If your lucky enough to have a swimming pool at home, then swimming pool lighting can really help give your swimming pool that wow factor, both inside and out. For public pools a lot of the things we talk about here still apply. In this blog we list some key things to consider when choosing swimming pool lighting.
Maintenance should be a key consideration of the lighting design for a swimming pool – how are you going to access lights to clean and change the bulbs? This is why most pools are lit externally from each side. Light fixtures located directly above water are clearly difficult to access. Using fittings that incorporate a ‘chip on board’ (COB) LED light source will certainly help reduce maintenance requirements as they offer a very long lamp life (over 50,000 hours in some cases). Recessed LED fixtures within pools are a great way to create a fantastic glow from the pool at night, however the control gear (drivers / transformers) for these LED fittings still need to be accessible from the pump house or nearby. Fibre optic lighting is another good solution. With fibre optic the light source is located remotely far away from the water and the light travels along long fibres making it a very safe solution for lighting in and around pools.
We all know electricity and water do not mix; so any applications where electricity is in close proximity to water, particular care needs to be taken and of course the regulations and British standards need to be followed. SELV (Safe Extra Low voltage) lighting or fibre optic lighting should be used in and around swimming pools. The 17th edition of the British Standards state clear boundaries for the specification of equipment. It’s important these are followed as they ensure if the integrity of a light fitting is compromised, it will not cause a hazard to people around it. The guidelines split a swimming pool space into clearly defined zones. And fittings are required to be of a certain standard for each zone.
If fixtures are located within a pool, submerged underwater, then they need to be IP68, fully submersible for prolonged periods of time, and we recommend high quality stainless steel. There are relatively few, quality manufacturers who design fixtures to this standard. The flex going from the fixture to the power should be terminated outside of the water and care should be taken to ensure that voltage drop is not an issue.
For residential pools typically the chlorine content is much lower, but for public pools chlorine content is high and chlorine is highly corrosive. We recommend using light fittings with marine grade finishes in swimming pool spaces.
For public pools there are very specific guidelines for determining correct average maintained illuminance levels (measure in Lux). CIBSE SLL lighting guide 4 (Sports) is a good resource; levels increase depending on the level of competition, being very different for an Olympic televised pool to your local leisure centre. Typically most pools require between 200-750lux.
For private residential swimming pools and Spa retreats, the level of light is much less important; you want to avoid giving a flat wash of light with level uniformity. It’s much more important to create a relaxing, comfortable, fun and even dramatic environment.
The surface of a swimming pool can act as a giant mirror reflecting the ceiling and lighting. Also in pools users are often lying on their back, so there’s an increase risk of glare caused by light fittings. These issues can be avoided with careful placement of luminaires and understanding key viewing angles of the pool. Also lighting from within the pool will help reduce the mirror effect.
If you have any queries about swimming pool lighting, or have a project that you need help with then please do get in touch.