How do you size a home generator?

The size of a generator should be determined by a home's power requirements. Check the wattage chart and calculator in our Generator Buyer's Guide to get an idea of your wattage needs. A qualified electrician can provide you with a definitive assessment of your power needs.

What type of gasoline should I use in my home generator?

Generators can run on gasoline, diesel, propane or natural gas. If you have a gas-run generator, use clean, unleaded gasoline with a minimum octane rating of 85. Be sure to turn your generator off and allow it to cool before refueling. 

How often should I perform routine maintenance?

All generators require periodic oil and filter changes to ensure maximum performance. Preventative maintenance kits are available. Refer to the owner’s manual for routine maintenance procedures and schedules. In general, maintenance is recommended every 200 hours or 2 years, though start-ups should be done every few months and oil should be changed after every 100 hours of use. Extreme temperatures, the presence of salt water or excessive exposure to dust or sand may call for more frequent maintenance. 

Does a portable generator need to be grounded?

Yes. A generator that is not grounded poses a greater risk of shock or electrocution than a grounded one.

Can I vent the exhaust out of an enclosed area?

A generator should never be used in an enclosed or even partly enclosed area such as a shed or garage. Engine exhaust contains carbon monoxide which can be lethal if inhaled.

Can a generator be used in inclement weather?

Generators pose a risk of shock and electrocution when operated in wet conditions. If power must be generated during a storm, protect the generator from moisure by running it under an overhang or a portable shelter. Do not run a generator indoors.

Where can I purchase parts?

Pump Products offers a variety of generator repair parts. Our Customer Service agents are standing by to answer your questions and take you orders. Call us at (1-800-429-0800) or send us an e-mail.

Where do I go to have my warranty repairs performed?

Pump Products is committed to providing customers with superior products and support. Our Customer Service agents can direct you to a local manufacturer-certified service center for any Pump Products generator covered under warranty.

I can't locate my original owner's manual. How can I get another copy?

Find the generator model you purchased in our product listings and click on the Manual tab. Product manuals are available for most of our products in PDF format.

Should the fuel be drained from a generator that will be stored for more than 30 days?

Yes. Combustible fluids should always be drained from home equipment prior to storage. It is recommended that you drain the fuel from the tank of your generator and run the carburetor dry. 

What is the difference between running watts and maximum (surge) watts?

Running watts indicate the amount of wattage the generator will produce on a constant basis.  Maximum watts indicate the wattage that can be supplied for a very short period of time. Motor start-up generally requires maximum wattage.

What size generator do I need to run my sump pump?

You can multiply the amp draw of the pump by the voltage to get the watt usage. ( i.e. 5 amps x 115 volts = 575 watts ). Note that an AC motor can draw 3-5 times its regular amp draw at start-up so a 575 watt pump will require a generator that can supply a startup surge of at least 2875 watts. Be sure to factor in the wattage of all other appliances the generator will run simultaneously when making a sizing decision.


Who can I contact with pump parts questions or for technical support?

Our Customer Service agents are available to help you find the repair parts you need. You can reach us by telephone at (1-800-429-0800) or e-mail. We have representatives ready to answer your questions and take you orders.

Where do I find the model number and date code on my pump?

Every pump info label will be marked with a manufacturer name and model number. The date code might be marked as “date code”, “code”, or “MOD”. It is usually a combination of letters and numbers.

Should I get a cast iron or plastic pump?

Cast iron pumps are physically stronger while thermoplastic pumps offer better corrosion resistance in some applications. Both pump types are designed for long life and high performance and the type you choose depends on personal preference.

How do I make sure my sump pump is working?

If your pump is equipped with a piggyback-style plug, plug it directly into a power outlet. A working pump will immediately run. To test the float switch, use a broom handle or other non-conducting item to lift the switch to it's ‘on’ level. This should turn on the pump.

How long will my sump pump last?

A pump that is properly sized, has the appropriate float switch for your sump pit and a steady electrical supply can provide you with years of problem-free service.

Is it difficult to replace a sump pump?

A sump pump can be replaced in minutes using channel locks and a screwdriver. Most of the pumps we sell come with step-by-step installation instructions.

Can I plug my sump pump in using an extension cord?

It is best to plug a pump into a dedicated outlet that is fed by a circuit breaker or fuse that feeds power only to that outlet. This ensures that the pump will receive proper voltage. If there is no outlet nearby, consider having one installed. Be sure to check the required cord length when purchasing a pump.

What is the difference between a sewage pump and a grinder pump?

A grinder pump is equipped with a cutting impeller to grind up the sewage passing through it. Sewage pumps pass solids in tact.

What size solids will my sewage pump handle?

A sewage pump can pass solids up to 2”in diameter. By contrast, an effluent pump can handle solids up to ¾” in diameter.

How do you size a circulator pump?

Multiply the water flow rate by double the length of the pipes and divide the result by 10,000 to find "recirculation flow." Find a circulation pump that matches the recirculation flow.

Electric Motors

What if my model number does not appear when I type it in the Pump Products search?

The model you require may not be a current stock catalog model. Please contact a Customer Service agent for assistance at (1-800-429-0800) or send us an e-mail.

How long will it take to receive my motor?

For in-stock items, Pump Products can usually fulfill orders placed by 3:00 p.m. (EST) the same day. For items not in stock, shipment will be based on manufacturer availability. Shipping and delivery time depends on the method selected. For emergency delivery of repair parts, contact our Repair Parts Hotline: 1-800-429-0800.

My motor is very hot to the touch. Is that normal?

Yes, the normal surface temperature for a motor is 100° F. However distortion or bowing of the nameplate indicates excessive heat.

My motor smells like its burning. Why?

Capacitor start motors often emit a burning smell when they fail. If the capacitor seems fine, remove one end of the motor and inspect the copper windings for signs of burning. Whether single phase or three phase, discoloration and or evidence of carbon is an indicator of a burnt winding.

My motor hums but won't start? Why?

Humming indicates frozen bearings or bad start capacitors. Turn off the motor and attempt to rotate the shaft. If it does not move freely or seems loose and wobbly the bearings are probably the problem. If the bearings are sound, check the capacitor. A capacitor tester can provide a definitive reading.

How do I select a close coupled pump motor replacement?

Make note of the specifications of the motor being replaced. Frame size, mounting, enclosure, RPM, voltage, frequency, horsepower and phase must all be matched in the correct replacement motor.

How do I choose the right amperage motor protection?

There are many factors such as temperature and slower starting loads that complicate this question but, in general, if a readable nameplate is available there is a category indicating FLA or full load amperage. This is the maximum amount of amperage that this motor should draw on a constant basis while driving its load.  There are often two entries that correspond with two different voltages. Make certain that you know what voltage you are running on and bear in mind that electric motors draw 5 to 7 times their rated amperage during start-up.

How do AC motors differ from DC motors?

AC motors have three cables providing power to three phases, where DC motors have only two cables with two phases. AC motors have electronic commutation outside of the motor and DC motors have mechanical commutation by brushes. AC motors are maintenance free.

What is power factor?

Power factor measures the amount of magnetizing current necessary for the motor to produce torque. Low power factor will require higher costs for equipment down stream of the motor. (i.e., switchgear, wiring, and inverters). 

How do windings effect motor performance?

Motors with more windings will have a higher voltage-to-current ratio and will be more efficient until the ampacity of the windings is reached.

What is the typical life expectancy of an AC Motor?

A properly lubricated motor operated at nameplate voltage and frequency, in an ambient temperature between (0 and 40)°C, with optimal ventilation and minimal vibration, can be expected to run for many years. In 1980 the US Department of Energy published report DOE / CS-0147 to define the average expected life of electric motors.

How often should a motor be lubricated?

Proper lubrication of electric motors means using the right lubricant in the right amount at the right time intervals. Lubricating intervals depend on motor speed, type of bearing and service. Some operating conditions require frequent lubrication, other less. Follow manufacturer recommendations closely.

How Does a Simplex Pump Control Work?

These controls are designed to operate one pump automatically. The controls are supplied with three floats and are designed to turn the pump on, turn the pump off and generate a high level alarm at levels determined in the field by the placement of the floats. The on, off and high level floats are clearly marked for ease of installation. These panels are frequently rented together with a submersible pump in a temporary application so that the pump can run unattended. The components of the control panel must be sized according to the horsepower of the pump it will run.

How Does a Duplex Pump Control Work?

These controls are designed to operate two pumps automatically. The system is designed so that the pumps alternate operation giving the application the security of two pumps in the event one stops functioning or the inflow exceeds the capability of one pump. The controls are generally supplied with four floats and the levels are set in the field to turn one pump on, turn one pump off, turn both pumps on and generate a high level alarm. The on, off, both on, and high level floats are clearly marked for ease of installation. These panels are frequently rented together with two submersible pumps in a temporary sewage bypass applications so that the two pumps can run alternately. The components in the control panel must be sized according to the horsepower of the pumps it will run.