It’s no secret that pool lights are essential for enjoying your pool. They can provide safety and improve the aesthetics of your pool, especially at night. That said, one of the most common questions pool owners ask when installing these lights is whether they are AC or DC.
Pool lights come in two varieties: AC and DC. Most pool lights are AC, and they run on a typical household current. DC pool lights run on direct current provided by a battery or solar panel.
Read on for more insights into crucial facts about pool lights to help clear up any confusion and ensure you’re making the best choice for your pool.
Important Facts To Know Before Installing Pool Lights
Like most projects, installing pool lights comes with specific considerations before starting. Otherwise, you might make an expensive mistake or obtain subpar results.
Here’s a rundown of the crucial facts to keep in mind when choosing or installing pool lights:
- Pool Lights Can Be AC or DC-Powered
The most common pool lights are 12V or 120V AC lights, which can be powered by your home’s primary electrical system. These lights are easy to install but can be more expensive to operate.
If you’re looking for a more energy-efficient option, you can opt for 12-volt DC-powered lights. These lights are more expensive to install but can last up to 50,000 hours – that’s more than five years of 24/7 operation!
- Underwater Lights Must Be Waterproof (IPX8)
All pool lights must be waterproof to prevent electrical accidents and damage. The International Protection Rating (IP) system rates the degree of protection that an enclosure provides against water, dust, and other foreign objects.
For underwater lights, you’ll want to look for an IPX8 rating, which means the light is submersible up to 3.3 feet (1 meter) for up to 30 minutes.
- The Lights Must Not Exceed 12V AC or 30V DC
Another crucial safety consideration is the voltage of the light. Most 120-volt AC lights are safe to use in and around pools, but you’ll want to check the rating before installing any lights.
For 12-volt DC lights, the maximum safe voltage is 30 volts. Anything above that is dangerous and could cause severe electrical shocks.
- Pool Lights Require a Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)
To prevent electrical accidents, you must install all pool lights with a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). GFCIs are devices that sense when electrical current leaks from a circuit and immediately shut off the power to prevent shocks.
Here’s a video that explains how GFCIs work:
- Pool Lights Use Halogen, LED, or Fluorescent Bulbs
There are three types of bulbs commonly used in pool lights: halogen, LED, and fluorescent.
Halogen bulbs are the most common type. They’re inexpensive and produce a bright, white light perfect for nighttime swimming. However, they aren’t as energy-efficient as LED or fluorescent bulbs.
LED bulbs are the most energy-efficient type of pool light bulb. They last longer than halogen bulbs and use less electricity, saving you money in the long run. However, LED bulbs can be more expensive upfront.
Fluorescent bulbs aren’t as common as halogen or LED bulbs, but they’re a good middle ground. Fluorescent bulbs are more energy-efficient than halogen bulbs and last longer than regular incandescent bulbs. However, they’re not as energy-efficient as LED bulbs.
- Pool Lights Can Be Solar-Powered
Solar-powered pool lights are a great way to save money on your electric bill. These lights use the sun’s energy to power the light, so you won’t have to worry about running an electrical current to the light.
Solar-powered lights are also environmentally friendly and reduce your carbon footprint. However, they can be more expensive upfront and may not work as well in cloudy or overcast conditions. For instance, EcoWatch reports that a solar panel’s energy production may reduce to 10-25% of the normal output on a cloudy day.
- Pool Lights Improve the Aesthetics of Your Pool
Installing pool lights can take your pool from drab to fab. With the proper lighting, you can transform your pool into a luxurious oasis or a fun party spot.
Pool lights come in various colors, so you can choose the perfect shade to complement your pool’s design. You can even install multi-colored lights that change colors with the push of a button.
Here’s a video sample of how pool lights can change the look and feel of your pool:
- Pool Lights Offer Improved Safety
Pool lights also offer enhanced safety. Well-lit pools are less likely to have accidents, and you’ll be able to see if anyone is in trouble.
They also deter criminals. A brightly lit pool is less likely to be a target for vandals or thieves.
- Pool Lights Require Regular Maintenance
Like anything else in your pool, pool lights require regular maintenance. Depending on the type of light, you may need to change the bulb every few months or years.
You should also clean the light regularly to prevent the build-up of dirt, dust, and other debris. Also, check the light for cracks or damage that could cause electrical shocks.
- Pool Lights Can Be Automated
Most pool lights are now automated, meaning they turn on and off automatically. They can be controlled with a timer or a light sensor.
With a timer, you can set the light to turn on at a specific time of day and turn off when you want it to. For example, you could set the light to turn on an hour before sunset and turn off at midnight.
With a light sensor, the light will turn on when it’s dark and turn off when it’s bright outside. Light sensors are handy if you live in an area with frequent power outages.
- Pool Lights Must Be Installed by a Licensed Electrician
Unless you’re a licensed electrician, you should not attempt to install pool lights yourself. A professional electrician can install the lights quickly and safely.
If you need quality pool lights, I recommend these LED Underwater Pool Lights from Amazon.com. They feature RGB color-changing technology, remote control, and a lifetime warranty, so you can be sure they’ll last.
Now that you know more about pool lights, you can decide if they’re suitable for your pool. If you choose to install pool lights, hire a licensed electrician to do the job. Otherwise, you could be putting yourself and your family at risk.
And don’t forget to perform regular maintenance on your lights to keep them working correctly. Also, turn off the lights when you’re not using the pool to save money on your electric bill.
- EcoWatch: Do Solar Panels Work on Cloudy Days? What About at Night?
- ScienceDirect: Efficiency, Quality, and Environmental Impacts: A Comparative Study of Residential Artificial Lighting
- ScienceDirect: The Detrimental Effects of Water on Electronic Devices
- AskingLot: What Voltage Are Swimming Pool Lights?
- ScienceDirect: Chapter 21 – SCRs and Triacs
- Florida Sunseeker: 12 Volts AC or DC Power for Swimming Pool LED’s
- Davis & Shirtliff: Pool Lights