Call them cafe lights or bistro lighting or simply string lights, they are great for adding a night time atmosphere and an entertaining vibe to any outdoor space.
But the question is: Should you install them anywhere near your swimming pool? After all, ask any electrician and the standard answer is - water and electricity do not mix.
Truth be told: You can use low-voltage (30 volts or less) string lights near a pool or spa, as long as follow minimum clearance requirements. We would like to reiterate only IP65 certified low-voltage strings lights are considered safe for use near a pool.
You should NEVER install 240 volt string lights over or near water. Nor you should settle for string lights that are not IP65 certified.
Now, let us discuss explore how to safely use low-voltage string lights near over or near your swimming pool or spa.
How to Hang String Lights Around Pool
Minimum Clearance Distances
As per Australian Regulations, certain minimum clearance requirements must be met for hanging outdoor lights over a pool.
- Minimum clearance of a spa or pool close to a substation is typically 15m to 30m.
- Minimum clearance from the spa’s or pool’s edge to the closest pool is 4m.
- Minimum clearance from the spa’s or pool’s edge to the closest portion of the power line is 3.5m + sag and swing. Typically, sag increases in hot weather and swing increases in windy weather, so these things must also be taken into the account.
(Note: These guidelines are for Australian homes. If you are located outside Australia, make sure you check the regulations applicable in your country before installing low voltage string lights near or over water)
Why You Must Always Use IP65 string lights Near or Over Water?
To understand why only IP65 rated string lights should be used near or over a pool or spa, it is necessary to first understand what IP65 rating is.
Simply put, this rating is a numerical value assigned to electrical devices to show their resistance level to solids and water.
IP rated electrical products are safe to use. The greater the IP rating, the better the protection offered by a device.
The IP rating consists of two numbers (like IP65). The first number shows how well the device can resist solids. Whereas, the second number shows a device’s resistance level to liquids. So, in case an electrical product has resistance only to solids but not liquids, the second number will be 0.
While many providers sell IP44 string lights claiming they are safe to use near or over water, in truth IP65 rated sting lights are a better option. That is because IP65 string lights are more resistant to water compared to IP44 lights.
When it comes to yours and your family’s safety, you should never compromise. Always use IP65 rated string lights near or over your swimming pool or spa. IP44 string lights are a good option for your porch or garden or a backyard (if there’s no underground or above ground pool).
Why You Must Only Use Low-Voltage String Lights Near or Over Water?
Apart from ensuring your string lights are IP65, make sure they are low voltage (30 volts or less).
The risk of electrocution with 240 volts sting lights is high if used near or over water. That is why 240 volts over a swimming pool or a spa is a very bad idea. If you have such lights installed, remove them immediately. Replace them with low voltage string lights.
You can use string lights near or over your swimming pool if:
- They are low voltage and IP65 certified
- You follow the minimum distance guidelines