Getting Electricity to my pond pump

peacedogJune 15, 2009

Rookie question here but I couldn't find an existing post. I need to get electricity to my pump, (submerged 700 GPH) and I don't know exactly how to do this. I have heard that grey PCV is what you are supposed to use and I can do that but how do I handle the connection. In other words how do I keep the plug water tight. All help is greatly appreciated.


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Is this conduit going underground? You'll need to run PVC or rigid conduit with THWN wire to the new location and install a GFCI protected receptacle in a weatherproof box with an approved in-use cover. (see link) It's really important that this be done properly. I'f you're not comfortable with wiring, call an electrician. An electrified pond can be a bad thing.

Here is a link that might be useful: In-use cover

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 6:00PM
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"An electrified pond can be a bad thing" lol!!!

I agree with chgojack and he/she gives good advice. I put my electricity in myself after researching it and having an electrition friend go over my plan. It is not hard but be careful.


    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 11:44PM
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Thanks! My plan is to run the electrical underground and then inside my garage where I have a GFCI protected receptacle. I don't know how to keep water out of the other end assuming I bury it in the grey PVC or rigid conduit. Does it even matter if water gets in to it?

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 1:27AM
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May I piggyback onto this question? When my submergeable pump arrives, I'd rather NOT do any underground anything as everything is hardscaped. Can I just run it like a normal cord and plug? Sorry to be so dumb about this.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 2:41AM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

My brother the electrician said that if you have to ask questions you need help lol. You do not want to do this wrong . Why risk it??? gary

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 4:41AM
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horton(6 b Ontario.)

Gary, it can be done by a handyman type, as it is not rocket science, but it should be done properly to meet the Electrical Code requirements in your area.
To find out what is required, call your local Electrical Inspection Department/Authority.

It is not wise or safe to run an extension cord along the surface of your yard, where it can be damaged [i.e. cut by a lawnmower or other garden tool] and possibly cause a person or animal to be harmed.

You do not say how long a run it is from your garage to the pond?
It maybe the case where your Inspection people will allow an extension cord to be pulled into and protected by a PVC conduit.
The conduit would have to have a large enough inside diameter, to accommodate the plug cap being pulled through it and large enough to allow air flow through the conduit, to keep the extension cords current rating. It must be protected with a GFCI device.

If they will not allow that, then you will have to install conduit and/or wiring,buried in the ground, at the proper depth, as required by the electrical code in your area.

Be safe, check out your local requirements.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 7:03AM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

I am not sure this tidbit will be of any use but I will share that my spouse runs her pump with a solar panel.

I've no more information. I don't know where she got the panel or the pump. She has a marine battery but most nights it will not run the contraption overnight so she turns it when the sun gets too far west.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 11:31AM
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I have an extension cord and a outside power stake, 3 outlets, all have covers, that I plug my pumps and lights into. It has a circuit trip switch on it. I did not want to rip up the yard to run the power as we are going to do some major work soon and I wanted to do it all at the same time. The only problem I have had was the heater tripping the breaker in the winter, too much draw. The power stake is meant to be used out of doors and is designed to keep the water from the outlets. It is an easy option, and I think they come with more outlets.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 12:19PM
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johnkr(z5 PA)

I had an electrician install an outdoor rated GF box near my pond using direct burial wire connected to the breaker in my house. The electrical code required the wire to be buried at a minimum of 3' deep. The box is mounted on a wooden post about 3' high so it is above the snow in the winter.

Outdoor extension cords are intended for temporary usage. Having an extension cord running across your lawn is a danger every minute of every day. I'm sure most of us consider our ponds to be permanent structures. Why would anyone use a temporary solution for one of the the most dangerous components?

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 11:24AM
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In my particular case, and I can not speak for others, the extension cord is used because:
1. the pond was situated to take advanage of the garage plugs.
2. After finding various unsafe building practices in the house we called in the building inspector and were told that the power supply to the garage was not just unsafe but a serious risk to the integrity of electrical system in the house.
3. The cost of redoing the wiring not only in the garge but retrenching to safely run the line to the garage was far beyond our budget at the time and when we finally could afford to have the work done both my DH and I were laid off and felt it more important to use the saved cash for living expenses.
Given the options at the time the best solution that would allow us to keep the pond up and running were to use the cords. I would not run a cord across the lawn and leave it out to exposure. The cord is run through an appropriate sized conduit clamped on to the fence and both ends of the conduit are sealed with silicone to prevent water penetration. The cord is outdoor rated with end locks to ensure it is not pulled apart. This solution by the way was recomended by the city building inspector who came out to inspect the system, the home inspector had called the city in to ensure that the power to the garage was disconnected as he felt it was so dangerous. I will at some point get back to work and be able to redo the wiring but not at this time. Far better to use the cord than to burn down my home. I hope that answers your question as to why someone would not be willing to shell out cash at the drop of the hat.
Sorry to rant but that tweaked a nerve.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 2:09PM
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magdaloonie(6B-7A Magdalena, NM)

Good rant, Squirelette. S#*t happens and you do what you have to do when you have to do it. Been there - in fact, there right now!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 3:06PM
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I don't know if this helps, but in my inherited pond, the previous owner ran 14/2 from the breaker panel to an exterior outlet box with a GFCI outlet in it. From here, he ran a 12/2 direct-burial romex underneath the siding to the corner of the house, then buried it in the ground right next to the concrete patio and out to the pond (don't know how deep, but I doubt it's 3'). At the end is 2 sets of outlets attached to a 4x4 sunk into the ground, and he is using those lackluster "clamshell" seals that individually seal each outlet. One of these days, I'm going to replace the 14/2 with 12/2, re-do the GFCI box, and replace the outlets with a 4-in-1 box that has one of the better quality weather-proof covers on it. I'll probably also move the outlets closer to the pump when I do so.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 3:28PM
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Okay to answer your question. First you need to dig a trench to your power supply. Then you need to drill a hole into The wall, so you can run a wire through it. The hole needs to be sealed up (duh) when you are done. You can buy underground wire fairly cheap (about thirty bucks for 150 feet). At The pump you need to install a post, either pressure treated wood or cedar. I prefer cedar to poisoned wood but that is just me. Screw your outdoor outlet box to the post, attach enough conduit so it goes underground, fasten everything together according to manufactures recommendations. The conduit only needs to go from The plug box to under ground, it doesn't need to go all the way to The house.
You should install a new breaker to service the pond. Most breaker panels have extra spaces. You just need to remove The cover, poke out the (rectangular) space cover with a screw driver, screw the wires into the new breaker and plug in The breaker. You will need to run the wires through a hole in The bottom of the breaker panel before attaching them to the breaker, or you wont be able to replace the cover.
It really is very simple stuff. The hardest part is digging The trench. When you run The wire, I highly recommend starting at the pond and working towards the breaker panel. Also you should install the post just like you would a fence post. Dig a foot or two down fill in around it with concrete. Just make sure you don't fill in the concrete so high it gets in the way of The wires. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 4:22PM
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johnkr(z5 PA)


I was not criticizing your post in any way. I was just pointing out that an extension cord running across a lawn is not a safe way to power pond equipment. It tweaks a nerve with me when people spend loads of money on high priced pond equipment and take shortcuts with their electrical connections.

By the way, I completed over 90% of the work involved with my outdoor outlet by myself. I dug the three foot trench from my house foundation to a location near my pond. It took me two months using most of my spare time. I rented a hammer drill and punched a hole through my basement foundation. I purchased the DB wire, breakers, outdoor box, and mounting post after consulting several electricians and doing some Web research. I ran the DB wire from my indoor breaker to the mounting post. When I had everything in place, I hired a licensed electrical contractor to connect the wire at both ends and inspect the work that I had completed. Once the electricity was hooked up and my work was approved, I filled in the trench. I think the electrician cost about $100. I donÂt remember the cost of the equipment, but it wasnÂt that expensive. The pond liner and pump cost me a lot more. The major cost was the blisters and achy back I got from doing most of the work myself. I would do it again without hesitation.

I donÂt worry about the weather or animals causing damage to my outdoor wiring. I donÂt worry about a faulty extension cord harming any of the children who come to visit my pond and feed my fish and turtles. Pond safety is the responsibility of the owner. If we donÂt use proper methods to maintain our ponds we may lose our fish. If we donÂt use proper methods to maintain safe electrical usage we may lose our life or that of another.

I don't think I would have a pond if I thought it might harm someone. It would be an awful burden to bear if it did.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 4:55PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

How about these words of wisdom
"In the entire history of commercial use of electricity not one death nor fire was caused from a properly installed system." There is the exception of the "electric chair" but that was probably a bad idea anyway ." gary

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 3:50AM
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horton(6 b Ontario.)

Gary, I could not agree more, especially the part about the electric chair. What a shocking idea that was!

Being in the electrical trade for over 45 years, before I retired, I have come across and fixed up, some crazy and potentially dangerous electrical installations that DIY people have done, in and around their homes.

Your brother was right on the button, with his statement,
"If you have to ask need help!"
There is nothing wrong in asking the questions, just ask the the right people!

As I posted earlier, "it's not rocket science" and it can be done quite easily, by a DIY person, BUT it should be done properly, with attention to safety and done to the electrical code requirements.

Another consideration, is to think about your home insurance coverage, being null and void, should a fire result from an electrical installation, that has not been inspected and approved, by the proper authority.
Different jurisdictions have supplemented their own different "quirks" to the National Code, so it is best to check out the requirements for your own particular area.

I'll say it again, if you are going to do it it properly and you don't have to worry about things going wrong!
A cavalier approach to electrical installations, could turn out to be deadly!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 7:15AM
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