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Thread: Pool light fixture replacement on 18yo pool

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    Pool light fixture replacement on 18yo pool

    Bought the house from first owner, and have two issues. One, plaster patches in pool and spa, two, pool lights out.
    Built in 1997, the two lights in the pool and the one in the built in spa are (5in?) Pentair Sta-Rite 250w halogen type lights.
    Two switches on the house exterior, one controls the two pool, the other the spa.
    The GFI for just the lights is on the conduit posts near the pump, bundled with the wiring for the spa air pump.

    Last year, I replace the 250w halogen light bulb and gasket in the spa. It worked. For about four hours of on time.
    So, bad experience.
    But when I replaced the bulb, I noticed the cable coming out the back of the can was corroded. While it was clear the gasket failed killing the light in the first place, the corrosion bothered me, so I electrical taped it up. I knew then that was a temp fix, and kept the circuit dead after the light died. Nobody was in the spa during the testing of the light for the same reason - that the electrical tape is not a fix.

    So, I need to replace the entire can in the spa. In addition, the other two are in far better shape physically on inspection, but I'm not a fan of the halogen lights. Bright, but I figure there's a reason the things have been discontinued.

    When I got the pool, the stabilizer content of the water was very high. I was going to have to empty at least half the pool.
    But since there's some plaster issues that have to be attended at the 4' depth mark in the pool, I simply emptied the whole pool. Pulling the wires out might be easier this way, so I figure now is the time to do this.

    Questions:
    What 5in lights are best for replacing? I'm not sure I want to get the transformer for the 12v lights, but since I'm replacing everything to the GFI, is there an issue? Is there a 12v / 120v debate or is this settled already?

    If this is a straight 120v can replacement with the long wires and the procedure I've heard about where you pull the wires through, is this doable without major repair technicians?

    I'm in northwest Houston. Are there any recommendations for technicians or experiences to share?

  2. Back To Top    #2
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Pool light fixture replacement on 18yo pool

    Welcome to TFP!

    Replacing the light fixtures is a reasonable DIY project. The only real gotcha is that there is a small chance that the conduit containing the wires has collapsed. If that has happened the wires won't pull out and the only fix is to dig up the conduit and replace it (a major project).

    120 volt lights are fine. 12 volt lights are a little safer. Some people care about that small safety difference, but many don't.

    There is no need to drain the pool below the lights when replacing them, though it can make things simpler.

    When pulling out the wires, one common trick is to cut the fixture off at the pool end and use the old wires to pull the new wires through in one step, pulling from the junction box end.
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    Patrick_B's Avatar
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    Re: Pool light fixture replacement on 18yo pool

    Hi Windy, and welcome to TFP!
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  4. Back To Top    #4

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    Re: Pool light fixture replacement on 18yo pool

    Why isn't splicing the wire a better option than digging out the conduit?

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Pool light fixture replacement on 18yo pool

    Splicing is prohibited by electrical code due to safety issues. Remember that the conduit is "wet", i.e. full of water, making a truly waterproof splice is not at all easy, and even very slight water penetration leads to serious safety risks. Due to this issue, and others, splices have been prohibited.
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    Re: Pool light fixture replacement on 18yo pool

    Thanks for the input regarding splicing - does it hold true for a 12 volt system as well? I have bad lights, and very poorly installed wiring that can not be removed from the conduit. It also lies under a cement deck. I think splicing is my only option! If the circuit is a GFI, what danger is there?

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Pool light fixture replacement on 18yo pool

    GFI provides no protection at all to the 12 volt side of circuit. The 12 volt side is isolated by the transformer, which means the GFI will never trigger unless the problem is on the 120 volt side.

    If the splice is not completely waterproof you will lose power through the water. Depending on various details that could be enough to interfere with the operation of the light. Likewise, if the splice is not completely waterproof the connection will corrode, which will eventually cause it to fail.

    On the other hand 12 volt circuits are extremely safe.

    Regardless, by the electrical code, splices in conduit or underwater are not allowed.
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    Re: Pool light fixture replacement on 18yo pool

    Many thanks on the replies.
    Upon further review, all lights seem to work with a bulb replacement,
    (apparently I have one 100w halogen bulb in the built in spa, and 250w halogen bulb in the two fixtures of the same size in the pool. I imagine the spa could take a 250w, but I worry about burned calves)

    The plaster patching done, I'll wait to fill the pool to see if I sealed the light cans properly. I flicked them on briefly dry to check.
    I'd replace them in a heartbeat if the cost was lower.

    I've been lurking a while, and many many thanks for your forum and its contributors.

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