The Importance of Back Up Power for your Well Pump
Well pumps have an important function, carrying fresh and potable water into your home. They are also used in
agricultural settings to move water through an irrigation system, keeping the crops healthy. Because these pumps
rely on electricity to run, and you rely on the pump for clean water, setting up a system of back up power is
The Basics of Back Up Power
The time to think about the design and set up of a back up
system should happen long before it is actually needed. It would be very difficult to obtain the necessary
equipment and skilled labor to install such a system during a major power outage. And you will undoubtedly regret
not having made plans ahead of time when the well pump is inoperable for an extended period of time.
It is important that your back up power system be simple, reliable, installed properly, and tested on a regular
basis. With such a system in place, your family can easily manage during a power failure.
Determining the Size of your Back Up System
You do not want to install a back up system that
is the incorrect size. Too large and you will waste fuel running it during a power outage; too small and essential
loads (such as the well pump, lighting and heating) will not be able to run simultaneously.
Sizing your system requires making a few calculations. First, make a list of all of the essential electrical
loads on your property. This should include well pumps, along with heating and cooling units, fridges, and other
appliances that perform important functions.
Next, decide whether or not these loads can be carried on through non-electrical means. For instance, you would
not need to calculate the load of the furnace if you have a wood stove to provide heat; however, a hand pump would
likely be the only mechanical option to provide well water.
Now you need to add the total wattage of all the loads on your list of essentials. Increase that amount by 25
percent to account for excess or surging start up power requirements, and you will have the load your back up power
system needs to accommodate.
Deciding on the Type of Back Up Power
When it comes to back up systems, you have the following options:
- Battery powered – complete with chargers and inverters that will run everything
on your essentials list.
- Generator powered (fixed or portable) – commonly fueled by gasoline, although you may be able to source out
alternative fuel generators.
- Solar or wind powered – alternative power sources that include a battery to store the power as it is
generated, and inverters to distribute it.
Each of the above has its particular advantages and disadvantages. Consider the initial investment, cost of
maintenance, operation efficiency, reliability, and finally, the system’s potential lifetime. Taking into account
all of these factors will enable you to make an informed decision on selecting a system that suits your needs.
Always have your back up system installed by a professional in order to ensure not only that it is safely wired
up, but also that it follows all local building codes. Schedule regular inspections and tests of the system,
handling maintenance and/or repair tasks as they occur rather than waiting until the back up power is needed.
Keep your family safe and secure at all times.