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How Long Can I Run My Generator For?

Portable gas or propane generators can run for a few hours or days, while a standby generator designed for long-term use can operate up to 500 hours continuously. The amount of time that your generator is capable of running depends on the type of fuel it uses and its fuel storage capacity.

A Light Jog vs. a Marathon

Running a marathon is bound to wear you out — same goes for running your generator at high capacity after a power outage. The longer you run your generator, the more likely some parts will wear out and break, which can mean less efficiency and even complete system failure.

A good rule to operate your generator for short periods of time at moderate capacity. This is known as a “weekly exercise” lasting between 10 and 20 minutes. Consider it a light, easy jog rather than a heavy-duty marathon. It may seem like you’re saving money, but running your generator continuously can cost you in the long run.

Your Generator’s Endurance

There are several types of generators, each with different maintenance requirements and operating capacities. Your generator and fuel type will determine how long it can run for.

Portable gas and propane generators can operate for a few hours or a few days, while a standby generator can run up to 500 hours continuously. It’s important to understand your generator’s operating parameters, including fuel capacity, engine oil service life, and heat tolerance so your system can maintain its operational endurance.

Give it a Rest

While your generator may be able to run for a long time, that doesn’t mean it should. Just like your muscles need rest after a run, the parts of your generator need to cool down after a long workout. Giving your generator some rest can help prolong its lifespan, and allow you to perform regular maintenance checks.

Rely on Regular Maintenance

Your generator is as reliable as you keep it. Constant exposure to heat, vibration, and wear can damage the machine, so it’s important to check the generator and its components for any cracks or damage, and replace any compromised parts immediately. Be sure that all of the parts are appropriately lubricated and change out or top up your engine oil as necessary.

With proper maintenance and adequate engine rest, you’ll be able to depend on a strong and efficient generator for years to come.

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