I run a Frigidaire 50-pint dehumidifier in my basement, which I am currently emptying the bucket once/twice every day since the power outlet is far away from the drain hole in the basement, and the drain hose that came with the dehumidifier is pretty short. But I am planning on getting an extension cord to use so I can move the device closer to the drain hole and use the drain hose so I can have it running without having to empty the bucket on a daily basis.

At the time of purchase (of the dehumidifier), I remember the guy at the counter (can't remember if this was from Lowes' or Home Depot) recommending a 6-gauge extension cord (my memory is a bit shaky on the gauge), but I wasn't sure if I needed a cord back then, so I didn't get any. Now that I started researching, a 10-gauge cord seems to be considered heavy-duty, and I couldn't find anything longer than 6-foot with 6-gauge that's under 100 USD - so I wonder what gauge I heard him say.

What gauge extension cord is generally recommended for this set up - considering the manufacturer seems to recommend not to use one at all? The dehumidifier is the only device that the extension cord will be used for, and I think I will need at least 15-foot cord. My power outlet is a US-standard 3-pins socket.

  • Why not extend the drain hose rather than the power cord? – Rob Oct 21 '20 at 13:56

Specifications shows 115V @ 4.8amp. With that values it is likely he stated to get at least a 16gauge extension cord.
I prefer to get at least 14gauge cords as the price is usually very near those for the 16gauge cords.

  • Thank you, that makes sense - I might have misheard "gauge sixteen" as "gauge six". As others also suggested, I will use a 14 gauge, or even a 12 gauge, if I can find one in my required length and budget. – Chait Sep 19 '16 at 13:31

Technically, extension cords are not meant to be used as permanent wiring. So the proper solution, would be to install a receptacle near where the device will be used. Then plug the unit in to the receptacle, using the factory installed cord.

If you want to use an extension cord, do so at your own risk. For a unit that draws less than 5 amperes, a 16 gauge cord should work fine. However, depending on the length of the cord, you may want to step up to 14 AWG. You'll want to make sure the cord is protected from damage, and visually inspect the cord from time to time. If the cord shows any signs of wear, replace it.

  • Thank you, that is a valuable suggestion. I am new to electrical work, so I will stick to extension cords for now - but I will look into installing a receptacle once I am confident I know what I am doing. – Chait Sep 19 '16 at 13:36

Most house wiring is 14 gauge. Kitchens are wired using 12 gauge but this only started in the late 2000's. As the entire unit is rated less than 6 amps even if the motor inrush at start up is 100% that still means less than 12 amp total draw. A standard house circuit on a 15 amp breaker usually has 14 awg nmd90 cable, and a 15 amp breaker is rated for 12 amps continuous load and spikes of 15 amps. As long as you use at least a 14 awg extension cord you should have no issues. Just keep in mind voltage drop over distance. And any drop should be calculated from the electrical panel right to the motor. Not the wall outlet to the motor. So if you use an extension cord of 12 awg or higher you can almost disregard the length of the extension cord used. A good rule of thumb is to increase your cable/extension cord wire gauge size by two for every 100 feet of cable you have to run over the first 100 feet. These calculations are all based on Canadian electrical code standards. But none of this matters as I own the exact same unit and the cord from factory is 18awg. So you would be safer(technically speaking) to replace the entire cord on the unit with a permanent new 12 gauge 3 conductor cord of your choice. Do not attempt this modification unless you are a certified electrician or appliance repair technician.

  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Thanks for the answer; keep 'em coming. And, you should probably take our tour so you'll know the details of contributing here. – Daniel Griscom Oct 21 '20 at 1:33

Even if I make a short extension cord, I'd use 12/2wG. I use a cord that is SOOW. This is a cord that is oil and water resistant and is really durable. It will more than carry the load of the dehumidifier.

Keep in mind electricity is nothing to be lax with. You can buy something cheap and very well get away with it and then again you may not. Buy a good heavy duty 15 amp male and female ends.

You will have to make your own most likely, or purchase this at Home Depot - it is a Tasco cord 25 ft long, the in-store model number is 05-00105 and online model number is Internet #203533999.

It's a 25 ft. 12/3 SJTW Outdoor Extension Cord with E-Zee Lock and Lighted End, Yellow with Blue Stripe.

  • Thanks for all the specific details, I will look up that cord and start from there! – Chait Sep 19 '16 at 13:38

First, the reason for caution on extension cords for devices that have motors in them is if you have too much voltage drop in the cord then you have inadequate voltage to properly run the motor properly which will cause heat build up and finally burning it up. So you don't put a cheap low gauge extension cord like a 16 or 14 gauge. Most house wiring is 12 gauge. That would be my absolute minimum for an extension cord. I have a pressure washer with a good size motor in it and I am now shopping for a 10 Gauge extension cord. If I knew the physical layup of your unit, you also may be able to set a drain hose to your floor drain using small tubing and set up a siphon system to automatically drain your unit.

  • Hello, and welcome to Stack Exchange. This is good info, but doesn't it also depend on the length of the cord (the longer it is, the heavier it needs to be)? – Daniel Griscom Jun 7 '18 at 14:00

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