How To Replace A Pool Light: 5 Easy Steps

Having spent years in the pool maintenance industry, I’ve encountered numerous instances where homeowners were daunted by the prospect of changing their pool lights. The task, often perceived as intricate due to the involvement of water and electricity, can indeed be intimidating. However, with the right guidance and precautions, it becomes a manageable and even rewarding DIY project.

Imagine a serene evening by the pool, the water gently lapping at the edges, but the light that once illuminated your nocturnal swims flickers out. This scenario is all too common and marks the beginning of a journey into pool light replacement. The process involves safely lowering the water level, ensuring the power is completely turned off, and carefully replacing the old fixture with a new one, all while adhering to safety standards to prevent any electrical hazards.

This introduction to how to change a pool light is designed for those who wish to reclaim their night swims under the serene glow of a well-lit pool. By following a step-by-step guide, homeowners can confidently tackle this task, ensuring their pool remains a safe and inviting oasis after sundown.

How To Replace A Pool Light

Preparing

Before embarking on the task of changing your pool light, it is crucial to prioritize safety and take a few preliminary steps. Firstly, identify the circuit breaker responsible for powering your pool light and ensure it is turned off. This precautionary measure is essential to prevent the risk of electrocution, especially if someone accidentally switches on the light or if an automatic timer activates it while you’re working on it.

Next, familiarize yourself with how your pool light housing is affixed to the pool’s wall. Typically, these housings are designed to be water-tight and secured with several underwater screws. In the case of older-style housings, you may encounter a component known as a wedge—a piece of plastic positioned between the light housing and the wall hole that accommodates the housing. If your housing employs a wedge, take note of its position and orientation during removal to streamline the re-installation process.

Lastly, determine the type of bulb required for your housing. This proactive step not only reduces the time the housing spends out of the water, minimizing the risk of debris contamination, but also helps avoid the potential hazards of electrocution and the drying out of the housing gasket. Prioritizing these preliminary considerations ensures a safe and efficient pool light replacement process.

Varieties of Swimming Pool Lighting

LED Pool Lighting

LED lights stand out as a favored choice among pool owners, suitable for both in-ground and above-ground pools. Renowned for their energy efficiency, these lights come in a spectrum of colors. The overall brightness they provide means you may only require a few bulbs to effectively illuminate your pool.

Halogen Pool Lighting

Much like LED lights, halogen pool lights are versatile and suitable for both above-ground and in-ground pools. These lights excel in providing consistent pool illumination over extended durations and are relatively easier to install or replace compared to LED lights. However, it’s important to note that halogen lights are limited to a single standard color, unlike LEDs, which offer a variety of color options.

What You’ll Need – Essential Supplies

Tools:

  • 6 in 1 Screwdriver

Materials:

  • Replacement Bulb
  • Wedge Kit (if necessary)
  • Housing Gasket
  • Paper Towels

How to change pool light: 5 simple steps

Explore the outdoor and indoor pool light replacement solutions with the following 5 simple steps:

How to change pool light: 5 simple steps

Step 1: Power Shutdown

Locate the circuit breaker responsible for powering the light and switch it off. Typically, you’ll find this switch on the circuit breaker panel that supplies power to the pool equipment.

Step 2: Remove the Pool Light Housing

Unscrew the exterior screws holding the housing in place on the pool wall.

Check for buoyancy. If the housing doesn’t float, water has likely entered and caused the bulb to fail.

If the housing is intact and buoyant, proceed to replace the gasket.

In the case of damaged housing, it is advisable to halt the process until a new housing can be obtained and installed.

Step 3: Opening the Pool Light Housing

Lift the pool light housing to rest on the pool deck.

Ensure both your hands and the screwdriver are dry before proceeding. It’s crucial to prevent any water from entering the housing where the bulb is located. If water infiltrates, wait for complete drying before moving forward, as residual moisture can lead to the bulb breaking due to the intense heat generated upon activation.

Remove the screw securing the collar that holds the lens tightly to the housing. This collar also houses the gasket. Once the screw is removed, the lens should separate from the housing, revealing the bulb.

Inspect the gasket for any damage. If you observe cracks or missing pieces, replace the gasket when reassembling the components.

Step 4: Replace the Bulb

With the lens removed and the housing placed on the pool deck, take out the old bulb.

Use a dry paper towel to carefully handle the new bulb and install it. Avoid getting any oil or liquid from your hands on the bulb, as this could lead to its failure shortly after installation.

Step 5: Re-Install the Housing

Reassemble the housing, paying meticulous attention to the mating surface of the lens and the pool housing.

Attach the collar over the pool housing and lens, then tighten it using a screwdriver. This step ensures a secure connection between the lens and the housing.

Once tightened, install the gasket to guarantee a water-tight fit.

Place the assembled housing back into the water and check for buoyancy.

Once you observe the housing floating, indicating its watertight integrity, reposition the housing back into the wall. While holding the housing down, screw it into the wall in the same position it was in before being removed.

Below is a tutorial video on how to replace pool lights that you may find helpful:

When to Seek Professional Assistance

If you are unable to locate the breaker powering the pool light, it is advisable to contact a professional. Attempting to change the bulb without turning off the power poses a risk of electrocution, leading to serious injury or even death.

Another situation requiring professional intervention is when, upon removing the housing, corrosion or damage is evident. Such issues indicate a compromised housing, necessitating replacement to ensure proper functionality and prevent the risk of electrocution for individuals in the pool.

What is the Cost of Replacing a Pool Light?

What is the Cost of Replacing a Pool Light?

Breakdown of Pool Light Replacement Costs

The overall cost of replacing pool lights, averaging around $625 per light, varies based on several factors. These factors include the quantity of pool lights required, the type of pool lights chosen, and potential labor expenses if opting for the services of a local swimming pool repair company to manage the task.

Varieties of Pool Lights and Their Costs

The cost of pool light replacements ranges from $450 to $1,700, depending on the type of light.

  • Energy-efficient LED pool lights come in at approximately $700 to $900 for smaller models and $1,000 to $1,500 for larger units. Despite their higher upfront cost, LED lights require less frequent replacements compared to other types.
  • Incandescent bulbs are the most budget-friendly option, priced between $450 and $650 per bulb, but they have a shorter lifespan of about 1,000 hours before needing replacement.
  • Fiber optic pool lights, priced at $1,300 to $1,700, offer color-changing technology. However, their popularity has waned in comparison to LED lights, which also come in various colors and generally provide brighter illumination.

Determining the Quantity of Pool Lights Required

Priced at approximately $625 each, pool lights are commonly sold individually for replacements. Unless your swimming pool is older and all lights are in need of an upgrade simultaneously, the typical scenario involves replacing one light at a time as each unit burns out or sustains damage.

Labor Costs for Pool Light Replacement

Engaging the services of a professional pool service or an electrician typically comes at an hourly rate of $50 to $100. While changing a light bulb in a bedroom lamp or kitchen track lighting might be within your comfort zone, replacing a pool light can be riskier for untrained homeowners. This is due to the involvement of electrical components and wiring in close proximity to water, making professional assistance a safer and more prudent choice.

Cost of Pool Light Replacement Based on Bulb Type

The expenses associated with replacing a pool light depend significantly on the type of light bulb housed in the fixture. The cost can range from $450 to $1,700 for an entire light fixture or approximately $20 to $650 for each individual light bulb.

LED Pool Light Replacement Costs

The expense for replacing LED pool lights typically falls in the range of $700 to $1,500 each or approximately $50 to $650 for the light bulb, contingent upon the light’s size. Although these costs may appear relatively high initially, the long-term advantages of LED lights outweigh them. LED lights boast a lifespan of approximately 20,000 to 30,000 hours, reducing the frequency of replacements. Additionally, they provide remarkably bright illumination while consuming minimal energy, translating to cost savings on your utility bills.

Fiber Optic Pool Light Replacement Expenses

The cost of replacing fiber optic pool lights is approximately $1,300 to $1,700 for the entire fixture or about $20 to $60 solely for the replacement bulb. Fiber optic lights emit a more understated glow, making them an ideal choice if you’re not seeking intense backyard illumination. While fiber optics have witnessed a decline in popularity with the emergence of LED pool lights, they offer a lifespan of about three to seven years, outlasting incandescent lights though not quite as enduring as LEDs.

Incandescent Pool Light Replacement Costs

The replacement of incandescent pool lights typically falls in the range of $450 to $650 per fixture or around $20 to $70 for a new light bulb. While incandescent lights are the most economical among pool light options, their lifespan is not as extensive as that of fiber optic or LED pool lights. Incandescent pool lights generally last about 1,000 to 5,000 hours, equivalent to approximately one to three years of usage.

Additional Factors Affecting Costs

In certain instances, it may be necessary to not only replace the light fixture but also update the wiring. For example, if you wish to increase the number of pool lights, an electrician may need to install additional wiring. Additionally, transitioning from fiber optic pool lights to LEDs might require an upgrade in the pool wiring. These considerations can contribute to additional costs beyond the basic fixture or bulb replacement.

Modifying Existing Pool Wiring

Modifying the pool wiring typically incurs costs ranging from $500 to $1,000. To carry out the necessary electrical work, hiring an electrician is essential, with hourly rates averaging between $50 to $100. Additionally, expenses may include filing for building permits, typically ranging from $50 to $350 each, and potential fees of up to $100 for electrical wiring inspections.

Pool Maintenance Expenses

The upkeep of a swimming pool typically amounts to approximately $110 to $375 per month. Electric costs add up to around $300 annually. Whether you choose to handle cleaning and repairs yourself or enlist the services of a local pool service, which generally charges between $75 to $100 per hour, is another factor to consider. Maintaining your pool in a clean and well-maintained condition not only enhances its longevity but also extends the lifespan of pool components, including lighting, reducing the frequency of replacements.

Pool Light Repair Expenses

Repairing a pool light typically incurs costs ranging from $65 to $150 per light. This may involve tasks such as replacing a worn-out gasket or conduit seal. Alternatively, a simple repair could entail swapping out a burned-out bulb for a new one, which typically costs about $20 to $100.

To dive deeper into pool light maintenance and make informed decisions about repairs, consider exploring resources like the How To Fix a Pool Light or learning about How To Install a Pool Light.

Comparing the Cost of DIY Pool Light Replacement to Professional Services

If you choose to replace a pool light on your own, anticipate spending around $100 to $500 for the replacement light and bulb, or approximately $20 to $100 for just the light bulbs.

However, it’s crucial to note that dealing with electrical components in a pool filled with water poses the risk of electric shock, making this task best suited for a professional. Hiring a pool repair expert will typically cost around $625 per light for professional replacement services.

Enlist the services of a pool repair professional in your vicinity for a safe and expert replacement of a pool light. A professional not only ensures safety by handling potential electrical risks but can also inspect the wiring, ensuring proper installation and sealing of the light fixture to enhance the safety of your family while swimming.

Saving on Pool Light Replacement Costs

The price tag associated with replacing pool lights may cause some to experience sticker shock, especially when compared to the cost of standard indoor light bulbs. Despite the higher cost attributed to added safety features in pool lights, there are still ways to economize on replacements with a few practical tips.

Saving on Pool Light Replacement Costs

Inquire About Discounts

If you’re purchasing multiple lights from a pool equipment company, inquire about potential discounts for ordering items in bulk. Some companies might also provide sales on pool products during fall and winter, when demand is lower, offering you the opportunity to secure cost savings.

Choose LED Lighting

Consider this – even though the initial cost of LED pool lights may be higher than that of incandescent or fiber optic lights, you’ll end up saving money in the long run. LED pool lights are more energy-efficient and have a significantly longer lifespan, requiring replacement only approximately every ten years, as opposed to other types of pool lights.

Opt for Bulb Replacement

If your light fixtures are still in good condition, consider saving money by replacing only the inner light bulb instead of the entire unit. Pool light bulbs typically range from $20 to $100 each, whereas replacing the whole unit can cost around $625. However, it’s essential to note that if the unit is old or in poor condition, it’s advisable to replace the entire fixture to minimize the risk of electrocution from a faulty pool light.

Consideration: Repair or Replace

If the gasket of your pool light requires an upgrade but the rest of the fixture is in good condition, opting for a repair might be a cost-effective choice. Repairing a pool light typically costs about $65 to $150 per light, in contrast to the expense of replacing a light, which averages around $625. Assessing whether repair is feasible can save you money and extend the lifespan of your pool lighting.

FAQ

How to change a pool light without draining the water?

To change a pool light without draining the water, you can use a specialized pool light fixture that allows for underwater bulb replacement. Ensure the electricity is turned off, use proper tools to open the fixture, and carefully replace the bulb while submerged. Always follow safety precautions and consult a professional if needed.

Is it possible for electricians to replace pool lights?

When the need arises to replace an old or malfunctioning pool light, hiring a local electrician can be a practical solution. Collaborating with an electrician is beneficial for pool light replacements, particularly when there is a requirement to repair or update existing wiring or install new wiring for additional pool lights. This ensures a safe and expert handling of electrical components in the pool area.

Is it feasible to underwater pool light replacement?

Addressing concerns about handling pool lights or wiring in a water-filled pool is understandable. Fortunately, both pool lights and swimming pools are designed to facilitate a safe and straightforward process for replacing lights without the need to drain the water. As a safety precaution, turn off the electricity to the pool, unscrew the pool fixture, pull it up and out to the side of the pool, and then proceed to change the bulb. This method ensures a secure replacement process without compromising the water level in the pool.

The frequency at which pool lights need replacement varies depending on the type, with their design ensuring a considerable lifespan before replacement is necessary. LED bulbs boast the longest lifespan, lasting approximately 20,000 to 30,000 hours. In contrast, incandescent bulbs have the shortest lifespan, typically around 1,000 to 5,000 hours. Fiber optic pool lights fall in between, lasting around 6,000 hours.

Pool lights are intentionally designed with safety in mind, aiming to protect swimmers from the risk of electrocution. They feature waterproof fixtures and seals to prevent any contact between the electrical components and the water.

While the risk of electrocution from pool lights is generally low, it is not entirely impossible. Faulty wiring or damaged lighting equipment can compromise the safety of the lights. Therefore, it is crucial to promptly replace lights as needed and seek the expertise of an electrician for regular inspections and potential wiring upgrades to ensure a safe swimming environment.

What makes pool lights costly?

Pool light replacements tend to be pricier when compared to other pool components such as pump motors or standard indoor light bulbs. The elevated cost is attributed to the specialized design and construction of pool lights, incorporating components that prioritize swimmer safety. The light fixture and its surrounding parts, which safeguard the bulb, must be meticulously crafted to be waterproof, tightly sealed, and resistant to extreme temperatures. These safety features contribute to the higher overall expense of pool lights.

Postscript: The information about pool light replacement that I shared above is based on the experience of replacing pool lights at the villa of Mr. Roy M. Meadows (Address: 628 Plainfield Avenue, Utica, NY). You can contact him at +1-315-600-0314 if you need to find out any additional information. Additionally, during the process of editing the content of the article, I received assistance from Edgar M Downs – a lighting expert and the CEO at BLLS-Lighting. Edgar M Downs helped me review and verify the content details before publishing.

References: https://hayward.com/media/akeneo_connector/asset_files/0/9/092499_RevA_cef0.pdf