Typically, backyard swimming pools are equipped with 1 or more underwater lights. Just like any light, the bulb can burn out and will need to be replaced. There is no need to lower the water level in your pool to replace the burned out bulb. Instead, you can remove the light housing from the side of the pool, pull the fixture up onto the side of the pool, and change the light bulb there.

EditRemoving the Pool Light Fixture

  1. Shut off all power to the pool lighting. You’ll do this at your home’s circuit breaker box. One of the breakers should be marked “pool.” Switch this breaker into the “off” position to turn off all electricity to the pool.[1]

    • Some swimming pools have been equipped with their own breaker boxes. If you don’t see a “pool” breaker in your main electrical box, look around near your pool to see if there’s a second box nearby.

  2. Check to make sure power is off by trying to turn on the pool lights. You don’t want to risk possible electrocution, so flip the pool lights on and off to make sure the pool isn’t receiving any electrical power.

    • If you only have one pool light, try switching the pool pump on and off. If the power is truly off, the pump won’t turn on.

  3. Remove the single screw at the top of the fixture. This screw, called the “screwlock,” is the only thing holding the light fixture to the pool wall. In nearly all cases, this will be a large Phillips-head screw, so you will need a Phillips screwdriver to remove it. Roll up your sleeves, stick your arm beneath the surface of the water, and unscrew the screwlock.[2]

    • If the light is low on the side of your pool, or if your arm is too short to reach, you’ll have to get into the pool to unscrew the screw-lock and remove the fixture.
    • Once you’ve unscrewed the screwlock, place it someplace where it won’t roll away and get lost. A shirt pocket is a good option.

  4. Pry the light fixture out of the niche box with a flat-head screwdriver. Most light fixtures will have a tab at the bottom which allows you to pull the fixture away from the wall. Work this tab loose with the flat-head screwdriver. Also use the screwdriver to loosen the fixture in a few other locations.[3]

    • Once it’s loose enough, work your fingers in and pull the light fixture out of the wall.

  5. Pull the pool lighting fixture up onto the pool decking. There should be plenty of cord coiled up in the niche box to allow you to lift out the fixture and move it to the deck. Slowly draw the fixture and the cord behind it up onto the pool deck and set it on the concrete surface.[4]

    • If the cord isn’t unraveling, reach into the wall behind the light fixture and give the cord 2-3 sharp tugs.

EditReplacing the Light Bulb

  1. Remove the cover and lens from the light fixture. The method will vary based on the age of your pool. Older pool models will have screws that need to be removed to allow you to pull out the lens. Newer pool lights will most likely have tabs that need to be pried loose. Remove the lens and set it aside in a safe place. Do the same with the rubber gasket that sits between the lens and the metal fixture.[5]

    • Make sure that you don’t splash any water into the fixture when you remove the lens and gasket.

  2. Purchase a replacement bulb identical to the bulb in the light. Consult your pool’s handbook or user manual to find out the exact type of bulb the fixture requires. Then, pay a visit to a local pool-supply store and purchase the corresponding bulb. Make sure that the size, brand, and serial numbers of the 2 bulbs match.[6]

    • If you can’t find the exact bulb you need in a pool-supply store, purchase the bulb online. You can purchase replacement pool bulbs through major online retailers or through the pool manufacturer’s website.
    • If you’re worried that the light fixture may be leaking, you can also purchase a new rubber gasket to seal the fixture and prevent water from getting in.

  3. Unscrew the old bulb and screw the new one into place with a towel. Once the lens and gasket are out of the way, you’ll be able to reach in and grasp the bulb. Twist the bulb counterclockwise to unscrew it. Once you’ve removed it, hold onto the new bulb with a towel. Place the bulb in the center of the fixture and twist it clockwise.[7]

    • Never directly touch the lightbulb. The oils on your fingers can damage a halogen bulb and cause it to burn out quickly.
    • Dispose of the old bulb safely by throwing it in a trash can.

  4. Turn the power on for 2-3 seconds to test the light and see if it works. Go back to the circuit breaker or pool electrical box and flip the switch back to “on.” See if the light turns on. If it does, immediately turn the switch back to “off.” This will save you the hassle of installing the new bulb only to find out that it doesn’t work.[8]

    • If you leave the pool light on for longer than 5 seconds, the bulb may burn itself out. Halogen bulbs like those used in pool lights are extremely hot. If you turn the light on without cool water surrounding it, it will quickly overheat and burn out.[9]

EditReinstalling the Pool Light Fixture

  1. Replace the lens and reassemble the fixture. Place the gasket and the lens back in place covering the bulb.[10] As you’re putting the parts of the light fixture back together, use the edge of your towel to dry any water that’s dripped into the fixture.
  2. Replace all screws and lock in all tabs to close the light fixture. You’ll simply reverse the disassembling process to re-assemble the pool light fixture. If you removed small screws from the fixture while you were taking it apart, now’s the time to screw those back into place. Tighten them so that the gasket is pressed flat between the lens and fixture cover.[11]

    • If you’re dealing with a newer model pool light fixture that doesn’t have screws, make sure that the tabs are all firmly pushed into position so that the fixture is sealed shut.

  3. Place the fixture back into light niche and screw in the top screw. Hold the fixture in your hand and reach below the surface of the water. Insert the fixture back into the niche that you withdrew it from earlier. Take the screwlock screw and insert it back into the hole at the top of the fixture. Then, use your Phillips head screwdriver to tighten the screw into position.[12]

    • You’ll also need to feed the cable back into the wall if you had to tug it out. An easy way to do this is to wrap the cord 3-4 times around the base of the fixture before you insert it into the wall.

  4. Turn the power back on by switching the circuit breaker to “on.” This will restore electricity to the pool light. Once the circuits are connected again, turn the light on to make sure it is working correctly.[13]Advertisement

    • If the light still isn’t working correctly, you may be dealing with a more serious electrical problem. In this case, contact the pool’s manufacturer and ask them to send a repair specialist to inspect the pool.


  • Do not reattach the lens when you test the replacement bulb. Leaving the lens off will allow heat to dissipate so as not to crack the lens.
  • Do not attempt to change the light until you are absolutely sure the pool lighting circuit is disconnected. If the circuit is still active, you could be seriously hurt by the electrical current.
  • After you have replaced the bulb, make sure you don't bump or drop it. The filament in the bulb is fragile and might break.
  • If your lens is equipped with tabs, take care not to damage the waterproof gasket when prying up the lens.

EditThings You'll Need

  • Replacement bulb
  • Phillips-head screwdriver
  • Flat-headed screwdriver
  • Towels

EditSources and Citations

EditQuick Summary

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