By Ron Burr
The decision has been made to build a new swimming pool and or spa and you have decided on many different options. What type and style of underwater lights are you going to install?
Up until just a few years ago the only option regarding underwater lights was how bright do I want my lights and how many do I need. If you are currently planning to build a new swimming pool think about the many different lights which are available.
Today’s lighting include simple white lights (both standard incandescent and quartz halogen) white lights with plastic color lens, color changing lights (rotating color wheel inside unit) LED automatic color changing lights and fiber optic pool and spa lights. Which style or type of light would be the best one to use?
Standard incandescent and quartz halogen lights are usually the most cost effective and will produce a clear white light. This type and style of lights are available in wattage’s ranging from 100W to 500W. Many building departments require 12 volt lights and a transformer as per code, if this is the case 100W and 300W lights are available in 12 Volt. High Watt lights such as 400W and 500W are only available in 120 volt and may not be allowed by code. Check with your local codes and building officials for the lighting requirements which will be accepted. These lights typically have available, plastic color lens which snap on over the glass lens to produce a nice underwater effect.
Fiber optic lights are also available to illuminate your pool or spa. These units have a small wall fitting (usually about 2″ round), which have the fiber-optic cable attached. Most pools will require multiple fiber optic lights for adequate lighting. The fiber optic cable is run back to a light generating box which is placed away from the pool or spa. The light in the box sends a beam of light through the fiber optic to the end of the strands located inside the pool or spa. One fiber optic light box will typically operate many wall fittings, but, this will depend on the total amount of fiber optic strands the box will operate.
Color changing lights are perhaps the most exciting item to become available for swimming pools and spas in the last few years. Lights are available which have a color wheel built into the light which is controlled by a small circuit board. Many newer style color changing lights are now available in LED. LED lights have no moving parts and offer many different light shows for your use. Typically these lights are controlled by turning off and on the lights to locate the light pattern or “show” which you would like to have.
Check out your options and choose the best light package for your new pool. Lighting is one feature which will in many cases turn an ordinary pool into a spectacular backyard oasis.