How long can a generator run?

Generators come in different shapes and sizes. While some are large enough to power an entire building, others come in small sizes that can light up your RV or come in use while you are on a vacation.

No matter the shape or size, any generator can satisfy your needs only if you know how to use it to the best of its abilities. If you are a potential buyer or a person who has just brought a generator and cannot figure out why it isn’t working to its full potential then this article is for you.

In this article, we will discuss how long a typical generator works, how durable they are, and answer some of the most frequently asked questions by people about generators.

How long will a generator run?

It is one of the commonly asked questions by people who are looking for a generator. If you are looking for a short, straight forward answer, then it is that most generators, on average, can run for almost 7 to 12 hours without needing a break.

Fuel capacity is the major factor that determines how long do generators run without needing to be refueled or charged. Other factors that can affect the runtime is its construction, the type of fuel it uses, and how frequently you maintain it.

To get a rough estimate of the runtime of the generator you are thinking of purchasing, divide the fuel capacity by the rate of fuel consumption. The figure that you will get is the maximum runtime of that generator.

However, runtime also depends upon how intensely the generator is being used. You can notice while checking the specifications of different models. They tell you the runtime at different percentages – 25% and 50% are the most common.

These percentages indicated the load of the power that the unit is using to give you electricity. For example, a unit working on 25% load means it is using the only ¼ out of the power that the generator actually produces. Likewise, 50% means it is using half of the total power.

How long can a generator run non-stop?

GeneratorRuntime @ 50%
Westinghouse WGen9500DF12 hrs.
Pulsar G12KBN12 hrs.
Westinghouse IGEN4500DF15 hrs.
RYOBI RYI4022X12 hrs.
CHAMPION 1005206.5 hrs.
FIRMAN H0755212 hrs.
FORD FG11050PBE9.5 hrs
HONDA EU7000IS6.5 hrs.
WEN GN400I7 hrs.
Generac GP15000E 573410 hrs.
Champion 8.5-kW8 hrs.
DuroMax XP13000EH8.5 hrs.
Yamaha EF2000iSv210.5 hrs.
Westinghouse iGen12007 hrs.
WEN 56200i6 hrs.
Honda EU3000iS10 hrs.

As you see, there’s no correlation between the wattage and maximum work duration: be it a 2000-, 7000- or even 10,000-Watt generator – their working time may be similar because each of them has a respective load.

How long does a generator last?

Like we discussed above, there are a lot of different factors that determine how long do generators run? Some of these factors are the model, its construction, the average load, the type of fuel you use, and the quality of the engine.

Typically, most professionals suggest that stationary generators have a greater life expectancy than portable generators. This is because the latter runs for approximately 1000 to 2000 hours. So, if you use your unit for 100 hours per year then your generator can run for almost 20 years.

However, maintenance plays a major role as well. If your generator is regularly exposed to water, dust, or other contaminants in the air and you do not clean out the gunk then the unit might deteriorate much rapidly.

Stationary generators are typically equipped with two types of engines; the air-cooled or the liquid-cooled engines. If it adorns the air-cooled engine, it can last for 1000-1500 hours whereas if it possesses a liquid-cooled engine, it can last for 10,000-20,000 hours. However, as we discussed above, its durability also depends upon how frequently or how much power it is using.

If your generator works at 500 hours per year, then it can survive for almost 20-40 years, given that it is getting the best quality oil and you are taking care of it.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it bad to run a generator out of gas?

Running your generator out of gas when it has to be used again within a week or so can be bad. This is because when the unit does not have any gas, its coils lost their magnetic effect. Thus, when you try to start the generator again, there isn’t enough magnetism in the coils and your powerhouse will struggle to start up again.

How do you properly break in a generator?

You can properly break in a generator by following these steps:

  1. Go to your local Walmart and buy the essential things; the fuel and an oil conditioner.
  2. Pour the conditioner into the spark plug chamber to lubricate it.
  3. Pull the starter cord about 10 times.
  4. Add the oil.
  5. Fill the tank with fuel.
  6. Run it at the least speed for an hour.
  7. Drain the existing oil, use a conditioner, and add oil again.
  8. Let it run at no load for another hour.
  9. Change the oil again.
  10. Run it again for an hour at about 500W load.

Is it safe to leave a generator on all night?

Since generators are usually used as a backup power source, they are not meant to run continuously for long hours without any break. They are not designed to run for days, weeks, or months on end. While some models do give you the power to run it for eight to twelve hours continuously, it is always wise to let it rest so that it does not overheat.

In a word

You might have the perfect generator at home but if you do not know how to care for it and use it, you will never be fully content with it. Different generators have different runtimes but that does not mean there are not some tips and tricks that can help you enhance your shelf life.

Regularly checking up on the level of fuel and condition of the engine and using the right kind of fuel are some of the prominent aspects that can improve the life of your unit. Furthermore, it is important to do your research to evaluate the appliance you want to power using the generator and how much power you need.

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