How Long Will a Generator Run: You Must Know This Before Buying!

Want to know if you can rely on your generator during a power outage? Read the article to the end and find out what determines the time of continuous work. We want to prepare you for any force majeure!
How Long Will a Generator Run

Any person who has just bought a generator or plans to purchase one has a logical question — how long will it run? In this article, we will tell you what factors the operation of the generator depends on, whether the generators that work non-stop exist, and how long such machines usually last. Happy reading and smooth work for your generator!

How long can a generator run continuously?

Generators are suitable for solving many issues— they are great for those who want to have extra energy reserve at home with no need to be nervous if electricity suddenly goes out. Generators can light up the yard, camping spot, playground for children, summer house, garden bower with BBQ, etc. Also, this type of power generating device fits owners of businesses that require a constant power supply (e. g. restaurants with big refrigerators to keep products).

However, for whatever purposes you need a generator, it is not always possible to use it in dosage. For example, a prolonged power outage can leave you and your house (or business) without access to the power supply for a long time. In this kind of situation, the generator is required to withstand the maximum load for a long time.

So, how long you can use your generator continuously is influenced by several factors — the size of the generator, its brand, and the source of fuel. Let’s take a look at different types of generators.

💨 Portable propane generator

If you are using a portable propane generator, you can independently control your fuel tank.

It means you can easily extend the running time of your propane generator. To do this, connect two propane cylinders to one gas line through a stopcock valve or a changeover regulator. This is very convenient as you can turn on the supply from one propane tank and leave the other closed. When it’s time to change propane cylinders, you simply turn on the stopcock valve.

This method will help your generator to run non-stop, as you are effectively replacing a used cylinder with a new one without stopping the generator itself. Thus, using this hack and having an infinite supply of propane (let’s dream a little), your generator can work peacefully for 150-200 hours (approx 1 week). After about this amount of time, the engine runs out of oil — this is the only limitation in the operation of your propane generator.

How long can a generator run continuously?

🔥 Portable gasoline generator

There are a few things you should be aware of when working with a portable gasoline generator.

You cannot use it continuously for longer than the standard run time. A portable gasoline generator can run non-stop on a tank of gas but not longer without stopping. On average, it is from 6 to 12 hours, depending on the size of the generator, brand, and amount of energy consumed. Please note that there are generators that work longer than others. For example, a Westinghouse WGen3600v generator can run 18 hours per one tank of gasoline.

If you are using a portable generator with gasoline and want it to run longer than the standard time, you will have to stop it from time to time to add fuel. Never add fuel while the engine is running — this is an important rule that should never be ignored. Although the procedure seems straightforward, it is dangerous and can cause a severe fire.

When the generator gets very hot, there is a risk that even a small amount of fuel or vapor could cause a major fire. That is why, before refilling gasoline, it is best to turn off the generator for 5-10 minutes to cool it down a little.

Standby generator

Considering that the first two options have their merits, in case you want a continuous operation, it is best to opt for standby generators.

This type of generator is specially designed for long-term use, as it has efficient engines that allow to run them for longer periods — on average, it is 300-500 hours (approx 2-3 weeks). This is the recommended time limit for such generators.

The essence of standby generators is that they run on natural gas lines or are connected to massive 500 or 1000 gallon propane storage tanks. It allows them to have such amazing results in terms of the duration of work. Can you imagine this — 3 weeks of continuous operation?

Remember
not to try to use the standby generator for longer than recommended. This can lead to damage to your generator as well as the electrical wiring in your home.

Do the non-stop running generators exist?

Do the non-stop running generators exist?

As we have already found out, most portable generators cannot run for 24 hours without stopping because the tank is too small to hold this amount of fuel.

However, there are larger generators that are designed specifically to be a backup source of electricity in homes — mentioned standby generators. Here they are perfectly coping with 24-hour work without interruption. Plus, they often run on natural gas or propane, as using gasoline would be too wasteful for them. Also, portable propane generators can work for 150-200 hours thanks to connecting two propane cylinders to one gas line. Read this article if you want to choose the best generator for emergencies and everyday use.

How long do generators usually last?

If we are talking about the “life” of generators, then usually the manufacturer gives a 2-3 year warranty on them — this is the time during which your machine should work flawlessly. However, this is only provided that you take care of the generator and use it following all instructions.

Of course, the generator serves its owners faithfully for much longer. This depends (again) on the model and the loads, but on average this number ranges from 10.000 to 20.000 hours of work. And this is only if you lubricate it if necessary and regularly keep it in a good condition.

Thus, if you use a generator for about 500 hours a year, it can serve you at least 20, even 40 years. If it works for you 8 hours a day and 7 days a week (for example, it is an integral part of your business), the generator will serve you for several years before retiring.

Summary 

How long you can use your generator continuously is influenced by several factors — the size of the generator, its brand, and the source of fuel. On average, the duration of the work is as follows: 150-200 hours for portable propane generators, 6 to 12 hours for portable gasoline generators, and 2-3 weeks for standby generators.

FAQs

🕑 Can a generator run 24 hours a day?

Most portable generators cannot run for 24 hours without stopping because the tank is too small to hold this amount of fuel. However, standby generators are perfectly coping with 24-hour work without interruption. Also, portable propane generators can work for 150-200 hours thanks to connecting two propane cylinders to one gas line.

💫 How long can a generator run non-stop?

It depends on the size of the generator, its brand, and the fuel. A portable propane generator can run continuously for 150-200 hours, a portable gasoline generator can work non-stop for 6 to 12 hours per tank (some of them for 18 hours), and a standby generator can run without stopping for 2-3 weeks.

🌟 Can you run a generator overnight?

Yes, you can run the generator overnight. And although your neighbors are unlikely to be happy with the noise (this is an emergency, right?), you can rest assured — most generators can work for 8 hours before the fuel runs out and the tank is empty.

🌧 Can you run a generator in the rain?

Never use the generator in wet conditions — be it rain or snow. Make sure the generator is properly grounded or you may get an electric shock. Be careful and follow the instructions strictly!

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