From traditional heat pumps to simple covers to solar-powered pool control systems, plenty of time, effort and money goes into regulating and maintaining pool temperatures. Before investing in gear, however, it pays to know what temperatures swimmers prefer for optimal comfort and safety during pool season -- while preferences may vary per person and certain temperature ranges best suit certain activities, numerous pool-focused advisory boards chime in with recommended general temperature ranges.
As a general rule of thumb, 78 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit serves as a comfortable temperature range for general usage outdoor pools, according to the United States Department of Energy and the American Red Cross. Likewise, the Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group recommends 82-degree water for leisure swimming. The DOE notes that this range also encourages savings in the heating department -- while some people prefer warmer temps, each increase of 1 degree results in 10 to 30 percent more in energy costs, depending on your location.
The United States Water Fitness Association reports that the average ideal water temperature for an indoor pool ranges from 84 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. This recommendation covers what the organization dubs “multi-purpose” pools, or indoor pools used by a variety of age groups for various recreational and exercise purposes. For indoor environments, USA Swimming suggests maintaining air temperature of 78 to 80 degrees.
Perhaps more than any other factor, the activities in your pool determine its ideal temperature -- high-intensity activities call for cooler water while low-intensity activities are best performed in warmer pools. The USWFA recommends cooler temperatures for competitive swimming or aqua aerobics, suggesting a range of 78 to 80 or 78 to 82 degrees, respectively. Warmer temps of 83 degrees or more cater to arthritis relief activities while USA Swimming recommends temperatures of 86 to 96 degrees for those in fibromyalgia-relief programs. A minimum temperature of 78 degrees best suits prenatal activities, but temperatures should not exceed 84 degrees Fahrenheit in this case.
For All Ages
Varying age groups tend to prefer varying ranges of pool temperatures. Preschool-aged children may be more comfortable in water between 88 and 94 degrees Fahrenheit, while adults prefer their water about 3 to 5 degrees cooler, in general. Similar to younger children, elderly swimmers often prefer pool temperatures of 80 degrees or more. The Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group notes, however, that as temperatures rise, your pool's water produces more microorganisms, requiring more stringent cleaning and chemical maintenance.
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