Swimming Pool and Hot Tub Water Temperatures - What Should They Be?

by Pool Builders on 06-19-2011 in Articles

Swimming Pools

Many homeowners who install a new backyard swimming pool (as well as some who've had a pool for a while) frequently ask the question, "How hot or cold should I keep my pool water?"

The answer is: "that depends." It depends upon the how the pool will be used, who will use it, and in which part of the country (or the world) the pool is located. Ultimately, the ideal swimming pool water temperature will vary.

For instance, if the pool is used for competitive purposes or strenuous exercise, the water will normally be set to a lower temperature (e.g., 78 degrees Fahrenheit or lower). Most public swimming pools are operated at a temperature range of from 78 degrees F to 82 degrees F. Pools used for swimming classes, and therapy (including children and the elderly) are usually kept at slightly warmer temperatures (e.g., 83 degrees F to 86 degrees F).

According to some sources, 75 degrees F is good for lap swimming while other sources suggest that 72 degrees F is the most appropriate.

But, what about your pool?

The bottom line is - set the temperature to suit yourself. (Note that if your pool is not heated, the weather will dictate water temperature).

If you have an active family that likes to swim laps, then they will generate more perspiration and release more energy than the family that likes to sit lazily and relax in the water. The first family will benefit from (and probably desire) cooler water temperatures. The second family would most likely prefer warmer pool water temperatures. After all, they would not be generating excess body heat and would be more affected by the water temperature and the surrounding environment. If you are not sure, try a few different water temperatures over a period of time. Remember to pay attention to the weather and ambient air temperature.

You may, however, be interested in how your pool is affected by changing water temperatures. As water temperatures increase:

  • water evaporation rates increase
  • chemical usage increases
  • the water becomes harder to balance
  • calcium is less soluble, therefore calcium deposits increase
  • there is more organic loading due to increased swimmer perspiration
  • chloramine levels increase resulting in "locker room" odors
  • there is increased total dissolved solids resulting in water clarity problems
  • many more water balancing issues

Hot tubs

We all know how good and relaxing it feels to sit in hot water. That's why hot tubs are so popular these day. But what are the correct water temperatures? For hot tubs, the recommended upper temperature limit is 104 degrees Fahrenheit. However, prolonged immersion in hot water can lead to serious health issues like hyperthermia. Other concerns you should know about the effects of hot water:

  • People using medications and women who are pregnant should consult with their doctor prior to using the hot tub.
  • Some medications may cause a person to become drowsy, while others may affect the heart rate or blood pressure.
  • Don't use the hot tub if you are taking tranquilizers, antihistamines or anticoagulants without your doctor's blessing.
  • Young children should be particularly watched when in a hot tub. Their bodies will heat up faster than an adult so the risk of adverse health issues is greater.

Based on the above concerns, it is suggested that you sit in the hot tub for no more than 10 to 15 minutes at a time, after which you should rise out of the water to allow your body temperature to cool.

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