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Old 02-09-2013, 12:26 PM   #1
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Well pump to generator


My grandfather wants to hook up his generator to a well pump but not use a transfer switch at all. He doesnt own a computer so I am here to ask the questions for him. He went out and bought a 5500 watt generator. His well pump runs off a double pole 20 amp breaker. What he was going to do (and actually had started it) was he tied in a pig tail to the well pump with a plug on the end that would connect to a made up extension cord which would plug into the generator. I had told him right from the start that he cant do that because that would back feed the main line as son as the line would come back on. Then he said about how he could just throw that breaker so it wouldnt back feed but I told him thats still illegal. I came up with another idea about putting a safety switch on the line side of the well pump right next to where his pig tail is so its easy to remember to switch it but I still told him thats illegal 100%. He had told me that he didnt want a transfer switch and theres no way he would get one so then I came up with this idea. I told him to cut the line as close to the well pump as possible and install a single outlet 220 volt 20 amp outlet. Then put a short power cord on the well pump which would plug into that outlet. Then get a nema 30L14 plug for the generator end and run either 10/3 or 12/3 extension cord from the generator down to where the well pump is and have a plug end on it that accepts the one on the well pump. What I want to know is if that will be ok to do that? Also is it ok to use a 30amp 240 volt from the generator to power a 20 amp 220 volt well pump?

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Old 02-09-2013, 04:41 PM   #2
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Well pump to generator


First of all, there's no 220v service in the U.S. It's all 120 or 240. So yes, the 30 amp circuit would work fine. I'm not a pro so can't comment on the legality of what you want to do, but why is your grandfather so opposed to a transfer switch? That's really the easiest way to get backup power for the pump. It is my gut feel that your plan is not legal.

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Old 02-09-2013, 04:50 PM   #3
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Well pump to generator


If he stoped and did it right he could be running all the lights, the pump, a microwave and outlets instead of just a pump with that generator.
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Old 02-09-2013, 04:51 PM   #4
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Well pump to generator


Item #: 28277 | Model #: QO48M60DSGP
This a Square D panel from Lowes that will take care of your problem.
Hope this helps
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Old 02-09-2013, 05:17 PM   #5
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Well pump to generator


The problem is that my grandfather is all about saving money and doing things the cheap way. I told him he could get a 6 circuit transfer switch cheap and could run alot more. He also wants to power a few lights and for sure one fridge maybe even two. I told him that since hes using the 240 volt plug for his well pump, that he wont get 20 amps from his regular 120 outlets on the generator. But hes made up his mind that hes not buying a transfer switch and just wants to use extension cords. So I honestly feel running the pump off the generator the way I had mentioned above would be legal. I mean it wouldnt back feed the powerline at all. He could simply unplug the well pump from that outlet and plug it into the generators extension cord. The problem I think he will have will be the run of the extension cord going from the well pump to the generator. He wants to have the generator out in his detached garage so with that sad hes looking at a run of atleast 40 feet. Hes going out tomorrow to pick up the stuff he needs to make the cord and the outlet box for the well pump so I dont know what to tell him. To make matters worse hes going to drill a hole in the floor behind the fridge upstairs so he can drop the cord down through the floor to hook it up to an extension cord for the generator. I duno I just think hes trying to do too much with not doing it the correct way. With the way he is doing it I think he would only be able to power the well pump. I agree that if he got a transfer switch that he could power a whole lot more.
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Old 02-09-2013, 06:25 PM   #6
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Well pump to generator


I will try to encourge him to get the proper transfer switch and be done with it otherwise if the POCO ( Power Company ) find out that you do not have transfer switch ., belive or not they will yank the meter out or cut the drop until it done properly and also they will not hook the power back on if they hear the generatour running unless you have a approved transfer switch they can do that.

A simple 6 circuit transfer switch will do wonders for useing the generatour.

Just trust us we did see some crazy stuff with homemade and illegal suiduce cords which there no way it can be safe at all.

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Old 02-09-2013, 09:24 PM   #7
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Well pump to generator


I dont understand how you must use a transfer switch in order to power appliances in your home during a power outage. All a transfer switch does is prevent backfeeding of the main power. As far as i know as long as you are running extension cords to the appliance and not back feeding the line you should be ok. Now i can understand if it's law to where all hard wired appliances must stay hard wired thus needing a transfer switch but not sure if that's even true.
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Old 02-09-2013, 09:27 PM   #8
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Well pump to generator


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Originally Posted by frenchelectrican View Post
Just trust us we did see some crazy stuff with homemade and illegal suiduce cords which there no way it can be safe at all.
A friend of mine did a bunch of crazy stuff and he don't have a house anymore.
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Old 02-09-2013, 09:43 PM   #9
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Well pump to generator


I'm not sure how exactly the cable from you breaker panel to the well pump runs, but ours runs into a junction box on the side of the house, then through conduit down the wall and into the ground. If yours is like this, you could turn the junction box into a 20 amp/240 volt outlet, with a matching plug on the end of the cable that goes into the ground and to the well, and install a weather-proof outlet cover. Then, when the power is out, you could just unplug it at the outlet and connect to the generator with whatever cord you require.

I got a little confused reading your post about "cutting a hole through the floor," whatever it is, it doesn't sound like a good idea. A transfer switch is really the best idea, but if he's bent on not using one, here are some guidelines:
-Don't do anything that could cause backfeeding through the panel, you could have a nasty explosion or even kill a lineman
-If you "make" an extension cord, DON'T make a "suicide cord," a plug with two male ends.
-Keep the generator outside in a ventilated area, away from open windows/doors, and crawlspace vents.
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Old 02-09-2013, 10:03 PM   #10
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Well pump to generator


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Originally Posted by Kyle_in_rure View Post
I'm not sure how exactly the cable from you breaker panel to the well pump runs, but ours runs into a junction box on the side of the house, then through conduit down the wall and into the ground. If yours is like this, you could turn the junction box into a 20 amp/240 volt outlet, with a matching plug on the end of the cable that goes into the ground and to the well, and install a weather-proof outlet cover. Then, when the power is out, you could just unplug it at the outlet and connect to the generator with whatever cord you require.

I got a little confused reading your post about "cutting a hole through the floor," whatever it is, it doesn't sound like a good idea. A transfer switch is really the best idea, but if he's bent on not using one, here are some guidelines:
-Don't do anything that could cause backfeeding through the panel, you could have a nasty explosion or even kill a lineman
-If you "make" an extension cord, DON'T make a "suicide cord," a plug with two male ends.
-Keep the generator outside in a ventilated area, away from open windows/doors, and crawlspace vents.
If he runs power to the wire outside going to the well pump you will bypass the pressure switch and be running the pump constantly. Possibly ruining the pump.
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Old 02-09-2013, 10:09 PM   #11
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Well pump to generator


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Originally Posted by rrolleston View Post
If he runs power to the wire outside going to the well pump you will bypass the pressure switch and be running the pump constantly. Possibly ruining the pump.
Not if it's just in between the breaker panel and the wiring going underground to the pump, correct? Or am I missing something?
I did make a lot of assumptions about the layout of the OP's system though....
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Old 02-10-2013, 03:53 PM   #12
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Well pump to generator


Ok so this is what we wound up doing and I know its not the correct way but my grandfather refuses to spend alot of money. I cut the main line feeding the well pump about 5 feet from the breaker. Reason for cutting it there was because it was right above a door that leads to the outside which is where he wanted to run his power cord for generator. So I cut it there and the well pump end I put a 250v 20 amp plug on it. The breaker box side of that cut wire I mounted an outlet bow to recieve that plug. Next to that outlet box I mounted another outlet box which would be for when he needs to use the generator. That outlet box I ran out of it wire that goes to a breaker panel which has a double pole 20 amp breaker. Out of that box we have 10/3 extension cord which will get a nema L14 30 plug put on it for the generator. I know its not how it should be done and its probably not even to code but this is how he wanted it done.
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Old 02-10-2013, 05:12 PM   #13
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Well pump to generator


Are you saying you wired a plug to the panel so you could hook the generator up to the breaker panel directly?
That is illegal and very dangerous without some sort of transfer switch or interlock device.
And if you did do that, why did you need to cut the wire to the well pump?
I'm a little confused....
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Old 02-10-2013, 05:37 PM   #14
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Well pump to generator


I know its very confusing. All i did was cut the line leading from panel to pump. On the panel side i installed an outlet. On the well pump side i installed a plug to plug into that outlet. Then i installed another outlet right next to the other outlet and this outlet runs to a double pole breaker 20amp in its own 4 circuit breaker box and on the other end of that breaker is where i wired in the extension cord which on the other end will have a plug for the generator. Understand yet?
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Old 02-10-2013, 05:45 PM   #15
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Well pump to generator


I think I see.
That's one way to do it...

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