Keeping Your Swimming Pool Water on the Level

Published on 25 August 2020

Category : Maintenance

Maintaining the proper water level in your swimming pool is crucial for your pool to function correctly, regardless of whether you’re tending to an inground pool, above-ground pool, or spa.

It’s not complicated, but it can be an overlooked element in pool maintenance that could turn your backyard oasis into a barren desert. Not every pool owner knows just how important it is to maintain the proper water level – or what that proper level even is. 

Water Level Is Too High 

Wasting water aside, if the level of your pool water is too high, your skimmer won’t work as efficiently. And if your skimmer basket isn’t catching debris, it’ll end up creating more maintenance work for you. Instead of spending your time swimming, you’ll be the one skimming. 

But here’s the good news. Even in the case of heavy rains, you usually don’t need to worry about siphoning out any of the water. In most cases, water that is a little on the high side one day will even out to a proper level by the next day. A good vacuuming or backwashing procedure can also speed along the process if necessary. 

Storm Prep and Your Pool: Is severe weather in your forecast? Prepare your backyard swimming pool for a torrential downpour or hurricane by focusing on the areas around the pool. Make your deck or patio as safe as possible: Move patio furniture and other heavy objects indoors to prevent them from becoming projectiles. Disconnect electrical equipment to avoid shock hazards. Give your pool a preemptive shock treatment to safeguard the water against contamination. And most importantly, don’t drain your pool to prepare for a storm – the structure was designed to hold water and is most structurally sound with water in it.

Water Level Is Too Low 

If the water level in your swimming pool is too low, the skimmer can bottom out. Instead of sucking in water to clean, it starts sucking air into your filter system. That puts a strain on the pool pump and risks burning out the motor – a costly problem, for sure. 

Fortunately, this is pretty easy to avoid. Keep an eye on the water level of your swimming pool, in relation to your skimmer. Or for extra protection, invest in an automatic swimming pool water leveling device. You can find these devices from your local pool retailer in a range of price points. Most models attach to a garden hose or other water source. They detect when your water level gets critically low and automatically fill your pool until the water is back up to the proper level. 

And keep in mind that water levels matter for your hot tub, too. If your water level drops in your hot tub, you’re at risk for burning out the motor and damaging the plumbing system. 

About Your Skimmer: The skimmer is an important element in your pool’s health. provides a pathway for water to flow to the filter for cleaning. Water enters the skimmer and moves through the hose to the filter, then back out through return jets into the pool. The skimmer basket blocks larger debris from re-entering your pool. 

Water Level Is Just Right 

So, just what IS the proper water level for your swimming pool?  

The water level in both in-ground and above-ground pools should be at the midpoint of your pool skimmer to keep the skimmer functioning at maximum efficiency. 

Pro tip: Use your tile as a gauge. If you’re unsure about your pool water level, your waterline tile (at the top border of your pool wall) can serve as a quick visual guide. In general, the water in your swimming pool should reach about halfway up the tile. 

Remember, your pool’s water level can fluctuate daily, due to a number of normal causes: 

  • Mother nature: Natural evaporation lowers your water level, while heavy storms raise your water level.
  • Regular use: High swimmer volume and running your pool pump will push water out of your pool. 
  • Routine maintenance: Vacuuming and backwashing your pool lower your water levels. 

To maintain your just-right level, it’s a good idea to check your swimming pool water level once a day and add water as needed. If you find that these fluctuations are just too much to keep track of, reach out to your local pool retailer for their help to keep your pool water where it belongs so you can keep enjoying your swim. 

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