Power Cords - How to run them?

Discussion in 'Newbies to Garden Ponds' started by craigbomb, Jun 11, 2018.

  1. craigbomb

    craigbomb

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    Hello All!

    Second post here, and getting close to finishing our pond install! We are very excited to get this up and going and finally fill it up with water!

    One questions my wife and I have is what to do with the power cords of the pump and pond lights (3). We have four wires that were were going to twist tie together and run through conduit in an underground trench about 6-8" deep to our outlet on the outside of our house which is only about 15' or so from where our pump sits.

    Does that sound about right?

    We had a quote from an electricain to install an outlet on a post right next to our pond, but the quote came in at $1500! We certainly dont have that sort of budget for this, and wasn't expecting it to be that high.

    Would my above method work, does it need to be that deep? Can I just hide cords with landscaping/bark, etc. The path from the pump to my outlet travels through my grass, so I couldn't really hide the cord the entire way without digging to put underground to make it look "presentable".

    Any insight/input/suggestions are welcomed and thank you in advance!
     
    craigbomb, Jun 11, 2018
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  2. craigbomb

    Lisak1

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    This came up in another post - the electricians here will tell you to put it in a conduit. The reckless and daring will tell you to dig a trench and bury it. It's choose your own adventure from here!

    And yes - any of you with small children. Advise them to become plumbers or electricians - that's where the money is!
     
    Lisak1, Jun 11, 2018
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  3. craigbomb

    craigbomb

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    Thank you! This is helpful! I figured I could attach a GFCI power strip that is outdoor rated to my outdoor outlet on the back of my house and then run the wires from the pump and lights underground to that outlet. Certainly didn't budget thousands for electrical work, and honestly, never thought much about it, but now that we are close I want to make sure to get some feedback first. :)

    Thank you for the reply!
     
    craigbomb, Jun 11, 2018
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  4. craigbomb

    Lisak1

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    We had a bigger outlet installed (four plugs and covered) for a couple hundred bucks. Works great. Pump is about the same distance as you are describing from the outlet.
     
    Lisak1, Jun 11, 2018
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  5. craigbomb

    Sparky

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    The factory cord from your pump and quite possibly the rest of you equipment is above ground rated and wet location rated IF it is UL listed. It is not rated for direct burial or hard usage. Hiding it on the ground or protecting on the ground is fine. Splicing, altering and such is a no no and a bad idea anyway. The reason not to bury is simply the insulation separating conductors is not designed for direct burial. It will fail. When? A lot sooner than if you hid it on the ground.
     
    Sparky, Jun 12, 2018
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  6. craigbomb

    craigbomb

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    Now I am even more confused. So I shouldn’t bury these wires? I have the Anjon 4100gph pump. Is that the case even if it is ran through conduit? I was planning on Running through PVC conduit with silicon seals around the connectors and elbows and then plug in my outdoor outlet.
     
    craigbomb, Jun 12, 2018
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  7. craigbomb

    Sparky

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    Protecting the cords in pvc is fine as long as you’re not cutting and splicing cord caps. You are protecting the cord, you are not DIRECTLY burying it. Big difference. I will try to make this easy to understand. All wires’ ampacity is based on two things. The conductor itself and it’s insulation. Although beyond size the conductor remains the same (copper), the insulation dictates its usage. Some insulation is UV protected, some is waterproofed, some is for use in corrosive environments. The different insulation’s however also control how much heat is disapated. Free air ampacity is much different than direct burial ampacity. So there are multiple factors at work here. Can you take a run of the mill extension cord and bury it. Sure. Will it work? Sure. But believe me years and years of testing proves one thing. It will fail. When it fails, what will happen? Pump might just stop. Might leak to ground and find another way back to the source. That other way would be making someone part of the completed circuit (ouch). Might overheat because it can’t disapate it, cause a fire. Which mister inspector will find and suddenly the insurance company won’t pay because the install wasn’t listed (designed) for that use. So, as an electrician, you will find me quite stubborn on certain issues. Yeah, people say we make all this money because we’re electricians. Electrician means we schooled, got the license, kept that liscense up to date and keep people from frying themselves or equipment. Want some good reading? Next time you have the chance, grab our code book. It’s around 1000 pages and gets bigger every 2 years. Sorry about the rant and hope this cleared it up for you.
     
    Sparky, Jun 12, 2018
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  8. craigbomb

    Lisak1

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    I was just teasing about the money - a good electrician is worth every penny! I'm happy that tradesmen are able to earn a good living - we'd be lost without them.

    That's a good explanation @Sparky . Would you say the power cord from the pump is OK to bury? I've never seen a pond install video where they do anything but direct bury it.
     
    Lisak1, Jun 12, 2018
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  9. craigbomb

    poconojoe

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    Yes, you can run them inside a buried conduit. Just don't bury the wires directly in the soil. Like Sparky said, a lot can go wrong if you bury it directly. Not only might the insulation degrade, but some unknowing person might hit it with a shovel. Or a mole or vole might chew it up.
    You don't need silicone around the elbows. Elbows and other fittings just get PVC primer then glue, just like plumbers do. If you're using the conduit as a sleeve where the ends are open, yes seal it there. You don't want water collecting inside the conduit.
     
    poconojoe, Jun 12, 2018
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  10. craigbomb

    Somethin' Fishy

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    I'm in agreement with Sparky on this issue.

    It is only my humble opinion, but I'd be against burying the extension cords even in large conduit, and I wouldn't zip tie them together (stacking - heat). I'd keep searching for a reputable and reasonable electrician to do the job; and perhaps ease the cost of the job by digging the trench yourself (after checking with all utilities before digging of course). It may be an unplanned expense to the pond budget, but for safety, insurance reasons, meeting codes in your area, and the longevity of the equipment you would be running...it will be worth it.

    I live in an area with no restrictions, and I was able to wire our cabin myself (private residence - and state inspected rough-in and final). So after we're finished with our current pond expansion I'll be running 20 amp (GFCI protected) out to a weatherproof box on a post. The convenience of it will be worth the effort, and I'd do it even if I had to pay someone else.


    Best of luck!
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018
    Somethin' Fishy, Jun 12, 2018
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  11. craigbomb

    craigbomb

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    Sorry I wasn’t clear in my post. My pump cord is long enough to reach my outside socket in one shot, no extension cords etc. Same with my pond lights. So my plan was o run these two outlet cables from near pod filter to my outdoor socket. No cutting or splicing f the power cords etc, just burying them 4” deep and running cords through the grey PVC conduit, refilling the dirt, laying the strip of sod I excavated for the trench to run pvc, and voila!

    To confirm, I’m okay with this method, yeah?
     
    craigbomb, Jun 12, 2018
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  12. craigbomb

    qclabrat

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    haha, now the name Sparky makes sense.
    @craigbomb, good advice from Sparky, I'd stay away if you're not sure or uncomfortable. Fortunately my pond is only 15 ft from the house and just off the deck, so my work this summer of pulling out a dedicated line from basement is more straightforward.
     
    qclabrat, Jun 12, 2018
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  13. craigbomb

    qclabrat

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    how would you get the heads through the pvc? what diameter are you using and what's the distance to the house
     
    qclabrat, Jun 12, 2018
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  14. craigbomb

    craigbomb

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    I would use no larger than 2” but I think 1 1/4 will Work with staggered plugs.

    Connected with The Pond Digger who advised me this is the best route. Again, not cutting any wires, cords reach my outlet which is 15-20’ from my pump and where cords are.
     
    craigbomb, Jun 12, 2018
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  15. craigbomb

    Sparky

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    Yes
    I apologize if I sounded a bit huff. Thing is and Joe said this as well, you would not believe the stuff we run into in the field. I’m not talking messy. I’m talking someone could have got killed scary. I am all about DIY and helping people with the skills I’ve been given. But electricity as we all know is inheritly dangerous. It needs to be mitigated and harnessed correctly. If it’s not, it tends to go places you don’t want it to go. Your above install is safe and should be effective. 1 1/4 is a stretch. There’s 1 1/2 out there. Peace Pond Dwellers
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018
    Sparky, Jun 12, 2018
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  16. craigbomb

    mrsclem mrsclem

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    I've been following this thread. My father was an electrician and did a lot of work for us on our house. By the time we decided to finally run power to our pond location (100+feet), he was no longer able to travel. We took some short cuts and yes, we both knew better, but hey- what could happen? Cable not buried deep enough- hit with edger. Conduit not used, it's amazing how much electrical wire looks like a raspberry cane! Also, NOT good! Wiring is now completely in conduit, 18" deep.
     
    mrsclem, Jun 12, 2018
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  17. craigbomb

    craigbomb

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    I more than appreciate it and completely understand. That is why I'm here, to lean on knowledge from folks that have more than I do on this subject. I definitely don't want to shortcut, and want to make sure the above process I was going to do will work out.

    Thank you all for taking the time to respond to my question - it's greatly appreciated and not taken for granted.
     
    craigbomb, Jun 12, 2018
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  18. craigbomb

    Somethin' Fishy

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    I'm going to respectively add a hypothetical here... Let's say down the road one of the pumps goes kaput and has to be replaced. Its power cord, along with other cords, in large conduit underground, maybe with one or two elbows in it I'd assume (?)... Now try pulling it out, (lots of cussing ensues....). And even if one thought to tie a 20+ foot string to said plug before pulling it out of the pipe, now try to pull the new 3 prong plug and cord through there with the string, snagging the other cords along the way.... I'm thinking there will be lots more cussing.:banghead::mad::censored::censored::censored:
     
    Somethin' Fishy, Jun 12, 2018
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  19. craigbomb

    craigbomb

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    I understand that as well. Luckily it will be a straight shot over with maybe just one elbow. I'm not planning on trenching in 20" or anything like that, but definitely something to think about. I'd just leave above ground, but the path from pump to outlet would cut right across main walking area around my current patio. Hmmm. The $1500 fix is out of my budget (for now), but will be long term idea I think. Still have a few other folks who are going to come out for a quote, and won't make a move one way or another for a few weeks while I'm finishing building the waterfall.
     
    craigbomb, Jun 12, 2018
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  20. craigbomb

    Sparky

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    Sparky, Jun 12, 2018
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