Lighting the Way

LED technology brings smaller, superior illumination to pools

By Christina Blakeslee-Sexton, Zodiac Pool Systems

Lights add drama and sizzle to any pool or spa. Most pool professionals are familiar with traditional niched incandescent lights that for swimmers can mimic the sensation of moving head-on toward a locomotive. Fortunately, advances in pool lighting technology mean pool builders can leave those eye- and energy-burning incandescent lights in the past. Tiny nicheless LEDs that practically disappear during the day and provide superior illumination at night are providing a path to a new style of pool lighting.

You may already be evaluating nicheless LEDs but have questions and concerns surrounding the new technology that prevent you from recommending them to your customers. As with all new technology, there is a learning curve. Yes, there is increased planning and decision making that comes with new nicheless pool lighting technology, but with it also comes exponentially improved flexibility, which means you’re no longer building a pool around the lights but using lighting to augment the aesthetics of your pool design.

What are nicheless LED lights?

Nicheless lights mount flush to the pool wall. They fit into standard one-and-a-half-inch plumbing fittings and come in various sizes and wattages. Some nicheless lights have redundant seal technology, which helps prevent the conduit from being a potential leak path. With any light installation, a certified electrician is required to install them; however, they are low voltage and do not require bonding.

Benefits to homeowners

Nicheless lighting uses low-voltage light-emitting diodes (LED) that are smaller, more energy efficient and offer unlimited application flexibility. Traditional incandescent bulbs can create hot spots in the pool and are energy hogs. Switching from incandescent to nicheless LED pool lighting offers homeowners plenty of benefits.

Nicheless LED lights:

• Provide improved brilliance. And because they are more energy efficient, they can be used in multiples to eliminate dark spots while consuming less energy than incandescent lights

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• Are smaller, offering subtler and more elegant design options

• Offer a variety of fixed colors or exciting color shows from a single light, and white-only models are dimmable

• Easily tie into pool automation, allowing homeowners to control lighting (including color) from smart devices

• Can be certified for dry installation, such as pool decks, grottos and outdoor kitchens to coordinate with the pool lighting

• Are serviceable. Some models have LED cartridges that can be easily changed, giving the pool professional options when servicing the light.

Getting creative

Proper light placement plays a big part in maximizing not only pool safety, but also beauty. Nicheless LEDs offer increased creative lighting design options with their colored and dimmable lights (white-only models). Since they utilize the same lighting technology, there are opportunities to incorporate them into waterfalls and bubblers. There are also proprietary lighting solutions like SAVI’s X-Stream Celestial Light Kit, and starlike arrangement of tiny points of light at the bottom of the pool.

Nicheless underwater LED lights provide an effective, appealing and highly flexible alternative to incandescent niched lighting and are destined to become the preferred pool lighting technology. Incorporating them into your pool designer/builder business will undoubtedly score you big wins with homeowners and colleagues alike.

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