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What is the Proper Water Level for My Swimming Pool?

What is the Proper Water Level for My Swimming Pool

One of the most common questions in the pool industry is, “Where should the water level be in a pool?” Still, regularly checking the level is often neglected.

This quick, routine task is much easier than pump maintenance, filter maintenance, or chemical balancing, whether your pool is inground or above-ground. Plus, it is critical to avoid the problems that arise from too high or low levels.

By looking at your pool skimmer, the water level should be easy to evaluate and, if applicable, correct.

Pool Skimmer / Water Level Relationship

Where should the water level be in a pool? Check the water’s relationship to your skimmer hatch. The surface of the water should be halfway up it. Don’t worry if the water only gets one-third of the way up the hatch. If it is outside that range, though, you should take steps so that the filter system can operate correctly.

Why Swimming Pool Water Level Is Essential

As noted by pool service professional Woody McDowell, the correct flow of water through your filtration system is as follows:

  • The skimmer’s basket strains out any big debris.
  • Pool water enters the system via the skimmer.
  • It travels through hoses or pipes to the filter.
  • The water goes through the filtration system.
  • Return jets return the water to the pool.

The primary problem is that the water may be unable to get into the pipes and filtering equipment if the level is incorrect.

Too high

Sometimes the swimming pool water level will get too high when it rains. It’s also common when filling a pool to forget to turn off the hose. An inefficient flow of water through your pump system will result in either of these cases. That will mean more work for you, manually making up for what the filtration system is not doing. While this problem is minor compared to the dangers of a pool with low water, it should be addressed.

(To correct this issue, see “How to lower your swimming pool water level” below.)

Too low

It is a much more serious issue if your swimming pool water level gets too low. If that is the case, no water will be entering the skimmer, which means that:

  • You aren’t getting any filtration.
  • The pump motor and filtration equipment may break down while operating without any water.

The second issue can be avoided temporarily by switching off your filtration system until you have raised the level.

(To correct this issue, see “How to raise your swimming pool water level” below.)

How To Lower Your Swimming Pool Water Level

If your issue is that the level is too high, often, you can simply wait for the excess to evaporate. You can use these four strategies to remove the water faster:


This approach (the least preferable of the methods) is very straightforward but a bit tricky. You need to be able to establish the necessary elevation disparity and get the water flowing through the tube. The process is as follows:

  1. Fill the hose.
  2. Seal it with a nozzle.
  3. Place the hose’s exit end at a lower elevation, so gravity can do its work.
  4. Take off the nozzle.

Submersible pump

You can get a submersible pump. This method proceeds as follows:

  1. Attach the pump to a hose.
  2. Allow it to sink to the pool’s bottom.
  3. Plug it in.
  4. The water pumps out automatically.

Pool pump multiport valve

You can lower water using your permanent pool pump, too, like so:

  1. Make sure the pump is in the OFF position.
  2. Check the waste line for a two-way valve; if there is one, open it.
  3. Change the multiport valve’s position to WASTE.
  4. Turn on the pump.
  5. Once you’re through removal, turn the pump to OFF.
  6. Switch the multiport valve to FILTER.
  7. If applicable, close the two-way valve.

Pump drain

Use the drainage port in place of the multiport valve if you have a cartridge filter, as follows:

  1. Attach a hose to the spigot.
  2. Open the spigot.
  3. Monitor the level as the water flows from the pool.

How To Raise Your Swimming Pool Water Level

In this case, simply add water with a garden hose. Afterward, you will want to rebalance the pool chemistry since increasing the water level decreases chemical concentration.

Getting Answers To Your Pool Questions

After your new pool installation, be sure to discuss the proper water levels for your swimming pool with your pool builder. They’ll be able to provide you the expertise and guidance you need to ensure your pool is properly set up and maintained for years to come.

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