A nighttime swim is always a fun activity during the summer, but you will need to ensure your pool lighting is functioning correctly. When one of your lights stops working, it can take away from the swimming experience. Replacing the bulb in your swimming pool is a quick process but requires a bit of knowledge.
Let’s walk through an entire 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.
Step-by-Step Process: How to Replace a Pool Light
You must proceed carefully and cautiously when changing the pool light. As water and electricity are involved, it can be dangerous, and you must treat each step with care.
Step 1: Turn the Power Off
The very first step is to turn off all lighting in your pool. The circuit breaker box in your house should contain a “pool” label. Switching this breaker off will shut off all electricity to your swimming pool. To verify that the power is off, flick the pool light’s switch to ensure it does not turn on.
Step 2: Remove the Pilot Screw
The main screw holding the light fixture together will generally be towards the top. You will most likely need to use a Phillips head screwdriver to remove this screw. Depending on the light fixture’s height, you may need to get into the pool to remove it. Make sure you put the screw somewhere safe after removing it.
Step 3: Check For An Electrical Current
Use a multimeter to check for an electrical current on the wires before handling them. If there is a faulty wire, there could still be electricity running even after you have turned the breaker off.
Step 4: Separate the Housing From the Pool Wall
Next, take your flat-head screwdriver and pry the light fixture from the light housing. Many fixtures will contain a tab on the bottom that allows you to remove it from the wall. Once you loosen the fixture, you will be able to work your fingers and pull it out of the wall.
Step 5: Take Apart the Light Fixture
Pull the fixture onto your pool deck (there should be enough wire to do this) and 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. Remove your lens and rubber gasket and set them aside in a safe place. Try not to splash any water onto the light while disassembling it.
Step 6: Take Out the Old Light Bulb
Once the gasket and lens are no longer blocking the fixture, reach in and grab the old bulb with a towel. Twist counterclockwise to remove it.
Step 7: Screw in the New Light Bulb
If you haven’t already, buy a replacement bulb that matches the current bulb (more on replacement bulbs below). Check your pool’s user manual to determine the specific type of bulb the fixture needs. When you make the purchase, double-check that the brand, size, and serial numbers match. Hold the new bulb with a clean towel and place it in the center to turn it clockwise. You should not touch the lightbulb directly because some varieties, like halogen bulbs, are fragile and can be damaged from the oil on your fingers.
Step 8: Test the Light
To check that you replaced the bulb successfully, turn on the power for a few seconds. Return to the electrical pool box or circuit breaker, flip the switch back to “on” and see if the new light activates. If it does, turn the switch back to “off” immediately.
Step 9: Reinstall Your Light Fixture
Now, replace the lens and reattach the fixture. Put the lens and gasket back in place, covering the bulb. Use a towel to dry any water on or near the contraption. Close the fixture with any necessary screws, and make sure the gasket lies flat between the fixtures cover and the lens.
Step 10: Return the Light Fixture to the Wall of the Pool
Once you successfully reassemble the fixture, put it back into its place on the pool wall. Hold the fixture in position with your hand and place the screw back into its original hole at the top. Then tighten the screw with your Phillips-head until it is firm in place.
Step 11: Turn the Power Back On
The final step is to switch on the power of the circuit breaker. Once you turn the circuits back on, flip on the light to ensure it is working correctly again.
DIY vs. Hiring a Pro
Although changing a pool light is a simple process, it is 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 with electricity present, this can be a risky project.
If you are still comfortable with changing the bulb yourself, you must consider a few things to ensure that you can do it safely. Make sure you have the following supplies:
- Replacement lens gasket
- Dry towels
- Flathead screwdrivers
- The new, replacement light bulb
You also want to avoid any hazards with the electrical wires while completing the process, so make sure to shut off the power. This shut-off is necessary because you will be in contact with the wires during replacement.
Testing the wiring is another critical step in the DIY process. Use your multimeter to check that zero electricity runs through the wires.
Be very careful and use a dry towel when handling the old and new light bulbs.
If you are unsure or hesitant about the DIY strategy, hire a professional for this project.
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Tips for Choosing the Right Replacement Pool Light Bulb
There are many types of replacement pool light bulbs on the market. Before you buy your new light bulb, consider several things.
The first thing to verify is the light’s voltage. You’ll find 120V and 12V lighting options, and placing the wrong one could damage your pool’s 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 when choosing the correct replacement pool light bulb. The light’s brightness is measured with lumens. 120V and 12V options deliver the same intensity, but LED lights work differently. Check the manufacturer’s information to confirm the correct value.
The light’s power is measured by watts, and the standard LED typically falls between 30-90 watts. The cost of electricity will increase with the wattage. LED lighting is a much more economical option when 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 length of the cable is an essential factor to consider. These cords are tough to change because they are permanently attached to the light. Standard cord lengths are usually 30, 50, 1000, and 500 feet, 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.
And a final important tip: confirm that the light bulb you are purchasing is compatible with your fixture. Installing the wrong light bulb will result in the light not turning on, but it can even damage the fixture. Head over to my guide on the best pool lights for recommendations on replacement bulbs.
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 me a message. Always happy to help any way I can.