Can you run a pump off a generator?

Tegguy

Well-known member
Oct 27, 2019
392
Winter Garden FL
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
First of all I wasn't sure if this was the right location to post this in or not so mods please move it as needed.

So with a potential hurricane approaching (1st one ever since owning a pool) it got me thinking about what I would do with the power out. It got me thinking and I had a couple questions..... I do have a larger (10kW portable generator) and I was wondering:
1) Would make sense to try to come up with a method to be able to run my pool equipment (pool pump, panel, SWG) off this?
2) Would trying to run the pump off a generator hurt the pump at all?
3) Am I over thinking this and if I have liquid chlorine I should be ok?

Ideally I would have a generator hookup near the panel that would allow me to plug in and power the entire pool circuit (with a disconnect and all the safety equipment) but since I didn't plan ahead I would have to come up with temporary wiring to hook directly into the pump (SWG might be harder).

We have solar panels with battery backup but unfortunately our pool circuit is excluded from that backup system due to cost (having to run 100 Amp line all the way across the house was expensive) and also my priority would be household items over the pool in the event of an emergency.

Thanks everyone.
 

DavidArmenB

Well-known member
Sep 7, 2022
50
Santa Clarita, CA
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
I’m no expert but I think if you have the more expensive inverter-type generators, you should be okay running your pool equipment (and any other electronics) with the generator as inverter generators produce a clean proper sine wave AC signal (as much as possible). If you have a regular, non-inverter generator then there is a chance the dirty AC signal from that generator will harm your electronics such as your pump drive (if it is variable speed) and any other electronics that have printed circuit boards inside. Even if no damage is caused, some sensitive electronics refuse to work with such an unclean AC signal that basic generators produce.

Edit: I am happy to see that you are proactively preparing for the potential hurricane.
 

Tegguy

Well-known member
Oct 27, 2019
392
Winter Garden FL
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
I’m no expert but I think if you have the more expensive inverter-type generators, you should be okay running your pool equipment (and any other electronics) with the generator as inverter generators produce a clean proper sine wave AC signal (as much as possible). If you have a regular, non-inverter generator then there is a chance the dirty AC signal from that generator will harm your electronics such as your pump drive (if it is variable speed) and any other electronics that have printed circuit boards inside. Even if no damage is caused, some sensitive electronics refuse to work with such an unclean AC signal that basic generators produce.

Edit: I am happy to see that you are proactively preparing for the potential hurricane.
I should have clarified... This is a non-inverter style generator.
 

jsygrls

Gold Supporter
Dec 13, 2021
95
Port Orange, Florida
Pool Size
18000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
3) Am I over thinking this and if I have liquid chlorine I should be ok?
Lived in Florida 20+ years IMO, LC is great to have on hand as SWG pool owner or not. Pour it in and stir it up, (i.e. kayak paddle, trash can lid, The Wall Whale brush is what I will use). I also have a portable generator transfer switch to my main panel but "dirty power and the line spiking that could occur will kill a lot of the electronics we have.
 

Tegguy

Well-known member
Oct 27, 2019
392
Winter Garden FL
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Lived in Florida 20+ years IMO, LC is great to have on hand as SWG pool owner or not. Pour it in and stir it up, (i.e. kayak paddle, trash can lid, The Wall Whale brush is what I will use). I also have a portable generator transfer switch to my main panel but "dirty power and the line spiking that could occur will kill a lot of the electronics we have.
Does liquid chlorine ever go bad? I have a bottle from a year or so ago that was never opened.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
38,981
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60

jsygrls

Gold Supporter
Dec 13, 2021
95
Port Orange, Florida
Pool Size
18000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Yes, chlorine will degrade over time, IMO head to your Pinch a Penny and pick up some fresh chlorine if your concerned about power loss for an extended time and like to go this way. They sell 2.5 gallon jugs of chlorine, pick up a travel pan also which will hold two jugs nicely and helps with accidental spills.
 

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gkw4815

Active member
Aug 31, 2021
44
Memorial Villages, TX
Pool Size
32000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
I'd look into installing a 50-amp generator inlet on your main panel, connected via an interlocked inlet breaker. Then you could power your pool equipment and, more importantly, your lighting/fridges/AC during an extended outage.

I have a similar setup with a Westinghouse Wgen9500df portable generator that I've converted to tri-fuel. On propane it will run a 1.5 hp fixed-speed pool pump and 3-ton AC at the same time. On natural gas it struggles to run both, but happily runs one at a time (energy content of NG is lower than propane). I'm about to install a variable speed pump that should barely tax the generator while running.

99% of my devices don't mind the dirty power produced by my generator. A few of my cheaper/off brand LED light bulbs flicker while on generator power, but that's it.
 
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guinness

Well-known member
May 3, 2019
1,211
California
Pool Size
23000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
These forums are awash with VS pumps damaged after power surges, the motor is fine but the drive electronics are not. For short outages of a few days, I would just add LC and brush rather than run the small risk of damaging expensive equipment.
 
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Newdude

Mod Squad
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TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
18,233
NY
For short outages of a few days, I would just add LC and brush rather than run the small risk of damaging expensive equipment.
^^^^^^^ this right here. I am the biggest fan of 24/7 VS operation with a SWG there is, but they are well over $3k for the combo right now. I'd happily add bleach for 2 or 3 weeks if need be. Brush it well after adding and when the lights come back on, you'll have a even bigger appreciation for your toys.
 
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Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
10,338
Central California
Pool Size
12300
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Folks in power-challenged locales should stock LC on hand, year-round. Rotate it into the pool every three months or so. Turn off your SWG while doing so, to give it a break. Dollar-wise, it'll pretty much be a wash.

Then when the need arises, you'll have a stock of chlorine to keep the pool sanitized, and any other water you might need to use.

Base your quantity of LC on the number of days of the worst power outage you've ever heard about in your area, and what your pool would consume to survive that long. Then add a few more to cover contingencies and personal use.

Get yourself a canoe paddle, or use your pool brush to mix it in. Or if you've got a gennie, then buy a $50 sump pump from Amazon and let it do the manual labor. Sink it in the deep end and run its hose to the shallow end. Keep your breakers to the pool gear off during the outage/storm and eliminate the risk of messing up all that expensive electronics.

That's my plan. If only I could get around to implementing it!! Hey, do as I say, not as I do!
 
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Bill1974

Well-known member
Jun 18, 2014
252
Hauppauge, NY
Pool Size
32000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
With a 10KW generator you should be fine running your pool pump and SWG (only). The start up surge is the biggest thing to consider. In your case I would set the pump to run at 50% max. With a light load on the generator it should be fine, but if the generator is load 50% the start up of the pool pump could be a challenge for the generator to handle. If the pool pump is a soft start it should not be an issue (you are probably fine since you have VSP pumps that probably rarely run at full speed). Running both pumps should also be possible, but might tax the generator if both are running full speed and there is some additional loads. Power out of this style of generator is usually pretty decent as it's a true SIN curve, but maybe not exactly 60 Hz. I would be more concerned if it were the generator were an inverter one, as they usually output a modified SIN curve that is pretty poor in most inexpensive consumer grade generators.
 
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Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
10,338
Central California
Pool Size
12300
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
The start up surge is the biggest thing to consider.
Not sure if you're describing just the initial flow of amps when a motor first kicks in or this: Don't forget about the pump's built-in priming cycle, too. If you just turn down the RPMs for the pump's "normal" run that's one thing. But the IntelliFlo, unless it's been reconfigured, will ramp up to full speed (or thereabouts) for about a minute or so when it first comes on. That's its default priming cycle. You'd have to dial that down, too, if 3HP is going to be an issue for the gennie. The priming cycle RPMs are user-configurable, buried in the menus somewhere.

Another reason to just use a pool brush or cheap sump pump to keep the chlorine circulated.
 

Tegguy

Well-known member
Oct 27, 2019
392
Winter Garden FL
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Sorry everyone I lost track of the thread during hurricane prep.

Thank you for the responses everyone. We survived hurricane Ian but did loose power for about 36 hours. The pool survived from what I can tell and all tests came back good today.

I might look into options in the future for the pump to run just to be safe in the event of an extended or unexpected outage. I might extend the solar backup to the pool equipment but running 100 AMP line all the way across the house is expensive.

The pump full speed current draw is under 2000 watts so I think the generator could handle it easily.
 

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