How many swimmers does it take to change a pool light bulb? It might sound like the beginning of a bad punchline. However, if you’ve ever found yourself with a burnt out bulb in the pool, it might be something you’ve thought about. Some pool owners will just call a professional to make the switch. But with a little know-how, this is something just about anyone can handle themselves. Read on to learn how to safely replace a light bulb for an in ground swimming pool.
Step 1: Assemble Tools and Supplies
Before you get going, it’s best to gather everything you need in one place. Make sure you have a replacement swimming pool light bulb purchased and ready to install. You might need new screws and washers if signs of corrosion are present. It’s recommended that you also replace the lens gasket, which will likely be cracked, crimped or showing signs of wear.
If you aren’t sure which model of light you have, you can usually find this information on the back of the housing, which we’ll remove from the pool in step 3. If no sticker is present or the information is unreadable, you can also check for a part number on the face ring and lens, or try to locate other specs printed on the bulb itself. This data will be helpful in ordering the right parts.
In addition to the purchased supplies, you’ll also need:
- A couple of soft towels or cloths
- A Phillips-head screwdriver
- A flathead screwdriver
- A voltage tester
Last, but certainly not least, it is strongly advised that you have an assistant present in case of emergency.
Step 2: Turn Off Electricity
To begin, locate the circuit panel for your pool, and turn off any breaker switches that control the pool lights. Then confirm that the power is indeed off. Flip the regular on/off wall switch for the lights to make sure there’s no power running through the circuit. You might be able to look to the pool lights for reference, but this will only be effective if you still have another functioning light in the pool. At this point, a non-contact voltage tester will come in handy. Place the tester against the light switch while flipping it off and on to see if electricity is detected.
USE EXTREME CAUTION! Changing the light bulb in your pool brings the risk of electrical shock. As with all potentially dangerous scenarios, it’s important to understand all safety precautions before getting started. If in doubt, seek the help of a licensed professional.
Step 3: Remove Light From Pool
Most pool lights have a single Phillips-head screw securing the light housing to the pool. Remove that screw, then use your flathead screwdriver between the pool wall and the edges of the light housing to gently work it loose from the casing or the niche in the wall. Depending on the depth of your light, you might be able to do this from the edge of the pool without getting in the water.
There should be enough extra wire to reach the pool ledge, but pay close attention to how it’s situated inside the wall. You’ll need to replace it in a similar fashion when you reinstall the housing, or else it may not fit properly. Most lights will have the cord gently wrapped around the back of the housing. Once the light housing is freed, set it on a towel at the edge of the pool. The towel not only helps absorb excess water, but it also prevents the lens from breaking or scratching.
Step 4: Disassemble Light Housing
Carefully remove any screws or clamps that hold the face ring, lens and gasket to the housing. Examine the screws and such for signs of corrosion, and replace them if necessary. If any water leaked into the housing during removal of the lens and gasket, dry it off well with a towel or soft cloth. Then, using a towel for grip, very carefully unscrew and remove the old bulb from the housing. It’s also a good idea to gently remove any residue from the old gasket with a damp rag. Make sure the entire housing is clean and dry before you proceed.
Step 5: Replace Bulb and Reassemble Light Housing
Gently screw the new bulb into place, but be careful to not over-tighten it. Install the new gasket around the lens, then add the lens and face ring back onto the housing. Next, insert and tighten the screws (or the clamp and screw combination) that hold the face ring onto the housing.
When ready, submerge the light housing in pool water to test it. A few small bubbles are nothing to be alarmed about, but a steady stream of bubbles from around the gasket will indicate a leak that needs to be addressed. If this happens, disassemble the light housing once again, dry it off thoroughly, and make sure a tight seal is formed when reinserting the screws around the face ring.
If desired, you can temporarily turn the power back on to test the new light before returning the housing to the niche in the wall. Pool lights aren’t intended to be turned on outside the pool, so do the test as quickly as possible to avoid damage to your light. No more than one or two seconds is recommended. As a precaution, make sure the power is turned off again before proceeding to the next step.
Step 6: Return Light to Pool
Wrap the light’s power cord around the back of the housing (or as you found it originally) so that it fits back into the niche easily. Return the light housing to the niche or casing in the pool wall, and secure it to the wall with the screw that was removed in step 3. Finally, turn the circuit panel back to the “on” position, and continue enjoying the benefits of a lighted pool!