Extension Cords For Pool Pumps – Okay or Not?

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If you have found this article, it is likely that you are wondering if extension cords for pool pumps are OK for your new above ground pool.

Maybe you have a new Intex, Summer Waves, or Coleman temporary pool for your family this summer, but it is too far from your house to be plugged in. Or maybe you don’t have a pool yet, but you are planning for your installation.

It can be expensive to have an electrician install a dedicated outlet in your yard to power the pump and filter.

Let’s get right to it.

Is it OK to use extension cords for pool pumps?

Yes, it is OK (but not preferred) with some considerations. Many pool owners successfully and safely run their pool pump with an extension cord. However, please read on before purchasing any old extension cord from your local hardware store.

If you are in a hurry, here are the items you may need.

Best for Intex Easy Set
25 Foot Lighted Outdoor Extension Cord - 12/3 SJTW Heavy Duty Yellow Extension Cable Extension Cable with 3 Prong Grounded Plug for Safety - Great for Garden and Major Appliances
AgriPro Southwire 64817501 10/3 SJTOW Foot Extra Heavy-Duty 15 Amp Farm/Workshop Extension Cord, Made in The USA, 25-Feet, UL Listed, Black
Outdoor IP44 Waterproof Connection Box by Restmo, Weatherproof Electrical Extension Cord Cover, Safety Seal Enclosure to Protect Holiday Decorations, LED Strip Light, Power Tool, Fountain, Black
12 Gauge Wire - Good for Small Pool Pumps - Available in 25ft, 50ft, and 100ft
10 Gauge Wire - Good for Larger Pool Pumps - Available in 25ft, 50ft, and 100ft
Waterproof Connection Box
$24.95
$48.89
$14.99
Best for Intex Easy Set
25 Foot Lighted Outdoor Extension Cord - 12/3 SJTW Heavy Duty Yellow Extension Cable Extension Cable with 3 Prong Grounded Plug for Safety - Great for Garden and Major Appliances
12 Gauge Wire - Good for Small Pool Pumps - Available in 25ft, 50ft, and 100ft
$24.95
AgriPro Southwire 64817501 10/3 SJTOW Foot Extra Heavy-Duty 15 Amp Farm/Workshop Extension Cord, Made in The USA, 25-Feet, UL Listed, Black
10 Gauge Wire - Good for Larger Pool Pumps - Available in 25ft, 50ft, and 100ft
$48.89
Outdoor IP44 Waterproof Connection Box by Restmo, Weatherproof Electrical Extension Cord Cover, Safety Seal Enclosure to Protect Holiday Decorations, LED Strip Light, Power Tool, Fountain, Black
Waterproof Connection Box
$14.99

What type of extension cord should you use for your pool pump?

Before heading out to the local hardware store to buy an extension cord, please be careful. While you can use an extension cord to power your pool pump, it does need to be a certain type for safety.

There are two main factors here:

First, the wire gauge

Simply put, larger pumps/filters will need a bigger wire gauge (AWG). NOTE: The thickness of the wire INCREASES as the numerical gauge measure DECREASES. Thus, a 10AWG wire is thicker than a 12AWG wire.

Second, the cord length

You need to choose the shortest length of extension cord that will work for your situation. Do not buy a 100ft cord if you only need 15ft to plug in your pool pump. The longer the wire, the more voltage is lost as electricity travels thru the cord

Can the extension cord power the pool pump and other accessories?

Depending on the size of your pool and your pool pump, the extension cord must be rated to provide the right amount of power needed. Larger pool pumps can really use a lot of power and need a very heavy-duty extension cord.

You need to find the amperage that your pump uses to run. You can find this on the label on your pump (see picture). For most smaller pools (such as Intex, Summer Waves, or Coleman temporary pools) the 12AWG extension cord is fine. For larger pools, or pools with Saltwater systems, then we recommend the 10AWG extension cord.

Also keep in mind the electrical load of any other devices you plan to power from this extension cord such as pool lights or robotic pool cleaners. For this reason, some folks just choose to go with the 10AWG cord to future-proof their setup.

Extension Cords for pool pumps
You can find your pump’s amp draw here.
AgriPro Southwire 64817501 10/3 SJTOW Foot Extra Heavy-Duty 15 Amp Farm/Workshop Extension Cord, Made in The USA, 25-Feet, UL Listed, Black
  • [MADE IN AMERICA]
  • [COLD WEATHER] Rated for -58F to 221F (-50C to 105C) AgriPro extension cords are ideal for farm, ranch and workshop jobs.
  • [EXTRA HEAVY DUTY] 25 foot all-copper wire extension cord recommended for use with heavy duty equipment and tools
  • [EXTRA DURABLE] oversized, molded plug prevent accidental bending or breaking and UL listed for your safety

What are your local building code rules and regulations?

You should understand your local building code rules and regulations. It is likely that your building code has specific requirements for certain types of pools. For some pools it may be required to have a hard-wired installation.

Do you have a GFCI receptacle to plug in to?

If you are going to use an extension cord for your pool pump, then it really should be plugged in to a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interruptor) outlet.

Should you have an electrician install an outlet near your pool?

You can have an outlet placed near your pool by a qualified electrician. The costs for this vary depending on how far your pool is from the house. You can save money by digging the trench yourself.

Will my pump warranty be voided if I use an extension cord?

Possibly yes. Most pump manufacturers do not advise you to use an extension cord. Check your manual and warranty information to understand whether using an extension cord may jeopardize your warranty coverage. You can find information about Intex Pool Warranties here.




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