Community Well on a Standby Generator?

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  #1  
Old 03-21-12, 11:11 AM
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Community Well on a Standby Generator?

We share a community well with five of our neighbors, and the well itself is located on our property. The well has its own electrical service, separate from the house. The house has a Kohler 14KW generator fueled by natural gas, so we are in good shape if there's a prolonged outage, except we won't have water.

The well pump is a big one, 1.5 HP, 9-10 running Amps at 240V.

Our electrical usage is pretty modest compared to others in our area with similar sized homes. We do have central AC which draws 16 running Amps at 230V.

My question is: would it be a bad idea to install a transfer switch in the pump shed so we (and the neighbors) would have water during an outage? I would have to install a 30A outdoor socket and run an extension cord about 75 feet out to the pump shed. I'm thinking the pump startup load might be as high as 7-8 kW.

Do you think that this generator could handle the load? Would a load control module at the service panel be a good idea?

All opinions welcome.
 
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Old 03-21-12, 06:06 PM
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The cheapest way would be to install a Nema 6-20 Outlet powered by your generator. You could buy a 100ft long 12 guage extension cord and replace the 120v plug with a 6-20 (240v) end and use that to go to a 20 or 30 amp inlet at the well house. You probably will need to install load sheeding at either your ac or the pump because your ac compressor probably takes 80%-100% of the generators output to start.
 
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Old 03-21-12, 07:25 PM
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IMO I would figure out how the windings are set up in the gen.

Its a 14 kw, but most likely its two 7kw windings. And on NG its reduced to 12kw. LP is rated 14kw.

Then derate that for temperature. 2% every 10f over 60f. Also derate 4% for every 1000ft over 500ft above see level. So you could loss say 8%. That would bring you down to an 11kw gen or 5.5kw per winding.

May or may not start the pump. But to clarify your post, does this gen run your A/C during a power failure????

So you may have say 10kw to start things up at 220v. Any 120v stuff you would have 5kw.

Im not an electrician, but hopefully you can give addition info.

Mike NJ
 

Last edited by lawrosa; 03-21-12 at 07:40 PM.
  #4  
Old 03-21-12, 07:54 PM
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Lawrosa - The op said its a 240 volt pump so Im not sure why you are concerned about how the windings of the gen are set up. That Generator can supply 500% + of the running current, so I would be suprised if it didnt start the pump.
 
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Old 03-21-12, 08:10 PM
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A few questions:
Who owns the well? I know you said it is a community well but who pays the electric bill? Repairs it when it goes down? Tests it? Who would do the wiring on the community well?


I do believe that your generator would run the well OK, but your house load may suffer, especially the A/C. Is the A/C your largest electric load?
 
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Old 03-21-12, 10:02 PM
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I think it's best the well have its own, dedicated generator.
 
  #7  
Old 03-22-12, 06:57 AM
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Tolyn-- The well is on my property and the electrical service is in my name. I bill the others for electrical usage and any repairs or maintenance. Each of the property owners on the well is bound by an agreement on file with the county, so I have recourse if anyone tries to welch out. I am blessed with honest neighbors, so it hasn't been an issue. I believe this arrangement came about because the original owner of a large tract subdivided it so family members could build, and he put them all on one well.

The A/C is the largest load by far. We cook, heat, and heat our water with gas.

Justin-- I agree, that would be the optimum solution, but its too expensive.
 
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Old 03-22-12, 07:32 PM
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The only concern is while generators can handle some surge loads, I am not sure if it would handle both the A/C and well kicking in the same time. However, this might be a rare occurrence. Your option of the load control module would be worth looking into. I don't know how practical it would be but your could also just refrain from using the A/C as well. Bottom line is I think it is doable.

You would need some sort of transfer switch to disconnect the line power from the well to hook up the generator. You would only need a #12 cord and 20 amp components because your current draw is only 10 amps. You do not have to size things to starting current.
 
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Old 03-23-12, 02:54 PM
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>>The well has its own electrical service, separate from the house.<<

Seems likes this answers the question. Connecting your existing backup generator to the well pump while also connecting it to your home load is, um, a bit tricky? 'Cause you'd be supplying two separate services at once. I s'pose it could be done, if you could somehow get two separate transfer switches to work just right.

I'd buy and install a generator and transfer switch for the well.
 
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Old 03-23-12, 05:32 PM
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Nashkat1--

The house/generator is on an automatic transfer switch. The transfer switch at the pump would be a manual switch, if that makes life any simpler.
 
  #11  
Old 03-23-12, 06:40 PM
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Then you'd have your running generator connected to the utility grid feed-to-feed until someone made it to the MTS and switched it.
No, you wouldn't. The manual transfer switch (and the auto one as well) separates the power company lines from the generator's lines. The two can never mix. So when the power goes down, the generator kicks in and the auto switch would transfer over to the generator. The OP would need to run a cord, or run permanent wires to the manual switch and switch that to power the well. The well would not work until the manual switch is switched over to the generator.

Then, when the power company restores power, the generator will shut down, auto switch will go back to the line power. The well would still be on the generator line that no longer is live due to the fact the generator is not running. The OP will again have to go out and flip the manual transfer switch back to the PoCo's lines. This is exactly why it is so important to have transfer switches.
 
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Old 03-23-12, 09:47 PM
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D'oh! And Ouch! You're exactly right, of course. One load, two feeds, and all that matters is which feed you're connected to. I have NO idea how I somehow got it t'other way around, but I'm glad you straightened me - and us - out.
 
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Old 03-24-12, 06:53 AM
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One load, two feeds, and all that matters is which feed you're connected to.
I see it as two loads (the OPs home and the well pump) and one feed (the generator). I am assuming that if the well house service loses power and the OPs house doesn't, someone will be running the cord to the well house manual transfer switch and then manually starting the generator.
 
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Old 03-24-12, 11:51 AM
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CasualJoe--

In the situation you describe (house live, pump shed dead), I would run the cord from the live outlet at the house to the pump shed, throw the pump shed transfer switch, and run the pump off the live house power. An unlikely scenario, since both services (house and pump) are on the same PoCo line.
 
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