Welcome to Mr Pool Man’s guide on how to change your pool lights! Now you’re probably here for one of two reasons. One, you still have the old halogen/incandescent lights installed in your pool and they just burned out (again) and you need to change out the bulbs, or you’re an early LED pool light adapter and it’s been so long that you’ve replaced your pool lights that you’ve completely forgotten how.
Mr Pool Man’s 3-step guide on how to change your pool lights
Step Zero: Buy a replacement bulb that is more-or-less the same to the one you currently have installed. Wattage and voltage are extremely important so be sure to purchase a replacement bulb that has the same specifications of the one you’re replacing. If you’re thinking of changing out your old lights into newer LED pool lights then jump on over to our guide on how to install led swimming pool lights.
Step One: Removing the pool light fixture
- Shut off main power to the pool by looking for the switch marked pool on your circuit breakers. To make sure that the power is truly switched off, try turning on your pumps, if the power is off, then your pumps will stay off (we would have said to turn your pool lights on and off, but since you’re here reading about how to replace them, we’ll assume that they’re burned out). This is the most important step of them all, remember, water and electricity don’t mix. Safety first!
- Remove the “Screwlock”. This is usually just a Phillips screw located at the top of the lights. Some pool light models have more than one screw, but more often than not it’s just one screw locking the fixture into place. Store the screw somewhere safe (a coffee cup would be fine or anywhere where it wouldn’t roll away) you wouldn’t want to lose this screw.
- With a flathead screw, look for a tab at the bottom part of the light fixture and gently pry the fixture from its mounting. Slowly work the flathead screw around the fixture until you have enough space for your fingers to grab the frame.
- Gently pull the fixture out and place it on your pool decking, there should be more than enough wire for you to be able to work away from the pool’s edge.
Step Two: Replacing the bulb
- The fixture itself is sealed so you have to be very careful at this point.
- If you have a multimeter, check if the wires if they have power running through them. Yes, we’ve turned off the breakers to the pool, but on the off chance that the pool lights were wired differently, now is your chance to directly check the wires for power. If it’s completely dead, then great. If the multimeter reads power going through the lines then keep switching off breakers until you find the one that powers the pool lights.
- Older pool light fixtures will have screws attaching the outer cover and the lens to the fixture while newer ones will have tabs securing it. Determine which type and unfasten as required.
- Remove the lens and the rubber gasket and place it somewhere dry and secure.
- Replace the bulb with the exact same model of the one your took out, especially with halogen bulbs. Take care not to touch the bulbs directly with your fingers as this may cause your bulbs to prematurely burn out.
- Once the new bulb is in place, ask someone to briefly turn on the power. By briefly we mean not more than 2-3 seconds or else this may burn out the bulbs. This step is necessary to see if the new bulbs are working. You wouldn’t want to go through the hassle of installing everything and finding out later that the bulbs don’t work and you have to go through the entire process again.
- Once you’ve determined that the light works, TURN OFF THE POWER COMPLETELY again. Sorry, we just can’t stress safety enough.
- After the power is off, you can now reassemble the light fixture. Make sure that the inside is thoroughly dry and the gasket has no cracks or brittleness to it. If the gasket seems damaged, order a replacement one before reinstalling the pool light.
- Once the fixture is assembled. Test for leaks. To do this, submerge the fixture in the pool and check for any bubbles escaping. If there are air bubbles, remove the fixture, disassemble, dry it thoroughly and assemble it again. Once you’ve ensured that there are no leaks then you’re at the home stretch!
Step Three: Reinstalling the fixture
- Carefully wrap some of the excess wiring around the base of the fixture, this will make it easier for you to stuff all of the wiring back into the pool wall without any tangles.
- Reseat the fixture back into the pool wall, be sure to align the screw holes properly and screw them back in. (Hint: your screws are at a coffee cup if you’ve followed our instructions)
- Turn the power back on and bask in the light of your fresh pool lights!
That’s it! You’ve successfully changed your pool lights and saved $$$ from hiring a professional to do it. Buy yourself a cold one or some pool toys with the money you’ve just saved!
If you're using halogen lights, then better bookmark this page as you will be needing to replace those bulbs every few years. If that sounds like too much work, that's because it is. Maybe it's time to upgrade to LED lights and do away with all the replacing of lights. Pool LED Lights are rated to last at least 10 years with some models boasting a burn-time of up to 25 years! Thinking of making the switch? Click the button below!
Looking to add some sparkle to your pool? Click here for a detailed guide on installing LED swimming pool lights.
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Happy swimming :)