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The Bright Ideas Blog

Design inspiration and outdoor lighting tips and advice for homeowners

Choosing The Right Underwater Landscape Light Fixture

Be it a pond, fountain, or other water feature, underwater fixtures can be needed  to create the right light.

Why use an underwater fixture? While there are plenty of ways to light a water feature without plunging a fixture into its watery depths, submersible fixtures are used by lighting designers. To create more ideal lighting effects. For example, placing a light at the base of a waterfall at the right angle will make the cascade sparkle and crackle in the shimmering rush of breaking water.

Lighting designers utilize underwater fixtures when they need the lighting design to have that extra pop.



Choosing the Right Fixture

Underwater fixtures can be used to showcase pieces that would otherwise be left in the dark. But it’s important to remember that not all fixtures are created equal. The way an underwater fixture is built and engineered to keep out water / moisture matters more than any other fixture in low voltage landscape lighting systems.

LED lamps must stay dry. Moisture and electronics do not mix. Keeping LEDs away from water is the best way to assure their longevity and continued reliability. This means that choosing the right underwater fixture is of paramount importance. A fixture submerged underwater needs to be able to keep water out.

Aiming low & going cheap on any lighting fixture isn't recommended, but especially with fixtures that are going to be in, around & under water. 

“Price is what you pay-Value is what you get”    -Warren Buffett


What to Look for in an Underwater Fixture

In order to indicate quality, here are some aspects to look for in an underwater fixture.

  • The number one thing to look for has to be the material the fixture is built from. Brass and stainless steel are both heavy duty metal that won’t corrode when submerged underwater.
  • Does the rubber gasket keeping water out surround all sides of the glass lens? Water has a funny way of finding ways into places. Your fixture needs to be working to keep it out on all sides.
  • Does the rubber gasket have a tight seal? The cover that holds the glass and rubber gasket down needs to screw down tight.
  • How does the cord connect into the fixture? Always look for quality in all components of the fixture. A metal faceting is better than a plastic one. If the way the cord is lead into the fixture seems suspect, it probably is.
  • How long is the lead wire connected to the fixture? Look for a fixture with a long lead wire. Wire connections should always be made outside the body of water. Never have a submerged wire connection. If the lead wire isn’t long enough to allow the connection to be made out of the water, it shouldn’t be used.


What to Avoid in an Underwater Fixture

  • Avoid plastic and composite materials! Plastic doesn’t handle temperature changes well and can crack.
  • Watch out for submersible fixtures that can be opened without the assistance of tools. If it’s easy for you to get into the fixture with your bare hands, it’s easy for water to get in there as well. If the rubber gasket isn’t screwed down tight, it can become susceptible to leaks.
  • Avoid underwater fixtures that can’t be serviced. If the light bulb can’t be swapped out, it isn’t serviceable. Being able to service a fixture is one of the best ways to ensure its longevity because it can be repaired even if water somehow finds its way in.


No Underwater Fixture is Waterproof

When it comes right down to it, no fixture is bullet proof. Underwater fixtures are put through more strain than any other fixture in the landscape in terms of use and abuse. Even the best built and engineered underwater landscape lighting fixture have a potential to leak. That being said, the chances of this happening are incredibly mitigated when a quality fixture is used.


To learn more about lighting your outdoor living space, call us at (801)440-7647 to schedule a free consultation, or feel free to simply fill out a contact form on our website, www.utahlights.com

 Located in Midvale, Landscape Lighting Pro of Utah serves throughout Utah's residential areas, including Salt Lake City, Park City, Draper, Davis & Utah Counties. Our outdoor lighting portfolio includes projects throughout Utah and beyond.

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