Why doesn’t my pond pump come with a plug?

Every electrical item comes with a fitted plug these days, right? Not if it’s a pond pump, as the rules are different for outdoor sockets and permanent outdoor electrical installations.

Part P of the government’s building regulations state that any permanent electrical socket fitted outside and connected to the house mains must only be installed by a qualified electrical contractor. 

If you already have permanent weatherproof outdoor sockets and they were installed by a qualified electrician, simply fit a three-pin plug (with correctly sized fuse,) to the pond pump’s electrical cable, plug it in and you’re away. 

If you don’t have permanent outdoor sockets and didn’t plan on paying for an electrician this weekend there is another way. Outdoor electrical kits are available which granted, will involve you drilling a hole through your wall, but plug them into an RCD and then into an indoor electrical socket that was installed by an electrician and you can be ok then too. 

In order to run several items like a pond pump, UV and pond lighting, invest in a Switch Box that you wire the items into, then run a cable from the box, through the hole in the wall, through an RCD plug, and then into a conventional socket. 

Because this is not classed as a permanent outdoor electrical installation you don’t need to be a qualified electrician to do it and you don’t need to notify your local building control.  

An illustration of a Part P compliant installation


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Jeremy Gay is an author, lifelong fishkeeper, and aquatic specialist. He's a former editor of Practical Fishkeeping Magazine, UK editor at Reefbuilders, a former aquatic store manager, and has collected fish in Sri Lanka and the Amazon. He's been on tv and radio, contributed to Koi Carp and Gardeners World magazines, been a product tester, a judge, and a product developer. Jeremy is here to guide and advise you on all things tropical, pond and marine, from set-up to stocking, health, feeding to breeding, as well as solving many common fishkeeping problems along the way.

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