You wouldn't build an inground pool without putting in underwater lights. Adding pool lighting is a little touch that can add a dramatic ambiance to your new do-it-yourself swimming pool. All of our pool kits include a Hayward 500 watt pool light with a 50' cord. Some of our customers opt to upgrade to the ColorLogic pool light, which provides colored LED lighting into the pool. In both cases, installing your light niche and lamp is the same process.
At this stage in your diy inground pool kit project, you have the walls erected and in place. In the pool wall itself there is a pre punched hole for the light niche, or light housing. This is a "bucket" that holds the light in place, or the container for the lamp. The niche is made from a polymer plastic so it won’t be affected by corrosive or hard water, like metal or copper light niches.
Insert the light niche from the inside of the pool wall through to the outside, so that the angled conduit connector is on top. Have a person outside the pool secure the back plate of the niche. This is a round ring that goes over the niche and is held on by 2 holding screws put on from the inside of the pool, to the outside of the housing. This is a wet niche light, so there will always be water surrounding the lamp.
On top of the niche, there is a 45 degree PVC angle conduit connector. From this fitting, connect and run a ¾” or 1” electrical PVC conduit into the trench dug behind the wall. Each piece along with the 45 degree piece must be cleaned and glued well as there will be water in the line, and we don't want a leak. Do not use the PVC glue and cleaner combo glue, I have found that after 4 or 5 years that combo glue starts to break down. I have found it is much better to use the separate PVC primer and separate PVC glue, and lots of it.
Get yourself a ball of strong twine or string to pull the light cable through the conduit. You can also use a fish tape. Run the string through the inside of the niche and through each piece of PVC conduit as you are gluing them together. Tape or tie the other end of the string inside of the light niche. Now you will want to run the PVC conduit all the way back to where your electrical will be for your equipment. The light cord is 50' long, so if your equipment area is further, then run the conduit to a closer location, at least 6 feet from the pool edge, and install a junction box, 12" above the ground. Make a connection at the junction box with the wires from the breaker box and the light cord.
You will want to stub up the PVC conduit about 12” above the top level of the pool as again there will always be water in that PVC line. There is no way to winterize this conduit effectively, so it's best to run the conduit deep in the earth, then use a sweep elbow to come up directly under the location of the Junction Box.
Your next step is to put the gasket on the front of the niche just before you are ready to install the pool liner. After the pool water has filled up to the point right below the light - you will install the second gasket, on top of the liner, and the light niche face plate ring with the screws provided. After all the screws are tightly installed, you can trim out the vinyl inside of the pool light niche. Now you are ready to install the light.
Unbox the light and place the light and cord into the pool. Use duct tape to secure the end of the twine or string that comes into the light niche onto the end of the pool light cord. Make sure you wrap the string tightly around the end of the light cord, with overlapping layers of duct tape. You don't want it to come undone as you pull it through the conduit. With the string taped to the light cord, you can walk over to the junction box and start pulling the string (and cord) through the light conduit, from the niche to the junction box. Keep pulling the cord through the conduit until it stops.
Now reach down and pull the light (and cord) back out of the niche a few feet, and rest it on the pool deck. It is very important to make sure you leave enough light cord inside the niche. This is so when you have to change a light bulb down the road you won’t have to drain the pool down, but will have enough cord in the niche to pull the light up on deck.
Back again at the junction box, pull the cord snug and and cut off the excess cord, leaving 6-8" of cord sticking up out of the junction box. Strip the outer cord casing to expose the 3 wires and wire-nut these to the wires coming into the junction box from the breaker box. Once power and ground connections are made, you can test the light before securing the lamp into the niche. Turn on power for just a few seconds; if left on for longer than a few seconds while not being submerged, the lamp will overheat and cause the bulb to burst, possibly also cracking the lens.
If your light does not come on during the test, remove the junction box lid and use a test meter to check for proper voltage coming to the junction box. If the power is good but the bulb still will not light, shut power off at the breaker box and open up the lamp. The bulb may have rattled loose during shipment and handling.
Once you have verified that the lamp is lighting, coil the excess cord around the lamp, and push the lamp into the niche. Clip the light in at the bottom of the niche (at 6 o'clock) and push the top of the light to the top of the niche and tighten the holding screw that is attached at 12 o'clock.
Congratulations! You have just installed your own pool light.
SPP Pool Expert