Here’s A Quick Way To Replace a Pool Light Without Draining Water

Changing a light underwater may sound like a pretty daunting task. After all, electricity and water aren’t exactly friends. The good thing is that pool lights are designed in such a way that you can replace them without needing to drain the pool’s water level.

The housing of the pool light is designed so that you don’t need to touch or disconnect any wiring to have it removed from the pool. You can simply change the light bulb after pulling the fixture up onto the poolside. In some cases, you may need to drain the pool below the light’s level.

Replacing a pool light bulb sounds just as easy as it is, but it isn’t the same thing as changing a typical light bulb in the house. If you’re not careful, you could face some unpleasant consequences. In some cases, you might need to hire a professional to have it done. Let’s look at all the information you need to know if you’re planning to replace your swimming pool lights.

Can You Replace a Pool Light Underwater?

Pool at Night

You certainly can — and you may have to at some point. All light bulbs burn out eventually! The good news is that replacing a pool light doesn’t mean that you need to lower your pool’s water level all the time.

That is required in some cases, but the thing about pool lights is, the manufacturer knows what they’re for and how you’re going to use them, and when you look at models like the Pentair Underwater Incandescent Pool Light (on Amazon) you can tell this is sort of a special application of lighting and they’ve through through a lot of the details. All that to say, most pool lights are manufactured with the expectation that you don’t want to drain the pool to have to change them.

If anything, some models will have a totally waterproof housing that you have to remove from the pool, then replace, but let’s just dive into some examples and discussion about this so you know better what to expect. Below, we’ll cover how-tos first for if you need to partially drain the pool, then turn our attention toward non-drained replacement steps.

How Do You Replace a Pool Light?

It’s quite easy, but to ensure your safety, go through these instructions carefully before you start the process.

1. Remove Some Water From the Pool

You can decide whether or not to take this step. If it makes the task easier for you, you can remove a bit of water first. Also, don’t forget that you’re going to have to replace the water later on. To restore balance to the water, you’d have to add chemicals.

2. Take Out the Pilot Screw From the Light

You’ll most likely find the screw in the upper part of the light. The screw may come in different types, so you’d need to use the appropriate tool for the one you’re dealing with.

3. Remove the Bulb From the Fixture

After removing the screw, carefully take out the bulb from the fixture. You’ll most likely have plenty of extra wire to have the fixture removed from the pool and put it on the deck. To avoid scratching the lens, place it on a towel.

4. Do a Wiring Test

For your safety, test and confirm that there’s no electricity running through the wiring before touching it with your bare hands. If there’s still electricity running through, find and turn off whatever you left on.

5. Dismantle the Fixture

Some screws or clamps bind the fixture firmly. Remove them. Also, remove the lens gasket, the lens, and the face ring as this will help you reach the pool light bulb.

Be careful when dismantling these parts as some of them may have been corroded. You should also not perform this task over the water to avoid any part falling into it.

If there’s any debris or dirt, use a towel to wipe it clean or dry. If the corrosion is really bad, an entire replacement may be needed.

6. Take Out the Old Light Bulb

Before unscrewing the bulb, grip it with a towel. After unscrewing, wipe it dry with a towel and also clean the inside of the light fixture.

7. Fix the New Light Bulb

Gently insert the new pool light bulb and screw it in carefully. Ensure that it’s tight — but not too tight if you don’t want it to break! After that, install the lens gasket around the lens and then reassemble the fixture.

8. Test the Light

Turn on the power so you can test to see if the light comes on. Do this before replacing the fixture in the pool wall.

Note: Do the testing quickly as pool lights are not built to last for a long time of water.

After confirming that the light is working fine, turn off the power and complete the installation.

9. Check to See if There Are Leaks

Ensure that there is no way air can escape from the sealed outer edges of the light by submerging the fixture. If bubbles pop up, take it back out and try the process again. This means you should take it apart, dry it inside, and put it back together. Continue this until you no longer see air bubbles.

10. Put the Light Back on the Pool Wall

Now, push the excess wiring back into the wall and re-position the fixture. Make sure the screw holes in the fixture match with the ones in the wall, then replace the screws.

11. Turn on the Power

Test again to confirm that the light comes on. If it does, you have done a great job and you should reward yourself with a great swim!

How to Change a Pool Light Without Draining the Water

As we mentioned earlier, you don’t need to drain the water in your pool. The housing of the pool light is designed so that you don’t need to disconnect any wiring to remove it from the pool.

You are however prone to getting wet during the process of replacing a swimming pool light, so to avoid getting electrocuted, you should follow these safety steps.

You’ll Need The Following

  • Screwdriver
  • Non-contact voltage tester
  • Soft terrycloth towel
  • Replacement gasket and screws where necessary

1. Turn Off the Electricity Connection to the Pool

After turning off the circuit breaker that connects to the pool, test it with a circuit tester to ensure that the electricity is turned off. Place a non-contact voltage tester against the light wall switch of the swimming pool.

If the tester flashes or beeps, that means there’s still electricity running through. If this happens, be sure you turned it off and try again.

2. Take Out the Screw on the Light Housing

You’ll find a single screw along the bottom of the light housing bezel of the pool. Remove the screw from the housing. If you’re unable to do that from outside, enter the pool so that you can.

3. Remove the Light Housing

You’ll find the light housing located by the side of the pool. Pull it. You can replace the housing from outside the water because it has a long cord that’s waterproof attached to it.

4. Undo the Other Screws

There’s a single brass screw or a group of them holding the bezel, the lens, and the light housing to the housing. Loosen the screws to detach the gasket, bezel, and lens from the housing.

5. Remove All Corroded Screws and Replace Them

If there are corroded screws, remove them and have them replaced with new ones. Check the gasket to confirm that there’s no wear, crimps, or cracks.

6. Take Out the Original Bulb

Using a towel, wipe the inside of the housing dry. Use the same towel to grip the original bulb and twist it out from the housing socket. Ensure that the replacement bulb shares the same characteristics as the original one.

7. Fix the Replacement Bulb

Now, you can twist the replacement bulb into the light housing. Fix the new light housing gasket around the edge of the light lens if need be. Also, install the bezel over the lens.

8. Install the Pool Light Housing

Tighten as many screws that are holding the bezel to the pool light bulb housing. After that, wind the housing cord around the housing. Next, insert the housing into the pool light opening in the pool wall.

If you submerge it into the water and see air bubbles popping up, have the bezel, lens, and gasket replaced so you can seal the light against water seepage properly.

9. Ensure that the Light Housing Screw Is Secure

Using the screw you removed earlier, have the light secured to the pool wall. After that, turn on the pool lighting circuit breaker.

How Much Does It Cost to Change a Pool Light?

Evening Lights at the Pool

The price range to get a pool light bulb is around $30-40. To get a new pool light gasket for the fixture, you’ll need to spend about $25. If you prefer to hire a professional to do the job, the labor cost will be around $100-150. The wholesale cost of a new fixture is around $200.

How Long Do Pool Lights Last?

You should get about 1,000 hours of use from most incandescent bulbs before they need to be replaced. You can get 25 or more years of use with LED bulbs. As for the light fixture and the lamp itself, they’ll probably last several decades.

Corrosive chemistry, however, can weaken the fixture and the screws binding it and this may make a replacement necessary. The light cord can also last for about 2-3 decades before getting damaged. If this happens, you would need to replace the lamp since you can’t replace a pool light cord.

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