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Thread: Pool lights filled with water?? Danger??

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    Pool lights filled with water?? Danger??

    I've got two pool lights. If I recall, the lights are made by Pentair. They are 500W, 120 VAC and installed in Hayward niches. The pool was built about 3 years ago.

    A couple of weeks ago, I was cleaning my pool and noticed a horizontal line across each of the lights. At first, I thought it was some type of shadow, but they persist even when I turn the lights on. The lines are below the midway point of each light, but it's hard to tell. The water has been too cold to swim in, so I have only seen the lights from above the pool water level. It is possible that they have been there all along and I just now noticed them.

    It looks like there is water inside the light. Am I mistaken? I know that the niches are supposed to be submersed, but I thought that the interior was sealed against moisture. As of now, the lights still work fine, although we rarely use them.

    I'm concerned that the water may reach the level of the electrical socket and cause a short circuit. I know that there is a GFCI breaker, but is there still a shock hazard? If there is a danger, I will switch the breaker OFF, so that the lights cannot be turned on by my control system.
    ~13500 gallon gunite pool, Pentair Intelliflo 4x160, Pentair 520 SF cartridge filter, Pentair MasterTemp 400 NG heater
    Pentair Easytouch with IC40 SWCG, Hayward Navigator on dedicated suction line

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    Re: Pool lights filled with water?? Danger??

    Quote Originally Posted by peterl1365
    A couple of weeks ago, I was cleaning my pool and noticed a horizontal line across each of the lights. At first, I thought it was some type of shadow, but they persist even when I turn the lights on. The lines are below the midway point of each light, but it's hard to tell.

    It looks like there is water inside the light.

    I'm concerned that the water may reach the level of the electrical socket and cause a short circuit. I know that there is a GFCI breaker, but is there still a shock hazard? If there is a danger, I will switch the breaker OFF, so that the lights cannot be turned on by my control system.
    Though I don't know the answer, the responses given in this post from last year indicate that this could be a potentially dangerous situation. On the other hand, since the water appears inside both lights it would seem less likely to be a defect -- just my conjecture.

    Recommend cutting power to the light until someone here with installation and/or electrical experience can respond to your question.
    14,555 gal in-ground 16'x29' white plaster Pool w/spa (2007); Goldline Aqua Logic AQL-PS-8 control w/Aqua Cell 15 Salt Water Chlorination (SWCG); Hayward TriStar 1HP (1.85 SF) main / 1.5HP (1.60 SF) spa pumps; Hayward Swimclear cart filter C4025, ColorLogic LED lights; Tankless SP-18-4 electric heater; Polaris 280 cleaner.
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    Re: Pool lights filled with water?? Danger??

    Once the water reaches the socket, it will trip the GFI and that will be the extent of the shock hazard.

    You should change the (lens) gasket in the fixtures and see if that is the source of the leak, it could also be where the cord enters the fixture.

    If you have one other Pentair piece of equipment, and they were all purchased at the same time, AND still less than 3 years, you may be still under warranty for the repair.
    Factory Warranty Station for:
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    and Paramount pool cleaning systems.

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    Re: Pool lights filled with water?? Danger??

    So the consensus seems to be that it is in fact water behind the lens. I will attempt to verify tonight. I just wanted to make sure that it wasn't some type of common optical illusion.

    Pool Clown: Thanks, I hadn't thought about the warranty angle. These were, in fact, purchased as part of the pool build, and all my equipment is Pentair. Would there be a possible issue with the fact that the niche is made by Hayward?

    Polyvue: I will kill the breaker. There really wasn't much risk, as we have to turn the lights on manually, and we basically never swim at night.
    ~13500 gallon gunite pool, Pentair Intelliflo 4x160, Pentair 520 SF cartridge filter, Pentair MasterTemp 400 NG heater
    Pentair Easytouch with IC40 SWCG, Hayward Navigator on dedicated suction line

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    Re: Pool lights filled with water?? Danger??

    Quote Originally Posted by peterl1365

    Would there be a possible issue with the fact that the niche is made by Hayward?
    Not unless the fixture was forced into the niche somehow and when you screwed in the set screw you put a bind on the light ring and warped it, causing it to leak (not likely), So no, i don't think so.
    Factory Warranty Station for:
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    Re: Pool lights filled with water?? Danger??

    Mismatched lights and niches like yours aren't a problem (though sometimes there is an aesthetic issue )

    I would bring one of the lights to the deck (MOST installers have enough of a clue to leave enough cord in the niche to be able to raise the light to the deck) and see if it is water - I'd think that if there was noticeable water in the fixture, you'd have tripped the breaker by now

    Any chance you drained to pool to that level on the lens and it's just a waterline scum?

    If it is water all you need do is drain the unit, let it fully dry and make sure the gasket is fully sealing when you put the lens back on and reinstall the light
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    Re: Pool lights filled with water?? Danger??

    Well, I tried to turn on the lights a couple nights ago, and both lights will not turn on. Interestingly, the breaker did not trip. I'll have to open up my Easytouch to see if there's an internal breaker that needs to be reset.

    So...at this point, I'm pretty sure that it is in fact water that has leaked into the light. I did do a partial drain about 18 months ago, but I'm pretty sure that this is not a scum line. I guess I will try pulling the lights out. I'm just not relishing the idea of getting into the water, which is probably down to the low 60's by now with the recent cold weather we've been getting in SoCal.
    ~13500 gallon gunite pool, Pentair Intelliflo 4x160, Pentair 520 SF cartridge filter, Pentair MasterTemp 400 NG heater
    Pentair Easytouch with IC40 SWCG, Hayward Navigator on dedicated suction line

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    Re: Pool lights filled with water?? Danger??

    Bummer. I just called Pentair Tech Support to inquire about warranty status.

    Their 3-year warranty program only applies to colored lights. Standard lights are only warranted for 1 year.

    Just FYI...

    I wonder if the light is even useable any longer. The Pentair tech suggested that I could just replace the bulb and the seals, but I'm wondering if the light socket isn't already damaged by the salt water. If the damage is already done, then I'm inclined to wait until next summer to replace the entire light assemblies. If the sockets are still okay (after approx 1-2 weeks of contact with salt water) then I can brave the cold and change out the bulbs right now.

    Any ideas?
    ~13500 gallon gunite pool, Pentair Intelliflo 4x160, Pentair 520 SF cartridge filter, Pentair MasterTemp 400 NG heater
    Pentair Easytouch with IC40 SWCG, Hayward Navigator on dedicated suction line

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    Re: Pool lights filled with water?? Danger??

    Why on Earth would you get in the pool?!? - we're talking about the lights, not the main drain :P

    You should only need to get one arm wet up to ~ the armpit to pull one of the lights

    Before you make a decision, pull up one of the lights, take it apart and see what you're dealing with.
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    Re: Pool lights filled with water?? Danger??

    Waste: Good point. I will see if I can reach the lights without getting in the pool. Thanks.

    Changing the subject a little bit, has anyone ever tried using a compact fluorescent light bulb in a pool light? I know they won't be as bright, but I don't really need it to be very bright. I was thinking of the 120W equivalent CFL's that are sold in Costco stores.
    ~13500 gallon gunite pool, Pentair Intelliflo 4x160, Pentair 520 SF cartridge filter, Pentair MasterTemp 400 NG heater
    Pentair Easytouch with IC40 SWCG, Hayward Navigator on dedicated suction line

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    Re: Pool lights filled with water?? Danger??

    I was diving to make a repair the other day (not related) and noticed that their bulbs had been replaced with the florescent lights. Get the highest wattage you can find (brightest) and try it.

    Replace the gasket(s) for sure. If it didn't leak thru the gasket the first time, it will definitely leak now w/o a new gasket.
    Also, if the water in the fixture has not reached the socket, but when you get it apart you find the socket not just wet but rusted, The water is probably coming in thru the light cord, and fixture is done. If you have the correct amount of salt in your pool, that probably isn't impacting the light fixture.
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    Re: Pool lights filled with water?? Danger??

    Well I went ahead and repaired the light. It wasn't too bad, but the 60 degree water certainly caused some temporary numbness in my arm. Fortunately, the socket wasn't damaged in any way yet. I think there is a grounding wire inside the fixture that trips the GFCI before the water reaches the level of the socket.

    I installed a 120W equivalent CFL that I had lying around. It works just fine. It's nowhere near as bright as the original 500W incandescent, but I figure it produces about 30-50 percent of the lumens for less than 5% of the power. I still have the other light in the pool with the 500W bulb, and I think I'll let that stay for a while. On closer inspection, it looks like that fixture did not suffer any leakage.

    I did not replace the gasket, primarily because I did not have one. I went to Leslie's to pick one up the day before, but I got there just after they closed. If I didn't fix it right away, I might not have had an opportunity for another week or two. I'll take my chances for now, especially since I now know that a leak is not catastrophic.

    Thanks to everyone who contributed advice to my problem. This forum is full of wonderfully helpful individuals.
    ~13500 gallon gunite pool, Pentair Intelliflo 4x160, Pentair 520 SF cartridge filter, Pentair MasterTemp 400 NG heater
    Pentair Easytouch with IC40 SWCG, Hayward Navigator on dedicated suction line

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    Re: Pool lights filled with water?? Danger??

    The 3 year warranty is for ALL Pentair gear that was purchased and installed with a pump and filter.

    Example: Easytouch, Amerlite, IC40 - 1 Year

    Quad DE, Intelliflow, and Easytouch, Amerlite, IC40 - 3 Year for all.

    I always swap the lens gasket when I open a light fixture.

    Please note that using a compact florescent bulb is not a supported or encouraged practice. If they crack, mercury can get in the pool or on me as a tech.

    It also prevents a tech from checking continuity, one of the first tests I use when checking a fixture issue.

    Scott
    PoolGuyNJ
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

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    Re: Pool lights filled with water?? Danger??

    Quote Originally Posted by peterl1365
    I did not replace the gasket, primarily because I did not have one.
    When I installed the new LED bulb in my very old Amerlite fixture I had already ordered a new gasket. The gasket sold now for that fixture is 1/8' thicker than the very old gasket so the original screws aren't long enough to screw in. I checked a couple of pool stores and they also only sell the thicker gasket. The only fix is to get longer ss screws. So in the meantime here's what I did for the old gasket and it is holding well until I get some longer screws.

    I cleaned/treated the gasket several times with 303 Aerospace Protectant, (non silicon, glycerin or petroleum distillates) used for cleaning and protection, and a bit of "restoration" of integrity of plastics, rubbers, vinyl, seals, boots, o-rings, etc. It really pepped up the feel and appearance of the gasket. Then greased up the gasket with the pool goo for gaskets, etc. It has held very well for two months.

    I originally purchased it for the vinyl cover for my new spa top and protection of the rubber grip on the new railing (both are exposed to harsh sunlight all day), but have since used it for many other things. Very impressive stuff. I haven't used it yet on the rubber and plastic parts of my old truck but I'll bet it's going to "restore" the rubber weather seals around the doors to nearly like new as it has done for other things.

    BTW... You could also try a 120 household LED bulb. Or go to a solid color pool specific LED, which is much less expensive than the color changing LED bulbs. The mercury hazards of fluorescents are a real problem for humans, the environment, and land fills. I didn't know until a couple of years ago that we aren't supposed to put fluorescents in the trash. We now, save them in a separate "recycle" container, as we do with used batteries, to take to the hazardous waste collection center or town's yearly hazmat round up.

    gg=alice
    1981, 25K, IG, Blue Plaster 1996, somewhat oval, widens a bit at shallow end, 1.5" pipes, 2" at Pad, 1 separate main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns + dedicated cleaner return, 10 ft deep end with very fast decline from shallow, Pentair Quad 80 DE, Pentair Intelliflo VF, 3/4 HP Booster Pump (equipment pad about 8 ft below top of pool), Challanger 3/4 Trash/Emergency Pump 120v, Polaris 280 (pressure), iRobot Verro cleaner (robotic), Aquabot Turbo (robotic), Jacuzzi Tracker 4X (vacuum) Pool Blaster (Buster), Two (2) PoolSkims, Solar Breeze (solar powered top skimmer) (beta to ver. 2, release date 2010), ColorSplash LED replacement bulb. Aries 550 gal separate spa, 2002 (our 3rd and BEST spa) , BBB-Bromine

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    Re: Pool lights filled with water?? Danger??

    Granny, are you sure you don't have an AmerQuartz fixture?

    The Pentair part number for Amerlite's gasket is 79100200 and the AmerQuartz is 79101601.

    Both were American Products fixtures before they merged with Pentair many years ago. I have changed a lot of bulbs and gaskets over the years and have never know those parts to change.

    Haywards on the other hand....


    Scott
    PoolGuyNJ
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

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