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Everything You Need to Know Before Installing Colored Pool Lights

Dreaming of taking your poolscape to the next level with stunning colored lighting? As you plan this exciting project, there are important factors to consider so your lighting installation goes smoothly. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know before installing colored pool lights for maximum enjoyment.


Types of Colored Pool Lights


The first decision is selecting which type of colored pool light technology you prefer based on factors like brightness, longevity, and cost. Here are some top options:


LED Pool Lights – The most popular choice, LEDs offer extremely vibrant color options thanks to RGB and RGBW technology. Energy efficient with 50,000-hour lifespans, LED pool lights strip come as contour light for pool, and flexible waterproof strips for endless application possibilities. 

Incandescent Lights – Traditional colored incandescent bulbs can provide a retro neon glow, but lack advanced features. Less energy efficient and lower lifespan than LED. Limited color options. 

Fiber Optic Lights – Hundreds of tiny fiber optic cables in the pool wall disperse vibrant dancing dots of light. Creates a “starry” effect. Difficult installation. Limited color options. 

Halogen Lights – A less common but potential option are halogen bulbs known for bright white light. Some models offer interchangeable colored lenses. Higher energy use than LED.

 Consider brightness, cost, longevity, and color versatility to select the ideal pool lighting type for your project. LED lights offer the best overall package for most pool owners.


Benefits of Colored Pool Lighting 


Beyond just looking beautiful, colored pool lighting provides many advantages that enhance the aquatic experience:


- Sets a mood - customize relaxation or make a vibrant party statement

- Improves nighttime safety with enhanced visibility

- Adds depth, dimension and visual interest

- Attracts attention and focal point to the pool

- Fun entertainment value and wow factor

- Complements landscaping and backyard aesthetics

- Increases pool use and enjoyment


The right colored lighting brings these rewarding benefits that make your poolscape more usable and enjoyable day or night.


Choosing Pool Lighting Colors and Effects


The options for colored pool lighting are endless, so how do you select the perfect colors and effects? Here are some popular choices:


- Single color lights in vibrant primaries like royal blue, cherry red, or emerald green

- Soft pastels like lavender, seafoam, and buttercream for relaxed ambiance

- Multicolor LED strips cycling through the spectrum for festive lighting shows

- RGB controllers offering pre-programmed modes like Candle Flicker or Rainbow Fade

- Music synchronization and sound-activated effects for lively entertainment

- Warm white perimeter glow for safety and navigation 

- Use different colors to indicate pool depth changes


Match lighting colors and effects to your poolscape vision.


Placement for Maximum Impact


Where you position colored pool lights greatly influences their visual impact. Follow these placement tips:


- Light interior pool walls 3-6 inches below the waterline to create a beautiful reflective glow across the entire surface.

- Illuminate steps and bench seating for safety and style using recessed perimeter lighting.

- Mount underwater fixtures on the floor for colorful patterns and dynamic effects.

- Use corner niche lights to cast intersecting beams of color across diagonal pool sections.

- Highlight special architectural features like rock waterfalls, raised spas and vanishing edges with accent colors.


Take advantage of what makes your pool unique. Strategically place lights to illuminate the best assets.


Electrical Wiring Considerations


Safety is paramount when installing pool lights. Here is an overview of wiring and voltage considerations:


- Low voltage lights (12V or 24V) are recommended for in-water fixtures to prevent shock hazards.

- Higher voltage lights (110V-120V) require licensed electrician installation and GFCI protection.

- Newer LED lights use less energy, minimizing electrical load concerns.

- Useful accessories include in-line transformers, junction boxes, conduit and cables rated for pool use.

- Improper wiring can risk equipment damage or injury. When in doubt, hire a professional.


For utilities, safety and code compliance, a qualified electrician is strongly advised for colored pool light installation.


Why Hire a Licensed Electrician?


Attempting electrical work without training can negatively impact safety, function and aesthetics. Here’s why it’s wise to hire a licensed electrician:


- Ensures proper voltage is supplied to each light fixture location per manufacturer specifications

- Confirms waterproof connections that withstand the pool environment

- Provides expertise for integrating and synchronizing complex lighting control systems

- Meets local permit, bonding and electrical code requirements

- Reduces liability risks associated with improper electrical work

- Identifies and remediates potential hazards or noncompliant existing wiring


While seemingly simple on the surface, correctly wiring pool lights involves nuanced complexities. Professional experience prevents electrical dangers and system issues down the road.


Needed Accessories 


In addition to the colored lights themselves, installing a high quality lighting system requires certain accessories:


- Low voltage transformers sized appropriately for total lighting wattage

- GFCI protection for any fixtures above water

- Waterproof niches, LED drivers and junction boxes

- Durable mounting clips suited for each light placement

- Wireless or hardwired control panels or switches

- App integration modules, WiFi/Zigbee controllers, or music synchronization systems


Often these accessories are included with LED pool light kits for convenience. Ensure they are rated for wet locations and outdoor/underwater use as applicable.


Connecting Your Colored Pool Lights 


Today’s colored LED pool lights offer more connection options than ever for controlling effects:


- Bluetooth and WiFi enabled lights sync with your smartphone or tablet via apps for limitless possibilities.

- Voice activation through Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple Siri allows hands-free voice control.

- Zigbee, Z-Wave and Ant+ enable integration with smart home and security ecosystems.

- Controllers with pre-set modes, color wheels, and dynamic programs make shows effortless. 

- Schedule timed lighting periods or music-synced light shows for automated experiences.


Your custom lighting visions can be easily activated at the touch of a button or with a simple voice command when paired with today’s robust connection capabilities.


Operation and Maintenance


To keep your colored pool lights looking their best, follow these operation and maintenance best practices:


- Use manufacturer recommended wattages for each fixture to prevent overheating.

- Avoid aiming lights at vinyl or acrylic steps or seating which can discolor or warp from excessive heat exposure.

- Test GFCI breakers regularly per electrical code requirements.

- Replace any lights that flicker, discolor, dim, or show performance issues.

- Keep lenses clean and clear of debris which can block light dispersion.

- Lubricate niche cover gaskets regularly to ensure waterproof operation.


With proper care, quality LED colored pool lights will provide years of enjoyment. Handle fixtures carefully and perform occasional inspections.


Cost Considerations


As you plan your pool lighting budget, costs vary based on:


- Type of light: LED most affordable, long lifetime.

- Number of lights: The more accents and effects, the higher the price.

- Accessories needed for installation like transformers and junction boxes.

- Complexity of wiring layout: More intricate designs cost more in electrician fees.

- Control systems: Simple timers vs. WiFi-managed systems with apps and automation.


While not cheap, colored pool lighting adds tremendous value and joy to any poolscape for years to come.


Ready for Dazzling Colored Pool Lighting?


We hope this guide sheds light on key considerations when planning a colored pool lighting project for stunning nighttime effects. With a variety of options for casting vibrant hues on water features, gardens and walls, you can create a custom oasis that reflects your unique personality and needs. If you have any other questions before trying the tint, please drop us a line! We look forward to seeing your beautiful lighting creations.

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