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Powering our 20gpm Deep Water Well

 
Posts: 74
Location: Amador County, California
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We purchased a new property that has a water well on it and were told it flows 20gpm. In the past it was connected to a house on the next property, they dug a new well when the land was divided and disconnected the old line. The old water line runs about 500 feet across the front boundary of our property, so once we get power to it and find where it terminates on the boundary, we will have a main water line in place. The power line was also rerouted to the other property.
 
  So here is where I am at. I have only looked in the breaker boxes once for a few moments. Attached are the pics. I believe the well is around 250', not positive though. The setup is all there. I plan to replace the wooden frame for the power boxes with one made of steel posts and unistrut.

 For now, I am looking at generators that supply about 30 amps. I have a budget of $4500 for a generator. (this is included in our loan with the USDA) The long term plan is to build a small shed and setup a solar, battery, generator stand by system to run our well and have electricity for a workshop.
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pollinator
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I am surprised its 240V, I thought North America had 120V across the whole continent.
Has the pump been removed?
Do you need 20 gpm, thats a lot of water and a lot of power consumption?
Will you pump to the house tank and then pressurise it again?

What is the 'tank' sitting nearby for?
Staff note (John F Dean) :

In USA having both 120 and 240 is common. On some farms, you will find 3 phase as well.

 
steward
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John C Daley wrote:I am surprised its 240V, I thought North America had 120V across the whole continent.



240v service is standard in nearly every home, at least in America. Many household electric appliances such as ovens, stoves, water heaters are commonly 220/240v.


Jeff Campbell wrote: For now, I am looking at generators that supply about 30 amps



I have a 200ft well with a 240v well pump and also a 7500watt generator that can basically supply 30 amps and it runs our well pump just fine when power is out. The generator briefly bogs down for a sec when the pump turns on due to the startup current needs, and any lights on do dim, but otherwise it works great.
 
pollinator
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Yes, 220/240V is the primary service everywhere here. Branch circuits for lights and small appliances are 110/120V. Heavy draw items like  big motors, ovens and well pumps are usually 220/240 for efficiency.

The tank by the well looks like small (tiny and inefficient) pressure tank.
 
pollinator
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A 20gpm, 250ft pump is usually 2HP (1.5kW = 240V x 6.25A)
Motor/pumps need 6x to start up the motor. So that 1.5kW pump now requires 8kW(1.5kW x 6) just to start it up.
I recommend getting a 7.5kw or 8kw generator.

There are a few motors/pump that don't require a 6x current to start it and they can use only 3x. But thats unlikely, and even then that would be exactly 4.5kW, but we also have to factor in power loss in the 250ft of wire. And the fact that 4500VA is 15% less that 4500W. And thats assuming that generator is working under ideal conditions.  
 
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Motor/pumps need 6x to start up the motor. So that 1.5kW pump now requires 8kW(1.5kW x 6) just to start it up.



There are some pumps that require 1.1x the stated wattage to start, like the Grundfos SQ series.. It's important to know the actual make and model of the pump.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
pollinator
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For those with grid power, a big fat capacitor (also known as a condensor, sometimes motor controller) can substantially reduce the starting draw. So can a "soft start" circuit. However, a capacitor needs to be charged before the motor is started. Anybody know how that would work with a generator?
 
Jeff Campbell
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 I went back out with some tools this time and took everything apart for further inspection. It seems there are some capacitors. I do not know the model of the pump, I do not want to pull it, yet. I have two Northstar NSB 100FT batteries, at one point I would like to install a large inverter/charger. I am looking for a 12kv genset. When I get a locate I will see if I can find the main line that went to the old PGE pole. I could repurpose whatever length of wire that is left over so my generator is not so close to the wellhead. Here are a few more pictures, thank you all for the advice. That last one is the bacon cheeseburger I made when I got home, worked up an appetite! That is jowl bacon from my pigs...
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Jeff Campbell
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Location: Amador County, California
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Honda EB10000 is what generator i am going to buy.
 
master steward
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Where I live there are a lot of wells that are on solar.  Is that not an option for you rather than a generator.
 
Jeff Campbell
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In the future that will be but for now I need a generator. The well site is on the North side of a few 100' grey pines and a mature stand of Valley Oaks so It is pretty shady. We live in The Sierra Nevada and our power is not very reliable during fire season. The first picture looks SouthEast The second picture is the SouthWest.
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