Can I Use an Extension Cord for an Above Ground Pool?

An above-ground pool is a great addition to any home's backyard. The pool, however, needs a filter in order for the water to stay sanitized. Pool owners often face the problem of having to stretch the relatively short pool filter cord to the nearest power outlet without presenting a danger to swimmers.

Be Aware of Dangers

Whenever you are dealing with water and electricity, you must always exercise caution to protect yourself and your family against electrocution. You must exercise caution with an extension cord because your pool filter pulls a lot of energy, and not supplying the correct extension cord to the pool can damage the filter and outlet. It could even lead to a fire.

Pick the Right Cord

Don't walk down to the discount store and purchase one of those thin extension cords that are not only ungrounded but incapable of handling the amp output of your filter. The output of the filter can vary depending on the size of the pool motor. Most commonly, above-ground pool motors range from .5 to 2 horsepower depending on the size of the pool and the amount of electricity needed to circulate the particular amount of water in the pool.

Gauge Matters

Always invest in a quality, commercial-grade extension cord designed for high output devices such as your above-ground pool filter. Failing to do so will burn out the motor of your pool filter. Invest in a cord long enough and thick enough to handle the filter's power. Most pool professionals recommend a 10- or 12-gauge cord in the event you absolutely must use an extension cord to hookup the filter.

Check Your Warranty

Running your pump with an extension cord voids the warranty in most cases. Running the pool pump motor with an extension cord that is not adequately paired for the filter's power will damage the motor. At times, pool owners, however, use extension cords in lieu of a costly job to bury a power line beneath the ground. As a precaution, tape the joint at the end of filter cord and the extension cord with electrical tape for added protection. If you can suspend the cord along a fence leading to the power outlet, this is another way of storing it out of the way of swimmers.

Nicholas Briano

Living in New York City, Nicholas Briano has been a professional journalist since 2002. He writes for "The Wave," a community weekly covering the borough of Queens. Briano holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Brooklyn College.