Electrical for new above ground pool

Jtlkpool

Member
Oct 27, 2016
10
Denton, TX
We have our pool up, and are currently running the pump with an extension cord. The man who helped us install the pool told us just to use the extension cord, but we thought running electrical to the pool would be better long term. We've had some unexpected/no fun house expenses this winter though, and I really don't want to spend $750 for an electrician to run wiring (that is the 1st bid we got). Is it safe to use the extension cord for awhile while I save for an electrician? Thank you so much. This board has been very helpful.
 

jeffchap

Bronze Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 26, 2012
1,760
Edmond OK
I have been using an extension (the same one, BTW) for 5 years now with no problem. The grass has grown over it such that you can't see it anymore. It might as well be buried. I simply unplug it at the outlet on the house over the winter.

I'm sure this isn't the optimal situation, but it has worked for me.
 

Jtlkpool

Member
Oct 27, 2016
10
Denton, TX
Ok, thanks so much Jeffchap. I think we are just going to use the extension cord for now too. Until I find $700 just laying around and feel like giving an electrician some work (haha) it seems like it will work fine. The contractor mentioned upgrading to a 12 gage cord, so maybe I'll do that...I'm going to make sure the cord doesn't get hot the next time we start the pump and will upgrade if it does.
 

pooldv

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Aug 10, 2012
25,408
FL panhandle
In the interest of caution and safety it should be noted that extension cords are designed for temporary use only. Intex specifically advises against using extension cords with their products in their manuals. You should be able to run an outlet to the pool equipment for far less than 700 bucks. Especially if you diy the trench.
 

Jtlkpool

Member
Oct 27, 2016
10
Denton, TX
Yes, the cord is being run off a grounded outlet, duanebe.

Ok, thank you pooldv. I'm guessing my husband read something similar when buying our pool and that's why he wanted to get it wired. We're going to dig the trench ourselves. I think I will ask around until I find someone that can offer a better price.
 

duanebe

Well-known member
Grounded is not the same as GFCI. GFCI is a special type of circuit breaker or outlet that monitors the electrical current and very quickly shuts the power off if there is any stray current (like going through your body to ground).

If you don't have a test/reset button on your electrical outlet, or on the circuit breaker feeding the pool then you need to get one. It's unsafe otherwise.
 

gwegan

TFP Expert
Apr 19, 2013
2,769
Sacramento, CA
You don't say what the depth of your pool is. If its more than 42 inches then universally no extension cord. That is a permanent pool. Most inspectors would frown on an extension cord for any pool. 42 inches or less some would allow.

Because your plug is an outside residential outlet is a GFCI correct? And does the pump have an GFCI incorporated into the plug?

Frankly, while I would install the new outlet, the first thing you should do in my opinion is get a new Lutron GFCI that self checks and install that in the outlet. Its relatively inexpensive and significantly increases personal protection.

You can cut the $750 cost by digging the trench yourself.

If the pool is more than 42 inches deep I would also make sure you have an electrical bonding system. If you read the pump manual on page 6 it states you must install, ground, bond and wire motor according to NEC standards. The water, metal parts of the pool structure, ground around the pool and the motor must be connected by number 8 copper wire.
 

Jtlkpool

Member
Oct 27, 2016
10
Denton, TX
It is a GFCI outlet, it does have the test and reset buttons.

I'll have to change my signature to include the depth, it is 52". The estimate we were given is including us digging the trench. Without us digging, the bid is $1,000.
 

Jtlkpool

Member
Oct 27, 2016
10
Denton, TX
I spoke to a family friend who said he'll help us run the wiring. He's not a licensed electrician, but has done quite a bit of work on his own houses and said he's confident he could do this. I can show him all of your suggestions, and I also have learned some about what supplies we need from the estimate I got. Is that something I could try, or do you think I need to keep looking for a licensed electrician?
 

duanebe

Well-known member
I suspect that many of us "homeowners" on here do our own electrical work. Some are better than others, and I'm sure some are as good as a licensed electrician, but this is a matter of safety, so that will be your personal choice. Nobody on the Internet can tell you if this is a safe or wise decision.

For the GFCI... here is an example:

Square D Homeline 15 Amp Single-Pole GFCI Circuit Breaker-HOM115GFICP - The Home Depot
 

Jtlkpool

Member
Oct 27, 2016
10
Denton, TX
True, Duanebe. I actually put my foot in my mouth after that comment, realizing no one can in good conscience give me that advice as it pertains to a safety issue. But I see there is no delete button for erasing impulsive comments! I will check out the gfci breaker. Thank you.
 

woodyp

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 17, 2010
10,562
East Texas
This forum.........in no shape, form, or fashion..............recommends the use of extension cords. Your first "event" in doing so could well make that 750 investment look awfully cheap.
 

chayne

Bronze Supporter
i ran my own electrical to my backyard. i think total it was just a little over $125. i did not dig a ditch for my except in one spot which went about 5ft. i ran my electrical in liquidtight flexible conduit. i ran 2 separate circuits. one just strictly for the pump/filter which i will have to install a GFCI. the other is for the LED lighting on my back fence which has a photocell attached, and 2 other plugs just in case we want to plug something else in. it took me about 3 hours total.
 

dsmith99

Silver Supporter
Jun 18, 2016
236
SW, Iowa
Putting in a receptacle is a pretty simple job, and can easily be DIY for probably under $150, but research proper methods and do the job right. First thing to do is get a permit from your city building dept. This will ensure the project is inspected, legal and done correctly. Your friend cannot hire out to do the job unless he is a licensed electrician, but he can still help you, the homeowner do it. The trench will need to be minimum 18" deep if using conduit which I highly recommend. You can instead choose to use a UF type direct burial cable if you dig the trench deeper but conduit is inexpensive and worthy of the extra cost.

Three quarter or even one inch PVC conduit is very economical, easy to work with and large enough to easily pull in the wires plus give lots of room for expansion if ever needed. Install sweeping 90 degree bends at each end of the conduit to feed into and out of the trench and attach the conduit to a weather proof box using a threaded fitting. At the pool end I like to set a post to mount the weatherproof receptacle box if there is not a structure such as a deck or shed already there to fasten to.

Wire size and type is very important. You will need THWN wire, one strand in black for hot, one strand in white for neutral and one strand in green for ground. Wire size will be determined by the distance. For a short run of up to 40' from the panel 12 gauge wire will be plenty for 20 amps. For a longer run of say 40-80' up-size to 10 gauge wire for the same 20 amps to prevent excessive voltage drop. You cannot pull any type of jacketed "romex" NM cable into conduit, you must use wet rated cable and THWN inside conduit is the right choice. You can feed power to the new receptacle directly from a spare breaker in the service panel or from another receptacle or circuit, provided adding an additional receptacle will not overload the circuit. Also note every outdoor receptacle is required to be GFCI protected.

Some codes are pretty universal but you will want to check with the inspector for proper trench depth or other particular requirements for your area.
 
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gwegan

TFP Expert
Apr 19, 2013
2,769
Sacramento, CA
A few comments:

Generally conduit is required for all pool installations. Under a strict reading of the NEC its not required here because this is not part of the pool. However, its generally not good practice to install UF cable in residential backyards. We don't know whats going to happen in five years. My brother in law had a live UF cable under his front yard for 20 years and never knew it. The contractor discovered during a remodel. Conduit is not that much more expensive. You want to be at least 18 inches below the surface in a trench.

All outdoor outlets, no matter what they are serving, at a residence must be GFCI protected.

Lots of folks on here like GFCI breakers. But they are not self testing. GFCI breakers have their place, but use the newer Lutron self testing GFCI outlets when you can. They work great and will shut down the power if the GFCI unit fails its internal self test - a breaker will not do that.
 

Jtlkpool

Member
Oct 27, 2016
10
Denton, TX
Thanks so much for all the info. I think we are going to have our friend help us and I'll share all this with him. We're hoping to get this done in the next few weeks, so I'll let you know how it goes.

We're definitely going to use conduit, and the electrician told us the trench should be 18" deep so we'll do that. That's good to know that the gfci breaker might not be neccesary. I think the gfci outlet we're currently using is a self-testing one...it has the test/reset buttons with the light and is only 4 years old.
 

JoeSelf

Gold Supporter
Jun 18, 2014
575
Glassboro NJ
When I dug the trench for the electric for my pool, I bought a trenching shovel at Home Depot. Shovel blade is thin and had a red band painted on the handle where 18" depth was.