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November 2016

Indoor pool lighting challenges and solutions

Safety, resistance, durability: three required qualities of any indoor pool lighting system. Any installation of this type is a multi-faceted one and requires careful examination of several features prior to its lighting arrangement’s selection or refurbishing. Initially, we need to establish the end-use of the pool. We further need to study the rules and regulations governing lighting in such an environment. Further, we must address the safety dimensions for swimmers and pool staff. Finally, both the resistance and durability of selected luminaries require thorough compliance. Read on to learn more about the challenges and solutions that indoor pool lighting faces.

1) Assessing the End-Use of the Pool to Select Appropriate Lighting

Is this pool situated in a condominium or a hotel? Will swim meets be held in this pool? Will they be televised? Will swimming or diving lessons be given there? Will the pool serve as a water polo facility or leisure swim centre? It is essential to specify to what end the pool will be used prior to selecting the lighting system needed. This is because a number of activities require certain standards to ensure meeting safety standards.

Below are a few of the classifications for pool usage and designated lighting recommendations:

Pool lighting picture

2) Lighting Standards and Installation Recommendations

Most provinces and territories in Canada have published guidelines with respect to the maintenance and operation of pool facilities. However, there are no official standards in effect in this country. In most cases, the basic installation calls for a minimum of 200 lux over the surface of the pool, both during the day and at night. There should be sufficient lighting so that every surface of the installation is clearly visible. This includes the bottom of the pool as well. In Quebec, the construction code issued by the Régie du bâtiment du Québec is more demanding than its provincial counterparts: it insists on the use of 300 lux. However, many installations (even new ones) fail to meet these regulations.

The following is a number of standards that administrators and builders of indoor pool facilities may find useful to select or modify a pool installation’s lighting system:

In addition, the chart below, taken from the National Electrical Code of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) (NFPA70 NEC 2008 art. 680) states the requirements regarding pool lighting.

Pool luminaires restrictions

3) Understanding the Danger caused by the Reflection of Water

One of the major concerns regarding pool lighting is the quality of light, as it affects the safety of people who use the pool as well as those responsible for its upkeep. Particular attention needs to be paid to the reflection of light on the pool’s surface and on its surroundings. The glare can cause discomfort or even dizziness to the pool attendants.

Potential Solutions:
Reflection can be toned down with the installation of luminaires on the perimeter of the pool and on the terrace. The issue can also be resolved by setting up a system that projects light both upwards and downwards.

It is important to examine the Unified Glare Rating (UGR) of chosen lighting products. The UGR is a method used to estimate the glare factor, as defined by the International Commission on Illumination. Typically, a UGR measuring less than 10 is of no consequence. Conversely, a rating above 30 indicates a high degree of brightness.

4) Luminaires that are Resistant to Chlorine and a Humid Environment

Pools are known to be highly humid and corrosion-causing environments. The lifespan of luminaires installed in this setting can be affected. The level of humidity is usually quite high (approximately 50 to 60%) in indoor pool facilities. Chlorine vapours, which accelerate corrosion of materials, also have a rather high level. In addition to this, the basic configuration of pools tends to make lighting system maintenance a difficult and costly job. For these reasons, lighting installations need to be both resistant and durable.

Here is a diagram comparing materials and their resistance to chlorine. We can confidently state that the best material for this purpose is polycarbonate.

Material resistance

It is often recommended that an analysis of the IP rating and an inspection of the junction box be conducted. In a pool setting, an IP rate greater than 65 is considered optimal. For further information on this rating, please read our blog article on IP codes and their significance.

IP Cart

An LED Lighting System is THE Solution

LED luminaires have greatly evolved over the last few years. They are more resistant, project much less heat, are less energy intensive and have a longer lifespan than their traditional counterparts. Their durability is a key factor in the low maintenance of indoor pool lighting systems.