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Thread: Leaking Pentair pool light

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    Leaking Pentair pool light

    I have a Pentair Amerlite 500w pool light (pictured below) that has been leaking since my pool was built years ago. I did not notice it right away and figured it was something I could fix on my own quite easily...not the case.

    Here is what I have tried:

    1) Bought and installed an aftermarket gasket. The light leaked even worse.

    2) Ordered and installed an OEM gasket. It leaked as much as the original gasket. Tried and tried again with no luck.

    3) Tried sealing the entire case and lens with silicone, letting it cure then installing. The leak slowly returned. I tried this procedure several times but it seems that the heat of the light causes the silicone to fail.

    Each time I submerge after an attempted fix, I get about 3/4" of water in the light. On occasions where the leak is fast enough I see air bubbles coming from roughly the 6 o'clock position. There does not appear to be any deformations in the light case and I am out of ideas and frustrated.

    Any thoughts or advice? As always, thanks for any input.

    8000 gallon outdoor inground vinyl. Sand filter, Hayward 1HP.

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    Re: Leaking Pentair pool light

    Doesn't that light seal with a stainless compression ring around the lens?
    Dave S.
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    Re: Leaking Pentair pool light

    Yes, the gasket goes around the lens, the lens sits on top of the case and the stainless compression ring sits over everything and is pulled tight with one screw.
    8000 gallon outdoor inground vinyl. Sand filter, Hayward 1HP.

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    Re: Leaking Pentair pool light

    How long is the run to the equipment pad? Sounds like a defective light housing. You might need to pull a new light


    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: Leaking Pentair pool light

    Could also be leaking where the power cord enters the fixture. Just removing and re-installing two of mine during a re-plaster disturbed the power cords enough to cause them to start leaking.
    38000 Gal, IG, Plaster, 20' x 40' x 10', Attached Raised Spa, Intelliflo VS 3 HP (011018), Pentair Quad DE 60 Filter, Raypak (Rheem) 400,000 BTU (407a low Nox), Easy Touch 8 upgrade, Screenlogic 2 with wireless, IS-4 Spa Side Remote, Stenner 45MPHP10 w/15 gal tank, Intellibrite 5g (3), Dolphin Triton Plus robot with PRO remote, Water Tech Catfish handheld vacuum for spa, TF100 with SpeedStir.

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    Re: Leaking Pentair pool light

    Quote Originally Posted by JoyfulNoise View Post
    How long is the run to the equipment pad? Sounds like a defective light housing. You might need to pull a new light


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    The cord only runs about 6 feet under my decking to the outlet attached to my house. I'm hoping to avoid replacement but it look like that may not happen. Anyone recommend a different product with a better seal? This one seems awful crude.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by gary300 View Post
    Could also be leaking where the power cord enters the fixture. Just removing and re-installing two of mine during a re-plaster disturbed the power cords enough to cause them to start leaking.
    I pulled the fixture out and placed the back end (where the cord enters the fixture) in a bucket of water and did not see any leaking. Also, in past attempts to fix, I have seen air bubbles coming from the lens near the 6 o'clock position.
    8000 gallon outdoor inground vinyl. Sand filter, Hayward 1HP.

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    Re: Leaking Pentair pool light

    Quote Originally Posted by kizerman View Post
    The cord only runs about 6 feet under my decking to the outlet attached to my house. I'm hoping to avoid replacement but it look like that may not happen. Anyone recommend a different product with a better seal? This one seems awful crude.

    - - - Updated - - -



    I pulled the fixture out and placed the back end (where the cord enters the fixture) in a bucket of water and did not see any leaking. Also, in past attempts to fix, I have seen air bubbles coming from the lens near the 6 o'clock position.
    I have a Pentair light as well. Mine is fine & going strong for 4+ years. Don't use the pool much at night though.

    Just saying, but your setup doesn't sound like it conforms to pool electrical code. The wiring conduit is supposed to run to the equipment pad ( minimum distance of connection to pad is 4ft) and then rise up a minimum of 18" above the waterline to a special connector before being connected electrically to a controller or outlet. It's all meant to be that way in case water gets past the wiring grommet in the light housing and heads back up the conduit.

    If your setup works for you, that's cool.




    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: Leaking Pentair pool light

    It passed inspection. It runs 6' from the pool to the house then through a box 24" off the ground then to the light switch.
    8000 gallon outdoor inground vinyl. Sand filter, Hayward 1HP.

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    Leaking Pentair pool light

    Quote Originally Posted by kizerman View Post
    It passed inspection. It runs 6' from the pool to the house then through a box 24" off the ground then to the light switch.
    Ahhhhhh, ok. Your previous description just had me confused. It sounded like the wiring just came up out of the ground from conduit and into a plug. Sorry if I alarmed you.

    On the bright side, it's not a very long run so it should be pretty easy to pull a new light if you need to.


    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: Leaking Pentair pool light

    Quote Originally Posted by JoyfulNoise View Post
    Ahhhhhh, ok. Your previous description just had me confused. It sounded like the wiring just came up out of the ground from conduit and into a plug. Sorry if I alarmed you.

    On the bright side, it's not a very long run so it should be pretty easy to pull a new light if you need to.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I see. I don't have any experience with changing out pool lights. Obviously this involves draining below the level of the light and resealing the light housing.
    8000 gallon outdoor inground vinyl. Sand filter, Hayward 1HP.

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    Leaking Pentair pool light

    Quote Originally Posted by kizerman View Post
    I see. I don't have any experience with changing out pool lights. Obviously this involves draining below the level of the light and resealing the light housing.
    Yes. Standard procedure would be to drain below the light niche, cut off the old light and use the old light wiring as the pull cable to thread the new light wiring through the conduit. The trick is to remember to put the rubber grommet and wire nut on the new light wire so that the electrical conduit is water tight. You pull the new wire through using the old wire and then do the hook ups. You check that the light works before refilling the pool.

    I have known people to do it without draining the pool but that is not a recommended approach.

    I would say that you probably should get help trying to do something like this.


    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: Leaking Pentair pool light

    ok. Thank you.
    8000 gallon outdoor inground vinyl. Sand filter, Hayward 1HP.

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    Re: Leaking Pentair pool light

    My SAM light has also leaked 3 times in 10 years, I believe from where the power cord enters the housing. The light has stopped functioning completely this time. The last time I replaced the colour wheel motor and gasket I applied RTV silicone to the cord bushing on the advice of Pentair but I never felt confident that a proper seal was made.

    I am considering replacing the SAM with another light that wil fit in the niche - the Pentair Intellibrite LED. I have read of leakage issues with this product as well.


    My question to you good and knowledgeable people is; if I replace the SAM with an Intellibrite, Is there something you would recommend that I do to properly seal that cord bushing so I don't lose the light in a year? I read about Butyl tape and AB putty but I'm not clear which might be the best solution for this application.

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    Re: Leaking Pentair pool light

    First I want to correct something stated above in this thread. You do not need to drain the pool to change a pool light fixture. The conduit to a pool light is supposed to have water in it. There is no rubber grommet or wire nut. AGAIN THE CONDUIT IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE WATER TIGHT. There should be a green insulated ground wire and the light fixture cord in the conduit which should run to a junction box listed for use as a pool light junction box.

    As to the question -- The less you mess with it the better. Silicone over it would be all I would do. In theory noting is the correct solution. Watching your chemicals closely and keeping your ph and chlorine within reasonable ranges helps.
    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: Leaking Pentair pool light

    Funny you should mention not draining the pool - I just now told my wife I was not going to drain it to change the light, because it did not make any sense to me.

    My niche was professionally installed and conduit and ground wire connections were done to spec. I just don't know how easy it will be to pull the cord through. My junction box is in the house (bsmt ceiling). I am thinking of tying a pull-cord to the end of the wire at the box, pulling it through from the niche, then using the pull-cord to pull the new light power cord back to the junction box.

    I just feel that these units would benefit from extra sealant at the cord bushing, and the RTV silicone I applied only lasted a few years.

    My pool is bromine btw.

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    Re: Leaking Pentair pool light

    Quote Originally Posted by gwegan View Post
    First I want to correct something stated above in this thread. You do not need to drain the pool to change a pool light fixture. The conduit to a pool light is supposed to have water in it. There is no rubber grommet or wire nut. AGAIN THE CONDUIT IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE WATER TIGHT. There should be a green insulated ground wire and the light fixture cord in the conduit which should run to a junction box listed for use as a pool light junction box.

    As to the question -- The less you mess with it the better. Silicone over it would be all I would do. In theory noting is the correct solution. Watching your chemicals closely and keeping your ph and chlorine within reasonable ranges helps.
    My apologies if my response seemed to indicate that you HAD TO drain to replace but I would respectfully disagree with your correction (perhaps this needs to move to the Agree-To-Disagree Forum?).

    Some light niches (like the Pentair niche in my pool) can be made water tight with respect to the PVC wiring conduit (and mine certainly is as I have removed the light and seen the sealing grommet with my own eyes). If you look at the following link you will see several images on pages 3-6 which show how to install the water-tight sealing grommet into the threaded wire hub. Other manufacturers make similar lighting niches (see Hayward lighting niche here) and not all niches have a sealing grommet.

    I agree that, for a properly designed and installed wiring run to the equipment pad, you can certainly have a light niche with no sealing grommet in it as the electrical connection at the equipment pad is typically a minimum of 8" above the highest point of the water line as per National Electrical Code (Article 680.23). However, that means in some instances you will have a long 3/4" to 1" electrical conduit filled with stagnant pool water (my pool light is probably a good 50' away from the equipment pad and has roughly 25' of conduit below the water line). Here is an interesting discussion over at the MikeHolt Electrical forum discussing wet niche fixture repair and the possibility of leaks that can develop from long electrical conduit runs that are not sealed. And yes, you could even do the new light run with a fully submerged light niche and still use the water-tight rubber grommet to seal off the electrical conduit from the pool. That would leave some water in the conduit which could be a freeze issue but probably would not present any electrical issues.

    So, depending on the light niche involved with the OP's pool and how expensive or difficult it would be to drain down to the light niche depth, draining before replacement may or may not be desirable. If the current light niche has no sealing grommet, then draining is somewhat pointless unless the OP intends to try to remedy it with a DIY sealant. The OP's pool appears to be a small in-ground vinyl pool, so this type of project might be best left to when the pool is closed for the winter and a water drain would occur anyway. As always, the devil is in the details.
    Last edited by JoyfulNoise; 07-17-2015 at 04:26 PM. Reason: updated information on NEC 680.23
    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: Leaking Pentair pool light

    Wow -- I've never seen that part before. As noted on the Mike Holt forum none of those guys thought the conduit is sealed under the NEC. The Pentair plug is a optional item not supplied with the light for where local code requires-- Does anyone know where local code requires? Those instructions are confusing anyway because they call the green insulated wire a "grounding /bonding" wire -- its a ground -- it attaches to a ground in the jbox. The bonding wire attaches to the outside of a light niche.

    There may be someplace where local code requires but that is not what the NEC contemplates.
    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: Leaking Pentair pool light

    Quote Originally Posted by gwegan View Post
    Silicone over it would be all I would do. In theory noting is the correct solution.
    Sorry if I am hijacking the thread, I am not the OP - but RTV silicone where the cord meets the bushing and that's it? It's a heck of an expense to pay for the intellibrite and "hope" that it seals properly. I'd rather have a water-tight solution, so to speak. I appreciate that nothing is perfect but if you could point me to a "preferred" solution perhaps that may help.

    Are winters a problem? I just pull the thing out of the water in the winter (snow and ice here) and put it on the deck. I heard (from a rep) I should wrap it in a plastic bag with a towel around it?

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    Re: Leaking Pentair pool light

    Quote Originally Posted by Cybergy View Post
    Sorry if I am hijacking the thread, I am not the OP - but RTV silicone where the cord meets the bushing and that's it? It's a heck of an expense to pay for the intellibrite and "hope" that it seals properly. I'd rather have a water-tight solution, so to speak. I appreciate that nothing is perfect but if you could point me to a "preferred" solution perhaps that may help.

    Are winters a problem? I just pull the thing out of the water in the winter (snow and ice here) and put it on the deck. I heard (from a rep) I should wrap it in a plastic bag with a towel around it?
    Who is the light niche manufacturer? If you contact the manufacturer of the niche they may have a sealing solution for the cord.

    I can think of several DIY band-aid & bubble-gum solutions to your problem. As you say, nothing is perfect.

    Also, you don't need to pull the wire snake, just attach the new electrical cord to the old one and use the old cord to pull the new cord through.


    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: Leaking Pentair pool light

    Oh like cut the cord off at the old light fixture and pull the new cord through with it? It's embarrassing to have the obvious pointed out to you - but great idea, thank you.

    The current light/niche is Pentair Sam.

    In-Ground 16'x32' bromine pool., 16.5k GAL | Softub 300

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