Do LED Pool Lights Get Hot?

Pool lights are practical pool decor accessories that can light up the water in the evening and make the pool safer to swim in. But if the same lights get hot, they can pose a threat to the swimmers who don’t know how hot the bulbs are. Fortunately, not all types of pool lights get hot.

LED pool lights do not get hot, which is why they are safer to touch and cheaper to operate in a swimming pool. Other types of pool lighting can get hot and use more electricity in the process. LED lights are efficient, safe, and water-friendly.

Aside from LED, there is only one other lighting option that can illuminate the water while submerged. In this article, we will go over what it is and how it compares in safety, heat profile, and cost with LED lights. By the end of this post, you’ll be confident in your pool lighting choice, know whether you need to run it all night long, and understand how it will affect your energy bill.

Do Pool Lights Get Hot?

Halogen Pool Lights get hot, while LED lights do not. In fact, halogen lights produce so much heat that they are used in desktop room heaters. The halogen lights meant for swimming pools get so hot that they can burn out because of their own heat if they are not submerged in water.

There are two implications of this, which fall on both sides of the advantage-disadvantage spectrum. On the bright side, halogen pool lights can help you heat the pool. On the negative side, they consume too much energy, with 90% of the energy going towards heating.

Halogen lights are not safe to touch. If the lights are fixed, and swimmers can accidentally come in direct contact with them, the pool becomes unsafe. So, the instances where halogen lighting makes sense in swimming pools are impractically narrow.

For halogen lights to be practical in a swimming pool, they should:

  • Be fixed underwater yet out of swimmers’ reach
  • Act as mini water heaters and lights simultaneously

If you have a small swimming pool that doesn’t need constant heating, halogen lights can be costly and impractical at best and dangerous at worst.

Are LED Pool Lights Safe?

LED pool lights are safe because they draw a minuscule electric load, produce close to no heat, and are safe to touch. This makes them popular in DIY pool lighting.

For LED pool lights to be practical in a swimming pool application, they must satisfy three conditions:

  • Energy efficiency – LED lights are at least 75% more energy-efficient than other types of lighting.
  • Contact safety – There is no harm in touching LED lights with one’s bare hands.
  • Accessibility – LED lights for swimming pools can be bought online or at any swimming pool accessory shop.

Should You Leave Your Pool Light On All Night?

Since LED lights can last up to 15 years of all-night illumination and can cost less than $0.5/month per bulb, it is okay to leave your pool lights on all night. So, you can leave your pool light on all night, but is it advisable?

You should leave your pool light on all night to avoid the risk of accidentally falling into the pool and to ensure that the bulbs don’t dry out. Alternatively, you can turn half the lights on between 10 pm and sunrise and half the lights from evening to 10 pm. This splits the illumination burden evenly but requires that at least two circuits be set up for the lighting.

What Is The Life Of An LED Pool Light?

LED Lights can have 20,000 to 25,000 hours worth of illumination potential. That translates to 10 to 15 years of moderate to intensive use. LED pool lights can outlast the circuits designed to power them.

You can expect 7 years of hands-off experience with your LED pool lights. After that, a few wire replacements might be in order, following which the bulbs would eventually get replaced. This can take anywhere between 5 to 7 additional years.

The timeline above assumes high quality, which might not be given. If you get poor-quality LED lights, they might need not last even a year. If the lights are already damaged or compromised, they might not last a month. To make sure that your LED lights actually last as long as possible, you need to get high-quality bulbs.

Best Practices For Buying LED Pool Lights

The five tips covered in this section will help you filter for quality and efficiency when you’re shopping for LED pool lights. Make sure to use them as a quality assurance checklist when you buy lights for your swimming pool.

Measure The Space

Before you even consider the light itself, you must consider the swimming pool’s size. One light that might be a perfect choice for one pool might be a horrible one for another. Understanding the pool size will help you assess the number of lights you need to get.

More importantly, the lights will be bearable if they are selected based on the pool’s size. If the lights are picked up arbitrarily, they might be too powerful or too weak for the environment.

Check The Lumens

Lumens of a light stand for its illuminating capacity. LED lights for swimming pools should be 200 to 400 lumens. For a large number of LED lights, the total lumens per light should be lower. For fewer LED lights meant to brighten up a large space, the lumens per head must be higher.

Look For Warranty

Aside from the light’s intensity, you have to consider its longevity. LED lights can last for 10 to 15 years, even with regular use. But that’s the maximum potential for an LED’s longevity. The actual build of the LED light matters in determining whether the light can actually last as long as its maximum potential lifespan. 

If the LED light is genuinely built to last that long, it has a long warranty period. The warranty doesn’t cover the entire lifespan but covers at least one year.

Consider The Reviews

Finally, you should shop for LED lights that have at least 500 reviews on Amazon and must consider their global collective average. This can help you adjust your expectations and figure out specific problems that a product might have before you buy it.

Final Thoughts

LED and Halogen are the most common pool lighting options. Where Halogen lights can get pretty hot and need to remain submerged in the pool water, LED lights are economical and can be fixed around the pool as well. LED lights do not get hot and hence don’t use up extra electricity to generate heat, making them the better choice for pool lighting.

Jed Arnold

Jed spent every year from the ages of 15 - 22 as a Lifeguard (Red Cross) and ages of 17 - 22 as a Certified Pool Operator (CPO). Between working for over a dozen facilities and owning a pool, he carries over a decade of pool experience.

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