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Thread: Trying to replace light and conduit stuck. What now?

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    Trying to replace light and conduit stuck. What now?

    Hi. This is my first post and I am a complete pool novice so please bear with me.

    Two years ago we purchased this house and this is my first pool, although my husband had several growing up. There are two lights, one for the spa and one for the pool. When we turned on the lights this spring, neither worked. Three pool companies later we found someone who seemed to know what they were doing and they were able to get the spa light going by doing some rewiring. The pool light, on the other hand, had been flickering at times last summer, and when we tried it this spring it was completely non-functional.

    After doing some troubleshooting, pool company #3 told us we needed to replace the pool light and the wiring because it kept tripping the GFI (this was the same thing pool company #1 told us, except they said both lights were bad. Because pool company #3 got the spa light working and no one else could, I feel like they are the most knowledgeable of the 3 companies we've had out here).

    Fast forward to this Friday; they come out and start draining the pool to below the light housing. Saturday morning they come back to replace the light and run new wiring. According to records we looked through at the HOA office, the pool was built in '88. I would not be surprised if this is the original light and wiring. The distance between the electrical panel and the pool light is easily 50'. Pool company #3 said it's one of the farthest distances they've seen. ANYWAY, after two hours on Saturday they tell us the conduit is stuck. No matter what they try they can't budge it. They're afraid to pull too hard because they don't want it to just snap somewhere in the channel.

    Pool company #3 had their staff electrical dude come take a look and he didn't have any ideas. I was told they had this happen once before and called in an outside electrician who was able to fix it. But now this guy is so busy he's not returning their calls. They have a line on another guy who won't be available until at least Thursday, so they told us to start filling the pool back up because they don't want to leave it sitting empty for long because it's so hot here that they're worried about damage ( we're in Las Vegas). Pool company #3, for some reason, thinks that this electrician may be able to fix everything without draining the pool again, which sounds weird to me, because if that was possible then why did we drain it in the first place?

    So, my questions are, has anyone encountered a scenario like this before with the conduit getting stuck and if so, how was it ultimately resolved? I'm trying to figure out how concerned my bank account should be. My second question is, I've been looking at temporary fixes, such as floating pool lights. Are there any that, if I bought two or three, for example, could actually do a decent job of illuminating the pool (it's 20,000 gallons, about 5' deep at its deepest. I don't have dimensions because it's freeform.)? Thanks in advance for any input or advice.

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    Corleone's Avatar
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    Re: Trying to replace light and conduit stuck. What now?

    My run from j box to panel is about 100', so if any pb is telling you that 50' is the farthest they've seen, I'd either question their experience or their honesty. I mean, Pentair makes lights with 30', 50', 100', and 150' cords.

    If there's an issue with the conduit, you'd be better off contacting electricians instead of PB's, IMO.

    Also, do you not have a wet niche? I'm not familiar with pool technology from 1988, but my lights can be changed out without draining the pool.
    13K Gallon IG Pool/Spa -- First time pool owners -- Completed in 2015 Caribbean Blue Pebble Tec Pentair 4000 Series 47 sq. ft. D.E. Filter Pentair IntelliFlo Variable Speed Pump Pentair SWG Jandy LXi Heater 400,000 BTU S.R. Smith Typhoon Slide Pentair LED 12v Lights Dolphin Nautilus Robotic Cleaner TF-100 Test Kit
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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Trying to replace light and conduit stuck. What now?

    Did they use the old electrical cord as the pull wire for the new cord?

    Typically you just disconnect all wiring at the j-box, chop off the old light fixture at the pool light niche, attach the new cord to the old cord with electrical tape, grease up the new wire with wire-pulling lube and then pull the old cord starting at the j-box. You have to be a little careful about not making a big, messy blob of electrical tape at the new/old wire connection so that it can flex easily around any bends in the conduit but any green electrical apprentice out in his first year knows how to do that....
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Trying to replace light and conduit stuck. What now?

    We need a bit more of a description of what is going on.

    The wire coming out of the back of the light is a cord. It does not run to an electrical panel but to a junction box. As stated above these can be long runs -- mine is almost 40 feet -- but they can be much longer.

    There is no best way to do it -- Old conduit and lights that have been replaced several times may mean obstructions or kinks in the line.

    If they have an electrician that has solved this before then by all means have them bring him in. But most good electricians can do this without a problem. It takes patience and some guys are really good at it.

    You don't need to drain the pool down to do this -- its easier but not necessary or necessarily desirable.
    22k gallon IG pebblefina, Jandy 1.5 HP VS, Jandy CV Cartridge filter, Fafco solar panels, Polaris 360 supply side cleaner, waterfall

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    Re: Trying to replace light and conduit stuck. What now?

    Thanks to all for your responses. And I suppose in retrospect we should have gone with an electrician. Pool company #2 recommended one and they got terrible reviews so we weren't sure what to do. We had a difficult time finding an electrician who knew what to do with pool lights (our friend, the electrician, was how the spa light wiring got messed up, but that's another story).

    Gwegan, what else do you need to know? Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by gwegan View Post
    We need a bit more of a description of what is going on.

    The wire coming out of the back of the light is a cord. It does not run to an electrical panel but to a junction box. As stated above these can be long runs -- mine is almost 40 feet -- but they can be much longer.

    There is no best way to do it -- Old conduit and lights that have been replaced several times may mean obstructions or kinks in the line.

    If they have an electrician that has solved this before then by all means have them bring him in. But most good electricians can do this without a problem. It takes patience and some guys are really good at it.

    You don't need to drain the pool down to do this -- its easier but not necessary or necessarily desirable.

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    Re: Trying to replace light and conduit stuck. What now?

    Hi Tracey. Sorry for your trouble. You do not have to drain your pool. Your pool co.seems sketchy Pentair actually makes pool lights with 200ft cords? Stuck cord? I'm fairly old school but most old pools used 3/4 " conduit, unlike 1" today. Here is my list of ways to remove a stuck cord. 1) Remove the bond wire from the conduit, this works a lot. 2). From the junction box, blow air back to the pool, it might remove dirt,etc. 3). Pick up a large bottle of dishwashing detergent, and pour into jbox cord conduit. Give it 24 hours or use 2 bottles. Its effective at loosing junk and lubricating the cord.

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    Re: Trying to replace light and conduit stuck. What now?

    Quote Originally Posted by TraceyCCM View Post
    Pool company #2 recommended one and they got terrible reviews ...
    I've learned the hard way that online reviews - Yelp, Angie's List, or YP - have almost no relationship to how the company will actually perform on your job. I've been completely cheated by companies with pages of five-star reviews and received excellent service from companies with some poor reviews. I don't put much stock in reviews anymore. The bottom line is to trust your instinct and not random people on the Internet.
    20k gal. IG plaster w/spa. 2 HP Aqua-Flo "A" pump, Hayward DE6020 filter. "The Pool Cleaner".

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    Re: Trying to replace light and conduit stuck. What now?

    Did they get it moving at all. Is there a ground wire in the conduit? Did it move. If they got it moving then the soap idea is good or wire lube -- but it dries. Good old electricians can get wire through.
    22k gallon IG pebblefina, Jandy 1.5 HP VS, Jandy CV Cartridge filter, Fafco solar panels, Polaris 360 supply side cleaner, waterfall

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