How to Choose the Perfect Extension Cord for Your Pool Filter

Choosing the right extension cord for your pool filter is crucial for safety and efficiency. Understand why you need one, consider gauge wire size, cord length, and power requirements to make the best choice.

extension cord for pool filter

Having a pool to relax in is an exciting luxury. But if you want to get the most out of your pool, you need to keep it clean. A pool filter is part of the cleaning process, and may sometimes require an extension cord. Here is how to choose the best extension cord for pool filters. 

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Background Information

Before choosing an extension cord, you should understand why you may need one. 

Why Do I Need a Pool Filter?

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A pool filter is an essential component of any pool. This system keeps your water clear of insects, plant matter, dirt, sunscreen, and bacteria. 

Why do I need an extension cord for my pool filter?

Ideally, you should not need an extension cord for a pool filter.

However, if you do need one, there are safety measures you should follow. You may need an extension cord if your power source is far from the pool and you do not want to spend money on a new power bank installation. 

How To Steps

To choose the safest and most effective extension cord for pool filter, there are a few steps you need to follow. 

See If There Are Alternate Options

While an extension cord can work to provide energy to your pool’s filtration system, it is preferable to plug the system directly into a power source, rather than using an extension cord to reach it.

So, many pool owners will hire an electrician to install a power source closer to the pool. If an extension cord ends up being the best option, choose carefully. 

Gauge Wire

There are a few different sizes of gauge wires you can get for your pump. Generally speaking, the larger the pump, the bigger the wire gauge.

Thicker wires have smaller numbers assigned to them. So a larger pump will need a 10 AWG wire, while a smaller pump may need a 12 AWG. Check your system carefully to determine what gauge you need. 

Cord Length

It is essential to choose the shortest possible extension cord for your system. A shorter cord is more energy efficient. Plus it is easier to manage and less likely to be a tripping hazard. 


When choosing an extension cord, an option that produces the proper amount of power for your system is best. To figure out how much power your system needs, determine the system’s amperage.

Also, take into account what the extension cord connects to. If it powers multiple elements in addition to the filter, you may need a more powerful cord. If it’s running hot – you are drawing too much power for your cord.


Check the answers to some common questions below about extension cord for pool filter.

Do pool filters use a lot of electricity?

Pool pumps do use a lot of electricity. In some cases, the only technology that uses more is an air conditioning unit. To save money, try using the smallest pump possible, use an efficient pool cleaner, and reduce electricity in other parts of your pool, such as the lighting. 

Is it better to run a pool filter during the day or night?

If you want to conserve energy, the best time to run your pool filter is at night. It is a good idea to circulate the water in the pool at least once daily. The circulation can take several hours, depending on the volume of the pool. Commercial pools may require constant filtration all day long. 

Should I run my pool filter while swimming?

Running the filter is a good idea while you are swimming. Cleaning while you swim will help you avoid doing the breaststroke alongside leaves, bugs, and other debris. 

Can I use an extension cord for an above-ground pool?

Avoid using an extension cord for an above-ground pool. Besides being unsafe, using an extension cord can also be against the code. Using an extension cord over a pool can lead to the cord falling in and electrifying the water.

More FAQs

Can you run a pool filter off an extension cord?

Running a pool filter off an extension cord is not recommended, according to Mike the Pool Guy. Many new pool owners may consider using an extension cord to temporarily power their pump and filter until an electrician can properly connect it. However, Mike advises against this practice.

Does pool equipment need to be GFCI protected?

Pool equipment needs to be GFCI protected as per NEC regulations. Without a GFCI, a pool pump cannot be installed by a pool builder or electrician in compliance with code.

How do I protect my pool pump cord from rain?

To protect your pool pump cord from rain, you can use the Twist and Seal Pool Safety Pack. This pack includes three Twist and Seal products that are specially designed to safeguard all your pool-related extension cord connections from rain and splashing.

How close can a plug be to a pool?

The plug should be at least 20 feet away from a pool or in-ground spa if it is not GFCI-protected, and at least 6 feet away if it is GFCI-protected.

Is there such thing as a waterproof extension cord?

There is indeed a type of extension cord called a waterproof cord that is designed to be used in wet weather. These cords are specifically made for outdoor use and are built to resist damage from water. They feature a rainproof jacket that ensures the connectors and plugs stay dry. However, it is important to note that these specialized cords tend to be more expensive than regular ones.

What should you not use an extension cord for?

You should not use an extension cord for outdoor purposes, plug multiple cords together, run extension cords under rugs or furniture, or tape them to floors or attach them to surfaces with staples or nails.

What makes an extension cord waterproof?

An extension cord becomes waterproof due to its coverings, which are usually composed of heavy-duty rubber, plastic, or vinyl. These robust materials shield outdoor cords from moisture, sunlight, temperature fluctuations, and other factors that can quickly degrade less resilient indoor cords.

What happens if extension cord falls in pool?

If an extension cord falls into a pool, it can pose a risk of electric shock to anyone in the water. The danger is higher in fresh water compared to salt water. Although fatalities have occurred in such incidents, it is worth noting that electrocution is typically not the official cause of death.

What is the length of a flexible cord supplying a swimming pool motor shall not exceed?

The length of a flexible cord supplying a swimming pool motor shall not exceed 900 mm (3 ft). The flexible cord should have a copper equipment grounding conductor that meets the sizing requirements of 250.122, but it should not be smaller than 12 AWG. Additionally, the cord should end with a grounding-type attachment plug.

How many amps does a pool motor draw?

A pool motor typically draws an amperage between 10 and 20 amps when running on 120 volts, depending on the motor’s horsepower and the chosen pump speed.

What is an acceptable use of a flexible cord?

An acceptable use of a flexible cord is when it is used to power portable lamps and plug-in type portable construction power tools, as permitted under Subpart K. These cords can be run through walls, ceilings, or floors when necessary.

Is 10 gauge better than 12 gauge extension cord?

The statement: “10 gauge is better than 12 gauge extension cord.” Rewritten answer: A 10 gauge extension cord is preferable to a 12 gauge extension cord because the lower the gauge number, the larger the cord’s size, allowing it to handle higher amperage and wattage. Additionally, a larger gauge cord can carry power over a greater distance without experiencing as much voltage drop compared to a smaller gauge cord. Since voltage drops occur over distance, selecting a cord with a larger gauge helps to mitigate this issue.

Do I need 12 or 14 gauge extension cord?

The rephrased answer would be: If you are wondering whether you need a 12 or 14 gauge extension cord, it depends on the length of the cord and the amount of power you will be using. For a 100-foot cord, the 14 gauge is suitable for 11-13 Amps, while the 12 gauge is better for 14-15 Amps. However, if your cord is 150 feet long, the 14 gauge is only suitable for 1-7 Amps, whereas the 12 gauge can support 8-10 Amps. This indicates that the length of the extension cord also affects its power capacity.

How many amps can a 10 gauge extension cord handle?

A 10 gauge extension cord can handle up to 20 amps if it is 25 feet long, but if it is 150 feet long, it can only handle up to 15 amps due to significant power drop experienced by longer cords.

How much power can a 12 gauge extension cord handle?

The power capacity of a 12 gauge extension cord is suitable for handling 14-15 amps, while a 10 gauge extension cord can handle 16-20 amps.

Does the length of an extension cord affect the power?

The length of an extension cord does affect the power it can deliver. Each additional foot of cord increases the electrical resistance, resulting in a decrease in the cord’s power capacity for connected devices. To achieve optimal results, it is recommended to use the shortest extension cord available.

What is better 16 gauge or 18 gauge extension cord?

The better gauge for an extension cord, whether it is 16 or 18, depends on the length of the cord. For light-duty extension cords that are up to 25 feet long, it is recommended to use 18 AWG wire. If the length is up to 50 feet, it is preferable to use 16 AWG. However, if the cord is 100 feet long, it is best to use 14 AWG.

How do you know what gauge extension cord to buy?

You can determine the appropriate gauge of an extension cord by considering the wire thickness. Higher gauge numbers indicate thinner wires, which have a lower power-carrying capacity. For instance, we suggest using a 14 AWG cord for lengths of 25 feet or less, as it is the thinnest gauge we recommend. On the other hand, the thickest gauge commonly available in extension cords is likely to be 10 AWG.

Can a 10 gauge extension cord handle 30 amps?

A 10 gauge extension cord can handle 30 amps without any issues.

What is 10 gauge so cord rated for?

The 10 gauge SO cord is rated for a voltage of 600 volts, an amperage of 30 amps, has a temperature range of -40° to 90°, and weighs approximately 290 lbs/MFT. It is specifically designed for hard usage with portable tools and appliances, small motors, and associated machinery.

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