Can I Use An Extension Cord With My Robotic Pool Cleaner?

Can I Use An Extension Cord With My Robotic Pool Cleaner? If you have a robotic pool cleaner with a short power cord, the nearest outlet is too far, or for some other reasons you’re thinking of using an extension cord, you need to be sure it’s safe to use with your pool cleaner. If you’re certain that your automatic pool cleaner won’t cover your pool without adding more cable length, here’s what you need to know: 

You can use an extension cord with your pool cleaner as long as you take the necessary precautions. With the right extension(preferably one rated for outdoor use), you can safely operate your pool robot. However, make sure that its junction point doesn’t find its way into the water. To be on the safe side, invest in an extension cord cover to protect the junction point from moisture.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission suggests that you do not use extension cords unless necessary. If you’ve got limited options and have to use an extension for your pool robot, use extension cords label #16 or lower on the AWG scale; the lower the AWG number, the more current the cord will be able to carry safely. You should also check that the letter W is emblazoned on the jacket; meaning it’s suitable for outdoor use. 

How Close Should An Electrical Outlet Be To a Pool? 

A swimming pool would normally have an electrical outlet nearby to power the robot pool cleaner and other electrical pool accessories. However, the nearness of the electrical outlets would have to comply strictly with the requirements of the National Electrical Code(NEC) for pools. This is so that the vicinity around the pool is electrically safe for use. In addition, the electrical connection must be done by a qualified electrical expert. 

That said, here’s what the National Electrical Code(NEC) says about the distance of electrical outlets from your pool: 

  • Outlets for motors and pumps must be between 6 and 10 feet from the pool walls. They should also be GFCI-protected and closed. 
  • Electrical outlets meant for general use cannot be closer than 20 feet of the pool or spa if they are not GFCI-insulated. For GFCI-protected receptacles, the minimum distance must be maintained at 6 feet. 
  • For in-ground pools, there must be a minimum of one GFCI-protected convenience outlet situated between 6 and 20 feet of the pool. 

What Kind Of Outlet Do I Need For An Above Ground Pool? 

When installing cables and electrical accessories like receptacles, there are regulations you have to adhere to. Majorly, pool pumps come as 120V units and usually use a three-prong plug for connection to an outlet; the same applies to robotic pool cleaners. If you’re thinking of using an extension cord, it should be temporarily, and in that case, it must be 12 or 10 gauge. 

Furthermore, it is good practice to hook up your above-ground pool pump to a dedicated circuit. Modern pool pumps typically require 120/125-volts, 15A, or 25A power outlets. Putting your electrical pool machines on dedicated circuits ensures that they don’t overload the system in operation; a power pump is typically power-hungry, adding other equipment like a pool robot might trip the circuit breaker. 

Finally, in addition to adhering to NEC regulations on the minimum distance of an electrical outlet from the pool tip(discussed above), every electrical receptacle meant for pool appliances must be ground fault circuit protected(GFCI). These kinds of circuits offer more safety for locations near pools and other places that receive above-average moisture. 

Can You Leave a Pool Robot In the Pool Overnight?

Of course, it’s perfectly safe to leave your robotic pool cleaner in the pool after a cleaning cycle or overnight. Robotic pool cleaners are sturdily built for extended stay underwater – after all, they’ll spend most of their time submerged in your pool, so leaving it in overnight is not a bad idea. However, it is wise to always take your robotic cleaner out of the pool after every cleaning session. Doing so will increase the lifespan of your robot. 

Additionally, you will not get an unequivocal opinion if you asked many robot pool cleaner manufacturers. For one, some manufacturers don’t advise that you leave your unit in for extended periods, others produce robotic pool units which feature a weekly timer cleaning schedule. This feature tells the robot when to start cleaning the pool – it cannot do this unless it’s inside the pool(almost permanently). While they’re well sealed off, know that an extended stay in the pool may weaken the seals. 

However, if you’re going on a vacation for a week or two, and need to leave your robot cleaner in the pool to keep your pool clean, ensure that the power supply is not in a position where it can get wet from the rain. Also, you do not want to leave your pool cleaner than a pool with unbalanced water chemistry. Harsh pool chemicals may accelerate wear and tear in the robot, cutting its useful life in half. 

Can You Swim With a Robotic Pool Cleaner Still In the Pool?

Yes! If you can’t wait, you can swim in the pool while the unit does its work, but it’s best you don’t. The robotic pool cleaner cleans best when it is itself clean. Once you start swimming, the current will move fine debris and buffet the pool cleaner, making it difficult to clean the pool. If the robot has to go over once-clean places because the current returns debris there, it will work unnecessarily, wearing down the unit faster. 

Furthermore, you need your pool to be perfectly free of obstacles, so you may want to remove your robotic pool cleaner after every cleaning section for swimmers’ safety. Because power cords to your cleaning unit are insulated, there’s no electricity risk whatsoever. However, swimmers run the risk of getting entangled with the electrical cord which may lead to an accident. So it’s best to take your robot cleaner out. 

It is good practice to take out your robotic pool cleaner for routine cleaning, especially to the filter compartment. A clogged filter basket makes it harder for water to pass through the unit as it should. The result is that the machine would spend significantly more time cleaning the same area – which is inefficient and could damage the unit. 

Can a Pool Vacuum Electrocute You?

All things being equal, your robotic cleaner’s power cable is completely insulated and safe for use in your pool. On your part, however, there are things you need to keep it that way:

  • Occasionally check to ensure that there’s no injury to the power cord exposing the conductor. Sometimes, rough handling of the power cord or improper storage cause damage to the cord. 
  • Do not leave the power cord laying in standing water. This can break down the cable’s jacket over time, running the risk of electrocution.
  • Store the pool cleaner under shaded areas, away from reach of rain and sunshine when not in use. 

The majority of pool-related electrocution problems arise from the negligence of pool owners in handling electrical pool equipment/fixtures or keeping to code. Swimmers can get electrocuted in the following conditions: 

  1. When electrical wiring to pumps, filters, lights, and other pool accessories is faulty. 
  2. If the circuits and electrical outlets in the pool’s vicinity are non-GFCI protected. 
  3. If extension cords or unspecialized electric equipment enter the pool. 

If any of these three conditions are met, it could be potentially dangerous to enter the pool. Simply making contact with the electrified water or touching an electrical appliance or charged surface may lead to electrocution. If you feel a tingling sensation, muscle cramps, or inability to move In the pool, there’s probably an electrical leak somewhere. In that case, you need to come out of the pool as soon as possible and consult an expert. Also, try not to touch metallic surfaces in haste while coming out of the pool.

How Do I Know If My Pool Is Electrified? 

Swimming pool electrocution arises from exposed cables or faulty connections around the pool. They may be rare, but they’re still a threat every pool owner wants to avoid at all costs. The easiest way to be safe is to know beforehand and at all times that there’s no stray voltage in your pool. 

If you observe a tingling feeling on your skin, muscle cramps, or a feeling of being held in place while in the pool, these are warning signs signaling stray voltage in the water and could be dangerous at that point. The right way to know if a pool is an electrode is by using an electric shock prevention tool. This is a portable handheld device used to continuously monitor and detect electrical current in the pool. 

With the electric shock prevention tool, you can get alerted to the presence of electricity in your pool water as soon as it’s detected. If it flashes red or beeps continuously, you know that there’s a stray current in the pool and would know to stay away from it. On the flip side, if it flashes green, your pool is safe to swim in. 

If you feel like you need one for your pool, you need to get your hands on an easy-to-use model that gives value for your money. Here’s our recommendation for you: 

Recommended: Shock Alert

Shock Alert was built to work as a regular shock alarm, only it detect dangerous amounts of electricity in the pool water. This device passively floats in the pool and flashes a red light and regular beeps as soon as it detects electricity in the water. Otherwise, it shows a green light, indicating that no voltage is detected. 

What Happens If a Pool Is Not Bonded? 

Properly grounded pool devices minimize the risk of electrocution by giving a low resistance path to the ground for electrical leakages. Any active current due to current leakage gets transferred to and trips the circuit breaker instead of waiting to shock a swimmer. If you do not bond the equipment around your pool: pumps, filters, etc, there’s a chance that they may become the anode that makes up a galvanic couple with other metals around the pool. 

Galvanic coupling can lead to advanced deterioration of the anode metal called galvanic corrosion. The rate of corrosion in saltwater pools is even more profound and generally proceeds at a much faster rate. 

To curb galvanic corrosion, a swimming pool must have a bonding grid. An equipotential bonding grid is typically employed to protect the pool structure itself. To protect the swimming pool equipment and fixtures having metallic components, each of them must be bonded via their casing. Usually, filters do not need bonding except they’re made of stainless steel. 

Do I Need a GFCI Breaker For a Pool Pump?

Yes! NEC regulations require that all pool pumps be connected to a GFCI circuit breaker. Without one, an electrician is not authorized to install a pool pump. This is necessary especially for areas with risk for moisture exposure like pools and spas. The GFCI breakers trip more than conventional breakers and for good reason: they are very sensitive and disconnect the circuit at low levels to prevent humans from electrical injuries. 

Moreover, swimming pools must be GFCI-protected, and other smaller pool equipment to be connected to a GFCI outlet. The GFCI receptacles always have a test and retest button for increased safety. In general, all water sources need to have GFCI protection; they can detect as little as 5mA current leakage and trip the breaker upon detection. 

What Is Electric Shock Drowning(And How To Prevent It)?

Electric shock drowning happens when current from electrical pool fixtures, nearby boats, or docks leak into the water and pass through the victim’s body, causing paralysis mid-swim. In contact with the current in the water, the muscles contract, and the swimmer experiences difficulty in swimming, causing them to drown. 

How To Prevent Electric Shock Drowning? 

To safeguard against electrical shock drowning and keep swimmers safe, here’s what you can do: 

  • The first step in the process is creating awareness about electric shock drowning and precautions to take for safety. 
  • Make use of a shock alert to signal electric current leakage in your pool. 
  • If you notice any immobile swimmer, don’t attempt to save them by diving in. Rather, switch off the power and warm other swimmers to stay out of the area. 
  • Report and fix missing or loose caulking In your pool, hot bath, or Jacuzzi. 
  • If you notice a tingling sensation as you swim, swim away from the area and out of the pool. Call an expert to look for and fix faults.
  • Replace corroded electrical components. 

Conclusion on Can I Use An Extension Cord With My Robotic Pool Cleaner?

For your robotic cleaner to clean your entire pool, it cannot be hindered by a short power cable. But when you have a large pool or the power cord just doesn’t cut it, the alternative is to use an extension cord. It is not against the codes to use an extension cord for your robotic cleaner. However, you have to be very cautious – you do not want to drop the junction in the water. We hope this article provides everything you need for operating your pool robot safely with an extension cord.