Pool light removal

jvmagic

Well-known member
Sep 13, 2007
55
Hi,
The bulb in my pool went out. I think it's close to 20 years old if not more. I purchased a new bulb and when I went to remove the pool light cover (single screw), the screw wouldn't budge. I tried different Phillips screwdrivers but none of them are making a difference.

What do you recommend I do next? I've had one guy tell me I can use my pneumatic gun underwater to remove this screw. I would think this is a no-no.
Thanks in advance.
 

jvmagic

Well-known member
Sep 13, 2007
55
I don't own a manual impact driver. I would think the challenge would be staying underwater with a hammer in one hand and the impact driver in the other. I assume there is a trick to this. Thanks
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,176
Central California
Manual impact driver sounds right to me. $20. Tap it with a small sledge. Can you not reach the screw while laying on your stomach reaching down into the water? The only tricks I know for a stuck screw/bolt: impact driver, loosening with penetrating oil, drilling off the head, torch. Underwater kinda limits the possibilities.

Or wait until you need to drain a lot of water out of your pool? How's your water chemistry? Time for a water exchange?
 

jvmagic

Well-known member
Sep 13, 2007
55
Do you have a hand held, manual impact driver?
Manual impact driver sounds right to me. $20. Tap it with a small sledge. Can you not reach the screw while laying on your stomach reaching down into the water? The only tricks I know for a stuck screw/bolt: impact driver, loosening with penetrating oil, drilling off the head, torch. Underwater kinda limits the possibilities.

Or wait until you need to drain a lot of water out of your pool? How's your water chemistry? Time for a water exchange?
Is it possible to use a pneumatic impact driver? I would think a cheap Harbor Freight ($20+) is not a bad option. If not, I will try with a manual impact driver.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,176
Central California
Sorry, I've never had to deal with your exact issue. I know how to relieve a stuck screw above water, but never had to under! So the manual impact driver sounded like a good idea. I don't know how well a pneumatic impact driver would survive the dunking. Which is why I'd be temped to try a $20 solution first. You could try just tapping a regular screwdriver to see if that will break up the corrosion, that's free! But gently (goes for anything you try). The niche is embedded in the pool (the component that holds the light fixture), so you don't want to mess that up, that would be a significant problem. If I'm picturing it right, any force you apply to the screw is force applied to the niche.

Maybe @JamesW would know?
 

Desert Dog

Well-known member
Apr 4, 2020
272
Alpine, Ca
The pneumatic operates differently from a manual. The manual is designed specifically for the task. The hit from the hammer actually turns the screw. A pneumatic will likely strip the head.
 

NCMike

Well-known member
Jan 31, 2020
66
Raleigh, NC
a pneumatic impact driver is also going oil/grease inside of it for lube for the gears. I wouldn't trust a harbor freight impact to be water tight and would assume you'd see a nice oil sheen on the water once you used it under water.
 
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Chasarms

Silver Supporter
May 8, 2020
347
Dardenne Prairie, MO
I think a pneumatic impact driver would be overkill for a screw. It also may damage the trim ring itself. I have the "cheap" HF one, and it has knocked loose bolts and nuts torqued WAY over what my torque wrench can read without too much effort.

If you have a good, tight fitting screwdriver, try seating it and tapping it lightly with something heavy (like a hammer!!! :) ) A heavy hammer tapping lightly is much more effective than a lighter one hitting hard. Even try gently tightening it to try to get it to move. If you can get it to break free, it may come out. Just don't force it too much even it you get it to break free. If there's a lot of drag on it after letting go, re-tighten it a little and then back it out again. Usually, it will back out a little more each time.

I have never tried this under water, so I do appreciate the challenge you have, but I have worked a lot of stuck fasteners free.

At least under water, your expletives are muffled from the neighbors.