A sump pump is a must-have in just about any home or building with a basement. The sump pump is responsible for pulling water away from the basement and often dumping it into a drain or a dry well.
While sump pumps have no problem running on what’s called ‘mains’ electricity, the fact is that when your basement is flooded, you might not always have electricity. That’s where having a generator capable of powering the sump pump comes in.
Connecting a generator to the sump pump is a fail-safe mechanism that will help prevent water from damaging the home or building if there is also a power outage, which generally happens during a storm.
A small generator should be able to power the sump pump long enough to get rid of all the water. However, the next question is, what type or size of the generator is needed to power a sump pump?
In this article, we’ll discuss what you’ll need to power a sump pump during a power outage. The guide should help you select and buy the right type of generator to power the sump pump and then some!
Backup Generator for a Sump Pump
- Backup Generator for a Sump Pump
- What Size Generator for a Sump Pump?
- What Size Generator to Buy?
- Connecting a Sump to a Generator
- Best Generator for a Sump Pump
- Why a Small Generator?
- WEN 56200i – What is it?
- Tech Specs
- Generator for Sump Pump in Conclusion
That’s why having a generator is so essential, and having one that’s specialized for a sump pump can ensure that your basement can be drained despite there being no electricity. A sump pump generator can also power your home after it is done draining a basement, a second benefit that some people may overlook.
The generator you choose to power a sump pump should be low-maintenance and reliable since you might not have the time to examine it during a blackout. Also, the generator needs to output the right amount of power needed to run the sump pump. You never want to try powering a sump with a generator that can’t output enough power.
What Size Generator for a Sump Pump?
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Now before you go out to buy a generator for your sump pump, you need to consider a couple of factors. Ideally, you will want to buy a generator that greenlights all three of these factors (we are about to discuss).
The factors we highlight below apply to all brands of generators, and it can be said that some brands are better but often more expensive than others, but we’ll get into that a little later.
The most important consideration is the power rating of the generator. Ideally, you will want to buy a generator that offers either the same output as the sump pump requires or more than it. We lean in favor of more power because that way, you have the opportunity to maybe upgrade to a more powerful sump pump later on.
Read the electrical rating on the sump pump. Usually, this type of information is on the back. The rating will include other data like the voltage, horsepower, frequency, and the unit’s amperage. The most important, though, is the voltage, amperage, and horsepower. Once you have this information, you can estimate the wattage needed to power the sump pump. All you need is to multiply the voltage with the amperage, which gives you the continuous power supply needed. That said, sump pumps need both a starting and running wattage. Usually, the starting wattage is higher than the running wattage.
Now, in addition, you might also want to use the generator to power a few lights, perhaps or maybe a fan too. Generators are expensive, and so it might be a one-time purchase, which is why you will want to buy one that can be used to power other stuff in the home. That said, you will want to factor the power usage of the lights, fans, etc., into the total power output of the generator you want to buy. Knowing this will help you buy the right size generator.
Number of Sump Pumps Running
Do you want to run one or multiple sump pumps? Are there two or three sumps? If you have more than one sump, you will want to add up each power ratings, especially if you have ones from different manufacturers and ones with different horsepower ratings. If they are all of the same types, you can just multiply the power needed by 3x or 4x, however many you want to power with a generator.
What Size Generator to Buy?
If you have read this far, you already know what size generator is needed to power the sump in your basement. While you know what factors to consider when trying to determine the power needed, now you need to buy one of the right sizes. Once you know the total wattage of everything you want to power, buying a generator is considerably easier.
Usually, the more horsepower a sump has, the more power it will draw, so you need to buy a more powerful generator. Take, for instance, a 0.75-hp sump that will need 1300 watts to start and will run at 800 watts once it starts. A 0.5hp sump will draw around 2150 starting watts and run at 1050 watts.
When you add up both these power ratings for the sumps, it translates to a reasonably powerful generator that will also be pretty large. As mentioned earlier, you will want to invest in a generator that delivers at least 20% more power than the starting wattage of both sumps, for instance.
Having more power means that you have a bit more wiggle room because generators don’t run at max power all the time, but if you push a generator to do so, it will wear out, leading to expensive premature damage.
Simply put, a single horsepower is around 750 watts of power. Now for load characteristics as well as wattage allowance, you will want around 1.5 or maybe double that in power requirements. In other words, if you have a 1hp pump (which is pretty standard), 15000 running watts should be good enough.
However, the generator will need to be more powerful if you want to power lights, fans, and other stuff. If you are also going to use it to power a small refrigerator, it will significantly add to the power needs.
Additionally, you will also need a 16-gauge extension cord under 50 feet long, which can power your appliances, and another 16 gauge cord, that’s 50 feet or less, to power the sump. In other words, when determining the size of your generator, you also need to consider what gauge wire you’re going to use.
Connecting a Sump to a Generator
When setting up a generator, make sure that it is away from your doors and windows but is also in a space that allows all the gases it emits to be disbursed outside the home. Ideally, you will want to place the generator on the roof or out on the driveway, but that might not always be practical. That said, if it is in an open space, it needs to be protected from rain and snow. Also, it should be in a space that does not get flooded.
The second most important thing is to use the right wire gauge and the right connecting tool. However, we’d strongly advise that you get the connections installed by a certified electrician to prevent anything from going wrong. Though if you have some experience with something similar, you can always give it a shot.
Best Generator for a Sump Pump
Now in case you were wondering want a brand or type of generator, we’d recommend powering your sump pump; this section is for you. We highly recommend the WEN 56200i; it is a lightweight and highly portable 2000 watt generator. While on paper, it does not sound all that impressive, but the special thing here is that it is pretty affordable for a high-quality inverter generator.
In our experience working with generators, buying and using them, the WEN 56200i is amongst the lowest priced big brand name inverter generators you can buy. So, the question you’re probably asking is how does this generator’s price compare to the tech specs, reliability, and features it has to offer? That’s exactly what we’ll get into below.
Why a Small Generator?
Small-size inverter generators are designed for recreational use. It is best used in and near your home because it is relatively quiet, easy to set up, and highly portable. The WEN 56200i is also foolproof, so even if you’ve never used a generator before, you can’t do anything wrong with it.
We did quite a bit of research before deciding to buy the WEN 56200i portable generator. We’ll go into exactly what we like about this generator, especially when it comes to powering sump pumps.
WEN 56200i – What is it?
Well, for starters, it is an inverter generator which means it generates very low harmonic distortion (THD), which makes it safe for use with sensitive equipment like your camera, laptop, mobile phone, and sump pumps. The sine wave output from the generator is steady, evident from the fact that the unit actually comes with USB ports, which allows you to directly charge electronics directly from it.
The WEN 56200i falls into the rather large 2000 watt category, but without the additional bulk you see with other models. The average power output is pretty decent for a generator of this size. That said, you can double the amount of power it outputs by adding another one using the separately sold parallel kit. We like this because that way we can power multiple sump pumps if the need arises.
Apart from powering sump pumps, you can take the generator along for hunting and camping trips. Its fuel-efficient, and the small fuel tank lasts for ages. However, it will burn more fuel when powering a 1hp sump pump as compared to a few lights and a fan. Plus, the sound dampening design, coupled with the mufflers, make the generator as quiet as it can be. In fact, it is one of the quietest generators we’ve used in a while.
The generator is powered by an efficient and relatively small 79.7 cc 4-stroke engine that runs on gasoline. The 1-gallon tank, despite being small, it turns out to be pretty decently accommodating even if you want to run a sump pump for an hour or so. However, if you are going to run a few lights and a fan, i.e., run it on half load, it can easily last up to 6 hours.
We like that the WEN 56200i is both EPA II and CARB compliant, which means that it releases pretty clean exhaust and is permissible for use within national parks or anywhere else within California.
The eco mode on the generator is a button that puts the generator into fuel efficiency mode. The generator will automatically adjust the speed of the engine based on the load connected to it. Not only does it reduce fuel usage, but it also quietens the engine when it isn’t under much load.
The WEN 56200i comes with a 2000 watt surge power rating and 1600 watts running power. There is a single 5 volt USB port, two 120 volt 3-prog AC outlets, and a 12 volt DC outlet for mainly charging a battery.
As mentioned earlier, the WEN 56200i is a pretty quiet inverter generator, producing just 51 decibels at half load and around 55 decibels at 75% of the load. During our testing, we found that both of these values are reasonably quiet when compared to the competition. So, two people can have a conversation with the generator running in the background.
Generator for Sump Pump in Conclusion
The WEN 56200i is one of the best, most user-friendly, portable inverter generators around. It is perfect for powering sump pumps. Plus, you can even buy two and hook them up in parallel. The generator is also highly reliable, which is why we openly recommend it to anyone looking for a generator to power a small sump pump. Power outages can cause thousands of dollars of damage if you can’t keep your sump pump running. If you want to keep your basement dry or power other equipment during a power outage, invest in a quality portable generator.