Northeast - Freeze Protection for Niche-less Lights?

KJohn

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Aug 13, 2020
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Maine
Hi everyone,

I haven't been able to find info on cold climate winter protection for niche-less lights. I've searched here on TFP and contacted manufacturers. Does anyone have experience/advice?

The lights are Florida Sunseekers Pool Tone, and are about 15" below the waterline. Frost here can go down a couple feet.

It seems to me if the lights are left in, they could be damaged by ice in the pool, and if water happened to get in the conduit, the conduit could also be damaged.

Dropping the lights to the bottom of the pool would flood the conduits and I imagine ruin them.

It seems to me the only way to protect the lights and conduits is to completely pull out the the lights and cords, and blow the water out of the conduits and plug them, similar to skimmer and return piping.

Am I missing something?

Thanks!
John
 
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mknauss

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Do you drain the pool down below the lights? They will drain back to the pool as they are not water tight.
 

KJohn

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Aug 13, 2020
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Maine
Just got water yesterday actually, so I'm a rookie.

I'd have to drain deep enough so that rain and snow wouldn't bring the water level up to the lights, right? And/or pump out water periodically?

And the pool is 20x40, so that's quite a bit of water, probably a tanker or so. Do people do that?

Thanks,
John
 

KJohn

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Aug 13, 2020
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Maine
Thanks. I have read that article and many related posts, but have not come across specifically how to winterize niche-less lights.
 

KJohn

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Aug 13, 2020
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I did call them, and they tried to help, but I didn't get the sense the individual was familiar with the issue. I could try again and try to locate someone who is aware of this.
 

mknauss

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They are a Florida company so freezing is a bit foreign to them.

I tagged our winterizing Experts. Let's hope they come on the forum soon and chime in.
 

wireform

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Aug 15, 2017
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Spring Valley, NY
I don't know anyone here in my neck of the woods that actually does anything period with the lights. You just winterize the pool below the returns, plug all openings after the cyclone does it's thing and just leave good enough alone until the January thaw when you pump off another 6-8 inches. Never heard about pulling out lights....
 

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PoolStored

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The light the OP is talking about is no different than the Pentair Aqualumin Light. I do know that the conduit from the light hanging location to the junction box in my pool is full of water. My pool was not drained below the light last year. Pool is still holding water, so I don't think it was damaged. I will follow because I was thinking the same thing when I replaced the bulb earlier this year.
 
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KJohn

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Aug 13, 2020
46
Maine
My assumptions are:

Water in a conduit during winter can freeze and crack the conduit.

A niche-less light has a fairly low profile, but unless the water level is maintained below the light, there's a good chance that movement of the ice up and down or side to side will damage it, potentially letting water into the conduit where it can freeze and ruin the conduit.

Reasonable?

Thanks for the reply Wireform. So...you would leave the niche-less lights in, but keep the water below them? And pump out during a thaw?

I guess my concerns are:

If water has somehow gotten into the conduits over the summer, they will most likely be ruined when the water freezes. Dropping the water in the pool wouldn't protect them, unless 1) the lights were removed, 2) all the conduits pitched toward the pool, and 3) the water level was kept below the conduits all winter.

If during the winter I am unable to drain the water (we get a lot of weird rain/freezing rain these days), or am away, or neglectful, then things are at risk.

18" of water in a 20x40 pool is about 9000 gallons. Do people really drain that much, and bring in a tanker in the spring??

Not sure what I'm going to use for a winter cover, but isn't it a problem to have the water 21" or so down?

Not trying to be argumentative, just don't want to dig up cracked conduit or replace expensive lights.

Thanks,
John
 

wireform

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Aug 15, 2017
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Spring Valley, NY
Something tells me not to worry. No, water isn't drained below the lights but rather below the returns. The conduit may be pitched upwards a bit so it won't be higher then the water in the pool. Also just like the skimmer gets some kind of cushioning be it a jug with antifreeze or skimmer gizmo, the same thought is in the the light conduit as it's a small size and the wire in it will give it expansion room for the ice to move so there's no cracking conduit.
 

PoolStored

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Something tells me not to worry. No, water isn't drained below the lights but rather below the returns. The conduit may be pitched upwards a bit so it won't be higher then the water in the pool. Also just like the skimmer gets some kind of cushioning be it a jug with antifreeze or skimmer gizmo, the same thought is in the the light conduit as it's a small size and the wire in it will give it expansion room for the ice to move so there's no cracking conduit.
Given my experience, and that the manual for aqualumin states the following: Light should be left in place for winterization, I tend to agree.
 

KJohn

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Aug 13, 2020
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Maine
That's a great point, that the wire - which is a good 1/2" thick and feels like soft rubber - can absorb the expansion of the ice (assuming some water somehow gets into the conduit).

What about ice movement in the pool damaging the light fixture itself?
 

KJohn

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Aug 13, 2020
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Poolstored, interesting and helpful that your instructions say to keep the lights in the pool. Good to know.
 

wireform

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Spring Valley, NY
The lights are never in the ice. From when the pools are winterized, (just below returns which is above the lights) there's still plenty of time till the first hard freeze with new precept being continuously adding to water level, therefore the lights are always well below the ice.
 

KJohn

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Aug 13, 2020
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Maine
Thanks wireform.

During a cold winter in ME with little snow cover, frost in the ground can go down 48" or so, which is code here for frost protection. How deep does ice in a pool typically get in the Northeast?

And a little follow up: I spoke with two Florida Sunseekers reps again today, and got the impression that most people in cold climates leave their niche-less lights in, while some disconnect and remove the entire light and cord, and others remove the lights and leave them at the bottom of the pool (presumably leaving the cord in the conduit which presumably absorbs the expanding ice thereby protecting the conduit).

They senior rep said that a light left in the wall can survive a winter or two, but they regularly replace lights that have been damaged by ice.

Thanks,
John
 

Newdude

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Jun 16, 2019
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They senior rep said that a light left in the wall can survive a winter or two, but they regularly replace lights that have been damaged by ice
It makes sense to me in Maine. I’m in Southern NY and the ice won’t get more than 1 ft deep, if it even gets that much. Up by you it totally could be deep enough to be slamming into the light for a month. All it takes is one warmer day and the edges melt just enough that the block can float an inch back and forth with the force of a wrecking ball. I left mine uncovered this last year and was amazed at the ice movement from the wind. When it was only a couple inches thick it flexed like ocean swells and it would bang from end to end with each gust.
 

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