We all know how ridiculously useful extension cords are for appliances in and around your home.
Whereas you might not have enough plug sockets to go around, or certain appliances have cables that are too short, an extension cord can come to the rescue.
So when it comes to powering your pool pump, it’s only natural that you would want to try and use an extension cord with this, too.
However, it’s not recommended that you use an extension cord to power your pool pump.
This is because of a variety of reasons. When you try to use your extension cord for longer periods, this can cause your precious pool pump to overheat.
This will then result in the pool pump having a much shorter lifespan than you would like. It can also void the warranty of your pool pump product depending on the manufacturer.
Even though extension cords are super handy, they won’t be the permanent solution to your pool pump needs.
Instead, you should make sure that you have a GFCI (see also ‘ Common Questions About GFCI Code Requirements ‘) outlet installed next to your pool pump so that it can run efficiently without affecting the lifespan or the warranty of the pool pump.
This will be much safer than using an extension cord.
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Things To Consider When Using An Extension Cord With Your Pool Pump
Now we all know that in order for your pool pump to function properly, it will need a lot of power in the first place.
You will of course need to install a GFCI outlet so that your pool pump can have the permanent power source that it needs.
However, these can often be pricey depending on the models and setup that you opt for, so it’s understandable that some people will try and opt for a cheaper option such as an extension cord.
Even though this can seem like the best option for you and your pool, there will actually be a few problems that you can encounter over time.
The first problem of course is that the distance between your nearest socket and your pool may be rather significant.
Not to mention the whole issue of the extension cord potentially falling into the pool itself and being a danger to anyone in the water!
For these reasons and several more, it’s never recommended to use an extension cord to power your pool pump.
It’s also easy to forget that your pool pump will need a lot of power to keep the water circulating in your pool. Especially if you have a larger pool that you need your pool pump to work with!
zUnfortunately, this isn’t the level of power that an extension cord is able to provide.
Bear in mind that if you were to use an extension cord, you would need to choose one that features either 10 gauge wire or 12 gauge wire.
This thicker extension cord wire will prevent the extension cord from burning up and overheating.
This will happen if you try to use a standard extension cord, and it can even happen to the motor of your pool pump, which will then of course render your warranty invalid.
Another factor to bear in mind is that if you were to use an extension cord to power your pool pump, this won’t be good for the other appliances around your home.
There will be so much power being drained via the extension cord to power your pool pump that it will run the risk of tripping the fuse box, or completely overwhelming the other appliances in your home.
Instead of using an extension cord, you would need to opt for a dedicated outlet that your pool pump (see also ‘The Best Pool Pumps Of Every Speed‘) can use, such as a GFCI outlet.
This will give your pool pump the two direction outlet that it needs so that you can power your pool pump correctly without damaging it.
Let’s take a look at how you can power your pool pump the right way so as to avoid any accidents.
How To Make Sure That Your Pool Pump Is Being Powered The Right Way
The best way to ensure that your pool pump can be powered properly is to pay a professional to do this for you.
This will mean hiring a professional electrician who will know what they are doing, and will therefore be able to do it safely.
An electrician will likely need to know where your electric box is located, how far away this is from your pool pump, and what the power requirements are for your pool pump.
Determined to do the job yourself? Then there are a couple of things that you will need to bear in mind…
Experience With Electrical Equipment
You will need to know what you are doing when it comes to dealing with electrical equipment. This is because if the outlet isn’t installed correctly, you could easily cause a hazard to yourself and those around your home.
If you don’t really know much about wiring and appliances, it will be much safer and easier to hire a professional electrician to do the job for you.
What Needs To Be Powered Around Your Pool?
While it’s true that the pool pump is a crucial part of the process, there are other things in and around your pool that will also require power.
Other items such as pool lighting, ionizers, ozonators, as well as any salt chlorine generators (see also ‘How To Tell If A Salt Cell Needs Replacing‘) that your pool has will require power such as electricity.
If you are building an outlet for your pool pump, it will be worth considering if you have any of these that will also need to be powered via electricity.
It’s important to consider the amount of amps that will be required for your pool pump to work. This basically refers to the amount of power that flows through any electric lines.
In order to prevent your breaker box tripping, you will need to ensure that your pool pump (see also ‘How To Prime A Pool Pump‘) has the right amount of amperage.
Don’t Forget NEC Codes
When it comes to keeping yourself and others safe, you will need to ensure that you follow the NEC guidelines.
These NEC guidelines basically will tell you certain things that you will need to follow, such as the size of the breakers that you use, how far down your wires will need to be buried, and whether you need to use any grounding wires.
This is where using an electrician will come in handy, as they will be able to sort all of this for you.
Safety First: Make Sure You Have A Circuit Breaker In Place
The first thing that you should do before doing any electrical work is to ensure that you have the power switched off at the circuit breaker. This will prevent any unwanted accidents, and can keep everyone safe.
Digging A Trench
Depending on the placement of your pool, pool pump, and electric box, you may need to bury your wires underground.
This will mean digging a trench for you to place the wires in to keep you and your family safe if anyone were to go digging around your garden.
So your wires will need to be at least 18 inches underground at the very least.
Timers Are Your Best Friend
Installing a timer (see also ‘The Best Pool Timers‘) on this special outlet will be essential for ensuring that your pool pump gets the power it needs at any given time.
This will remove the need for manually operating your pool pump.
Why You Shouldn’t Use An Extension Cord To Power Your Pool Pump
Ultimately, you should never use an extension cord to power your pool pump. This can be very dangerous to do, and can even damage the pool pump that you are trying to power.
As we have already covered above, using an extension cord that doesn’t feature 10 gauge or 12 gauge wire will be highly dangerous.
This will cause the extension cord to burn out and then trip your fuse box. It will even damage your pool pump, and will invalidate any warranty that you might have.
Not to mention having an exposed extension cord wire running around the place will be a very dangerous trip hazard!
Having the extension cord exposed to the elements – as they are not able to be buried below ground – will also be a danger as they will be exposed to water and other things that can make them become a safety hazard.
It’s also important to remember that a standard extension cord won’t be able to give your pool pump the level of power that it needs to work properly.
And there you have it! You now know that even though an extension cord is a much cheaper way of trying to power your pool pump, this isn’t the recommended method for doing so.
Standard extension cords won’t be able to give your pool pump the level of power it needs to work properly. This can cause the extension cord to burn out, and it can even damage the motor of your pool pump.
Using an extension cord for powering your pool pump will even invalidate the warranty for most manufacturers.
Instead, you will need to ensure that your pool pump has a dedicated GFCI outlet so that it can be powered the right way.
It will be best to hire a professional electrician to do this for you, as it will be a very complicated job to complete to a safe standard.
An electrician will be aware of all the safety guidelines, as well as know how to do this properly.