Replacing old halogen pool lighting with LED lights is much easier than you think! Their bright, glowing colours create an impressive underwater light show and you can change up the colors to fit the mood with a single click on the remote!
LED pool lighting is much more energy efficient than halogen lighting. In fact, LED lights save about 80% more energy than halogen lights do - a serious reduction that pool owners eventually see on their energy bills. Halogen pool lights are still around, though losing favour to new LED options. Halogen lights can cost up to $1 a day to run if used daily, and do not have the same brightness or effect compared to LED lights.
Halogen lights also have a much shorter lifespan. This is due to the rubber O-ring around the light deteriorating and needing replacement. Once water enters the light chamber, it blows the fuse, which can cost around $80 in parts to replace!
LED pool lights come in a variety of colors that are easily changed by the flick of a switch, the press of a remote, or by pre-programmed settings. LED lights are three to five times more energy efficient than traditional halogen lights. They also produce around 90% less heat and have an average lifespan of around 50,000 hours, compared to around 5,000 hours for the old halogen style.
How to update your old halogen light with a new LED light
Switching over your old pool lights is actually a fairly easy process and you don’t even need to shell out for an electrician! Some basic tools and the easy-to-follow steps below are all you need to add an oasis of light and atmosphere to your next summer party.
Basic hand tools required
- Phillips head screwdriver
- Knife or pliers
- Flat blade screwdriver
- Silicon (for fibreglass pool surfaces only)
Ensure the power to the pool equipment is completely shut off.
To take the current pool light off the wall, remove the screw at the top of the light. Depending on the model, it may have three locating screws around the light. In some pools, the light is much lower in the water and will require you to actually get into the pool.
Tip: Do not forget goggles if you do have to get in the pool and go underwater so that you can see the screw.
Select the correct retro bracket from the new light. The light fixture will be anchored into the niche with a long cord. The cord should be long enough to allow you to bring the light above the water level and lay the light fixture on a towel poolside. Note the way the cord is tucked into the niche or conduit because you will need to return it to that position once the light has been switched.
Tip: Sometimes it takes longer to figure out how to replace that cord than it does to replace the light.
Disconnect the cable from the rear of the light. This will need to be cut as close to the light fitting as possible so you have maximum cable length.
Remove the bracket that previously held the pool light on the wall. Feed the pool light cable through the supplied retro bracket. Once that’s done, affix the bracket to the existing mount locations using the screw kit provided. Some LED lights come with universal brackets that have numerous hole configurations in them. The beauty of these is that you can use the existing holes in the pool wall. Some existing brackets will also fit with the new retro lights, depending on what was previously used. Don't worry about drilling new holes, LED light manufacturers have taken this into account and made sure that one size fits all!
Tip: If you have a fibreglass pool, you should consult your local pool shop on how to mount the new light.
Prepare the cable by stripping it back to specified length as per the instruction details. Connect the cable to the light using a Phillips head screwdriver and the appropriate fittings, ensuring a snug terminal connection.
Place the light back into the water. You may have to get back in the water to return the cord to its previous position behind the niche in the pool. Once the cord is in place, push the light fixture back against the wall or into the niche. Replace the screw at the top of the light to hold it in place.
Once that’s done, turn the power on to test the light. When you first turn the power back on, the LED light should go through its sequence of colours if it is working properly.
LED Pros and Cons (vs Halogen)
Three to five times more energy efficient than halogen lights
Higher initial purchase cost
Lasts 10 times longer than Halogen Lights
Needs replacement if it breaks (repairing is not an option)
Brighter, more vibrant light
Can be too bright. One light might be too much for a small pool
Can change the color at the click of a button
Pool light safety and transformers
Some older swimming pools still have a 240V cable leading to them. If you have one of these, do not try to uninstall it yourself as an electrician is required by law. Nowadays, LED pool lights typically use only 12V and new transformers are normally installed near the pool equipment to reduce the standard 240V to 12V.
Remote control swimming pool lights
You can now purchase an optional remote control system made specifically for LED lights that allows you to switch them on and off, and remotely choose your colour settings.
This remote system is connected via your pool light transformer and requires additional installation. There are also options where you can control the pool lights via a mobile app!
Whether you're having a pool party or just lounging by the poolside on a lazy Sunday night, you can change the color of your pool lights to match the theme and mood just with a click of a button!
LED pool lighting has become an industry standard. Aside from being energy efficient and economical, the lights have been known to be positive mood enhancers. With the flip of a switch, pool owners can set the tone for their tropical backyard oases.