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Electricity powers every aspect of our daily lives. When we lose access to it, it really throws a wrench into things– suddenly, we can’t charge our phones, run the dishwasher, use Wi-Fi, and a whole host of other things.

This is one of the reasons why generators are so useful: they provide power so you can accomplish what you need to do during the day. They also help to keep you safe by providing access to necessary medical equipment during power failures.

But what if the power goes out for multiple days at a time? Especially if your generator is used for medical equipment or anything else that you need continuously, an extended power outage can become a big issue.

How long does the typical generator run?

The amount of time a Generac generator can run, in general, depends on a few factors.

The first is the amount of power you need from it. The run time for a generator will be vastly different for a mobile home, for example, versus a large house or commercial building.

The second factor is the amount of fuel you have access to, and the type of fuel the generator takes. Generators typically use one of three main sources of fuel: propane, diesel, and natural gas. The only one of these that doesn’t need to be refilled at some point is natural gas, although in the event of a power failure or other disaster, there might be an interruption in gas lines that prevents your generator from running.

For propane and diesel generators, the run time is limited by the amount of fuel you have on hand. At some point, propane and diesel will run out. You cannot run a generator while refueling; this would be incredibly dangerous! In order to safely refuel the generator, it must be switched off and allowed to completely cool down before adding fuel. That means an interrupted source of power for the amount of time it takes to cool off and refuel.

This question also depends on the type of Generac generator you have, since there are two main kinds. Standby generators are permanently installed outside of your home. The type of fuel they take varies, but newer generators are often able to run on all three.

The second type is called a portable generator. True to their name, these are portable, and they typically cost less than a standby generator. They are also less powerful– they can help power a few appliances during a power outage, but they cannot power a whole home. These run on propane or gasoline, which means that their run time is affected by the amount of available fuel.

How long can generators run continuously?

In addition to the type and availability of fuel, a Generac generator’s ability to run continuously is determined by its load. For a generator, “load” means the amount of power that it’s required to provide. Having multiple large appliances will create a much larger load on a generator than, for example, powering a few cell phone chargers and a Wi-Fi router.

Gasoline-powered portable generators can run for varying amounts of time. Smaller generators can run for as few as 7.5 hours, while larger ones can run up to 18 hours.

The larger the load on a generator is, the shorter the continuous run time will be.

A standby generator, on the other hand, is designed to run for much longer periods of time. Since many of them are powered by natural gas, fuel is continuously supplied, allowing them to theoretically run for up to 3,000 hours.

However, it’s highly recommended that you stop the generator and allow it to cool down roughly every day, if at all possible. This will allow you to check that everything is running as it should, which ultimately will extend the life of the generator. 

It all depends

Essentially, the amount of time a Generac generator can run continuously greatly depends on a number of factors; there isn’t one magic number that applies to all generators. If you need a generator that runs for a long time, a standby generator is your best option. To make sure its lifetime is as long as possible, you should shut it down when possible to let it cool, and check the oil.

If you’re in the market for a generator, the experts here at Northside Power would be happy to discuss your specific needs in order to choose a generator that will be the best fit for you. Reach out or give us a call today to get started, and keep your family comfortable and safe next time the power goes out.