It’s essential to plan your pool lighting to provide a sufficient amount of light without turning your pool into a beacon.
But that doesn’t mean you always want the same consistent brightness level. You may prefer to have the flexibility of a dimmer switch, letting you customize the pool brightness.
So, can you?
Older incandescent and halogen pool lights can be dimmed quite easily – you need to add a regular dimmer to the circuit. With LEDs, you need to check whether the light is dimmable, and you’ll also need a special low-voltage dimmer, which must be installed after the transformer.
You must get this right because if you try to dim lights that aren’t suitable, you can damage them. So let’s take a look at the following:
- Whether you can put pool lights on a regular dimmer
- How to dim pool lighting
- Whether Pentair (and other) pool lights can be dimmed
Can I Put Pool Lights On A Regular Dimmer?
If you’re new to pool lighting, before we get into the question about dimming, you need to understand that there are two main power options for pool lights.
Older lights are powered directly from the mains and run on a 120v current. In comparison, newer lights are often low-voltage lights, with a transformer wired into the circuit to drop the voltage down to around 12 volts before powering the lights.
Not all modern lights are low voltage – mains voltage lights are still made – but most LED lights will be low voltage.
That distinction is important because when you ask whether you can put pool lights on a regular dimmer, you need to ask two questions:
- What type of bulb is it?
- What voltage is it?
Suppose it’s an incandescent or halogen bulb powered by 120 volts. In that case, a regular dimmer switch will work absolutely fine.
If it’s a fluorescent bulb, you can dim them by adding a special dimmable ballast, but this might not be possible with pool lights – it depends on the fixture.
With LED lights, you need special dimmable bulbs. If the LED doesn’t state that it is dimmable, assume it’s not.
If the lights are low voltage, you can’t use a regular dimmer since they are designed to adjust circuits running on 120 volts.
Don’t worry; there are other options available.
How To Dim Pool Lighting?
OK, so with the steps above, you can establish whether or not you can dim your lights and how to do it.
If you want to dim mains voltage incandescent or halogen lights, you need to:
- Disconnect the power to the lights
- Remove the light switch currently controlling your lights, and replace it with a dimmer switch, following the wiring instructions for the dimmer
- Once wired in place, turn the power back on and test that it works
If you want to dim low-voltage lights and you have checked that the lights are dimmable, the process is slightly different.
You may have an existing light switch, but it will usually be installed in the circuit before the transformer.
You can’t replace this with a dimmer, as this won’t work with your transformer.
Instead, you need your dimmer switch to be installed after the transformer.
It has to be a special low-voltage dimmer (Amazon) – you can’t use a regular one.
Be aware that it’s challenging to find a low-voltage dimmer switch designed for outdoor use, so instead, you have two options:
- If your transformer is indoors, you could install the switch indoors as well
- Add a protective box (Amazon) to the dimmer switch
When you’re trying to dim landscape lighting, another option would be to use a transformer that has a dimmer built into it.
But you can’t use a landscape lighting transformer for pool lights – it needs to be a transformer that is designed for pool lights.
Unfortunately, I can’t find any pool light transformers that are dimmable.
Even landscape-lighting dimmable transformers are exceptionally rare. Let me know if you find one.
Are Pentair Pool Lights Dimmable?
Now that you know how to install a dimmer on a circuit, it’s just about ensuring that your pool lights are dimmable.
This is important because non-dimmable lights can be damaged if you try to dim them – the changing current can damage their controllers.
You don’t want to risk trying it and then have to replace all your lights.
But Pentair’s LED IntelliBrite lights are not dimmable, according to the manufacturer.
So, what other options are there?
Jandy is another major lighting manufacturer. They offer color LED pool lights, but these also are not dimmable.
However, their white HydroCool LED lights are dimmable with a switch.
But the best option for dimmable LED pool lights is Hayward’s ColorLogic lights.
These are dimmable in increments of 20%. Still, even better – they can be dimmed using the OmniLogic controller, so you don’t need a dimmer switch.
As long as you have the OmniLogic system controlling your lights, you can manage that system’s brightness.
Unfortunately, other pool controllers won’t let you dim the lights, even if you have iAquaLink, which is compatible with ColorLogic lights – the app doesn’t have the option to dim lights.
You’d need a manual dimmer wired in after the controller.
Dimming pool lights is more complex.
You need to be careful to ensure your lights are dimmable, have a suitable dimmer for your circuit type, and install it in the right place.
But it’s possible – not just with older lights, but with some modern LEDs too.
You can maintain the benefits of LED lighting if you want them to be dimmable. You need to choose suitable options.
Then you’ll be able to give your pool the perfect ambiance.
Have you got dimmable lights installed in your pool? Is it something you’re looking into because your current lights are too bright?