Light Fixture Replacement...How hard?

RussellC

Bronze Supporter
Jun 3, 2016
335
Austin, TX
#1
So I have a light in my spa that is tripping the GFCI. I took it out and its all corroded inside. The last owners never even put a gasket on it, it was sealed with silicon. No joke. Scary.

Anyways. I need to replace the fixture. I have done all the pool work myself do far and for some reason I am worried about trying this one myself. The pool companies want quite a bit of money in labor to do it. It is only 20-25 ft away from my breaker box. How hard is this project to do? I am mainly just worried about the possibility of the conduit being crushed or any weird things like that going on. Any tips? Should I try it myself? Thanks.
 

Sammy2

Well-known member
Aug 30, 2016
378
Riverside, CA
#2
Find the above ground junction box which may be closer to the spa than the breaker box.

After switching the circuit off, open the junction box and disconnect the cable to the light from the feed to the breaker box.

Pull the light out of the niche and draw the cable with it.

Run a fiche tape into the conduit from the junction box to the niche. Connect the new light cable to the fiche tape and pull the new light cable back through, leaving a coil of enough cable to allow the light to be placed on the deck to relamp when needed. (You can also connect parachute cord to the old light's cable and pull it through with the light and then use the parachute cable to pull the new light's cable back to the junction box).

Seal the conduit at the junction box with silicone potting compound.

Install the light into the niche.

Connect the cables back to the feeder to the breaker box.

Close the junction box.

Throw the breaker back on and test the light.

This is what I'd do and I may have missed something so maybe those more expert than I will chime in. I post this without assuming any liability!!
 

CountryBumkin

Bronze Supporter
Jan 9, 2017
124
Orlando/FL
#3
I think it will be pretty easy for you since the cord is short. Most of the difficulty comes when the long cord gets stuck in the conduit due to age and dirt/water in the conduit. I was just writing/asking about this a week or two ago. There is no worry that the pvc conduit will crush. The worry is that the old cord will break off inside the conduit. It can take a lot of "pulling force" to pull the old wire out.

You would want to ties a nylon "pull-string" to the light cord (at electrical junction box end) then pull the old cord out while pulling the pull-string through. Be sure to leave enough slack at the spa end to be able to wrap the cord around the light a few times before installing in the niche. The wrapped cord needs to provide enough cord to let you remove the light and set it on the deck to replace a bulb while the spa/pool is still full of water.
 

Sammy2

Well-known member
Aug 30, 2016
378
Riverside, CA
#5
Hmm.. Back in the day (30 years back now) when I was inspecting pools for the county building department this was something we always looked for but I just checked the NEC and couldn't find a code requirement for it.
 
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RussellC

Bronze Supporter
Jun 3, 2016
335
Austin, TX
#6
Thanks all. I think I can probably do it. I don't have a separate junction box though. Everything terminates at my Aquarite system. There is a breaker box and gfci outlet there. I think I may give it a whirl when I have some help. Thanks!
 

PathDoc

Bronze Supporter
Feb 1, 2017
1
Corpus Christi, TX
#7
Sammy above gives a good summary of the process but omit the potting compound seal. That is not required and it will only cause problems later. You also need to make sure you have some extra wire in the junction box for strain relief.

Here is a video:

How To: Replace a Pool Light Fixture - YouTube
This is a point I was wondering about. I have a light that stays on for about 3-5 min before going dark, despite having changed out the bulb. 1 other light and a spa light are in the same junction box and are fine, so the problem is with this specific fixture. I'm still troubleshooting, but have anticipated the possibility of having to replace the whole fixture. Should this happen, do I need to seal the opening in the niche where the cord goes through into the conduit, and if not what prevents it from leaking? Thanks for your time.