Managing Swimming Pool Temperature for Energy Efficiency

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The water temperature you desire for your swimming pool not only affects the size of the pool's heater, but also your heating costs if use a gas or heat pump pool heater.

Pool water temperatures typically range from 78ºF to 82ºF. The American Red Cross recommends a temperature of 78ºF for competitive swimming. This coincides with good fuel savings. However, this may be too cool for young children and the elderly, who may require a temperature of 80ºF or higher.

The energy consumption for each degree rise in temperature will cost 10%–30% more in energy costs, depending on your location. In warmer climates, this percentage is higher because of the relatively low cost of heating a pool at 78ºF.

On the following pages, see the tables showing the costs of heating pools at different temperatures in different U.S. cities:

Also, turn the temperature down or turn off the heater whenever the pool won't be used for several days. This will save energy and money. It's a myth that it takes more energy to heat a pool back up to a desired temperature than you save by lowering the temperature or turning off the heater.

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Energy Saver 101: Water Heater Infographic

Rebates & Tax Credits

A federal tax credit is available for solar water heaters. The credit is for 30% through 2019, then decreases to 26% for tax year 2020, then to 22% for tax year 2021. It expires December 31, 2021. Learn more and find state and local incentives.

The federal tax credit for other water heaters expired at the end of 2016. If you installed an eligible water heater in 2015 or 2016, file form 5695 with your taxes to claim the credit.