How to Change a Pool Light Bulb

Lights always enhance your pool during a nighttime swim, but not when the pool lighting is lacking. When one of your lights stops working, it can certainly take away from the swimming experience. This situation requires a quick pool light bulb replacement.

Below, I walk through a full step-by-step process for replacing your light bulb, the differences between DIY vs. hiring a pro, and the essential factors to consider when shopping for a replacement bulb. If you’re having other troubles with your pool lights, read my guide on pool light troubleshooting.

DIY vs. Hiring a Pro

The process of changing out a pool light bulb is a little more complicated than changing one within your home. There are a few more hazards involved, and individual factors can vary. The bulb might be immersed in the water, and to change it out, you might have to get into the water. When there is electricity present, this can be a risky project.

If you are still comfortable with replacing the bulb yourself, there are a few things you must consider. To ensure that you can return the light safely, make sure you have the following supplies:

  • Replacement lens gasket
  • Dry towels
  • Flathead screwdrivers
  • The new, replacement light bulb
  • Multimeter

You also want to avoid any hazards with the electrical wires while completing the process, so make sure to shut off the power. Since you will be in contact with the wires during replacement, this is a necessary step. Next, you can utilize the flat-head screwdriver to remove the pilot screw.

Testing the wiring is another critical step in the DIY process. Use your multimeter to check that there is zero electricity running through the wires. After you check the electricity, you can disassemble the fixtures by removing all screws or camps. Here, you will pull apart the gasket, face ring, and lens to get to the pool light bulb. It would be best for you to wipe the dirt away with your dry towel.

At this point, be very careful when taking out the old light bulb with your dry towel. After you complete this step, you can install the new light bulb by screwing it in slowly and carefully.

If you are unsure or hesitant about the DIY strategy, it might be smart for you to hire a professional for this project.

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Tips for Choosing the Right Replacement Pool Light Bulb

There are a variety of different replacement pool light bulbs on the market. Before you make a purchase decision, there are several things you must understand to make the right investment.

The first thing to verify is the light’s voltage. There are both 120V and 12V lighting options, and placing the wrong one could cause harmful damage to your pool lighting system. Before choosing which one you prefer, confirm with your local code to see if it requires one or the other.

Brightness is another crucial factor in choosing the right replacement pool light bulb. 120V and 12V options deliver the same intensity, but there are differences if you decide on LED lights. The light’s brightness is measured with lumens, which you can check in the manufacturer’s information to confirm the correct value.

Power is a critical aspect of pool lights, which affects the cost of electricity. The light’s power is measured by watts, and the standard LED typically falls between 30-90 watts. As the wattage increases, the cost of electricity goes up as well. You can save money by investing in LED lighting compared to incandescent. A 45-watt LED light will generate the same power as a 300-watt incandescent option.

If you decide to invest in a wired LED pool light, the cable length is an essential factor to consider. These cords are tough to change them because they permanently attach to the light. Standard cord lengths are usually 30, 50, 1000, and 500, but there are also shorter options. To project the ideal cord length, measure the distance between your power source and pool, and then add an extra 10 feet.

Whether you are installing or replacing a new pool light bulb, you should always check to see if it is compatible with the current fixtures. Your pool contractor should have already installed these, but Pentair, Hayward, and Sta-Rite are the most popular niches installed. Many LED lights are compatible with these fixtures, but it is always smart to confirm.

Step-by-Step Process for Changing a Pool Light

You must proceed carefully and cautiously while going through the pool light changing process. Because there is water and electricity involved, you must treat each step as significantly as the others. Below is a comprehensive step-by-step approach to changing out your pool light.

Remove Your Pool Light Fixture

The very first step is to turn off all lighting to your pool. When you turn to your house’s circuit breaker box, one of the breakers should contain a “pool” label. Switch this breaker off, which will shut off all electricity to your pool. If you want to ensure that the power is off, verify it by switching on the pool lights.

Toward the light fixture’s top is the “screw lock,” which is the primary thing holding your light to the pool wall. When you remove this screw, you will most likely use a Phillips-head. Depending on the light fixture’s height, you may need to get into the pool to reach. After you unscrew the screw lock, make sure you place it somewhere accessible.

Next, take your flat-head screwdriver and pry the light fixture from the light housing. Many fixtures will contain a tab towards the bottom, which allows you to extract it from the wall. After you wiggle this tab loose, you should also utilize the screwdriver to free up the fixture in other locations. Once you make the fixture flexible enough, you will be able to work your fingers and pull it out of the wall.

Replace Your Light Bulb

After you pull the light fixture onto your pool deck, it is time to remove the lens and cover. Older pools might require you to remove screws to pull out your lens. Newer pool light models will usually have tabs that you pry loose. Regardless of your pool’s age, remove your lens and rubber gasket, then set aside in a safe place. As you pull the fixture, make sure you do not splash any water into it.

If you have not already, buy a replacement bulb that matches the current bulb. You can also check your pool’s user manual or handbook to figure the specific type of bulb the fixture needs. When you make the purchase, double-check that the brand, size, and serial numbers match.

Next, unscrew the old light bulb and screw in the new one. Once the gasket and lens are not blocking the fixture, you should reach in and grab the old bulb to twist it counterclockwise. After you remove the bulb, you can grasp the new bulb with the clean towel and place it in the center to turn it clockwise. As you complete this step, you should not touch the lightbulb directly. Some varieties like halogen bulbs are fragile and can be damaged from the oil on your fingers.

To check for a successful replacement, you can then turn on the power for a few seconds. Return to the electrical pool box or circuit breaker and flip the switch back to “on” and see if the new light activates. If it does, you can turn the switch back to “off” immediately. This step enables you to save time in case the new bulb does not work.

Reinstall Your Pool Light Fixture

After you test the new light and turn the power back off, you can now replace the lens and reattach the fixture. Put the lens and gasket back to its original place, covering the bulb. When you reassemble the light fixture parts back together, utilize the towel for drying any excess water that has seeped into the fixture.

Next, you can replace the screws and lock in the tabs to successfully close the light fixture. You will reverse the detachment process to reassemble your pool light fixture. If you took out any smaller screws from the assembly, you will screw those back in. As you reattach the fixture, it’s best to tighten them so that that gasket lies flat between the fixture cover and lens.

Once you ensure that the gasket is lying flat, you can put the fixture back into your pool’s light niche for a final screw at the top. Hold the fixture in place with your hand, and place the screw lock back into its original hole at the top. Next, tighten the screw with your Phillips-head until it is firm in place.

Lastly, go back to the circuit breaker and turn the power back on. Doing so will replenish electricity to your pool lights. Once the circuits are turned back on, flip the light on to ensure it is working correctly again.

Final Thoughts

That’s it for changing a pool light bulb! Hopefully this makes the process a lot easier for you, or maybe you’ve made the decision to call a pro. If you have questions, send us a message. Always happy to help anyway we can.

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