How To Change a Pool Light Bulb

By Shiloh McGinley

January 30, 2024

How To Change a Pool Light Bulb

How to Change A Pool Light

If you’re reading this, then the time has come for you to replace your pool light fixtures. They have given you faithful service for a year or two and now comes the time to retire the old ones for newer, more energy-efficient bulbs.

But how do you do that exactly?

If this is your first time replacing the light fixtures then don’t worry. You would not be the first person to struggle with this and you definitely won’t be the last. Though replacing the pool lights might seem a daunting and dangerous task, it’s actually quite easy once you break it down into little steps.

In this article, you will learn how to replace your pool lights in 10 simple steps. By the end of it, you’ll have a well-lit pool that’ll offer many nights of swimming fun for years to come!

How to Change A Pool Light, Step-By-Step

Step 1 – Find the right replacement.

Depending on the age and model of your pool lights, there really is not one bulb that might fit all. Before replacing your pool lights, you need the right light replacement to start with. A simple picture of the pool lights can help you find the right one when you’re in the hardware store. 

Barring that, you can always take the lights out first and then pick the right replacements after, once you know what the bulb exactly looks like. The last thing you want is to go through all the trouble only to find your wasted money on the wrong type of bulb!

Step 2 – Cut the power.

The next step is to ensure the lights aren’t able to electrocute you while you’re replacing them. Before starting, go to the circuit breaker and switch off the power going into your pool lights. To be extra safe, you can switch off all the electricity going into your pool. That includes the pool pumps and filtration system.

Once you’ve switched them off, wait a few minutes and try the light switches. If the lights do not turn on, then it’s safe for you to begin working.

It is important to note that sometimes the swimming pool comes with its own circuit box. If you don’t see any switch on your main circuit box that turns the lights off, then look around the vicinity of the pool. It’s likely the pool has its own set of switches. Once you find it, turn all the switches off. 

Step 3 – Unscrew the light fixture.

The next thing to do is begin unscrewing the light fixture. To make it even easier for yourself, you can drain the pool of all its water first, at least below the level of the lights. Trying to unscrew the lights of your pool while they’re submerged in water can be a bit difficult to do. When all the water’s gone, or at least below the level of the pool lights, you can work much easier. However, this is not always necessary and you can change your pool lights with the water just fine.

Depending on the model of your pool lights, there should be a single screw on the top known as a “screw lock”. In most cases, all you need is a Phillips screwdriver to remove this.

Once you have unscrewed this part, place it somewhere it won’t get lost. Having a pouch or pocket nearby to store all the screws in one place is a good idea. If you find that the screw is damaged or rusty, consider getting a replacement for it.

Step 4 – Pry it out.

Most times, a flathead screwdriver helps with this part. Other times a butter knife works just as well. There is usually a groove at the bottom part of the light fixture where you can stick the screwdriver in and loosen up the fixture. You can also use the screwdriver to loosen up the sides.

Once the light fixture is dislodged from the niche, you can work your fingers in and remove the entire light fixture and lift it out of the pool to the side. Repeat these initial steps for all the other light fixtures of your pool. 

Set the light fixture on the concrete side of the pool. You should find the cord wound up on the back of the light fixtures. If you’re encountering some difficulty, a few good tugs at the cord should loosen it up enough for you to lift it out of the pool. 

Take care though not to damage the power cords. It might prevent the light fixtures from working properly later on.  

Step 5 – Remove the lens.

When trying to remove the lens of your lights, the methods may vary depending on how old your light fixtures are. The older types have their lens secured in by multiple screws. In this case, unscrew all of them and keep the screws in a pouch where you can easily locate them later. 

If the screws are rusted, then replace them. 

In newer models of light fixtures, there might be a tab where you simply need to pull on to get the lends out. 

It goes without saying that you should do this part delicately since you do not want to damage the lens or break the rubber gasket that makes them airtight. Once the lenses are out, give them a good cleaning and place them off to one side.

Step 6 – Replace the light bulb.

At this point, you should see the light bulb exposed. Unscrew the light bulb counterclockwise and replace it with a new one. You can take the old light bulb with you to the hardware store and ask the sellers there for the exact same replacement. You can also shop for more energy-efficient ones. You want halogen bulbs since these are the most ideal ones for pool lights. Anything less might break or burn out after a few hours.

With a towel, take the newer light bulb and screw it in clockwise. Never touch the light bulb directly with your hand. The natural oils of your skin can damage the protective layer of the bulb when you turn them on, causing them to have a much shorter lifespan. 

Step 7 – Test it

Once all the light bulbs have been replaced, you can now test to see if they work. With the light fixtures still on the concrete at the side of the pool, turn on the power in the circuit box and check if they are working properly. 

If one of them is not lighting up, turn the power off and inspect the fixture. Make sure the bulb is screwed on properly and no damage has come to the light fixture or power cable at the back. Test it again and once all the light fixtures are working properly, shut off the power again and begin reassembly.

Step 8 – Reassemble the light fixture.

Wipe everything dry with an absorbent towel to remove any water that might have gotten into the fixtures. Place the gasket and the lens and screw them back into place. If you have the newer models of pool lights, make sure everything snaps back into place and there are no areas where water might get in. You want the gasket and lens to be attached as securely to the light fixture as possible.

Step 9 – Put it back on the light niche.

Once the light fixtures have been reassembled, lift them off the side of the pool and slowly put them back into their respective niches. Take care to put the power cables neatly coiled behind them. 

With one hand holding the light fixture in place on its niche, use your other hand to screw in the lock screw you removed earlier. You want to make sure the light fixtures are facing the right way up so that the screw holes are perfectly aligned. Screw them tightly in place and check to make sure they are immovable and that no water is getting in. 

Step 10 – Let there be light!

Once you are sure that all the light fixtures are in and tightly sealed, you can now proceed to the circuit box and turn the power on. Once the power has been restored, turn on the light switch and check to see if everything is in order.

If some of the lights are still not working, there might be a more serious electrical issue. In this case, you should enlist the services of an electrician immediately. 


After all these steps are done, you should have a perfectly safe and well-lit pool to swim in. Make sure to clean the light fixtures too everytime you’re replacing the light bulbs. Doing so will prevent mold from growing and extend the lifespan of the pool lights indefinitely. 

If you followed all these steps properly, your lights should be working for years to come and you would have also gained a new skill you can use the next time you need to replace the pool lights. See, that wasn’t too hard!

Shiloh McGinley

About the author

Shiloh McGinley has been in and around swimming pools her whole life. She's seen a lot of products come and go, and she wants to share with you the best products that really work!

Shiloh is passionate about helping people stay safe in the water, and she loves educating others on how to choose the right pool products.

When she's not working, Shiloh enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and swimming - of course!

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