In turn, the chlorine in the pool will be expended as it targets these unwanted invaders. Your chemistry will become imbalanced, so balancing pH levels will need to occur more often.
While a warmer pool temperature is healthiest for those who are especially old or young, contaminants will reproduce exponentially in the high 80s. Growth of algae and bacteria can be contained much more easily in the 78 to 82 range discussed above.
What can you do if you need the pool warmed for swimming lessons or senior leisure? You will need to be more aggressive toward bacteria and algae, shocking the pool more frequently.
4. The best pool temperature controls costs.
Your maintenance costs for chemicals rise with those warmer temperatures that are advised for swimming lessons and grandparents. Again, only raise the temperature into the high 80s if you must, since a less-toasty pool reduces your chemical costs. If seniors visit infrequently, ask them to use the hot tub rather than the pool, so you do not need to spend extra on utilities and chemicals.