How Long Can A Generator Run?

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A generator serves as a backup source of electricity in emergency situations. They are becoming an indispensable part of modern society.

For convenience (to run electrical appliances), a generator will be required wherever a person goes, especially in nature.

All right! You are enjoying your daily routine while a generator is running, and a question pops into your head – how long can a generator run? But you have no idea. It’s possible that you aren’t a geek and that’s why you’re reading this article.

How Long Can A Generator Run

Many factors are involved in determining how long a generator can run, but the most important factors are the generator’s size, brand, and fuel type.

Now let’s explore this article in-depth so that when you read it, you will be able to deal with emergency situations like a pro.

Also Read: How to Hook Up Generator to House?

How Long Can a Generator Run?

There are two factors that affect the time that a whole-house generator can operate:

  • Type of generator
  • Source of fuel

How Long These Generators With Respect To Their Fuel  Can Run?

Gasoline Portable Generator

You may have to stop your portable generator periodically if you are using gasoline to run it.

Adding fuel to a running gas generator is never a good idea. A massive fire can result from adding gas, which may seem simple but is actually extremely dangerous.

Before adding more fuel, it is best to turn the generator off for five to ten minutes.

Therefore, how long a gasoline portable generator can run? In the case of gasoline generators, they cannot actually be run continuously beyond their normal runtime. 

Depending on the size, brand, and amount of power you draw, the average gas generator can run for 6-12 hours. However, there are a few generators that can last the longest. 

On the longer end of the timeframe, we recommend, that the Westinghouse WGen3600v runs for 18 hours per tank.

Propane-Powered Portable Generators

The propane tank connected to a propane-burning portable generator, as well as electrical demand, determines the runtime. 

You might be able to get between 5 and 8 hours from a small 20-pound tank. If you have a large 50-pound tank, it will last even longer. It is also possible to attach multiple tanks with multi-way valves or manifolds, allowing the engine to run for even longer (150 hours or more.) However, you will have to change the oil every 100 hours when using this configuration. 

I hope it answered well How long a propane generator can run?

Natural Gas-Powered Standby Generators

The good news for us is that long-term continuous power is possible, but you may not want to rely on a portable generator. The best option for running power continuously is a standby generator.

These have been designed for long-term use.  In addition to having efficient engines, standby generators are designed to run for longer periods. Alternatively, they are connected to a massive propane storage container or run on natural gas.

So the question is How long a standby generator can run? Therefore, there is a recommended limit on standby generators. A typical generator is designed to last for two to three weeks non-stop.

A standby generator can be operated for longer than the recommended usage. Your generator and your house’s electrical equipment and wiring could be permanently damaged if you do this.

Propane-Powered Standby Generators

In addition to the need for oil changes, propane-powered standby generators have a limited fuel supply. 

The generator can only run for a certain period of time if you have tanked propane on hand, which is totally dependent on how much electricity you use and also tank size. 

In theory, if you calculate how long a propane standby generator can run, you’ll find you should be able to sustain continuous operation for four to six days on a 500-gallon propane tank.

Inverter Generators

When the electricity demand is lower, the inverter generator automatically throttles down, and when the demand is higher, it revs back up again. 

Because of this feature, inverter generators consume a lot less fuel than non-inverter units, which rely on governors (a device that controls engine speed) to maintain a constant speed regardless of the load. 

All of these factors make it difficult to estimate exactly how long an inverter generator can run, but you can usually expect it to run for between ten and sixteen hours.

Many machines are equipped with large tanks of fuel, allowing them to operate for 18 hours or longer. You should also consider inverters for sensitive electronics, as they are quieter and safer.

Solar Powered Generators

Generators powered by solar power aren’t like the generators mentioned previously. The systems don’t use fuel or combustion, but instead use solar panels, batteries, or batteries in banks, as well as a power inverter. As long as your house isn’t fully equipped with enough solar panels and an exceptionally powerful inverter, using solar power alone won’t be feasible for very long. 

Based on this, you can estimate how long a solar power generator can run on an average size solar panel, typically about two to ten hours in full sunlight. Depending on your solar generator’s size or how many appliances you are running on your generator, this time might increase or decrease.

What About the Diesel Powered Generators

Traditionally, diesel has been the preferred fuel of choice, as there are fewer suppliers capable of providing, transporting, installing, and maintaining natural gas generators.

To this question, there isn’t a single answer: how long a diesel generator can run? However, there are a lot of approximate answers. Given diesel engines are cooled by water and generally run at 1800 rotations per minute (RPM), whereas the standard generator runs at 3600 RPM and is cooled by air. So long as they are exercised and well-maintained, diesel generators can operate for at least 12 hours and even up to 20 hours without needing maintenance. That’s quite impressive. In other words, if you work 4 hours a day, it will take you 14 years to earn 20,000 hours.

This is all just an approximation, though. In order to determine how long your diesel engine generator will last, you must consider these key factors 

  • Maintenance
  • Generator sizing



Now I hope you have known how long can a generator run. It depends on the factors described above. Now that you have learned the runtime of the generator along with other types, I hope that you are able to deal with emergency situations efficiently.

The article I wrote should be helpful to you, and I hope it answered all of your questions regarding generator runtime. Don’t forget to spread the word by sharing this with your friends and family members, and don’t forget to leave comments below.

It's Carl Denis here, and I'm glad you found my site. As a generator enthusiast, I write on MyGeneratorLab. In spite of our trusty RV being used virtually every day on worksites, my wife and I go on road trips every weekend with our family in it. As part of my mission, I aim to provide information that will assist you in choosing the right generator.

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