There’s nothing better than the taste of fresh well water. However, when the power goes out, so does your water supply. Whether it’s due to a brief thunderstorm or a prolonged winter storm, being prepared is key.

WHY NO WATER?

Your submersable well pump is powered by electricity coming from your home or business. When the power goes out, you will no longer be able to retrieve additional water from underground and will only have access to the amount of water stored in your tank.

Fill bathtub with water during an outage
Filling a tub full of water can assure you have enough to flush your toilet during an outage.

BEFORE THE STORM

Before the storm arrives, be sure to plan ahead to assure you have water for the essentials as well as take steps to protect your well for when the power comes back on.

Be sure to fill your bathtub with water. This will give you water for flushing the toilets and washing your hands. Also collect water in clean containers for drinking during the outage. An average family of four typically requires 120 gallons of water each day to have drinking water and to manually flush toilets.

Water going down drain
Once the power returns, let the water run for a bit to assure the color is clear and clean.

HOW LONG IS WATER GOOD FOR?

As long as the power outage is 2-3 days, the water left in your tank should still be fine. A good rule of thumb is to turn the faucet on once you have power again and let the tap run for several minutes. Make sure the water is clear. As far as the water collected in your containers, it’s best to use them up in a non-potable way after a week unless they have been sealed.

CAN I USE A GENERATOR FOR A WELL PUMP?

Many well pumps operate on a 240 volt circuit, so if you plan to use a generator to run your well pump during a power outage, be sure to have the connections established by a licensed electrician. A typical, smaller generator is not going to power the pump, and may even cause damage.

If you have a 1 HP pump, a 1000 watt generator is NOT large enough to run your pump. Electric motors require extra power to get them to start and come to full speed. Once at speed, then the power demands drop to the level listed on the label.

For instance, a 3-4 KW generator is often necessary for a 1HP standard pump to start, despite the fact the pump only uses 1KW once it’s fully up and running.

Be sure to investigate what size pump you have and what size generator you’ll need if you’re thinking about using a generator for your well pump.

SHOULD I DISCONNECT POWER TO MY WELL?

Since your well pump is submerged in water, for safety purposes, it’s best to turn OFF the breaker switch to your well pump to make sure there isn’t an electrical surge when the power returns. Turning off the main valve to the house is also a good idea so you don’t accidentally drain the water in the tank.

WHAT HAPPENS IF THERE IS DAMAGE TO MY PUMP WHEN POWER RETURNS?

In rare instances, an extreme power surge when the power grid returns can cause the pump to be damaged. That’s why it’s best to leave the breaker off until you know power is stable.

If you believe you have a damaged pump or have questions after an outage, contact Bedford Well Drilling and Pump Company to speak with one of our experts. We have diagnosed just about every type of issue over the years and would be happy to help.