Best Way to Set Up Back Up Generator for Pump In Case of Winter Power Outage

Swampwoman

TFP Expert
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Apr 27, 2012
3,835
Grand Rapids, MI
Ok guys, need to pick your brain to protect my crazy "running-in-winter-dome-in-Michigan" scenario.

I have a little 60 amp sub panel in the pool house with a 1 hp, single-speed hayward superpump. There is also a square D box down line from panel. My raypak also feeds from this. All equipment is in pool house and. Can override thermostat to run gas stove type heater to keep same above freezing.

My electrician friend is coming out Dec 3 to wire in a PE653 Intermatic, but isn't avail til then. At that time, I want him to make whatever adjustments needed so I can run a small backup generator in case of winter power outage. But I want to get parts etc. in advance, and have a plan. Eg. Interlock or some such. Or Maybe a transfer switch?

And yes, I want to make sure I don't kill a linesman by back feeding ;) Worked for the hydo co. summers in college and know what this is ;) Just don't know much about generators and my general electrical knowledge is scant or forgotten from disuse and old age...

I am keeping my water temp at 94 degrees, so I would have a bit of a window to work with before I'd be in trouble, but if the power goes out, the dome goes down, and then I can't get in to plug the lines so blowing out the lines would be problematic to say the least. (Of course, once I actually get a little generator, if it could handle 7 amps from blower and cyclone, I could resort to this...but if possible, rather just keep the water moving.)

A whole house back up gen isn't in the picture at the moment because I've blown the budget this year with the lifetime roof, new liner, new heater, dome and imminent observatory platform. Our estimate had been in the neighborhood of 20k -- we have 3 panels running 3 separate spaces (house, studio and pool house.)

So I'm just looking for reccs on a good hand-crank generator, powerful enough for pump and maybe dome blower, and the specifics of the best way to do this, plus any caveats.

This is not DIY so do not worry about giving me advice whereby I will harm myself or others ;) just want to get my head around it and purchase the generator as winter is coming, as they say ;)
 

Magvallo

Well-known member
Jul 23, 2016
52
Long island,NY
If you have two free breakers in the sub you might be able to install an interlock.
A generator interlock kit (or just interlock kit) is a device designed to allow safe backfeeding of a home through a portable generator during power outages, thereby eliminating illegal and/or unsafe generator backfeeding situations that could potentially electrocute power linemen or destroy the generator.

Generator interlock kit - Wikipedia

They are generally inexpensive. I use one on my house and have an exterior inlet plug for my generator. It will allow you to manually turn on breakers in the sub you want power to. Electrician will have to install and determine load capacity.


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tim5055

Mod Squad
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May 11, 2014
11,050
Franklin, NC
Either a transfer switch or an interlock kit are the two safe ways to accomplish this task. I'm running out now, but I will add some links to the interlock kit I used. As Magvallo points out, these are usually the most inexpensive ways to do this safely.

There are a lot of "home grown" ways to do it that are unsafe to both the power company employees and the homeowners that will not be discussed here.
 

Magvallo

Well-known member
Jul 23, 2016
52
Long island,NY
photos of my interlock. Please refer to local building and electrical codes before installing.





There are many safety concerns when using a portable generator. Please follow all safety instructions and local codes. Be safe!


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Swampwoman

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Apr 27, 2012
3,835
Grand Rapids, MI
Thanks! I will check the panels to see what I have in terms of spaces.

Would I be putting the interlock on the poolhouse sub panel, or at the main breaker, or on all 3 breakers?
 

pooldv

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Aug 10, 2012
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FL panhandle
On the pool house panel if that is the only panel you want to work off the generator. Or if your sub-panels all go back to the main panel and you want to have other breakers work on the generator you can install it on your main panel and include the pool house breaker in the wiring to the generator.

Once you look at pics of the breaker panel in the link I posted above it will be more clear how it works.
 

woodyp

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Apr 17, 2010
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East Texas
If you want to keep the price of a jenny down and use a small one JUST to power the pool, I'd use the interock at the pool panel if possible. I have a small 3500 watt Champion one I just roll out and plug the old pump into for the pool. It has worked fine on my older 1.5 pump and the new 1 hp one. Still haven't done the interlock thing here on my mains for my larger one.

Also, talk to him about grounding the jenny as well. They usually have a frame grounding lug on them.
 

Swampwoman

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Apr 27, 2012
3,835
Grand Rapids, MI
Thanks. I'm hoping to avoid project creep that ends up back at the 20k whole-house-gas-line-and-cut-concrete scenario so I should avoid the temptation by sticking to a pool-only plan ;)

We rarely lose power here for long and we have a full studio downtown we can hunker down in if needed work wise, which is why I kiboshed the whole house deal when we built the home studio. It would take a long time to ever make back the investment. ;)

And Danny, thanks for the link...am working my way through it now ;) I have a construction guy just like that electrician on the observatory platform job right now, so I'm laughing out loud, as they say ;)
 

Swampwoman

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LifeTime Supporter
Apr 27, 2012
3,835
Grand Rapids, MI
The PLAN, I think...?

Okay, as I suspected, hubby wants to (try) to also run the well pump and maybe even the boiler or one zone thereof so both he and electrician friend want to wire the interlock at the main panel that feeds down.

Which is fine, but since I only wanted to buy the Generac xg 8000E (about $1400.) I'm a bit worried about how this works in terms f energizing the sub panel in the pool house.

Eg. Both the SWG, with its board, and the Raypak, digital start with board, will be running through the Intermatic, yet another board.

So the xg contractor grade is not rated for "sensitive electronics" (not under 5 harmonic) and its another grand for the XP model that is rated for "true" aka clean energy.

Is there a way I can manually bypass the equipment with associated electronics to just run the pump in emergency mode? Or am I buying the upsell koolaid here...which btw, will not buy ;) In other words, would the swg, heater, and pe653 be "as sensitive" to patchy-clean power as a computer or modern TV?