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Why Are My Pool Lights Flashing?

Most pool lights have a few customization options, letting you cycle through different colors and even put on a light show.

During these shows, the lights usually flash in various colors to help give your pool more of a party atmosphere.

However, sometimes your lights may flash or flicker when they aren’t supposed to.

This typically isn’t because you’ve accidentally triggered a show – it’s usually a sign that there’s a problem.

Pool lights can flicker because of faulty wiring (including a loose connection), if the bulb needs replacing, or if the transformer is failing. It could be a sign of voltage drop, or the light may be glitching and need a reset.

Don’t worry – there are different ways to get to the bottom of why your pool lights are flashing. Let’s look into:

  • Reasons why your LED pool light is flickering
  • Troubleshooting Hayward pool lights
  • How to fix the potential problems

Why Does My LED Pool Light Flicker? Causes and Solutions

 Evening view for a luxury swimming pool in night illumination

Pool lights flickering or flashing could be caused by many different problems – there are 6 leading causes I’ve identified.

Three of these could apply to any pool light, so we’ll tackle those first. The other three only apply specifically to low-voltage lights.

Faulty Wiring

One of the potentially apparent causes of a pool light flickering will be if there’s a loose wire connection somewhere.

If that’s the case, then the flickering will be irregular, and at times the bulb will constantly remain switched on.

That loose connection is very unlikely to be where the cable is wired into the light fixture itself unless there’s a reason the fixture could have been damaged.

Instead, it’s more likely to be at the junction box or the transformer if it’s a low-voltage light.

The solution is simple if you can find the problem – reconnect the wires, making sure they are secure within the connector you use.

Bulb Wearing Out

When LED bulbs wear out, they will typically just cut out – they don’t tend to show signs that they need replacing. But it can happen.

If the bulb is flickering and has shown signs of dimming, it is time to replace it, especially if you’ve had it for a long time.

Remember that LED pool lights – if they are good quality – should last 20,000+ hours.

But they could have a much shorter lifespan if you’ve bought them cheaply.

If you deduce that the bulb has worn out, you must replace it. Make sure you check the other potential causes first, though. Otherwise, you could buy a new bulb and have the same issues.

Water In The Fixture

submerged light in the pool

If the gasket in the light fixture has failed and water has got into the light, this could be causing the current to short, making the bulb flicker.

If your lights are mains voltage, this should trip the GFCI, so you shouldn’t see your light flickering – it should just cut out.

But if the GFCI is faulty, or your lights are low voltage and not on a GFCI circuit, they may flicker.

The damage might not be terminal if water got into your lights.

Switch off the power, remove the light from the pool and open it up, draining the water and leaving it to thoroughly dry.

Once that’s done, replace the gasket, as that is what will have caused the leak. Next, replace the light and test that it works.

Transformer Failing

Low voltage lights must be wired into a transformer, as that is the device that steps the current down from mains voltage to the 12-14V needed for the lights.

A suitable transformer designed for use with pool lights should last many years, but they are not infallible and, over time, can wear out.

When they do, it can cause problems powering the lights consistently, leading to flickering.

Use a multimeter to test the transformer. Follow the steps in the section about Hayward lights below.

If you find that you aren’t getting a consistent 14 volts from it, but the current running into it is 120 volts, then you need a new transformer.

Voltage Drop

If you have a long cable running from the transformer to your junction box, or you have too many low-voltage lights wired into the circuit, you might see flickering in your lights due to voltage drop.

Any electrical component, including wire, has a resistance that causes the voltage to slightly drop. But when dealing with a low voltage current, the significant drop can cause devices to be underpowered.

If you can identify that the lights only flicker when they are all connected to the circuit, but individually they work fine, you’ve overloaded the circuit, and the voltage drop is the issue.

You can replace the wire you’ve used from the transformer to the junction box with a thicker wire, but the better solution is to run some of the lights on a second circuit.

Light Glitching

Sometimes, LED lights will flicker and flash because they aren’t working correctly – especially with pool lights designed to move through different programs when switched on and off.

Whether it’s a glitch or your lights are on an actual flashing setting, this tends to be one of the easier problems to fix – a reset typically does the job.

For most lights, this means turning them off for two minutes before turning them on and off again. But with other lights, you may need to turn them on for 10-12 seconds, then turn them off and on.

It does vary by manufacturer, so check the manual for your lights if you have it. A reset can often resolve the problem with LED lights.

Do Flickering Pool Lights Indicate Severe Circuit Problems?

Electrician hands stripping a wire

Flickering pool lights could indicate a more severe problem with your circuitry.

If your lights are wired into any pool controller – something like iAquaLink or equivalent – then you can easily find out by testing the other devices wired into the same device.

If they are working, as usual, you can determine the issue with the switches on the panel for your lights or with the lights themselves.

Moving the lights to another switch and testing them will answer that.

Usually, flickering lights tend to be a problem with the lights, the lighting wiring, or the transformer, but it could be a more serious electrical problem to trace back to your circuit breaker.

If you rule out the problems and solutions in this guide first, and you’re still having issues, it might be a more severe outdoor wiring issue that needs full investigation.

Hayward LED Pool Lights Flickering

 modern house outdoors at night with lit up pool

Hayward manufactures ColorLogic lights, some of the more popular pool lights in the US market.

They have an in-depth troubleshooting guide which takes you through the steps to work out why your lights may be flickering.

It might be a problem with the light or caused by the switch on the OmniLogic panel they’re wired into.

Here are the steps that Hayward recommends:

  • Power cycle the lights by turning them off for two minutes, then powering them back on and cycle through the colors. Do this manually at the control panel – remove the batteries from the remote before you do
  • If the lights still flash, use a multimeter to check the junction box and transformer to make sure there are 14 volts of power
  • If there’s a problem and there aren’t 14 volts, check the high voltage side of the transformer. If that’s showing as 120 volts, the transformer is at fault and needs replacing.
  • If the transformer works fine, there may be a voltage drop. Disconnect the lights and test them in turn, one at a time. If they all work individually, it’s a voltage drop issue, and you need to wire some lights onto a separate circuit
  • If all the lights are still flashing when wired individually, try wiring them onto a different switch on the Hayward control panel, as it may be faulty.

If you still have flickering lights after all these steps have been tried, you likely need to replace them.

Final Words

Flickering pool lights can be caused by a wide range of issues. The biggest problem you have is narrowing down whether the cause is the light, the wiring, the transformer, the control panel, or something else.

Once you know the culprit, most of the fixes aren’t too intensive, although you may sometimes have to pay for a new light or transformer.

If you’ve had flickering pool lights before, did you get to the bottom of the issue, and what was the needed fix?

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