Can You Run A Well Pump With A Generator? [And What Size Generator Do You Need?]

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A well is an efficient source of having water for your home. However, if you have a power outage, your good pump won’t get water from the well to your house. In this case, can you run a good pump with a generator, and if so, what size of generator will you need?

You can use a generator to run your good pump to get you by in the circumstance your power goes out. On average, a 3-4 KW generator will have sufficient power to run a good pump. This is due to most well pumps being powered by 1/2 to 2 horsepower.

It is good to have a backup plan if you lose power and need water from your well. This article will discuss what size generator you will need to run your well pump. In addition, we will take a look at the average costs of running a well pump monthly, so read on!

A blue colored bore hole well pump, Can You Run A Well Pump With A Generator? [And What Size Generator Do You Need?]

Can You Run A Well Pump With A Generator? (And What Size Generator Do You Need)

An electric motor powers a well pump turned on and off by a switch inside your home. The switch is activated when you turn on a tap to get water from the tap.

A well pump powered by a generator is not recommended for safety reasons. In addition, the high amount of water flowing through the pipes can cause the pump to overheat if it doesn’t have enough power to run.

However, in the circumstances such as a power outage, a generator can get you by. For example, you can use a generator to power your well pump, so you have access to water. But what size of generator will you need?

On average, a 3-4 KW generator is sufficient enough to get the job done. Since most well pumps are run by 1/2-2 horsepower, 4 KW will have enough power to start up the well pump and bring water to your home.

While you may only need 1-2 KW to get your well pump going, you will need more power to keep it running efficiently.

In addition to the size of the generator, you should also take into account how long you plan on using the generator. If you are only going to use it for a short amount of time, you won’t need as big of a generator as if you will be using it for an extended time.

How many watts does it take to run a well pump?

A 1 horsepower submersible well pump will run around 746 watts. If you have a pressure tank, it will increase the number of amps. One kilowatt is equal to 1000 watts. So if you use a 4 KW generator, you will have 4,000 kilowatts.

3,000 to 4,000 watts will be enough to keep your well pump running efficiently without overheating. Remember, the more water flows through the pump, the more power it will need to run.

How do you power a well pump with a generator?

A bore hole well pump photographed in the field

To power a well pump with a generator, you will need to have the following:

  • A generator
  • A transfer switch
  • Proper wiring

The transfer switch is essential because it will automatically turn on the generator when there is a power outage. This will prevent you from going outside and manually starting up the generator.

The wiring is also essential to ensure that the generator is properly grounded. If it’s not, you run the risk of electrocution.

In addition, you should never power a well pump with a generator and an inverter at the same time. Doing so can damage the generator or the inverter.

Once you have all of the pieces in place, follow these steps:

  1. Position the generator near the well pump with easy access to an electrical outlet.
  2. Create a ground for your generator. This can be done using a grounding rod or welding cable that attaches to the generator or the pump.
  3. Make sure the transfer switch is in the off position and hook up your well pump to your generator by attaching it with a double-ended cable, making sure that both ends are securely attached.
  4. Turn on the transfer switch and start up your generator by turning it on manually or via remote control. Once you do this, the generator will start supplying power to your good pump.
  5. Turn on a tap in your home to see if the water is flowing properly.

Can a generator damage a well pump?

A generator can damage a well pump in two ways. First, if you use too high of a kilowatt generator, it will overheat the pump or cause the pump to break.

Also, if the generator does not supply enough power, the water won’t flow through your pipes, making it impossible for you to get water.

If the generator malfunctions for any reason, this can also cause a problem with the well pump. And if you are using your generator for an extended amount of time, it can cause permanent damage to the pump.

How much does it cost to run a well pump monthly?

The cost to run a well pump monthly will vary depending on what horsepower well pump you have. For example, a big well pump used for irrigation (5 HP) can cost as much as $150 per month. Now, if you have an average well pump (1/2-2HP), the costs can be cut in half.

Why isn’t my Well Pump Working?

If your well pump isn’t working, then you aren’t going to be able to get water where you need it. If your well pump isn’t working, then it could be due to the following:

An illustration of a well diagram

Lack of Power

If your well isn’t working properly or not at all, it could be due to a lack of power. If you are using a generator to power your well pump, the voltage provided by the generator might not be enough. If you aren’t using a generator, you might not get enough voltage to the well pump.

If this is the case, then you will need to either try a larger generator or hire an electrician to come out and install an electrical transfer switch.

Tripped Breaker

If your well pump keeps tripping the breaker, then it’s likely that you have too many appliances running on the same circuit. This can be solved by either getting a bigger generator or installing a transfer switch.

Leaking or Damaged Pipes

If your well pump is not producing any water to the pipes, it could be because of a leak or damage. You can check this by shutting off all of the valves at the top and bottom of the well.

Bad Relay Switch

A bad relay switch can cause the well pump not to work properly. A relay switch triggers and controls circuit breakers and fuses, so if your relay isn’t working correctly, it could be the direct cause of your well pump’s malfunction. A bad relay switch will need to be replaced.

Faulty Pressure Switch

A blue colored well pump photographed in the field

A pressure switch will shut off your pump if there is no water coming in or too much water coming in. If the pressure switch isn’t working properly, it can cause your well pump to stop working.

You can check for this by shutting off all valves at the top and bottom of your well, changing the breaker that controls the well pump, and resetting the pressure switch. If this doesn’t work, the pressure switch will need to be replaced.

Pump seized

Something is likely caught in the pump if your pump has seized or the motor has burned out. In either case, you will need to replace your well pump.

Tripped Overload Protector

If your well pump keeps tripping the overload protector, the overload protector is likely the safety device for your well pump. If this happens, you can try resetting it by turning off all of the fuses to the pumps and then turning them back on. If this doesn’t work, you will need to replace your overload protector.

Bad Well Pump Motor

If your well pump isn’t working and you have ruled out all of the other reasons, then it’s likely that your well motor has burned out. In this case, you will need to replace your well pump.

Insufficient Water Being Pumped

If your well pump is working, but you can get enough water through it, there could be a few issues causing the lack of water. One of them is that your pump isn’t fully submerged. In addition, something could be stuck in the propeller.

Blown or Corroded Fuses

If your well pump has a fuse, it likely needs to be replaced. Fuses provide the current for both faucets and lights around your home. If a fuse is blown, you will need to replace the fuse.

Final Thoughts

A blue colored bore hole well pump

While using a generator to power your well pump isn’t ideal, it may be necessary for specific situations. If you are using a generator, check the voltage it provides to make sure that it is enough to power your well pump. In the case of using a generator, it is better to have more power than just enough.

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