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Thread: Yet another extension cord issue..

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    floatingisfun's Avatar
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    Yet another extension cord issue..

    Hello forum, I'm wondering if someone who knows about these types of situations would help me out on this.... I've been reading a lot of the threads regarding use of extension cord use with above ground pools, and I understand it's a safety/ code issue and one should not use them. In the best of worlds there should be a GFCI outlet nearby to plug into. We do not have that option atm.

    My husband just purchased a temporary Summer Escapes 17 ft x52" round metal frame, poly pvc sidewalls, skimmer pump with built in GFCI with tester and reset button, uses a filter cartridge and 1" chlorine tablets. The pool takes 6,280 gallons. We have not filled it yet. He is currently at Home Depot buying better clamps for the hose than what came with the pool. I expect when he comes home he will take apart my entire carefully put together job I did yesterday following instructions and triple checked it all with his own ideas of how things should fit together... but they will only fit one way with the current materials; he isn't converting anything.

    I basically set it up yesterday, and I began to wonder about the safety of electricity and pool water. I don't want either of us to be electrocuted. My husband brought out and connected 2 older outdoor cords, one I noticed he had removed the ground from, he had used for Christmas lights in 2012. From the pool to the house I thinks it's probably at least 200 feet. Ummmm, this does not look safe to me at all, and my husband dislikes for me to correct him on anything. He will not read instructions for anything; everything he does he basically "hillbilly rigs".

    My question is: Can I be assured of being safe in the pool if I only run the pump at night and unplug it during the day and keep all cords away from the pool area? There are no other people using pool. Thanks

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: Yet another extension cord issue..

    Extension cords are never recommended for pool electricity supply. This is for reasons of liability of the manufacturer of the pool and all related equipment and for homeowner liability. It's certainly done all the time against these recommendations. If you must do so, you're assuming extra risk of liability. At a bare minimum I would not even condone using and extension cord unless it were connected to a GFCI outlet/circuit. Realize that even this is not technically acceptable and increases your liability.

    I use one all the time for my pool robot power supply connected to a GFCI outlet but for a pool pump, I'd never do it.
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
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    lefty51's Avatar
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    Re: Yet another extension cord issue..

    If it is unplugged at the source when your swimming, you'll be safe.

    Having said that I would strongly suggest getting one long extension cord WITH ground plug connectors (three prong) and heavy enough to handle the amperage load of your equipment. smaller cords will heat up if your running too much current through them.

    And on the bright side, he can use them on Christmas lights in the off season.

    Safety first, the GFCI SHOULD protect you in pool if properly ground, BUT get a better extension cord.

    Hope that helps.... and Welcome to TFP

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    JVTrain is correct. floatingisfun is not if it isn't safe
    Si -central Mo. 32' x 16' -- 3'4" to 6' deep Vinyl liner - 16,500 Gals : Triton II filter -Duraglass 2 hp pump - 1 speed : SI-30 salt generator
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    floatingisfun's Avatar
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    Re: Yet another extension cord issue..

    Thanks for the replies and the welcome. A outdoor GFCI outlet will hopefully be in the works for next year. For now, it reassures me..lol that using a new heavy duty three prong with correct amp load at night and unplug during use should be all right.
    Summer Escapes 17' x 52" AG metal frame with ladder, skimmer pump system with GFCI protection, C type filter cartridge with built-in chlorinator that uses 1" tablets, triple-layer Polystrength™ PVC sidewalls with separate laminated band for additional support, 6,280 gallons/23,770 liters

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Yet another extension cord issue..

    If you have an outdoor outlet now that is NON-GFCI, changing it to GFCI should only cost $25 for a GFCI outlet, weather proof cover, etc.
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
    I use and endorse TFtestKits TF-100 from http://tftestkits.net
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    TFP Guide

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    Re: Yet another extension cord issue..

    The GFCI will work without the ground pin present. GFCI's do not need a ground to function. GFCI's measure the incoming power and compare it to what is going back on the neutral (120 volt systems). If there is a 4-6 millivolt difference the GFCI will shut off the power flow. The GFCI on the cord end should work to protect you just fine.


    As for the missing ground pin...Well, that could pose a problem if there was a short in the pump to an isolated piece of metal. That piece of metal normally would be bonded to the grounding system to cause the breaker to trip. Without it the metal could sit there energized and shock someone who touches it. Most likely the metal parts of the pump are bonded internally sufficiently that it would cause the GFCI to trip.

    As to using 200' of extension cord...I can almost guarantee, unless it is at least 14 gage and preferably 12 gage, that your pump will not like it and in factmay damage it because of the voltage drop from both the distance and the number of connections. Any good cord will have the wire gage marked in the outer jacket and will read something like 16-2, 14-3 or maybe 16/3 etc... The first number is the wire gage and the second is the number of conductors. Sometimes extension cords count the ground conductor and sometimes they don't
    Unknown make 18' above ground (bought used in 1999) Sparco sand filter. Hayward 100,000 BTu heater. 2 speed pump

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    Re: Yet another extension cord issue..

    Boy, I should probably not post during breaks between mowing. I missed the 200' distance to pool. danpik is right, at that length if your going to have the pool in that location, I would look into permanent wiring for the pump.

    At the size of extension cord needed, it would better to due direct burial to the pump and be up to code AND safe.

    Have to use the old cords for xmas lights, though
    Si -central Mo. 32' x 16' -- 3'4" to 6' deep Vinyl liner - 16,500 Gals : Triton II filter -Duraglass 2 hp pump - 1 speed : SI-30 salt generator
    TF-100 with speedstir

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    Re: Yet another extension cord issue..

    Lefty
    Direct burial ( uf ) can't be used due to the fact that the ground wire in this application has to be insulated.
    Unknown make 18' above ground (bought used in 1999) Sparco sand filter. Hayward 100,000 BTu heater. 2 speed pump

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    Re: Yet another extension cord issue..

    200' using extension cords...........not a good idea, simple as that.
    Ultra 16', Intex Sand filter/pump combo, 8' x 20' solar panels, solar blanket w/roll tube, 1" extruded foam floor with Gorilla pad, Liquid chlorine and stabilizer.

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    Re: Yet another extension cord issue..

    Quote Originally Posted by danpik View Post
    Lefty
    Direct burial ( uf ) can't be used due to the fact that the ground wire in this application has to be insulated.
    I used direct burial cable and also put it in conduit. redundant but what the heck
    Si -central Mo. 32' x 16' -- 3'4" to 6' deep Vinyl liner - 16,500 Gals : Triton II filter -Duraglass 2 hp pump - 1 speed : SI-30 salt generator
    TF-100 with speedstir

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    Re: Yet another extension cord issue..

    Quote Originally Posted by lefty51 View Post
    I used direct burial cable and also put it in conduit. redundant but what the heck
    Actually under most conditions putting direct burial cable inside conduit is an NEC code violation.
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
    I use and endorse TFtestKits TF-100 from http://tftestkits.net
    ~Remember TFP counts on your donations to keep this site ad free~

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    lefty51's Avatar
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    Re: Yet another extension cord issue..

    Quote Originally Posted by Isaac-1 View Post
    Actually under most conditions putting direct burial cable inside conduit is an NEC code violation.
    Why is that
    Si -central Mo. 32' x 16' -- 3'4" to 6' deep Vinyl liner - 16,500 Gals : Triton II filter -Duraglass 2 hp pump - 1 speed : SI-30 salt generator
    TF-100 with speedstir

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    Re: Yet another extension cord issue..

    It is a code violation to run one complete wiring system inside another, seems odd to me too, but it is there. By code you should run individual conductors of THWN instead of them bundled together in UF when running conduit. This seems to most often crop up with people running NM or UF inside PVC conduit. It may have to do with heat dissipation, or may just be a stupid rule, I don't know. Of course like so much NEC stuff it seems there is an exception if conduit is needed to protect the wire from physical damage, but try getting 2 people to agree on the definition of needed....

    Of course your mileage may vary.....

    if you want to see lots of disagreement on this subject google any of the professional electrical message boards.
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
    I use and endorse TFtestKits TF-100 from http://tftestkits.net
    ~Remember TFP counts on your donations to keep this site ad free~

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    Re: Yet another extension cord issue..

    I'm using an extension cord also; 12-gauge, 25 foot; not that I recommend what I'm doing, but everyone who does this please don't go cheap on the cord and don't have a longer cord than what you need to make the distance run, and lastly, please inspect the cord integrity ever so often.

    My pump lists 9 point something amperage when on high, but I use high speed only right after adding chemicals. It is on a GFCI and it has tripped the receptacle once when water from the pool splashed right on the connection with the pump on high. Now I've moved the connection to a place that it can't get wet.

    Last year and the year before, I had the pump on the same 50', sixteen gauge cord, so I had used that same cheap cord for two years, and my distance required was only 25', yet I had it on a 50. During this two-year period, I knew very little about the significance of cord quality and keeping cord length as short as is necessary until I bought a 13-amp corded lawn mower and read the manual. Not only does one need to concern his or herself with making sure the cord gauge can easily handle the amps so as to keep the cord from overheating and burning up the pump in the short term; but there is also a degrading effect on cords over time when using continuously or regularly because they run hot, and if a cord is warm to touch when operating, over time it will lose much of it's insulating effect. After I learned this, I checked out my cheap cord and noticed that it had become very soft and limp compared to how it felt when it was knew, so my situation had become critical, yet I didn't even know it until I learned something about it. These higher gauge cords are sort of expensive, but if you over size it, it will not only handle the amps more safely, but will also be safer longer. This is not something we should skimp on.
    7600 gallon; 18'X54" round; vinyl; sand filter and 110V pump, 2-speed.
    Near Cookeville, TN--1/2-way between Nashville--Knoxville along I-40; Highland Rim part of the Appalachian Plateau (we call the Cumberland Plateau for the southern half of this geological region).

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    Re: Yet another extension cord issue..

    Uf direct burial can be run in conduit for protection provided that the proper de-rating tables are followed. The problem with Uf cable/romex is that the ground wire is not insulated as per NEC codes for pool pump installations. As Isaac-1 wrote, the proper method is to pull the proper gage THWN wires inside the conduit. Not only is it easier to do this, you can also get insulated green ground wires to meet code.
    Unknown make 18' above ground (bought used in 1999) Sparco sand filter. Hayward 100,000 BTu heater. 2 speed pump

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    Re: Yet another extension cord issue..

    wellllll yah know what happens if you use an extension cord on a pump????? It gets over heated and shuts off. Sometimes it hmmmms but won't turn over. Even if I let it cool it didn't do anything hmmmmm. I tried to reset but the reset thing was way to hard to get too. The pump had run less than 24 hours on our new used pool. The extension cord was 50 ft brand new 11 amps which is the right size for the motor so said the electric pump motor hospital. I had to pay $50 to get a minor thing fixed. I n the Hayward instructions for the pump it stated " NO EXTENSION CORDS" in a small section I didn't read cause it was in how to rotate your pump 90 degrees and I didn't want to rotate the pump 90 degrees. SO even though the pump hospital said this motor should be able to handle this new very thick extension cord it still gets super super fry an egg hot when on high. I can get away with the pump on low 8 hours at night. I bought a sump pump motor when I had to drain the pool to reset liner so I used that sump pump to mix chemicals. These great people here talked me through caring for the pool with no pump, it can be done but the water is full of a ut of sand and some grass from the kids. So after the pump was fixed I ran it only 2 hrs to mix in bleach then once we got the filter all set we run the pump 8 hrs to clean pool and mix chemicals. My husband bought a ground fault plug in thing. Our pool is on the same circuit at a freezer so it the extra things on the line that drain the ?power and heat up the pump. I t will kill the pump early due to heat and I believe it. My cord is only 50 ft. I do unplug it when anyone is in the pool. I got a quote recently to run electricity to the pool and it was $2000 that is with bonding and trenching 35 ft. We have a lot of gravel to move to trench. Pools are expensive. We are having fun with limited pump time. There was several weeks we had no filter and pump and only a sump pump to circulate bleach. That's with a labrador and 4 boys swimmimng. I also did hard PVC plumbing instead of hoses, I feel safer.
    Used pool 1995 Lomart 18'x48" just installed 7/16/2015, Hayward Power Flo Matrix 1 HP 2 speed pump, 16" Rx Clear Radiant sand filter ( used pea gravel and zeolite) foam wall, polystyrene bottom, liner 25 gauge overlap, TF-100 test kit. Son training for 2018 Paralympics, Hoping for solar heater of some sort. Good chance Labrador will be in pool. Colorado Prairie, 6000 ft elevation high mountain desert, clay soil

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    Re: Yet another extension cord issue..

    these are all great answers, but to answer your question "NO"!!!!!
    16 'x 48" Metal Frame Intex 5065 gallons, 14 Inch sand filter,Hayward Skimmer SP1091LX Dynaskim, Test Kit TF-100

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    Re: Yet another extension cord issue..

    Currently using a GFCI outlet that is only used by the pool, with a heavy duty extension cord, until we get the trench dug to put an outlet by the pool. Cord doesn't get hot at all. But we don't intend to use it longterm.
    26' X 52" Intex Ultra Frame. Intex Sand Filter
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    Re: Yet another extension cord issue..

    I have been using a very heavy duty outdoor use 50' extension cord on my pool for 2 seasons now. Reason was originally was due to the fact that the only outside outlet was 55' away from the pool. I had intended to run a power line out to an outlet near the pool this year but having a motorcycle accident in April had delayed that this year. With that being said, the outlet the cord is plugged into is a GFCI and the plug off the pump has a GFCI too. The cord does not get hot at all & I wrapped a plastic trash bag around the connection then wrapped it with duct tape to insure no water getting it. I keep the connection off the ground also so it does not sit in standing water. I know what is recomended and I will change this setup as soon as I am able to, however in my current situation it can wait.
    18' x 52" round Intex Ultra frame pool, 6981 gals., SWG, Intex 1600 GPH Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump. Heyward wide mouth skimmer mod installed, & 2" PVC plumbing to insure a better flow.
    Savannah, Ga.
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    Re: Yet another extension cord issue..

    I have been using a 100' extension cord for three years with no problems. I believe that it is 14 gauge.

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