Solar powered lights are popular because they can save you money on your electric bill and are so convenient to use without the need for wiring in. Solar lighting is naturally designed for outdoor use but how waterproof can they be and are they safe to use in and around your pool? Let’s take a look.
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The internal parts of solar powered lighting is not inherently waterproof unless packaged within the correctly rated enclosures so will get damaged if they come in contact with water unless protected. The solar panels that collect sunlight to keep the batteries running can stop working completely as well if they are covered by water or moisture, so the panel itself has to be designed to be water resistant.
Answer: Not directly. Solar lights are powered by solar energy stored in extra low voltage rechargeable batteries and are usually not wired to be live wires. They will only send electric current if they electrically short out, just like any other electrical device.
The main concern with solar lights is how safe the light source is and if it would be electrically safe in or around your pool. The light bulb will only be safe if it is fully waterproof to the depth of your pool water.
In addition, you could also have problems due to the solar panel being in contact with the water when the light floats and there are no other hazards that we will look at in more detail later on.
Although outdoor solar lights are safe in the same way as any other electrical device would need to be near or in water, they may not be suitable for use near your pool due to their plastic parts being able to cause accidents if left in place. Even though the bulb will not electrify you directly, it would still be a hazard if it is broken and small pieces of glass or plastic are in the water where children or pets could get cut.
If there is a hole in the casing of the solar panel, it will leak out water and this can affect how well the panel works as well as one of my main concerns with solar lights. If left floating on top of your pool when not in use, especially if on a windy day, they can pose a danger.
The solar panel could have sharp edges or the plastic casing could be brittle and crack leaving it dangerous to swim on top of or near your pool because it would poke you if you brushed against it. Even though the light is submersible, its casing will hold air that increases its buoyancy which could then be knocked into the water by a strong gust of wind.
If you still wish to use solar lights around your pool, here are some tips for ensuring they are safe for all users and that the light is not going to pose any hazards after it has been submersible in the water.
Choose a light that is designed to be submersible and ensure it is completely sealed so there are no holes for water to get in, especially if you have small children or pets around your pool.
Ensure the solar panel does not touch the water while floating on top of the surface, this will keep any sharp edges away from the water. If it is in a position where it touches the edge of your pool, you may need to take steps to prevent the light from being knocked into the water by wind.
Create an area around your pool that will not get blown over onto your solar lights with strong winds as this can cause damage and make them unsafe for use.
The plastic casing can get in the way if it gets knocked into the water by strong winds, so you may want to think about where you are planning on placing your solar lights so that they do not get damaged or cause an accident to other pool users.
You should be just as careful if you are planning on placing solar lights on a roof over your pool because the plastic casing can be just as brittle and may crack. If you want to place solar lights near a pool, I would advise that you look for something with aluminum or glass parts rather than plastic even though they will tend to cost more.
The solar lights used around pools and outdoor swimming areas are generally submersible in water. This makes them convenient to use because they can be placed in the water and left there all night without needing an electrical connection or special wiring for power. This feature is what draws many buyers to these lights as a way to light pools at night. You don’t have to worry about dangling wires and cords around the pool.
While solar lights can be used to light your pool, solar powered lights should not be placed in the water of the pool unless specifically designed for full immersion. IP68 is the IP certification for full submersion for any light fixture regardless of it’s energy source.
Floating solar pool lights have been designed to be underwater solar lights so do make sure you buy one certified for such use.
The submersible feature also makes it easy to clean the solar lights if they get dirty or covered in algae by simply taking them out from under the water and rinsing away any gunk. The lights are placed into the water usually by floating them on top where they sit all night or hanging from a pole over the pool. Some solar lights could pose more of a hazard than others so once again, you should make sure that yours has no plastic parts that would be dangerous if it is broken.
While solar lights can give adequate light for swimming at night, solar lights typically don’t provide enough light to safely see your footing while walking around the pool deck. They also may not be bright enough to allow you to read a book or magazine in an area where there is direct lighting and shade.
There are solar lights made for use near pools that are waterproof and designed to be safe under water. These will have an IP68 rating on them which means they can be fully immersed in water without causing any issues or damage to the light fixture.
With that rating, they can be fully immersed in water without causing any issues or damage to the light fixture. The solar panel for this type of submersible light should also be made from glass rather than plastic even though it may cost a little bit more.
Floating solar pool lights and submersible solar lights will be designed to that rating and safe to use.
Solar inground pool lights are safe because they are fixed into position. However, the connection between the solar panel and the lights themselves must be carefully considered to ensure there is not potential trip hazard.
Pool fence solar lights when fixed securely to the fence are a great way to add some ambient light safely around the poolside.
There are some areas around a pool that you will want to avoid putting solar lights on as they may not be safe for use. The metal wiring of some solar lights could cause an electrical shock if someone accidentally got the wires wet or touched them while swimming. If your solar light has a wire coming out from underneath where it is placed in the water, then you should be very careful about where to position the light.
Lights that are designed for use over pools will have an anchoring strap on them to prevent them from being blown off by strong storms or high winds. Even if they do not have a wire coming out, it is best not to place solar lights over areas of the pool where there is a lot of activity or above the diving board.
If you are unable to find solar lights that have a waterproof rating, then it would be best not to use them around swimming areas. Placing solar lights into your pool can be dangerous for swimmers if the lights are not made for use under water.
You have to be sure that the solar light will not break when it gets hit or bumped by swimmers and you should try to place them in areas where they won’t be in danger of being tampered with without your knowledge.
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