Fiber Optic Pool Lighting: Pros and Cons
Last week we blogged about the pros and cons of LED swimming pool lighting. This week, let’s go over your other option, specifically for in-ground swimming pools: fiber optic pool lighting. Like mentioned in our previous LED swimming pool lights blog, it’s important to research your options to determine which is the best lighting option for you. Even though it all comes down to preference, lighting options aren’t something to take lightly because they are one of the more costly accessories you’ll purchase for an in-ground pool. You definitely want to make the right pool lighting decision the first time!
What is Fiber Optic Pool Lighting?
Fiber optic pool lights illuminate the pool with a dry box located outside of the water. This dry box is located within 10 to 12 feet from the pool, usually on a patio area. To light up your pool, the dry box houses the bulbs, which then allows light to travel through a fiber optic cable into a fitting in the pool’s wall.
The Pros of Fiber Optic Pool Lighting
- Easy Access for Replacing Parts and Bulbs
Because the housing system for the fiber optic lighting is located outside of the pool, it’s really easy to replace the bulbs when needed, as well as replacing any parts in the system. Compared to LED bulbs that take anywhere from 15-30 minutes to replace because the unit is underwater, fiber optic light bulbs won’t take nearly as long to replace.
- Safe to Replace Bulbs and Parts
Because the housing system for fiber optic lighting is located outside of the pool away from water, there is practically no risk for electrical shock when replacing the bulbs and parts.
The Cons of Fiber Optic Pool Lighting
Compared to LED pool lights, fiber optic pool lights are more costly. As mentioned in our LED pool lighting blog, LED units can range anywhere from $400-$900, whereas fiber optic pool lights can range anywhere from $900-$1,500. This is mainly due to the fan in the fiber optic housing system which cools the lights down. Also, fiber optic systems may have more parts to replace later down the road as well, driving the cost up even more. LED and fiber optic replacement bulbs both can range anywhere from $200-$400, but you’ll be replacing the fiber optic bulbs more often, costing you more money as well, which brings us to our next point.
- Bulbs Do Not Last Long
Bulbs in fiber optic pool lighting are only supposed to last anywhere from 3 to 7 years. This is nothing compared to LED pool bulbs, which can last anywhere from 10 to 15 years.
- Lacks Brightness
To brighten up your entire pool at night with fiber optic pool lighting, you may need two fiber optic dry boxes because one can only light up so much pool at a time (depending on the length of your pool). In order to get the brightness of a LED unit, placing two fiber optic dry boxes (one on each end of the pool) may be needed if you are going for the total illumination effect.
Fiber optic pool lights are different than LEDs in that fiber optic pool lighting is more for an ambiance look for certain areas of your pool such as waterfalls and perimeters, not really to illuminate the entire pool.
Fiber optic pool lighting can be a great choice for someone who wants just a small amount of ambiance lighting with a small in-ground pool. They can also be a great choice for someone who wants a quick and easy way to change out the bulbs; however, fiber optic pool lights have a more expensive initial and longterm cost due to the fan in the system that cools the lights down, and because the bulbs don’t last as long as LEDs. The LED pool lights are the way to go for brightness, cost-savings, energy-effiecieny, and a long-lasting light source.
It really all comes down to preference of the consumer, your budget, and the type of illumination you are going for. Check out our blog from last week if you haven’t already on the pros and cons of LED swimming pool lights to better decide which lighting option is right for you. And as always, call KB Electric LLC for installation and replacement for all of your pool lighting needs!