How Long Can a Generator Run?

Generators are versatile and convenient machines to have on hand for those urgent situations. For instance, a standby generator can save the day or night and all the foods you have inside your fridge during blackouts. Without backup electricity or power, you would be lost in your homes. Further, a highly functional portable generator brings added convenience to a wide array of tasks and activities, from construction projects to car camping and everything in between.

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First-time buyers might have many concerns about generators, including whether or not they could change a home electricity provider. The main question a first-time buyer is more likely to ask is how long a generator will run. Understanding how long generators last provides you insight into what electronics and appliances you will be able to power. That knowledge will help you learn the difference between running a small or a big generator for your entire home.

Different types of generators – Different Run-time

Not all generators work the same, this also means that not all generators have the same run-time. Depending on your situation you might need a specific type of generator. Let’s take a closer look at the different types of generators available, their sizes, and runtime.

Standby Generator

As to whether you could say so-long to your power company, the answer is no. Single generators must be utilized as a backup power device only and can’t run indefinitely, along with some caveats that we will talk about later.

Some generator models could run at least from eight to twelve hours, or even for numerous days. But generators must never be left to run for weeks or months at a time. That’s mainly because of the engine construction of the generator that needs not only fuel but routine maintenance and lubrication.

Portable generators also need unleaded gas. Most models are also built with an auto shut-off feature to avoid damage when the tank dries out.

Meanwhile, high-quality generators could run for a few hundred hours, but that does not suggest the engine will not die out without the needed fuel and lubricant. Many generator manufacturers also provide anywhere from one to 5-year warranties, together with after-sale services to fix any concerns.

When it comes to durability, generator manufacturers will admit their products won’t last an entire lifetime. Standby generators could run for hours on end, but they are intended to be backup for emergencies. Those generators are pretty durable machines, but in the long run, remember that the generator’s energy isn’t as cheap as the electricity provider’s rate. That’s why it will help if you switch back to your main source of electricity after the power is back up and running.

Portable Generator

Keep in mind that portable generators need unleaded fuel to work. You see, the power ratings of portable generators are less than those of standby generators. Thus, portable generators can’t run your home for extended periods. These generators are optimal for scenarios like running small appliances while you camp, powering your tools, backyard festivities, or tailgating.

You cannot piggyback off your power provider with portable generators as well. What’s more, the price of the fuel isn’t a cost-efficient solution either. Due to the fuel-based power source, portable generators are also more likely to need some routine maintenance.

In terms of running time, portable generators could run for at least a day or two. Generally, they have a lifespan of a few thousand hours, which means they’re only utilized on certain events and not continuously. Should you try to leave a portable generator running at greater lengths of time, the engine will later fail.

Inverter Generator

This type of generator is not like the loud and bulky power sources above. Its engine must be linked with an alternator to convert DC power into AC power. They can achieve that through a rectifier for the best possible result.

Remember that inverter generators provide many benefits to their users. It’s fuel-efficient and safe for sensitive home devices. It also doesn’t create disturbing noise throughout its operation. An inverter generator is suggested for outdoor purposes to offer maximum performance with low emissions.

The only concern you may hear is not enough power to supply energy for heavy-duty home appliances. Also, these generators are more expensive than the more compact units.

Solar Generator

The energy coming from the sun could be an excellent source of electricity. Did you know that solar generators are created to make use of solar panels to create electricity? It functions differently than other generator types with three parts. That involves a charge controller, inverter, and batteries working together to completely activate the solar energy.

Gasoline Generator

Gas generators are the most typical type of generator used today. Gas is widely available nearly everywhere. When we talk about price, gas generators are reasonably priced. It’s accessible in different sizes, which makes the unit portable in meeting the needs of most households. The gas generator is also movable according to your requirements.

Take note that these generators can work for different purposes. The only disadvantage here would be the loud noise it creates while running. Regular maintenance could help to lessen the annoying noise.

Gas generators are perfect for households needing less power output. It also goes well in colder temperatures compared to diesel generators.

Propane Generator

Propane generators are considered less efficient compared to gas generators. Nonetheless, propane could last longer than the latter. For instance, a 5,000-gallon propane tank would last for thirty years, and it could run a generator for at least 920 hours. It has been found that a 5,000-watts generator could consume twenty-five pounds of propane for every hour.

Diesel Generator

Diesel is less flammable compared to other fuel sources in this list. The generator’s engine is mainly created for diesel fuel, but other units could work well along with other liquid fuels.

It’s worth mentioning that diesel generators are more durable and don’t heat the engine as much as other generators. It also minimizes the need for maintenance for longer uses. Thus, these generators cut more costs to function.

Final Thoughts

Each generator type has a different runtime capacity. If you encounter any signs of damage, make sure you call a technician right away to assess the present condition of your generator. When choosing the perfect generator for your specific situation it is important that you understand what different types of generators are available, as well as their power output and consumption.