How Long Can A Generator Run?

How Long Can A Generator Run


If you are wondering how long you can run your generator in case of a terrible power outage, then you don’t need to wonder anymore because I have got you covered with this article.

An average generator can run from 2500-3000 hours continuously in a standard home, but it is highly prohibited to do so because it might pose significant harm to your generator. Instead, it is advised that you only use your generator for 500 hours consistently if needed.

Let’s dive into it and see how long a generator can run exactly and what factors can affect it.

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How Long Can Different Types Of Generators Run?

How Long Can A Generator Run

As the technology is getting more innovative and advanced, we see different types of generators raising their heads in the market. So, let’s figure out how you can run different types of generators for how long.

Run Time Of Generators Powered By Gas

A gas-powered generator can typically run for 7-12 hours, but it also depends upon other factors like fuel and load on the generator.

For understanding the exact running time of your gas-powered generator, you need to do some math. By dividing the consumption rate of your generator’s fuel by its total capacity, you will get the exact running time of your generator.

The running time of a gas-powered generator mainly depends upon what household items you are using on that generator and how much power you are consuming. It is apparent that if your generator produces more power, it will not last long.

On the other hand, the gas-powered generators that are not used as often or people don’t put a lot of load on them perform better and tend to run for longer hours compared to the ones you are burdened with a load of heavy-duty electric appliances.

In most cases, you will get the exact figures of fuel consumption and capacity from the seller, but in case he does not guide you in this regard, you can still calculate the run time of your generator with the help of a tank full of fuel and our fuel consumption equation.

If you are ready to invest a tank of gas on your generator to know its exact run-time, then it is an even better idea because when your tank is complete, you can see how long it takes for the tank to be empty, and you will have the exact figure of the running capacity of your generator.

Run Time Of Standby Generator

A standby generator typically has the capacity to run continuously for 3000 hours. These generators are a lot larger and are commonly used on an industrial scale because of their size and high prices.

Standby generators are specifically designed to keep things smooth in case of a power outage which is the very reason why their running capacity is also greater than other generators comparatively.

When we talk about diesel-powered standby generators, you need to keep refilling the tank with diesel, and the generator will run without any hassle, but on one full tank, these generators typically run for about 24 hours non-stop. There are bigger generators as well in the market that have a bigger tank for diesel, and they have the tendency to run for 48 to 72 hours.

When we talk about the standby generators that are run by the power of natural gas, there not really is a limit on for how long they can run, but an ideal estimation is 3000 hours, and it is strictly advised to the consumers to only use these generators for 500 hours at max and then let them cool down.

Standby generators are ideal for industrial and commercial areas mainly because they can run continuously for long hours, and no other generator matches them in their performance and size. A drawback to these generators is that you cannot really move them anywhere, and they are attached to the ground because of their bigger size, but they make up for all their cons in the running time.

Run Time Of Continuous Generator

Continuous generators are commonly used in areas where there is no electricity or in commercial places where they constantly need energy. So, are constant generators actually practical? Yes, they certainly are.

These generators can run continuously for 2-3 years, but then you would have to get a new one because they only have this much capacity as the pressure keeps building up on the parts of the generator with time, and in the end, they are not able to keep up.

As far as the running time of continuous generators is concerned, they can run continuously for years, and they also have an in-built cooling system that keeps the engine from bursting up due to higher temperatures.

Continuous generators are basically gigantic and not suitable for houses because where exactly would you place them? And you need a lot of fuel to keep the generator running which is yet another downside.

Run Time Of Portable Generator

As we already know that gasoline generators can only run until their fuel tank runs off, but you can always go for a portable generator if you are looking for longevity in the running time and the best portable generators you can get are propane-powered ones.

In these generators, you can even connect multiple tanks of propane to your portable generator, and your generator will run a lot longer than a typical gasoline generator. Portable generators are considered ideal for medium-sized households.

With this process of using 2 tanks, you can increase the running time of your generator and make it two days at best. If you are not satisfied with the time, all you need to do is fill up the oil tank of your generator and then start it.

The purpose of filling the oil tank is to provide enough oil to the generator and make it run for longer, and with this method, your portable generator can run for 200 hours straight, and it is a really great number considering the size and price of portable generators.

The heat factor affects portable generators quite a lot, and if they run continuously for 24 hours, their engine might get hotter than usual, which is a considerable risk to your generator so, make sure to put a fan or a cooling system beside your portable generator when running it for long hours to make sure that it does not get too hot and damage the engine.

Run Time Of Solar Generator

Solar generators are not as powerful as the other ones on the list, but they certainly are a better option because you don’t have to constantly invest money in diesel and gasoline to run your generator for longer hours.

Usually, the run time of an average-sized solar generator is from 2-10 hours if they are fully charged in the sun the whole day. But, this time might increase or decrease depending upon factors like how many appliances you are using on the generator or what is the size of your solar generator.

You also get a choice in solar generators whether or not you want to use a battery, but getting a battery is always a good choice because it increases the run-time of your generator and is also great for backup.

You need to understand how to use the battery system properly, and you will be able to run your solar generator for several months; yes, you heard that right. You need to use less energy in the daytime and store the rest of the power.

Then, the stored solar energy would be used at night, and if you don’t use different electric appliances, it will last from 5-12 hours. So, solar generators can last longer than any other generators if only you use them properly and keep them with care.

Factors That Affect The Running Duration Of Generators

There are dozens of factors that decide whether your generator runs at its full potential or not, and we will discuss a few of those factors one by one. So, let’s get right into it.


The temperature of surroundings also affects the efficiency of your generator quite a lot, and when the temperature is too hot or too cold, your generator might not work to its most total capacity and run for more than 100 hours.

There is an in-built property in generators that help with maintaining temperature. But it mainly works with higher temperatures and does the job of cooling the system but, if the temperature outside is way too hot, even the cooling system cannot do anything for it then.

Higher temperatures can even cause the whole system of your generator to shut down, and it will not be a pleasant thing to experience when you are expecting it to run for several hours.


Elevation also plays a crucial role in affecting the running duration of your generators, and if you live at a place that is higher or you live in hilly areas, then it is highly possible that the running time of your generator is lower.

The generators don’t even perform properly if you live above 1000 meters of sea level because of power derating. No matter what type and size of generator you have, the atmospheric pressure and low oxygen concentration would affect its running duration.


Humidity is yet another significant factor that can affect the running time of your generator, especially when the area you are living in is humid all the time and has a higher ratio of moisture in the air. In such areas, the generator’s performance can never be up to the mark.

Your generators won’t be able to run as long as you expect them to because this moist air would enter the windings and affect the power that your generator produces. Hence, the humid air would make a very significant difference in the running time and produced power of your generator.


Dirt is something that you would never want on your generator, and that is mainly because it is not suitable for its health in the long run. If excessive buildup is produced on your generator, it can even cause the machine to heat up faster and reduce its running time.

Flash-over failure and sudden engine bursts are also often caused by constant buildup and poor maintenance. So, all of these things have a direct connection with how long your generator will run, and if you don’t take care of these things, your generator won’t probably even last for 100 hours.

How To Make Your Generator Run Longer?

If you want to increase your generator’s run time, you need to take care of your generator; otherwise, you won’t really be able to get the most out of it, and it will hardly run for a couple of hours.

Whenever you add fuel to your generator, make sure to turn it off at least 10 minutes before adding fuel. Another piece of advice is never to run your generator more than the time the seller specifies because it will have an adverse effect on your generator’s engine.

Also, make sure that your generator has a cooling system if you plan to run it for longer hours, or at least put a cooling fan beside your generator so it does not heat up and end up damaged.

ALSO READ: What Is an Inverter Generator?


Tons of factors are involved in determining what exactly would be the run-time of your generator, but at the end of the day, it all depends upon how carefully you use your generator and how much load you are putting on it.

So, we hope this article was helpful for you, and now you know what type of generator you should go for if your power needs are more and you need a constant power supply. Just make sure to have a look at the advised running time of your generator to always be on the safe side. uses affiliate links (No Additional Cost For You). As an Amazon Associate, I earn when you purchase Using My Affiliate Link. Learn more.


Hi, Welcome to; My name is Shahzad, and I know about generators because I grew up in a country where power outage is very common. I share Tips, How-To, News, and Reviews for the best generators or anything related to generators.

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