Standards required for swimming pool lighting

Updated February 21, 2017

Lighting standards for swimming pools vary based on who will use the pool and the community or state in which the pool is located. Pools used by the public are often held to a higher lighting standard than private pools. Some communities also differentiate between indoor and outdoor pools. Check local regulations before planning a pool project.


Requirements for outdoor pools in Delaware indicate at least 30 foot candles of light at the pool surface. (A foot candle is equal to the light produced by one candle at a distance of 1 foot.) The lighting can be from natural light sources during the day but obviously must come from artificial sources if the pool is used at night. Indoor pools are required to be illuminated to a 50 foot candle level either from artificial or natural lighting. In addition the pool must be illuminated so that the entire pool, including the depth marks, bottom markings and drain, are visible from the deck around the pool. Overland lighting must be enclosed in shatterproof enclosures. All electrical services, including lights and outlets, must be wired in compliance with National Electrical Codes.


Requirements in Boulder County, Colorado, specify 500 watts of light bulbs per 1,000 square feet of the pool's surface. The illumination also is required to provide enough lighting so the main drain of the pool is visible during night operations. In addition the deck area surrounding the pool requires an illumination of 0.6 watts per square foot. During night swimming the total foot candles of the pool lighting must equal 10 foot candles per square foot of the pool. Ground fault interrupters are specified for all outlets in the pool area.


Oregon regulations include underwater lighting in its regulations. Underwater lights should provide a total of 0.5 watts of lighting per square foot of swimming pool surface. If the underwater lighting is used additional above surface lighting in the deck area must total at least 0.6 watts of lighting per square foot of decking. If the underwater lighting is not used the total lighting of the pool and deck area must equal at least 2 watts per square foot.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Keith Allen, a 1979 graduate of Valley City State College, has worked at a variety of jobs including computer operator, medical clinic manager, radio talk show host and potato sorter. For over five years he has worked as a newspaper reporter and historic researcher. His works have appeared in regional newspapers in North Dakota and in "North Dakota Horizons" and "Cowboys and Indians" magazines.