What type of pool lights do I need?
It depends on the type of light, but we currently use the smaller LED lights like the Globright or the Pal 2000 in our fiberglass pools and suggest that one light, at a minimum, will adequately illuminate a pool up to 30’ long. Pools longer than 30’ will require two lights. Please note that this is a bare minimum, most folks end up getting two lights in any pool, and some even have us install three on very large pools.
What are my lighting options and what are the pros and cons of each?
The predominant pool light on the market today is LED, but fiber optic lighting as well as incandescent lighting are also available. Let’s take a closer look at each.
LED stands for Light Emitting Diodes, illuminated by the movement of electrons within a semiconductor material.LEDs have no filaments, so they emit no heat, also change colors and have several light show settings.LED bulbs have a very long life span…about 30,000 hours compared to the 5,000 hours of the incandescent and the 6,000 hours fiber optics. That’s the equivalent of SIX incandescent replacements and FIVE fiber optic replacements.
Fiber optic pool lights hit their peak in the early 2000s and have lost market share with the widespread use of LED technology.
The design of fiber optic pool light is unique in that the light bulb is actually located in a dry box on top of the pool patio. The light from this bulb travels through fiber optic cables a special fitting within the pool wall where the cable ends and the light shines out into the pool.
Some fiber optic lights have a color wheel located within the box which the light shines through, causing the light in the pool to change color.The major disadvantage of fiber optic lights is they are simply the least bright of all the lighting options.As we will see later, they are also very expensive, especially for the amount of light they emit.
Incandescents work by electrical current passing through a wire, known as filament, to heat up. The filament glows, producing the bright light associated with an incandescent bulb.
The first disadvantage of incandescent bulbs is that in order to change color, a colored lens must be placed over the pool light inside the pool. This was fine twenty years ago, but a bit antiquated today.
Second, the bulb life is much shorter than that of LED bulbs.