Can you use an extension cord with a submersible pump? [Fully Explained]

Last Updated on October 2, 2023 by Kyle Whitley

Can you use an extension cord with a submersible pump?

Submersible pumps are great tools for pumping water from wells or ponds. They are also very useful for maintaining aquariums and other aquatic systems.  You might be wondering if you can use an extension cord with a submersible pump.

A submersible pump is designed to operate underwater. The main difference between a surface pump and a submersible pump is where they are located. Surface pumps are usually mounted above ground, whereas submersible pumps are submerged below the surface.

You can use either type of pump with an extension cord. However, there are a few things you might want to consider before doing so.

Is it Possible to Power a Pump with an Extension Cord?

Extension cords are great for connecting power to appliances and tools that don’t have permanent power nearby. They come in many different sizes and types, but there are some rules you must follow to ensure safety and longevity.

A heavy-duty extension cord with a larger wire will help protect against overloading the circuit breaker. If you don’t know what type of cord you need, it’s best to buy one specifically designed for your application.

Be sure to check out our post about how to properly set up a submersible.


Extension Cords and Water Might Not Play Well Together

Extension cords are great tools for many things, like power electronics, lighting, and even watering plants through a pump and garden hose. But there are some dangers associated with using extension cords near water features.

The National Fire Protection Association says that extension cords pose a fire hazard because they can overheat and catch fire. They recommend against using extension cords near water sources.

If you do decide to use one, make sure it is rated for wet locations. If you don’t know what type of cord you have, check the label on the plug end. You’ll see either “waterproof,” “resistant to moisture,” or “for indoor/outdoor use.”

extension cord and submersible pump

Safety First

A properly installed pump will provide you with safe and reliable service for years to come. However, it is important to make sure that your pump meets code requirements before installing it. You don’t want your pump to be a safety hazard.

If you are unsure about whether your pump meets code requirements, contact your local building inspector.

You can find out what code requirements apply to your area by contacting your local fire department or calling 311.

Electrical wiring must meet NEC requirements in order for your pump to function correctly. In addition, electrical codes vary by state. Contact your local electrician for information regarding your specific area.

Extension Cords are Not a Permanent Power Source

Extension cords are designed to provide electrical power where none exists. They are not intended for permanent installations as a power cord; therefore, you should not use them outdoors.

If you do install one outdoors, make sure to protect it from weather conditions such as rain, snow, wind, and extreme temperatures.  Also, avoid using extension cords near heat sources like fireplaces, stoves, hot tubs, and radiators.

red submersible pump with electric connection

Will an Extension Cord Destroy My Pump?

Extension cords should always be rated correctly for the load that they carry. If you don’t know how much current your cord can handle, it’s best to buy a cord that is specifically designed for your application. In addition, running pumps off of extension cords is dangerous because pumps require power to operate safely.

A common problem occurs when someone runs a sump pump or other type of pump off of an unrated extension cord. This causes excessive heat build-up inside the pump motor, which damages the internal components and voids the warranty.

Never use an extension cord if the distance between the pump and the electrical outlet is more than 20 feet. This is because the voltage drop across the length of the cord reduces the amount of electricity reaching the pump. When the voltage drops too low, the pump won’t work properly.

Do Right. Do it Safely

When choosing a site for a waterfall, pond, or fountain, there are several important considerations.

First, make sure you know what type of electrical system you have installed. If you don’t, hire an electrician to help you determine whether you need to upgrade your current system.

Next, choose a location where you won’t be exposed to extreme weather conditions. Water features require electricity, so you want to avoid areas prone to heavy rain, windstorms, and lightning strikes.

Finally, consider adding a pump to keep the water flowing. A properly designed pump can extend the life of the entire project.

blue submersible pump

Running a Submersible Pump with an Extension Cord

In conclusion, yes, you can use an extension cord with your submersible pump. In fact, using an extension cord with a pump is actually a pretty common setup. However, it’s important to know that there are certain situations where this won’t work, and if you are going to be running the pump for a long period of time, it is best to run permanent wiring to the pump.  As always, follow your local building code regulations, and if you don’t feel comfortable, consult a professional electrician or plumber.



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