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How Long Can I Run My Generator?

generac generator

For Florida homeowners, power outages are more than an occasional inconvenience in other parts of the country. The state’s severe weather events, like hurricanes and thunderstorms, can lead to unpredictable power outages that can last up to weeks.

To minimize personal and property damage, many Florida homeowners have installed generators to keep essential medical equipment, appliances, and electronics running until the power is restored.

David Gray Electrical Services is an authorized Generac dealer specializing in installing and repairing residential backup generators. For over 40 years, we’ve delivered exceptional generator services to homeowners throughout the Jacksonville, FL, area.

When you need reliable generator services, we’re the ones to call! Call us at (904) 605-8190 to learn more about our generator services.

Constraints of a Constantly Running Generator

Standby generators are well-designed, sturdy equipment, but they aren’t meant to be run continuously. Fortunately, you safely run a generator for about 500 hours or up to three weeks. Run it longer, however, and you could compromise the generator’s life span and safety.

Typical concerns with constantly running a generator include:

  1. Engine wear and tear: Over time, internal and external components can be damaged, causing poor performance and engine failure. In some cases, you might need to replace the generator.
  2. Carbon monoxide buildup: Running generators produce toxic gas, which can risk people’s health and lives if not properly vented.
  3. Fuel depletion or contamination: Unless your generator is hooked up to a gas line, you run the risk of running out of fuel before power is restored. And if water makes its way into the unit, you could end up with contaminated fuel that's essentially useless.
  4. Electrical malfunctions: An overloaded generator can cause intermittent power surges that cause damage to equipment and appliances.

It’s critical to follow the manufacturer's instructions for operating your generator. It’s also a great idea to schedule routine generator maintenance to ensure your unit performs safely and reliably when needed.

How Long Can You Run a Standby Generator?

Theoretically, you can run a generator for up to 3,000 hours, equal to about 18 days. As mentioned earlier, it’s best not to run your unit for more than 500 hours at a time.

The pros and cons of investing in a standby generator include:

  • Advantages: Standby generators are dependable and more sturdily built than portable ones, with hard casings that help them withstand the elements. They also turn on automatically, can run for longer times, and are quieter than most people think.
  • Disadvantages: Standby generators are more expensive than portable units and take more installation time.

How Long Can You Run a Portable Generator?

Portable generators can run about 2,000 hours over their entire life span. Unlike standby generators, portable units are designed to run for shorter periods, typically from six to 18 hours straight. This helps prevent excessive wear and tear on the generator's engine and other components, ensuring the unit runs safely and efficiently.

Advantages of portable generators include lower costs, easier installation, and portability. One downside is limited power during outages, so you’ll likely only be able to run essential appliances like refrigerators and lights. Portable generators also require manual starting, and because most run on fuel, they need to be refilled periodically.

Why Choose David Gray?

Have additional questions on which type of generator you should choose for your Jacksonville, FL-area home? David Gray Electrical Services can help! We offer financing options and can discuss state and federal rebates and incentives you might qualify for.

When you choose us as your generator service provider, you always receive:

  • Upfront and honest pricing
  • 24-hour emergency repair services
  • Free estimate on all services
  • Fast, friendly service from highly qualified technicians
  • Courteous team members
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