How To Run A Well Pump with a Portable Generator

One of the reasons why electricity is indispensable is that water pumps run on electricity. If you’re in a farm, ranch, or countryside home, chances are high that water does not run from your taps or faucets. In that case, you’ll have a well or a borehole and one or two tanks. In this arrangement, a water pump will pump water from the borehole or well into the tanks and the water in the tanks runs out through your tap.

Once the tanks are empty, water will cease to run from the taps until you pump water into them again. What if a power outage occurs? You won’t be able to pump water. You may resort to fetching water with buckets or jerrycans. Remember, you can live without electricity but you can’t live without water.

You need water to drink, cook, bath, and even wash your dirty dishes and clothes. On that note, we have discussed how to run a well pump with a portable generator. In addition, we have also answered several other frequently asked questions here. So, let’s dive into the heart of the issue right away.

How To Run a Well Pump with a Portable Generator – 7 Easy Steps

Step 1 – You need to find out the capacity of your well pump. Of course, pumping machines are available in several sizes and capacities. You can find them in 1 horsepower, 2 horsepower, 5 horsepower, and more. The capacity of the water pump will determine the capacity of the generator to power it.

Step 2 – Hire a professional to wire and install your well pump into your electrical panel.

Step 3 – Let an engineer wire your portable generator too.

Step 4 – To pump water with a portable generator, start your generator and plug the generator cord into the outdoor socket. Go to your transfer switch and change it from the grid to the generator.

Step 5 – In your electrical panel, switch off the main supply and switch off all the breakers to your electrical appliances. Switch on the breaker of your water pump. Thereafter, switch on the water pump. It will start pumping water immediately.

Step 6 – When you’re done, switch off the pump, switch off its breaker from the electrical panel.

Step 7 – Shut down your generator and unplug its cord.

How Big of a Generator Do I Need to Run a Well Pump?

As explained above, the size of a generator for your well pump depends on the capacity of your well pump. So, if you’ve already bought a well pump, and you’re on the verge of buying a portable generator, check the capacity of your well pump. Is it 1 horsepower, 2 horsepower, or 5 horsepower? Find out the capacity of generator that can power it and go for the generator.

At the same time, if you’ve already bought your generator and you’re about to buy your well pump, find out the size of well pump that your generator can power easily power. However, with a 3000-watt generator you should be able to power 2-hosrepower well pumps.

For those that have installed a 15 KVA generator, they need not bother themselves. Such a generator can power any size of well pump easily.

How Much Power Does a Well Pump Require?

The answer to this question is similar to the answer we gave above. The amount of power required by a well pump depends largely on the size and capacity of the well pump. Remember, well pumps are available in several sizes and capacities. With a 1 horsepower or 2 horsepower well pump, a 3000-watt portable generator will easily power it.

And if your well pump has a capacity of 5 horsepower or more, you need a more powerful portable generator for that. One more thing – you may seek professional advice on this.

How Long Can You Run a Well Pump Continuously?

The answer depends on manufacturer’s instructions. Some well pumps can work for 3 – 5 hours continuously and some can work for a longer period. However, your well pump also needs to rest. The more it works, the faster it will reach its lifespan.

So, we advise that you should not make your well pump work for more than 2 hours without resting. This means that if you want to use it for 6 hours, stop it after every 2 hours to allow it rest for 30 minutes. You’ll help to prolong its lifespan that way.

Come to think of it, no matter how big your tanks are, a well pump should fill them up in less than an hour in most cases. If you’re putting the water to commercial use, you need to go for a commercial well pump.

Will a 4000-Watt Generator Run a Well Pump?

Yes, a 4000-watt generator will power some well pumps, and no, it won’t power others. It all depends on the capacity of the well pump. A 4000-watt generator will easily power a 1-horsepower and 2-horsepower well pumps. But it may not be able to power a 5-horsepower well pump.

Can a Generator Damage a Well Pump?

Yes, it is possible for a generator to damage a well pump but this hardly happens. When your generator supplies high voltage or low voltage, it could burn the well pump’s coil. When that happens, you’ll have to recoil the well pump or buy another coil.

This is why it is a good practice to confirm the voltage of your generator after starting it. You should check if its voltage is right before you put any load on it. High voltage or low voltage can damage a well pump and other electrical appliances.

Final Words

The most important point to take away from this article is that the capacity of your well pump will determine the size of the generator to power it. You can’t just guess the figure. Also, don’t let your pump work for more than 2 straight hours. Allow it to rest for about 30 minutes before you switch it on again.