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What Temperature Should Your Pool Be?

What Temperature Should Your Pool Be?

We all have had that time (or times) where we take that first step into a swimming pool and it’s absolutely freezing, right? I thought so–and it’s not a pleasant experience by any means!

The reason for that cold water is due to a few different things:

  • The actual outdoor temperature
  • The water temperature which is affected by the outdoor temperature
  • The human body’s reaction to the difference in temperature between the water and the environment

So, the question you’re probably thinking is this: How do you decide what temperature to set your pool at? Well that’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it?

Fortunately, we live in the Midwest where the climate changes by the day and as pool experts, we’ve had our fair share of experiences with trying to figure out where a pool’s temperature should live regardless of the climate.

We want to relay this information to you so you can use it in the future when you deal with the aforementioned situation. You can never have too much knowledge and we take it upon ourselves to provide it to you.

What is the Ideal Pool Temperature?

Regardless of the climate you live in, there’s a recommended temperature range for the pool water by most pool manufacturers, installers, and health experts. That recommended range is anywhere between 78 degrees Fahrenheit and 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

This range is adequate for most climates and individuals who use the pool for gentle use and relaxation. However, if you plan on using your pool in other ways or fall into an at-risk group of people, the temperature range can differ.


The recommended pool temperature by the Red Cross for children is at least 84 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature will keep their bodies comfortable, muscles loose, and help prevent any breathing issues that can arise from cold water that provides a shock value.


With each year of age, the human body becomes more sensitive to extreme heat, cold, and temperature changes. Not only can the climate supply changes like this, but swimming pools can as well.

Seniors over the age of 60 can experience negative health effects from pools that are too hot or too cold. Therefore, if you are a senior or have seniors in your life who may use your pool regularly, the water temperature should be somewhere between 86 degrees and 88 degrees Fahrenheit.

Warmer water can allow seniors to move and function adequately in a pool, especially those with arthritis, who can function well in a pool with a range of 86 degrees to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Water that exceeds these ranges can be uncomfortable for seniors and negatively affect their ability to function, as we said earlier. So, be aware of this when allowing seniors into your pool.

How to Change Your Pool’s Temperature

Now that you know what the proper temperature ranges are for different groups of people, the next step is actually changing the temperature.

Electric Pool Heater

If you anticipate having to change the water temperature of your pool to accommodate other people, an electric pool heater may be something to look into. You can program your heater to run at a specific time for a specific duration, or turn it on manually if needed.


These are fairly expensive products that can cost a few thousand dollars, but may be worth the investment depending on your situation.

Solar Pool Heater

Other methods of heating are available such as a solar pool heater which uses sunlight to power it instead of electricity. This could be a possible option for you if you’re looking to save money on electricity.

Natural Sunlight

Some may include just natural sunlight as a method of heating a pool, but you’ll obviously have no way of controlling the temperature. Using natural sunlight leaves everything to chance and will cause the temperature to fluctuate constantly, meaning it most likely will not stay at a desired temperature for an extended amount of time.

This is something that we don’t recommend if you are serious about being able to control your pool’s temperature, but the final decision is dependent on your situation and what you can afford to include in your pool package.

How to Conserve Energy and Money When Controlling a Pool’s Temperature

Changing the temperature of a swimming pool frequently can rack up a hefty price tag in a short amount of time. An electric pool heater can require a lot of electricity to increase a pool’s temperature, especially if used multiple times in a day. So, to help conserve energy output and consequently, money from your pocket, there are a few things you can do.

Decrease Pool’s Temperature

If you have a heater but don’t need to use it frequently to accommodate specific individuals, you can conserve energy by purposefully lowering the temperature of the pool by a few degrees.

For each degree increase in a pool’s temperature, you can expect a 10%–30% increase in energy cost. So, think about the energy and money you could save just by lowering your pool’s temperature by a degree or two when you don’t have to accommodate those you are sensitive to hot or cold temperatures.

Turn Off Heater When Not Needed

This probably goes without saying, but one of the best ways to save money and energy output is by turning off your pool heater when it doesn’t need to be running.

Say, for example, you’ll be out of town for a week and your pool won’t be used for several days. You can turn your heater off until you return home–and you might be surprised at how much money you save in just a few days.

Use a Solar Pool Cover

While natural sunlight isn’t the best option for regularly controlling a pool’s temperature, it can be harnessed effectively through the use of a solar pool cover.


You see, if your pool is not going to be used for a few days at a time, you can invest in a solar pool cover that harnesses heat from the sun and transfer it to your pool. Additionally, it reduces water evaporation which causes the pool’s water level to drop and consequently decreases the water temperature. Therefore, the use of a solar pool cover provides a barrier between direct sunlight and pool water, reducing both a loss in water level and water temperature.

Finding the Perfect Temperature

The perfect temperature for your swimming pool all depends on your situation.

Will children be using the pool? Will seniors be using the pool? Will you be using the pool for leisure or something more intense? How often do you need to control your pool’s temperature?

These are all questions you need to ask yourself to find the proper method of controlling your pool and what temperature at which it needs to be set. Our hope is that we’ve given you enough information to answer these questions and ultimately be on your way to finding the best way to control your pool’s temperature according to your situation.

If you have any further questions, be sure to check out our Learning Center where we have an abundance of information to keep you up-to-date on all things inground swimming pools!