National Electrical Installation Standards

Standards as High as Your Own

Monday, September 25, 2023


Hi CQD thank you for this great service. An engineer is specifying a submersible pump in a fountain with a cord and plug. The GFCI receptacle serving the pump is 20 feet away behind a bench. The engineer is specifying the cord to be run underground in conduit from the fountain to the receptacle, but this is not permitted by Section 400.12(6). The alternative is the direct bury the cord, but wouldn’t installing the cord in a conduit be less dangerous than direct burying the cord? Moving the receptacle closer to the pump is not a solution in for this installation. Another solution would be to buy a hardwired submersible pump, but the engineer can’t find one for this installation. Would it be permissible to remove the cord from the pump and hard wire it? Regards, Steve


Hi Steve, glad you are enjoying the CQD. Part V of Article 680 provides requirements when wiring a fountain. Specifically, Section 680.51 provides rules for wiring of submersible pumps for fountains. Section 680.51(E) limits the length of a submersible pump cord to 10ft. You are correct that the cord could not be installed in a conduit per Section 400.12(6). The installation instructions and listing of the submersible pump would dictate whether the cord can be removed for hard wiring. Physical protection and listing are an issue for direct burial, additionally, Section 400.12(1) prohibits the use of cord as a substitute for fixed wiring, if a cord can be direct buried from one location to another, then it is likely an approved chapter 3 wiring method can be installed as well.

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