Having a swimming pool offers homeowners tremendous opportunities to engage in moments of relaxation and fun in the company of friends and family. With a backyard pool, it’s so easy to schedule poolside socials like birthday parties, holiday celebrations, or get-togethers just because.
But, to have more opportunities to use your pool, you need to be able to use it any time of the day, or night. This is why it’s essential to get the lighting done right.
7 benefits of having pool lights installed in your pool
Well-chosen lighting elements provide the following advantages:
- It improves night-time visibility in the pool area, which is crucial if you have pets and kids.
- It is an essential safety element for home exteriors.
- It allows you to use your pool day and night, and even early in the morning.
- It can serve to highlight special backyard elements and water features.
- It adds definition to architectural and design elements (e.g. decks, fire pits, gazebos) placed in the backyard.
- If you have a spa pool, strategically placed lighting fixtures can set the tone or atmosphere in your poolside sanctuary.
- You can use mood-enhancing lighting (such as coloured lights) when you’re entertaining to make the area more festive or delightful. Lighting colour can be used to create a sense of magic, mystery, drama or whatever mood you are going for.
This is why the right lighting elements provide both aesthetic and practical benefits not only for your pool but also for the rest of your backyard.
But what are the different types of pool lights, and which ones should you choose for your pool?
Types of pool lights
Incandescent bulbs used to be everyone’s go-to lighting option. But with innovations in lighting technology, people today have more choices that are not only durable but also energy efficient.
For pool lighting, there are two types of lighting options that are quite popular among homeowners. These are halogen lights and LEDs.
Halogens replaced incandescent light bulbs as the preferred pool lighting element the moment they came into the picture. These are durable, energy-efficient and good for the environment. However, halogens also come with downsides. They cost twice as much as fluorescent bulbs and require regular replacement. They have an average lifespan between 2,000 and 4,000 hours.
Light-emitting diodes or LEDs have an even greater impact on lighting technology, in general. LED light bulbs are more affordable, more durable (their lifespan is more than twice that of compact fluorescent lights or CFLs) and an eco-friendly, and a more energy-efficient lighting option.
A 6-watt LED light bulb, for example can produce light of the same intensity as a 100-watt halogen bulb. Since LEDs have heat sinks that work to displace heat, these light bulbs feel cool to the touch. Like halogens and incandescent bulbs, LEDs don’t contain any mercury.
You can also integrate energy-saving features such as dimmers and sensors to LED light bulbs. This is why LEDs are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. They also have a long average lifespan of 50,000 hours, and are low maintenance. All these qualities make LED lights a crowd favourite among pool owners in Australia.
More benefits from LED lights
LED pool lights provide other advantages, especially for your pool and property:
- They are versatile and programmable: LED lights come in a variety of colours so, with the creative use of LED light bulbs, you can make your pool area and backyard more attractive and inviting. You can use multi-coloured LED lights to complement the look or theme of your poolside parties and get-togethers. Thanks to LED lighting innovation there are now smart bulbs that can be customised and paired with apps. Smart LED lights can be controlled remotely (including colour changes!) using a tablet or smartphone. They can also be scheduled to turn on and off, and dimmed as needed. There are even LED lights that come with easy snap-on filters to enable fast colour changes. Since smart bulbs are programmable, this feature helps to make them even more energy efficient. There’s also no reason for you to forget to turn them off since you can schedule them to turn off or dim (and even twinkle for effect) based on your lighting needs. If you are already using smart home automation, you’d be glad to know that smart bulb lighting systems are compatible with this technology.
- They make for a cool safety feature for your pool and home: LED lights have a higher frequency, with electromagnetic frequencies ranging from under 400 terahertz to over 600 terahertz, so the light is perceived by the human eye as brighter and bluer than incandescent light. In practical terms, this means that it will take only a few LED lights to properly illuminate your pool area.
- They can be used to enhance the aesthetics of your backyard and pool: LEDs come in a multitude of colours and designs, so you can very easily use these to improve the aesthetics of your property.
All this means that LED lighting technology is easily the more practical and eco-friendly choice for pool lighting.
Determining how many pool lights you need
Now, a question you may be asking is how do you know how many light bulbs are needed to light up your backyard and pool area? Well, this depends on your answers to the following questions:
- What is the size and shape of your pool?
- How much light does the area surrounding your pool receive?
- Are there specific design considerations and special lighting effects that you want to achieve?
A larger pool requires more lights than a smaller pool. And if there’s no ambient light available, you need to install more lights to ensure your pool area is well-lit and safe. Again, households with pets and small children need to pay extra attention to this.
Irregularly shaped, curved or L-shaped pools have their own factors that need to be taken into consideration when deciding on lighting, as a standard set-. If you have a spa pool, then mood lighting is needed. The use of lighting colour in a pool spa is vital as it helps you to relax. You also need to ensure that all steps leading to and around the pool are adequately illuminated to ensure pool safety.
Also, if you are into aesthetics or your pool area has certain items you want to use as focal points (e.g. water features), you need to ensure these are individually lit for emphasis.
Placement of pool lights
During the pool planning stage, the pool lighting design should already be set for implementation. Again, matters such as the pool shape, size, landscaping and design elements in the area need to be considered.
For lighting inside the pool, there are several types of below-the-ground or submerged lights you can choose from. These also come in various colours and have different features. These include:
- Flush-mounted underwater LED pool lights easy to install and should be set up during pool construction.
- Surface-mounted underwater LED pool lights that stick out from the pool wall. These can be added even when the pool is already finished.
- Submersible LED lights that you can DIY do not require any installation work. All you need to do is to let them sink to the bottom of the pool to illuminate the area.
- To light up the pool surroundings or your entire backyard, you need to visualise how you want the pool landscape to appear in the early evening and at night-time. Consider brightness, shape, colour and how many lights you’ll be using, too.
- To illuminate your pool garden or landscape, you can use so many types of lights such as pathway lights, step lights, spike lights, string lights and bollard lights.
- To infuse life and vitality to your backyard, you may opt to use floodlights which will also illuminate large expanses of space.
- To add focus or highlight design elements in your backyard pool area, you can get creative with coloured lights. You can also use spotlights to emphasise focal points such as architectural design elements, statues and plants.
In surveying and planning for your pool lighting system, you need to ensure that you have a reliable professional and licenced electrician by your side. An experienced electrician can provide valuable input regarding suitable pool lighting elements, their visual impact and safety features.
You can also ask your electrician about which brands or models would work best with the planned system.
Get expert pool advice
Pool lighting is an essential aesthetic, practical and safety feature of a swimming pool, whether indoor, or out in your backyard. So it’s really important to plan for your pool lighting system as early as possible.
If you have other concerns about pool lighting and queries about pool projects in general, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Local Pools & Spas.
We have a team of professional pool consultants ready to address your pool requirements and questions.