Large volumes of water, like swimming pools, absorb colors on the red end of the light spectrum and reflect the blue end, which accounts for water’s blue appearance. Lighting can affect color perceptions in areas around a pool, but under natural or white light, the water itself will always look blue, especially if it is deeper.
Regardless of what color the water appears to be, indoor pools is a challenge to light. A recent trend is for architects to bring natural light into natatoriums with large windows and skylights, but pool surfaces reflect significant amounts of glare. That glare can interfere with a swim coach’s or an event judge’s ability to see a competitor’s performance. Glare can also prevent lifeguards from seeing below a pool surface, which can be a danger for recreational swimmers. Proper pool lighting will simultaneously eliminate glare and allow spectators to see all action in a pool, both above and below the water line.
Indirect and underwater lighting with high-pressure sodium or metal halide fixtures might partially solve these problems, but they can also add a different problem with non-uniformity of light beams. Non-uniform lighting creates bright and dark spots that can further obscure swimming action. Moreover, the air in indoor natatoriums traps a larger percentage of chlorine and corrosive chemicals that can degrade the integrity and performance of lighting fixtures. All of these challenges add up to present significant challenges to a pool lighting designer.
In every case, modern LED lighting meets and exceeds these challenges. To reduce glare, LED pool lights come with diffusers and dimpled optics that create diffused lighting patterns, rather than the direct lighting that is typical; with traditional indoor arena fixtures. Some LED manufacturers, including our company, can also make custom diffusers and frosted lenses to meet specific natatorium designs requirements.
LED natatorium lighting is also available in a number of different diffusion patterns that ensure uniform lighting across and beneath a pool’s surface. Pool lighting designers have multiple options with LED’s to match light with different wattages and beam spreads to eliminate the bright and dark spots that plague traditional pool lighting. Better light diffusion also eliminates shadows that can affect a judge’s perception of different performances in a swimming competition.
The newer generations of LED lighting fixtures also come with corrosion-resistant finishes. They are also sealed, and their control boards are gasketed to prevent corrosive chemicals from degrading the inner workings of the fixtures. If an LED fixture does fail due to corrosion or some other problem, it can be easily and inexpensively replaced without interfering with any other fixtures.
In addition to these benefits, LED pool lighting (like all LED lighting systems) consumes less electrical power to generate the same or better lighting as traditional fixtures. They have superior durability, even in high-stress environments like natatoriums, and will require less maintenance over their useful lives.