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Why Won’t My Pool Lights Change Color?

Pool lights are great for setting the perfect mood in the evening – they offer a safe, gentle glow and cast the right amount of light to make your pool look inviting without being too dim or too bright.

Another benefit of pool lights is that many of them can change color – when they’re fully working, anyway.

You can customize the ambiance by choosing a shade other than white or creating a more vibrant atmosphere with a light show.

So what happens when the pool lights won’t change color – how do you fix that?

Many pool lights rely on changing lenses to alter their color, driven by a motor. If the motor fails, the light fixture usually needs to be replaced, although some lights have a replaceable motor. The problem could also be caused by lights being out of sync or wiring issues.

It’s not always a straightforward fix, but let’s get to the bottom of the issue first and look at:

  • Why your pool light may be stuck on one color
  • How to troubleshoot your lights
  • How to reset LED pool lights

Why My Pool Light Stuck On One Color?

swimming pool in night with lighting

There are a few different potential reasons why your pool lights might be stuck on one color, with no single simple solution to always fix them.

Depending on the issue, there might be a quick resolution, or you may need to replace the entire light.

Color lens Motor Failure

One of the most common causes of this particular problem is pool lights with a rotating color lens.

These don’t change the color of the actual light but instead have different colored lenses that the light shines through to give it the color, all of which is managed by a motor.

Over time, that motor can fail – so when you tell the light to change color, it just sits on the same color instead because the lens isn’t being swapped out.

When this happens, you’d typically need to replace the entire light fixture.

If it’s a Pentair light, then you may be able to replace the motor, but with Pentair now primarily producing different lights the motor is harder to come by and so more expensive.

It’s probably cheaper (and easier) to replace the light.

Burnt Out Lights

Some pool lights produce colored light by using smaller lights or diodes blended together.

If some diodes fail, the light might not change color correctly.

The good news is that you can usually tell this is the problem quite quickly – when you try to change the color, the light will at least change, but maybe not to the right color, or it might switch off.

Say, for example, the green light isn’t working – if it’s on red and you try to switch to green, it’ll just turn off as the red light turns off, but the green fails to come on.

But while it’s easier to diagnose, the downside is that the only fix is to replace the light.

Flooded Light

Some people have reported having issues with lights failing to change color due to the flooded fixture.

It could be that the motor isn’t working correctly due to stagnant water, or it could prevent the wires from behaving.

Remove the light from the pool, open it up and drain it, leaving it to thoroughly dry.

Then replace the gasket to prevent it from leaking again, and test it to see if the color changes.

Light Needs Resetting

Because you can’t communicate with pool lights (due to them being underwater), they change color by turning them off and then on again after a set period and several times to get to the right color.

If the light is an LED one and it isn’t relying on a color lens motor, the light has got stuck on a color and isn’t changing the way it is supposed to – essentially, it has glitched.

You should be able to fix this with a full reset of the lights.

How To Troubleshoot Pentair and Hayward Lights?

pool with underwater lighting

There are, of course, individual issues that may affect different manufacturers’ lights.

Unfortunately, Hayward seems to be the only manufacturer which provides an in-depth troubleshooting guide for their lights.

Pentair (and also Jandy) don’t offer much support for troubleshooting beyond their basic manuals, which don’t have much info.

View a Pentair manual or a Jandy manual to see what I mean.

You could absolutely try the solutions offered by Hayward, though, for your Pentair lights too.

The Hayward guide doesn’t mention colors not cycling, but it does explain how to change the color mode, which should fix the problem unless the light is broken.

To do this, you need to:

  • Start with the LED lights on
  • Turn them off for 11-13 seconds, and then turn them back on
  • Do this 3 times, and the lights will flash to tell you which mode they are in.
  • Repeat the step once more to change to UCL mode, then turn them off and on immediately to cycle through modes
  • When you have the right color mode, turn the lights off for two minutes to ‘save’ the mode

The troubleshooting guide takes you through various step-by-step guides for other problems, including the lights not working or the lights being dim or flashing.

How To Reset LED Pool Lights?

the square shaped pool with violet lighting

Because LED pool lights rotate through the colors by switching on and off, sometimes they can get locked on color and won’t change as usual.

You can also sometimes find that the colors will fall out of sync. Resetting the lights should help fix both of these issues.

How you reset the lights varies by manufacturer, so check the manual for instructions. Two common options are:

  • Powering the lights off for two full minutes, and then power them back on
  • Switching the lights on for 10 seconds, then flipping them immediately off and back on

One of these options should reset your lights, and they should cycle back to white, and then you should be able to change their color again.

If these don’t work, check the instructions in the manual for your lights on a reset option.

Another potential fix is to reset the GFCI.

Even if it appears that the GFCI hasn’t been tripped, it can cause issues, so try flipping it off, waiting a few seconds, then flipping it back on.

Final Words

I wish there was one single solution for pool lights refusing to change color, but because there are different kinds of lights and ways that they work, you’ll need to make some diagnosis of your own lights to determine the issue.

Always try resetting the lights first since you can do this from the circuit breaker, which will fix most problems.

Replacing the affected part is probably the solution if it is a mechanical problem with the color lens motor or the bulb.

If there is water in the light fixture – even if the colors are still changing – you still want to resolve that ASAP before it breaks the light.

Have you had issues with your pool lights refusing to change color? Which fix was needed in your case?