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ideal temperature for a swimming pool

What is The Ideal Temperature For a Commercial Swimming Pool?

Have you ever been home watching Michael Phelps or a diving competition on TV and wondered if the water had to be set at a special temperature? I have, plenty of times too. This is what has led me to today’s article: What is the ideal temperature for commercial swimming pools?

Competitive Swimming Temperature Regulations

Turns out there are rules for water temperature for competitive swimming. Olympic swimming, the Red Cross and FINA (The international governing body of swimming, diving, water polo, synchronized swimming and open water diving), have set the water temperature for competitive swimming between 77° to 82° F (25°-28°C), and 81°F (27°C) for synchronized swimming. Warmer water is less dense and therefore less friction as a swimmers body moves through it. Standard water temperatures ensure that all performances are on a level state of conditions.

This research answered my original question, and then I got to thinking about what would happen if these regulations were not in place and the water was either too hot or cold? What would be the consequences? Let’s explore those topics next.

What Temperature is Too Warm for a Commercial Pool?

Pools with water that is too warm can be harmful to swimmers in a number of ways dehydration, muscle cramps and overheating of the body are just some of the complications athletes can suffer from when the water is too warm.

Water chemistry is another factor that comes into play when the water is too warm it is very problematic to treat warm water with chemicals. Bacteria, algae and other organisms thrive under warm water conditions this is obviously harmful not just for athletes but the general public in a commercial swimming pool, for competitive pools the water should be no higher than 82°F (28°C), for recreational pools the recommended maximum is 84°F (29°C).

What Temperature is Too Cold for a Commercial Pool?

The obvious hazard with cold water is that it shocks the system. But there are more dangerous aspects to it too, when the water is too cold, it can have fatal effects to the swimmers heart, those with heart problems can go into cardiac arrest.

When the pool water is too cold the chemical reactions slow down, chlorine demand slows down, which can create over chlorination issues if the dosage rate is not adjusted. Another issue that may arise is the fact that most Salt Chlorine Generators will not operate if the water temperature is below roughly 60°F (15°C).

Most hotels and resorts keep the temperature of their pools at a comfortable 82° to 85°F (27° to 29°C). This is warm enough for comfortable swimming and lounging. Same for most condominium units institutional and public pools.


There you have it folks, what started as a burning question while watching TV has now turned into an informative article about commercial swimming pool temperatures and next time you are watching the Olympics you will already know what the temperature is in the pool. Also keep in mind that water temperature can easily be controlled and managed with the appropriately sized heat pump, for commercial swimming pool heat pumps AquaCal offers the Great Big Bopper, to read more about this unit please click here

Please feel free to leave any comments or ask any questions you may have. We have reps that specialize only in commercial projects and if you need help they will love to help you out, just drop us a note.

This Post Has 50 Comments

  1. Wow it’s nice to know that somewhere out there, there is someone who wonders about pool temperatures and makes something good out of it. Ahah but all kidding aside, it’s good to know you answered the question I googled.

  2. Hello everyone,
    This Indoor/Outdoor thermometer was easy to setup. I put the outdoor sensor on the north side of the house at about eye level. I compared the reported temperature with another system by a different manufacturer and it tracked within 1 degree (outside) but read 2-3 degrees higher inside. I did find a couple issues though when I set this up in a remote cabin: 1) The inside temperature does not read below 32F, even though the heat had been off for several days with temperatures below 0F. I checked this a couple times and the minimum reading was 32F. A separate thermometer probe showed 17F before I fired up the heater. I know this will not be an issue for most users but wanted to point it out. 2) The description says the OAT tracks the min/max temp for the previous 24hrs. This is not correct, at least on my unit. It appears to be closer to the previous SIX hours. All in all, it is a useful device considering the price point.
    Jar Concory

  3. Hi I was wondering if yyknew any research out there for the right temp for commercial kids pools.

  4. Interesting article about water temperature. Especially notable is your comment that water too cold can be a problem for heart patients. I am struggling over this right now because we are moving to a new community in about 2 weeks. I am a 70 year old long distance swimmer, about 5 miles per week. I am also a heart patient and surprise, I had my heart attack in the swimming pool 26 months ago after swimming 2200 yards, finally got to urgent care, then to the medical center and triple bypass surgery the new day. I have recovered really well but my concern is this new community where the YMCA insists on keeping its lap pool water temperature at 79 degrees. It is really stressful for me, I never warm up, even by the end of 2000 yards or so. I have discussed it with them, they claim it is for competitive swimming, swim team practice etc. In my current community, the YMCA keeps their water temp at 82 – 83 which is perfect for me, and they also have swim teams — HS and YMCA. So, I am perplexed and fearful that I may have to drive a longer distance to the next community — 15 miles away for more accomodating water temperature — 82 degrees. I don’t expect that cold water would seriously be a problem for my heart. IT is fixed by surgery, and I swim a lot of distance. But, the cold is uncomfortable.

  5. We live in an apartment complex in Colorado. It gets chilly at night this time of year – 35 degrees. The management keeps our outdoor pool at 82 degrees. It feels very cold to us. the norm for an outdoor recreational pool in colorado in the winter

  6. We live in an apartment complex in Colorado. It gets chilly at night this time of year – 35 degrees. The management keeps our outdoor pool at 82 degrees. It feels very cold to us. the norm for an outdoor recreational pool

  7. Where do these temperature guidelines (particularly the upper range) come from. You make it sound like they’re not arbitrary, but I’m having trouble finding published guidelines. Can you provide some citations? Thank you.

  8. Ewwww! Anything above 78° feels too much like bath water for me. For my pool, I like between 65° and the afore mentioned 78°. Then again, my core temperature runs hot.
    And I found out from my aunt and uncle that a hot tub is best in the 80’s! You don’t get all sorts of heat-fatigue and the like!;)

  9. Hi,
    I have, also, read all of the replies on the ideal water temp for a public pool … Thank you.
    My question is …
    I live in an association 55 plus, and we are all in your late 55's and 65's / 75's and much more … and obviously we are all in more delicate health condition and many of us with serious health problems, like muscle and joint pains and problems of intolerance to cold water, reduced body temperature and hypothyroidism, arthritis issues, eg …
    We use the pool more like a form of therapy than just leisure.

    The president of the residents association insists on keeping the temperature at 83º … and says this is normal for pools.
    In addition to very cold for most of us, this is not actually the water temperature … but what records the machine …
    The water, in fact, is always colder to us … and I know that because I took the temperature with a thermometer I bought …
    My neighbors are very old and almost never use the pool … The few who use it, do not want litigations … so when they feel the water too cold they just go away …… Or enter the cold water and they are complaining about to each other.
    What can I do?
    I need the pool to ease my health problems, but have not used the pool because of the cold water.
    So… I ask … the water temperature pools of association with this condition – "55 plus" and with few users, could not have temperature of 86 for example ???
    Do you know is has any default rules that may I use to help to convince the club house about our complaint ?
    Thank you…

  10. I have read all of the replies on the ideal water temp for a public pool. My question is……..would 2 degrees make much of a difference in the comfort I feel in the water? I've been swimming for months in an indoor swimming pool at the local leisure centre where the water temp is kept at 84 to 85 degrees. Now I live in a complex that has its very own indoor pool but I find it too cold to stay in long enough to do my usual swimming routine of 1 hour. I've been told by the management company that the pool temp in my complex is 84 degrees, which is the norm. I bought a thermometer from a pool supply store and discovered the temp is actually 82 degrees. Would that make that much of a difference??

    1. Good morning,

      Commercial swimming pools are usually kept between 77° to 82° F (25°-28°C), of course personal preferences vary and a two degree change can make a big difference to some. Other conditions, such as ambient temperature, can also affect the personal feel of the pool water and it would make a 2 degree difference greatly felt.

  11. Hi I teach swimming in a a school pool, no heating no pool cover, what pool temperature do you feel I should set as my swimming season start date. I believe if I set a realistic pool temperature I may be able to push the school to work on funding heating and a pool cover

    1. Good morning Russ-

      Water temperatures for commercial pools vary and as you can imagine, because there are different people going into the pool everyone would have a different opinion. According to the different organizations that regulate commercial swimming pools 77° to 82° F (25°-28°C) seems to be the norm. Where are you located? That will also play a major role when it comes to choosing the correct temperature for your pool!

  12. Hi I happen to be a disabled person who as very poor cerculation. I have been swimming twice and the water as been really cold which as meant I have had to get out because it's just been to cold. When I told the manager well it's at the right temperature there's nothing I can do. What would your advice be to do next.

    1. Find out what the exact temperature of the pool is either by you're means or ask him to do it and if it's really cold I'm sure you'll convince him or just go to higher person on totem pole

    2. Good morning Kay-

      Unfortunately with community pools it is harder to get the temperature to one that would be ideal for all. We agree with Mike, speaking to the manager of your unit and explaining your situation might be the best way to go. Also, depending on where you are located there might be regulations that rule the temperature of the pool.

      We hope this helps.

    1. Good morning Kim-

      The temperature of your swimming pool water is completely a personal preference unless you are having problems with your unit not keeping the set temperature? Please let us know if that is the case and we would be happy to help you 🙂

    1. In all pools readings should be at multipole locations and averaged. I would reccomend taking at least 6-10 temps 2x a day. if your pool is greater than 100,000 gallons i would suggest to err oh higher end. pleas try to take temps away from water coming into the pool and away from walls as best you can. i would also post the temp daily and hold your pool operators accountable. every pool should have a range agreed to by a governing board or committee with input from some customers. i would suggest a temperature between 79-84 degrees, with a competitive swiming pool being lower end. I ran a pool for 20 years and can tell you that higher temps increase cost, are more problematic for individuals with copd, asthma, ms and md. there is no evidense to support higher temperatures are advantageous to individuals with arthrhitis and or disabilities. i would say 84 degrees would be a temp that everyone can live with and most pool guidelines would support that assertion. one major point, if people think the temp is too low, ask them and demand that they have showered…if they have not then theres your answer.

  13. I live in a senior condo complex in Phoenix, AZ. We have a lot of winter owners coming from back East that do a lot of swimming in our great pool. In the past, it has been heated to a temp of 92 F year around. Lately a new Board of Directors has been elected and the pool temp was dropped to 85 F. The Snowbirds are just about to revolt. Please pass along your take on this matter. If 92 F costs $100 a month, how much would be saved at, in dollars, 85 F. I realize this is only your opinion. Thanking you in advance.

    1. Hello Royce,

      To get an idea of operating cost differences for 85 and 92 degree water, we’d simply run 2 audits through the cost estimator program on our website to get the monthly and annual breakdowns. We would need to know the size of the pool, average depth, if a liquid blanket or pool blanket is used, number of units, the model(s) used and kilowatt per hour rate in order to run the audit. We use the state electricity profiles provided by the U.S. Energy Information Administration to determine the cost per kilowatt hour. Arizona is showing .10 cents per kilowatt hr. Sometimes people will adjust the cost to reflect their area if they feel the number is not accurate. It’s not uncommon for pools to be heated to the low 90’s and if people are used to that temperature, a 7 degree drop would feel cool.

      If you would like to try and run this audit yourself, just follow this link: or if you would like to provide us with your email address, we would be happy to have someone contact you and guide you through it. We hope this helps, please feel free to leave any other comments or questions you may have! If you have any other questions please let us know.

  14. Aloha, I run an outdoor Public recreation pool for the county on the big island of hawaii. My pool temperature has dropped to a bone chilling 63 degrees. I'm thinking I should lower my chorine levels from 2.0 to 1.5 on my pool link controler. Are there any dangers for swimmers in 63 degree water, I should be aware of, besides hypothermia? Mahalo. (Thanks)

    1. Aloha,
      Water temps below 70 can cause hypothermia. 63 degree water is cold and could shock someone if they are expecting to dive into an 80 degree heated pool. Cramping, chattering teeth, shaking and blue lips may also occur in 63 degree water and the dangers would depend on someone’s age, health, level of fitness and length of exposure. Keeping the pool heated to a moderate 80 degrees would eliminate these problems.

      If you are interested in heating the pool please ask us any questions you may have.


  15. I go to the pool at fitness evolution for water aerobic. They are keeping the temp between 80-81 and are saying they need to keep it there because of bacterial buildup. So I was just wondering about this. I know the master swim team likes it cooler but we would like it just a little warmer say 82 the 80 temp really bothered my arthritis. it's kind of cold for us. I should say we are all in our late 50's and 60's. Are they just saying this because they are trying to keep cost down for chemicals?

    1. Good morning-

      The warmer the water the better the breeding ground for bacteria. That being said, the difference between 80 and 82 degrees will not enhance bacteria proliferation to any degree. There would be some additional chemical cost, but, depending on the pool size and the environment, the cost of heating an extra 2 degrees may cost as much as an additional 5 to 10% annually.

      We hope this helps answer your question, please feel free to reach out to us if we can be of further help.

  16. Hi. I frequent a YMCA managed indoor pool and the temp is always 30* or 31* In the last 8-10 weeks I have contracted severe head cold which lays me up for a couple of days. I do up to 4 Km and after getting out my head is really hot? Regards Lyn

  17. Hi the pool me and my friend go to in Newquay is very cold and we have cramps every time we go, we have told the hotel how cold is and was told the heat had been turn up, and it`s still cold what Temperature should it be and how can i test it before i go in , i am 61 and there are young ones in there to .

  18. Are there any regulations that say an outdoor commercial swimming pool cannot maintain 90 or 91 degrees? We have been told that bacteria grows at above 83 degrees and hotter temperatures are dangerous.

    1. Good morning Stephen- The problem with having commercial pools be at a 90 or 91 degree is that it can be harmful to the swimmer: dehydration, muscle cramps and overheating of the body just to mention some of the symptoms that can occur

      Please feel free to contact us should you have any other questions.

      1. The 56 foot pool in my apartment building is usually 81 or 82 degrees. Yesterday it was 86 and too warm to do my swim. Today it is 88 and the water is cloudy. The lifeguard said she had put cold water in it.
        It is too warm to do my mile swim. Any suggestions?

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