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How to Change a Pool Light Bulb

A day at your swimming pool is always a fun time – nothing can compare to splashing and playing poolside on a hot summer day and watching your friends and family bask in the sun. But swimming during the night can be fun as well when the water is warmer, less chance of getting a sunburn, and you can backstroke and take in the stars. It truly can be a sight to behold.

That being said, night swimming is nowhere near as fun if you don’t have the proper lighting. You never know what could be near the pool lurking just out of view. Having just one light on your pool can make all the difference and make night swimming all the more enjoyable. If you don’t have one, the great thing is that you can easily get change a pool light bulb. Also, the prices associated with pool light bulbs are very affordable and fit for nearly every budget.

The majority of the backyard swimming pool comes with at least one light – with some even possessing underwater lights. Like most other bulbs, this will burn out over time require replacing. Changing a pool light bulb is not that difficult, but it is also important to remember that you don’t have to wait until they completely burn out before replacing them. Thankfully, it is not necessary to lower the pool’s water level in order to replace the bulb that has burned out. Instead, just remove the light housing from the pool’s side, then pull the fixture up and change the light bulb from there. The following are the steps involved from start to finish that go into changing a pool light bulb safely and efficiently. Once you have followed these a few times, you will an expert at switching out old bulbs for new ones.

 Removing the Pool Light Fixture

1. Shut down all power to pool lighting

The first step in changing the pool light bulb is shutting off the power that controls the pool lighting. You will find the power source at the home circuit break box. Once you are inside the box, you will notice that one of the breakers will be noted as ‘pool’. Once you find the right one, simply switch the breaker to the off position, and then all electricity directed to the pool is off. There are some people that have swimming pools that are equipped with their very own breaker boxes. If you go to your main breaker box and don’t see one, then check around the pool for a secondary system nearby. Double-check and ensure that the power is turned off by attempting to turn on the pool lights again so you won’t be at risk for electrocution. For those pool owners that have only one pool light, switch the pool pump on and off. If the power is truly out, the pump will not turn on.

2. Removing the screw-lock located at the top of the fixture.

This is the only screw that is holding the light fixture on the pool wall. IN the majority of cases, this screw-lock is a large one with a Phillips-head screw, so that means that you will need one of their screwdrivers in order to remove it. In order to reach it, you will have to place your arm in the water towards the surface of the water, then unscrew the screw-lock. Once the screw-lock has been unscrewed, put it in a place where you won’t lose it like your shirt or pants pocket.

3. Use a screwdriver to pry the light fixture from the box.

The majority of light fixtures have tabs on the bottom where you can pull the fixture away from the wall. Simply get the tab loose with your screwdriver and once it is loose enough for you to work your fingers in, you will be able to pull the light fixture from the wall.

4. Pull the fixture up to the pool deck.

Draw the fixture and the cord up to the pool deck and then set it on to the concrete. If you find that your cord is not unraveling, reach behind the light fixture and tug at it 2 or 3 times until it begins coming undone.

 Replacing the Pool Light Bulb

1. Remove the lens and cover from light fixture.

How this is done depends on how old your pool is as older models tend to have screws that must be removed before you can pull the lens out. Newer models typically include tabs that you have to pry loose. Remove the lens, then set it aside somewhere safe. The same should be done with the rubber gasket that is located between the metal fixture and the lens. Be sure not to splash water on to the fixture once you have removed the gasket and the lens.

2. Buy a replacement bulb that is a match with the bulb currently in the light.

Before you go out and purchase a new pool light bulb, check the manual that comes with the pool to find out exactly which type of bulb it requires. From there, you can visit a pool supply store in your area to buy an identical bulb. Double-check the brand, the size, and the serial numbers of the 2 bulbs so that they match. If the bulb you need is not available at your pool supply store, the alternative solution is purchasing a bulb online. These bulbs can be replaced online through major online sellers or directly from the manufacturer’s website.

3. Unscrew old bulb, then screw in new bulb with a towel.

Once you have removed the gasket and the lens, you can reach in to grab the bulb, twisting counter-clockwise in order to unscrew it. Once it has been removed, use an old dry towel for the new bulb, placing the bulb at the center and then twisting clockwise. Be sure not to touch the lightbulb directly as the oils on your finger can potentially damage a halogen light bulb and result in it burning out quicker than usual.

4. Turn on power for a few seconds to test the light and if it works

Return to the pool electrical box or circuit breaker and flip the switch on again. If the light turns on, then switch it quickly back to off position. This step will save you the stress of installing a new bulb if you find out it is not working.

Reinstalling the Pool Light Fixture

1. Replacing your lens and reassembling fixtures.

Place the lens and gasket back into place to cover the bulb. Once you are putting everything back together, use the dry towel to blot away any water that may drip into the fixture.

2. Replacing all locks and screws in all tabs to close light fixtures.

Just reverse the disassembling process so that you can re-assemble the light fixture for your pool. For newer models that may not have screws, ensure that all the tabs have been firmly pushed back into position so that sealing is not an issue. Also be sure to tighten any screws so that your gasket is pressed as flat as possible between the fixture cover and the lens.

3. Placing light fixture back into light niche.

Place the light fixture in your hand and then reach underneath the surface of the water, inserting the fixture back into the same niche it was withdrawn from before. Use the screwlock screw to insert it back into the fixture hole. Next, have your Phillips screwdriver on hand for any tightening. Additionally, you will have to feed the cables back into the wall if you just tugged them out. The easiest way to get this done is by wrapping the cord a few times around the base of the fixture before you try re-inserting into the wall.

4. Turning power on by switching circuit breaker to ‘on’.

Turning the breaker back on will provide electricity to the pool light again. Once all the circuits have been reconnected, turn the lights on to ensure that everything is running smoothly.


If you have done all of the aforementioned and you discover that your lights are not working out properly, the underlying issue may be more than an electrical problem. If this is the case, the first thing you need to do is contact the manufacturer of the pool to ask them for a repair specialist to thoroughly inspect the pool. Another suggestion is upgrading to LED bulbs that are brighter and conserve more energy than other bands on the market. LED lights burn at a mere fraction of the cost of traditional incandescent bulbs, with the option for bulbs that can change colors. This can add even more fun to your night swims with friends and family. Once the pool light bulb has beee replaced, the next time will be even easier to do as you will have had some experience. Plus, you will have another thing that can add to your resume.

Posted in pool accessories

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