Pool & Spa Rated Fixtures

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting, Aug 9, 2011.

  1. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    I am working on a fantastic water feature that flows around a custom 16 person granite hot tub. (wait till you see the photos!) The water feature water is separate from the hot tub water but is within 3 meters of the hot tub. As such I only want to use Pool & Spa rated fixtures in the water feature.

    I know of the Hunza Pool Lite, which will work for the application, but I am wondering if any of you know of other 12 Volt, underwater fixtures that carry the necessary UL Pool & Spa ratings.


  2. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,646

    James. I spent some time digging and could not find too many UL 676 certified, and not any that have the canada sub classification- I believe "IFEV7" ?

    not trying to beat a dead horse here, I know we disagree on this, but with the amount of years you have had to use underwater lights, are the ones you have used in the past failing, or are they just not UL 676 certified? I always tend to lean on the ones that have worked rather than finding new ones to gamble on that may carry a new listing. or is this an insurance thing?

    I am not trying to get your hackles up, but I am trying to understand the thought process. my customers have told me very loud and clear they prefer me to use products I have experience with, rather than me trying a new fixture on them I have no experience with.
  3. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    This is an application hurdle David. For the rest of the water feature I will be using standard underwater rated fixtures, but for the top portion where the water feature wraps around the hot tub I want to use pool and spa rated to be extra safe / cautious. The water feature water will be flowing all around the perimeter of the hot tub and as such it is not 3m or more away from the "human water". As such standard pond fixtures will not suffice. There is a bridge from the patio to the tub, but there is also a chance that people can and will come in limited contact with the waterfeature water. Better safe than sorry.
  4. RLI Electric

    RLI Electric LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 381

    James, this is frustrating I am sure. If following the NEC you would reference 680.22 (B)(1). You then have to cross reference with 411.4(B) where it states locations not permitted for fixtures operating at 30 volts or less. I have spoken with my Authority Having Jurisdiction and he states that the NEC trumps UL's white book. I don't know how far up the chain you can fight city hall, but my climb ends with the final decision from the state electrical inspector.
  5. Richie@

    Richie@ LawnSite Member
    Messages: 187

    Article worth reading.


    Problem/Substantiation 4 - Distance of Lighting Systems from Pools, Spas,
    Fountains, and Similar Locations - 411.4(B) requires low voltage lighting
    systems to be located not less than 3.0 m (10 ft) from pools, spas, fountains,
    and similar locations “unless permitted by Article 680.” 680.22(B), 680.40, and
    680.43(B) identify installation characteristics for luminaires near or above a
    permanent swimming pool, spa and hot tub. Parts I, III, and IV of Article 680
    do not identify the minimum distance between a luminaire and a storable pool
    or fountain. This results in low voltage lighting systems being required to be
    installed not less than 3.0 m (10 ft) or more from a storable pool or fountain, as
    specified in 411.4(B).
    People want low voltage landscape lighting systems located less than 3.0 m
    (10 ft) from a storable pool or fountain and there is no provision for locating
    the lighting system as near as 1.5 m (5 ft) of a storable pool or fountain like
    there is for permanent swimming pools and spas. Proposed 411.4(B) provides
    for this and the following benefits.
    a) Conveniently specifies installation characteristics for all of pools, spas,
    fountains, and similar locations and does not require the reader to locate those
    requirements that are in Article 680.
    b) Provides installation characteristics for system parts for storable pools and
    fountains and eliminates the need for the reader to attempt to locate in Article
    680 the nonexistent requirements for installing nonimmersed luminaires near
    storable pools and fountains.
    c) Clarifies that GFCI protection applies to the power supply of the lighting
    system and not the luminaries. This eliminates the possibility that a reader
    of present 411.4(B) will conclude that a GFCI is required in the low voltage
    isolated system circuit for the low voltage luminaires because Article 680
    requires GFCI protection for luminaries.
    d) Specifies installation distance, height, and GFCI protection that match
    or are more stringent than specified in Article 680 for 120 volt luminaires for
    permanent pools and spas.

    Panel Meeting Action: Accept in Principle in Part
    First, the panel accepts the changes shown in the proposal to the title of 411.4
    and Section 411.4(A).
    Secondly, the panel has modified 411.4(B) to read as follows:
    (B) Pools, Spas, Fountains, and Similar Locations.
    Lighting systems shall be installed a minimum of 3 m (10 ft) horizontally from
    the nearest edge of the water, unless permitted by Article 680.
    Panel Statement: Proposed text of 411.4(B) was not accepted because the
    proposed requirements are in conflict with the requirements of 680.22(b). The
    panel does not agree that the proposed language is more strintgent, when in
    fact it is less......


    Swimming pool lighting

    Sec. 411-4(2) defers to Art. 680 on the use of this lighting within 10 ft of a pool, spa, or fountain. This turns out to be quite complicated. Sec. 680-6(b)(1) generally allows fixtures to be as near as 5 ft to a pool (but no closer unless at least 12 ft above the water level). However, there are additional requirements that apply to fixtures closer than 10 ft. Both Sec. 680-6(b)(2) for lighting in the 5-10 ft zone, and the two exceptions to Sec. 680-6(b)(1) that allow closer distances for existing lighting and for indoor pools 7 1/2 ft or more above the water level require GFCI protection for such fixtures.

    As noted in Fig. 2, GFCI devices as presently listed won't operate on a circuit with two ungrounded conductors. Therefore, these lighting systems are excluded between the 5-ft to the 10-ft radius around a pool unless the fixtures are rigidly attached to a structure at a point at least 5 ft above the maximum water level. They cannot be run at all, even on an existing structure, closer than 5 ft from the pool.

    Nevertheless, we do see these lights used closer to swimming pools. These lights aren't installed under the provisions of Art. 411. This type of lighting operates on Class 2 power-limited circuits evaluated for wet-contact applications. Therefore, you install this type of lighting using listed Class 2 power supplies that typically don't exceed 75VA.

    Landscape lighting

    Another application of limited-energy lighting is in the path and accent lighting commonly used outdoors, as well as indoors in shopping malls, hotel atriums, and similar locations. These systems are listed to another standard entirely (UL 1838, Low Voltage Landscape Lighting Systems), and there are no plans to convert these systems over to the new UL 2108 standard. Because wet contact could be involved, these systems are limited to 15V, and UL already imposes the same 25A limitation as in the new Sec. 411-2. The output of one of these power supplies must never be connected in series or in parallel, and the maximum number and ratings of lighting units must never exceed the quantity specified in the listing and in the accompanying product directions.

    The other issue with these systems is the location of the power supply. Installers need to be aware of the restrictions that come with various markings on these power supplies. For example, the "Outdoor Use Only" power unit cannot be used indoors. Although this seems obvious, we are used to assuming that if something can be used outdoors, it surely must be usable indoors. In this product category, only a power unit marked "Indoor Use Only" or "Indoor/Outdoor Use" (the other two possibilities) can be used indoors.

    The power supplies will be arranged for a Chapter 3 wiring method connection, except outdoor units may be arranged for a cord- and plug-connection. In this case, the receptacle must be arranged to be weatherproof with the cord and plug connected, in accordance with Sec. 410-57(b).

    These landscape lighting systems may also be used to supply submersible fixtures in fountains. In these cases, the transformer will have an isolated secondary to comply with Sec. 680-5(a), as required in Sec. 680-51(a) Ex. of the NEC. The lighting system will be marked "For Use With Submersible Fixtures Or Submersible Pumps." Be careful here! This product category is only for decorative fountains not intended for swimming or wading.

    Note that underwater lighting fixtures intended for use in swimming pools are listed in a different category entirely. These fixtures, even if below 15V, must meet additional requirements. As in the case of Art. 411 systems, this wiring will originate at an isolating transformer. The secondary conductors from this transformer must never enter raceways or other enclosures with other conductors, however, in accordance with Sec. 680-5(c). GFCI protection is not required for these systems.

    In general, however, these systems will be wired in the same way and using the same wiring methods as 120V lighting in the same environment. About the only other difference is that a potted, flush deck box can be used [Sec. 680-21(a)(4) Ex.], instead of the elevated swimming pool junction box required at line voltage. In any case, you must use a fixture listed as one of the forms of "Underwater Lighting Fixture For Swimming Pool." UL reserves the term "submersible" for underwater use in fountains, etc, not swimming pools and spas.
  6. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    Thanks guys, now I am not sure as to what I can or cannot do, and in the case of the former what I can or cannot use to do it with!
  7. Richie@

    Richie@ LawnSite Member
    Messages: 187

    Here is another article.

    Another frequent violation occurs around swimming pools, spas, fountains and similar areas. NEC 411.4(2) does not permit low-voltage lighting systems within 10 feet of these areas, unless permitted by Article 680. Section 680.22(B) covers area lighting around a pool. Any luminaire installed within 5 feet horizontally of the pool edge must be located at least 12 feet above the maximum water level of the pool. There are many existing low-voltage lighting installations installed after the pool installation inspection has occurred where the luminaires are installed within 3 to 5 feet of the water’s edge at or near ground level, which clearly is a violation.
    Section 680.22(B)(4) permits luminaires to be installed within 5 to 10 feet horizontally of the pool’s edge only where a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protects the luminaires. Since low-voltage landscape luminaires are supplied by a low-voltage power supply, such as a transformer, providing GFCI protection on the primary side of an isolation transformer will not provide GFCI protection on the secondary side. GFCI devices will not operate at the 15-volts or less supplied by the secondary of the power supply. This leaves only two options: one is to locate all low-voltage landscape lighting at least 10 feet from the pool or fountain edge; or, two, to use a special power supply.
    There are low-voltage lighting power units that are marked “For Use with Submersible Fixtures or Submersible Pumps.” In this case, a special transformer is used that complies with the requirements in 680.23 for underwater luminaires installed below the normal water level of the pool. This transformer is specifically listed for this use and is an isolated winding type transformer with an ungrounded secondary similar to the low-voltage landscape lighting transformer, as required by 411.5(B). The low-voltage pool lighting transformer has one additional feature in its design. It has a grounded metal barrier or shield between the primary and the secondary. This metal barrier or shield prevents a direct internal short between the primary and the secondary of the transformer. If a short does occur on the primary side, it will short to the metal shield and the primary overcurrent protective device will operate. If a short develops on the secondary side to the shield, the secondary overcurrent protective device, if provided, will operate. If there isn’t a secondary overcurrent protective device and the primary is providing protection through the transformer, the primary device should operate.
  8. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    Thanks. I knew about the faraday shields inside the transformers and have accounted for using such now to see about the fixtures and their locations. The fixtures near the hot tub will be submerged beneath 1.5' of water feature water, and not just sitting in the ground outside of the hot tub as a path light fixture may be. You have to cross a granite slab bridge to get from "shore" to the hot tub and then there is a "moat" surrounding the tub that will be moving 600 GPM of water feature water. It is quite the unique piece...

    Time to talk with the electrical inspector I suppose.
  9. RLI Electric

    RLI Electric LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 381

    Gotta love Code. Richie, thanks for posting this and the links. That is awesome. In my state we are still on the 2005 Code so I don't know if any of the exceptions have come into being. I will be rereading this about a dozen times to make sure the wording is absorbed. It is real funny how all this ends up with the interpretation of the Authority Having Jurisdiction. They are the same one that told me it IS OK to have an OUTDOOR ONLY transformer used inside. I argued with the lighting store and brought it to the state and they said the store was right. "If it is ok for outdoor, it is ok for indoor." They supply a 150 watt transformer from a company that begins with K all the time for track lighting too. Fortunately, I don't recommend that lighting store to my clients.
    Richie, am I correct in my interpretation that the exception to 411.4(B) has been shot down?
  10. Richie@

    Richie@ LawnSite Member
    Messages: 187

    I would draw up a small Lighting layout plan on what it is you want to do an also have the electrical Inspector visit the site if possible.

    Better safe than sorry.

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