How To Change A Pool Light ?Today’s subject is the always illuminating topic of pool lighting.
Pools have three main genres of lighting, standard incandescent, LED, and fiber optic.
Let’s focus on the basics of each, then we’ll figure out which is the best for you and your pool.
First up is the incandescent.
Incandescent fixtures are lit by a filament or a halogen bulb comparable to outdoor flood lamps except larger, more powerful,
and of course, underwater.
These lights make poolscapes sparkle with an appealing soft white glow shown by bulbs ranging from 300 to 400 and 500 watts.
If you are looking for a crisp, clean glean to your pool, these lights will do wonders.
The incandescent’s major advantage is its low upfront cost.
For example, the Pentair Maryla and Hayward Astral light fixtures are much cheaper than their LED counterparts.
While a lower upfront cost is nice, the downside is that they cost more to operate and require more maintenance like replacing bulbs.
In engineering, your design is only as strong as its weakest part.
For these fixtures, it’s the bulb.
Filament bulbs have a relatively short lifespan, sometimes as low as 2,000 hours.
So every time a bulb blows, you have to pull that light on deck, change the bulb and replace the lens gasket.
Over the lifetime of a fixture, the maintenance could cost a couple of a hundred dollars just before labor.
The incandescent lights are only available in white.
Some fixtures offer various color lenses to spice up your pool, but these lenses can be a pain to pop on and off.
If you want to color, our next light option is probably the best for you.
LED lights have a great combination of energy efficiency, longevity, and dazzling colors in one little package.
When compared to the standard incandescent 500 watt light, the 5G light consumes a little more than a tenth of the power.
LEDS are built to last.
Their bulbs or modules are generally rated for 30,000 or more operational hours.
There’s a good chance pool owners won’t spend 30,000 hours in a pool in their lifetime, let alone while it’s lit.
So, you should get very long use of these lights.
But the real reason to get one of these bad boys is the light shows that change your pool from bleh to party.
Those samba lessons are really paying off for you.
I knew they’d be worth it.
Yes, those hips don’t lie.
Various LED models have fun named light shows like California sunset, northern lights, patriot dream, and supernova, the fa2
or flash colors all throughout the spectrum.
Now, it is not all fun in the world of LED.
The LED light fixtures cost about twice as much as an incandescent light.
And if you go with an LED bulb, it will run as much as a complete incandescent light.
Plus these both are not as bright as their incandescent cousins.
The watt equivalency falls between 250 to 300 for the brightest LED bulb.
With all that being said, LED bulbs are becoming the favorite of new pool installations as well as retrofits for older lights.
Speaking of old, now we have to move onto fiber optics.
It’s not 1998.
I know it’s not 1998, but we just have to cover it.
Is that in our contract?
Okay. Well, fiber optic systems are made of two components, an illuminator, and the fiber optic cable.
The illuminator houses the light source, which is either a halogen light with an optional color wheel or an LED light assembly, which resembles a ray gun.
It doesn’t make that sound, just so you know.
Fiber optic cable is then plugged into the illuminator.
When the illuminator is on, the light passes through the cable.
There are two types of fiber optic cables, Side Glow, for the perimeter, and the End Glow, for underwater.
The major drawback of fiber optics is that it’s by far the most expensive on the list, and a hassle to install.
After the cost of the illuminator, cable, cable tracks, and assorted accessories and labor, you’ll wish you had just gone with another option.
Now we move on to the nitty-gritty of figuring out the pool voltage.
The question we get a lot from customers is, “Does it matter if I go with 120 or 12 volts?”
That answer boils down to personal preference and code restrictions in your area.
Fixtures operating on 120-volt pull their power directly from a power source with no intermediary device.
But in 12-volt fixtures, a transformer is installed on the circuit between the 120-volt receptacle and the light.
The transformer steps down the 120 to 12 volts for a safe voltage to protect any swimmer.
If there is a shortage.
Some local codes and a large percentage of commercial installations require 12-volt lights.
But that’s not to say 120 is unsafe.
Chances are, your swimming pool is lit by 120 volts all your life.
If properly bonded, no issues should arise.
Okay. Now, we hopefully figured out which type of light we want and we know what voltage we have.
Now it’s time for the little things like cable length, the niche, and controlling the light.
The container that holds the light in your pool wall is called a niche.
These are made of metal or plastic.
Each light has at least two niches that are compatible with its fixture.
One for fiberglass vinyl, and another for gunite pools.
The fiberglass vinyl models include a gasket package to help seal the seam around the niche.
To determine the cable length required for the installation, we need to measure the cable’s expected travel distance from the niche to the power source.
If you plan to use a junction box, measure from the box to the niche.
Make sure you measure height rise from the niche to the power source as well as distance.
An important thing to remember, pool light cables cannot be spliced or extended, so it’s best to upsize your cord length to be on the safe side.
If you estimate you need 45 feet of cable to reach the power source, I suggest getting a 75-foot or longer.
This allows for any miscalculations and adds slack to the lines so you could pull the fixture up on the deck for maintenance.
And now, finally, how do we control the lights once they are installed?
Generally, there are two control options for your incandescent and LED lights.
They are a manual wall switch or an automated timer.
Hooking up your LED bulb or fixture to a light switch allows you to cycle through your light shows and solid colors.
If you have a pin tear on celebrating, a cool add-on is a pin tear’s optional controller which has a dial that you can easily set for a specific color or show.
If you prefer to be hands-off, there are control and timer options that can automate your pool lighting and the whole pool from a hand-held or wall-mounted remote, or better yet, from your phone.
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