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LED lights are not the must have swimming pool accessory. They are up there with floating speakers, inflatable glow in the dark jellyfish and swan loungers. But, have you ever considered a bright LED Spotlight or two at the bottom of your pool to light up the water during an exhilirating late night swim?
The availability of cheap pool LED lights now means even the most modest of outdoor pools - even paddling pools, can be enhanced with safe, controllable, and flexible external lighting. Over the last decade, technological advances coupled with increased demand and innovative businesses, means that homes and businesses alike can improve the aesthetics of their pools. However, the reach of LEDs is going far beyond that now, and they are even helping elite athletes improve their performances at events ranging from local meets to the Olympics.
Types of LED Pool Lighting
For the creatively minded, there are almost limitless LED pool lighting ideas, but these can be divided into a few simple categories. Homes and businesses are using LEDs as both over and under, but also to fulfill a wide range of functions including:
● Over lights: Most pools, for safety sake, require external lighting to light up the entire poolside area. This includes general lighting, decking lighting, path lights, and more. LEDs now function as excellent spotlights, high bays, floodlights, and solar powered path lights. GU10 LED lights are great for overhead lighting because they can be so easily retrofitted from traditional light bulbs. Also, they use far less energy than traditional bulbs, making them a great choice to help you save a few quid on your new pool investment over time.
● Under Lights: This means lights which are used underwater. LEDs are robust and reliable, but also provide flexibility in terms of size, colour, and function. They are easier to use and install underwater for events or for general pool lighting. This allows you to turn a dark body of water into something light and inviting.
● Party Lights: Dimmable, changeable, and capable of running complex light programs, LEDs are the go to party light, but also work underwater.
● Mood Lights: warm romantic likes, cooling relaxing lights, LEDs can change colour, and provide whatever ambience a pool is trying to provide.
● Apparatus Lights: Flexible LED strip lights allow users to string a series of lights along water slides, tubes, hand rails, and art installations alike.
In the U.S. there are a wide range of rules and regulations surrounding the use of pool lighting in a commercial context, which does not apply to residential pools. Due to this, the colour changing LED technology has found itself popular with homeowners, but severely limited at commercial pools where regulations point more toward the use of white lights instead. In the UK, there is more flexibility, but any public pool should check all regulations before considering underwater colour changing lights.
How to Choose the Right Pool Lighting for You
The key considerations for choosing the right pool lighting for you is the nature of the pool, its function, how it is used at night, and what ambience you are trying to create. It is possible to utilise LED pool lighting kits, to plug in and play, but also possible to create custom LED pool lights in a system unique to your pool. For the most part, this comes down to cost, time, and regulations.
Do you have an existing pool lighting system? If so, it is possible to take your waterproof fixtures and fittings out of the pool, dry them off and then undertake a full LED pool light retrofit. This is possible because all modern LEDs are designed with all common fittings on the market allowing for simple one for one light bulb substitution.
When creating your own pool lighting, research carefully the types of LED lights available including strip lights, magnetic lights, and those housed in special waterproof housing. Look at how you combine underwater and above ground lighting to maximum effect, and which colour seems most inviting. Do consider dimmable and controllable lights as a way of increasing this flexibility. When it comes to wiring however, always use a qualified electrician and seek advice from the company who built or supplied your pool.
Remember, even though the entire world is steadily moving towards using energy free lighting, it is never wise to risk the safety of yourself or your pool guests just to save money by not hiring a qualified electrical contractor.
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The Advantages of LED Pool Lighting
Light Emitting Diodes or LEDs provide for a wide range of advantages over traditional light bulbs and lighting systems. While they have over a hundred years of development, LEDs have only recently become affordable and flexible enough for these kinds of functions. Increased consumer demand coupled with technological advances means that the overall purchase cost of LED lighting is now highly competitive.
The best LED pool lights now offer consumers additional flexibility, durability, reliability, and cost effectiveness. LEDs come in different colours, can be dimmed, remote controlled, and are better suited to underwater environments. The primary advantage of LED lights for pools is their running cost - in short, LEDs require less electricity to produce light than any other kind of bulb, saving families and businesses hundreds of pounds, if not more, a year. Don't wait any longer, make the switch today!
Pool Lighting for Professional Swimmers
Lighting arrangements for swimming pools do not need to be limited to private pleasure pools, but are also utilized by professional swimmers and training centres. The combination of technological improvements to LED light bulbs and the scaling down of processor sizes has allowed not only mobile technology, but also wearable technology. In the swimming industry this has led to LEDs informing swimmers of their performance in the pool as they swim, giving, for the first time, live in-swim data and analytics.
Prior this development, elite swimmers had two metrics to test how well they were doing in the pool - gut feeling and their trainer’s stop watch. Now devices such as PoolMate2 and Instabeat are giving swimmers more real time metrics. Instabeat utilizes small LED lights which sit at the bottom of specially adapted goggles. Blue lights indicate a normal resting heart rate, green lights shows a heart rate in its ideal range, and red shows the heart is beating too fast. Data from the device can also be synched with a laptop, allowing for better analysis.
It is now possible for swimming pool lighting to go beyond decoration and to help swimmers monitor and improve their performances.
Butcher, Mike, 2013, Instabeat is Revolutionary HUD for Swimming Goggles You Can Back on Indiegogo, TechCrunch
Hurwith, Jacob, 2014, How to Choose the Right Lights for Your Swimming Pool, Improvenet
Kuchler, Hannah, 2016, Swimming Wearables Measure more than Lap Count, Financial Times, London
Steinbach, Paul, 2013, LED Pool Lighting has Fast Become the Industry Standard, Athletic Business
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