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I see a submersible pool cover pump such as the following advertised, and I am puzzled with several questions.

pool cover pump

  1. The power cable will be going into a large pool of water. I assume that the power cable is sheathed with PVC. How can PVC withstand a few months in the open? Isn't there an inherent risk (certainty, in the long term) that it will develop minute cracks? If that happens, wouldn't it be inherently risky?

  2. The pump is indicated to be 3 lbs. That seems to be a lot of load to put on a vinyl cover. Wouldn't that weight resting still for at least six months over one spot cause the pool cover vinyl underneath to stretch or even possibly rip?

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    Pumps of all shapes and sizes live in water for things like ponds and they are designed to be powered the exact same way. – Steve Jun 22 '16 at 21:11
  • There is a whole market segment devoted to pool cover pumps. Do you really think they will harm a million covers a year? The little giant cover pump makes this one look like a dwarf. – Tyson Jun 23 '16 at 0:46
  • Water weighs 8.345 lbs per gallon. So if you have a gallon of water on the cover, it's nearly triple the weight of the pump. – Tester101 Jun 23 '16 at 12:03
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There are three reasons why you need not worry:

UL/CE rating

I think you will find it is UL or CE rated I know with UL the items are tested and abused like any home owner would, not as sure about CE but some equipment I helped build to send over the pond had 3rd party inspectors checking every part to make sure it could be CE compliant. The pump should have a GFCI plug this would limit any potential shock if the cord were to fail. I would think the plastic pump impeller would fail before the cord even with 5/6 years outside.

Connection

Should the device be faulty, you still need not worry too much. You will deposit it in your sitting pool of rain water, while it's not powered. You'll walk to connect the power cable (hopefully your outdoor power is a GFCI one). While connecting the power, you'll not be close to any water.

Weight

The vinyl tarp can already handle a column of water 2ft (maybe) high. If you calculate the distributed weight of the pump on the (usually large) base, you'll find that the psi on the tarp will be in the same ballpark as the column of water.

Just as importantly, you do want the weight of the pump to push a little on the tarp. That incline will drive all your rain water towards the pump so all the water reach it.

  • The CE mark is a standard for several aspects of consumer products (environmental, safety, health, electrical) making it a broader standard than UL but I believe it is also a higher electrical safety standard than UL. – wallyk Jun 22 '16 at 21:51
  • Most cover pumps don't have a GFCI plug because the required convenience outlet at the pool equipment must be GFCI. – Tyson Jun 22 '16 at 22:48
  • I will check on this tomorrow but I thought all cord connected pumps were required to have GFCI cords for several years in the U.S. – Ed Beal Jun 23 '16 at 1:56

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