Summer is just around the corner, and it’s the time of year where many Australians will be pulling the cover off their pools and spending more time in the water - and as we all know, the heat doesn’t die down when the sun does. Relaxing in the water under the stars on a warm night can be the highlight of a long day – which means lighting is going to be important.
Having a well-lit pool means it can be used for all hours of the day, and makes it safer for use at night, illuminating the bottom and sides. Not only that – but lighting can add an extra level of aesthetic to your backyard! Giving you a perfect excuse to throw that evening pool party.
Underwater Lighting: Basics
There are several styles to choose from when it comes to lighting your pool, the major breakdown being: Halogen, LED pool lights, and fibre optic lights.
It should be noted that pool lighting can be quite expensive, so making sure you choose the best option for your pool the first time will save you money in the long run. Have a budget in mind when you start your search. For reference, Halogen Lights are the least expensive, but LED has become cheaper in recent years, and as you’ll read below, has several advantages over Halogen.
Flush Mounted vs Surface Mounted
There are two lighting styles available for under water lights; surface-mounted and flush mounted.
Surface-mounted lights are typically larger, and protrude out of the pool wall. As they are easier to install than flush mounted lights, they are able to be retrofitted or upgraded from existing, older pool lights, without the need for re-drilling or extensive work.
Unfortunately, there are downsides to this style, as they can be easily broken by people using them as footholds, and are less aesthetically pleasing due to how they stick out from the pool wall.
On the other hand, Flush-mounted lights are installed flush with the pool wall, into a niche that houses it. This style is often seen in newer pools, and new designs are typically designed with flush-mounted lighting in mind. This style is most commonly seen in LED pool light designs.
The downside to this style is they are harder to retro-fit, needing redrilling and additional construction if you have an older pool, or are upgrading from surface-mounted lights.
As mentioned previously, there are three main lighting technologies seen in pool lights: Halogen, LED and Fibre Optic.
Halogen lights were long the most popular lighting choice in and out of the water. But, as with the rest of the lighting industry, these lights are slowly being phased out in favour of LEDs. Despite this, they are still available on the market, and often for much cheaper prices than LEDs.
The downside is that these lights use more energy and burn out faster, meaning that you need to change them more often, often costing you more in the long run despite their cheaper up-front cost. Additionally, unlike LEDs, halogen lights come in much fewer colour options.
Fibre Optic Light Cable
These lights differ from LED and Halogen, as they aren’t installed in either the Flat or Surface mounted styles. Instead, the light is placed in a dry box above the pool, and the fibre optic cable is installed around the edge of the pool. This makes them much easier to replace when compared to the other styles.
Sadly, these lights provide a much lower level of illumination when compared to LED and Halogen lumen output, and have a much higher cost over their lifetime to both install and maintain.
Finally, LED. We've talked extensivily about the benefits of LED in our past blogs, but it begs rementioning here as well. LED lights have a huge range of benefits, including:
- - Available in a variety of colour temperatures
- - Not sensitive to cold environments
- - Produce next to no heat or UV emissions
- - Can be cycled on and off frequently without shortening the lifespan
LED Pool lights come in a range of styles and options, including colour changing RGB remote controlled lights.
While these lights are typically more expensive in their up-front cost, their longer life and long term power savings will easily make up for it.
The right pool light for you will depend on your pool size and existing installations. If you want some mood lighting - the lower lumen of Fibre Optic Cables may work, though so too will dimmable LED lights! Halogens are always an option if you're on a lower budget and don't intend to use your lights often.