How Long Can a Generator Run

Generators are one of the best options that ever happened to you getting a constant supply of electricity anywhere you are on the globe. If you ever find yourself in the middle of nowhere and you need to power your basic electronics a generator would be the most effective source of power in this circumstance.

And this is particularly why generators are mostly needed at remote places such as the beach, construction sites, forest sites, and at picnics or tailgating parties. In fact, many professionals whose work requires constant access to electricity as such would really take a good time in selecting the perfect generators for their work. 

The benefits of generators can only be underemphasized, apart from their importance at camps and work sites or at any other outdoor event, they are also needed indoor to power your home in cases of an emergency or if you live at a place with no access to electricity. If perhaps, you fall into a situation such as the latter you would more often than not need your generator to function from time to time and you will need them to run as long as possible, however, in many situations as different from this you would usually need to run your generator for just some few hours. 

And this is the reason why we could particularly ask that important question, how long can a generator run before complications start setting in. 

Well, this is one question that births many answers because of the number of factors that would dictate each answer. As such, you can start to consider factors such as:

  • The type of fuel used to power the generator
  • The size of the generator 
  • The load or the burden that your generator is subjected to 

However, all these factors directly or indirectly lead to the type of generator you have. 

The Type of Fuel used to Power the Generator

In here, we would be talking about whether your generator is the type that uses gasoline, propane, or if your generator is the stand by type. 

Gasoline Powered Generator

If your generator runs on gasoline, then the length of duration you can run your generator will be relatively short compared to others. This is because it is an on and off thing, Even after you might have filled the tank of your generator with fuel, in most cases, a filled generator would normally not last more than 9 to 12 hours so you have to shut it down or it shuts down forcefully and then you refuel it again. And this process is particularly very important because however tempted you are, you should never attempt to refill your generator while it is in operation. This is a very terrible bad idea and very risky. 

There is no reason other than the heat, there is much more heat produced when your generator is in operation. At any slight hit or mistake, there could be some spark anywhere turning your highly flammable fuel to be all in flames. So you should never think about pouring fuel while your generator is on. In fact, you should let your generator cool off after the long stretch of hours before you refill it again. 

The point here is that as for gasoline generators, their time of operation is limited because it is a one-off thing. You can use the gasoline-powered generator at only one long stretch of hours before it is refueled again. 

However, gasoline-powered generators are usually more efficient and there is more ease of access to the gas than other fuel. 

Propane Powered Generator 

As for generators that are powered by propane you have the upper hand of totally controlling your fuel tank. Therefore, you can put your generator in continuous operation while making sure that your generator gets constant access to fuel. 

How do you go by this?

You can just try to connect two propane tanks to one gas line through a changeover regulator. By this, you can change the fuel flow from one tank while closing the other. And when one tank finishes you can switch to the other tank. So there will always the opportunity of changing the empty tank. 

So how long should you allow your generator to run if you have massive amounts of propane stored? Well depending on how much oil you also have stored in your generator, you should normally not let your generator as such run more than 200 hours. In fact, it is best that you leave the duration at the usual 100 hours that a generator should get a check-up. Because there is always an amount of heat generated while it is running. So there could be serious issues if your generator gets overheated. 

Another benefit of propane-powered generators is that the propane fuel is consumed very much slower when compared to gasoline-powered generators. 

Standby Generators 

If you are constantly in need of powering your home or company, then you need to get standby generators because these are the type of generators that are designed to go on marathon operations. They come with larger powerful motors and they are usually connected to very large capacity tanks containing propane. 

If you have got a standby generator it is safer that you do not subject your generator to more than 500 hours of continuous usage. Going more than this could result in the destruction of your generator and electronics. 

Also, another crucial part of the fuelling of your generator is its oil. You should constantly run a check on your oil level from time to time. Only in difficult scenarios should you change the oil of your generator after 100 hours. 

The size of Your Generator

There is no doubt that if you a using a smaller than average generator size you should not expect much from it because no matter how frequently you get your generator to fill it will never operate beyond its fuel capacity. In such a situation you should not expect more than 6 hours of continuous usage if it is gasoline-powered. This is smaller when compared to the normal 10 hours of larger generators. In rare situations, if you are lucky, you can also find a very large generator that has the fuel tank capacity of a day. This is good but it is not advisable to operate such generators for more than 12 hours if it is gasoline-powered. 

The Burden of Your Generator 

The load on your generator is also a good determinant of how long your generator can operate. If you are running a whole company with your generator then you should expect that the time would be relatively shorter than when powering just a few devices. There are many other heavy-duty operations such as working on a construction site or powering heavy-duty equipment. This will also tell on the burden on your generator. 

The load on your generator determines how fast its fuel is consumed. And the fuel determines the number of hours your generator will run. If your generator is propane powered, you may not need to worry because the usage of fuel is very slower than when compared to a generator that runs on gasoline. The fuel burns off faster with heavy operations and more importantly, more oil is also consumed with heavy-duty operations. In fact, it is not only the oil and fuel, frequent heavy operations on your generator determine how constantly you need to run maintenance checks on your generator. This is because of the more the load on your generator the more the rate at which it wears off. So if you want a gasoline-powered generator, you will need to get larger fuel capacity tank generators that will handle the heavy operations that you intend to use it for. 


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