How to Run a Portable Generator Continuously

In this article you will learn how to run a generator continuously…


Generators are among some of the best machines ever made. No one can live without electricity in the civilized world (we need electricity to power our appliance at home and at work), and one of the worst things that whole cities get hit out of the blue with is blackouts.

When the lights go out, pretty much everyone is on their own. Although generators can be used to power homes in emergencies, they can also be used as a portable power source when traveling outdoors.

Portable generators run on unleaded petrol and provide enough power to run multiple devices and appliances simultaneously.

“Continuous” is ironic as everything that begins has an end. So even if the generator starts, there’ll come a time when it must stop, no matter how powerful it is. But of course, the life of the generator can be extended, and several factors contribute to extending the life of the machine.

Some generator models provide electricity for up to eight hours, others for twelve hours. However, it’s not recommended to run the generator for a longer period. But some generators switch off automatically to prevent irreparable damage to the machine.

Generators of this type can only run up to approximately 3000 operating hours provided they are properly maintained and supplied with oil. Several factors influence the runtime of generators.

The size of the fuel tank is the most important factor in determining the runtime of the generator. It determines the capacity at which it can be used. Other factors are altitude, ambient temperature, and humidity. Let’s discuss in detail how to run a portable generator continuously.

Recommended Runtime and Refueling Requirements

So, if you have a portable gasoline generator, you’re limited to the running time of a single fuel tank. This is usually more than a few hours, but far less than an entire day.

If you operate a portable generator with a relatively unlimited supply of propane, you’re limited to the life of your engine oil. This gives you up to 200 hours or about eight days of continuous power.

Finally, if you run a standby generator with unlimited fuel supply, you can run your generator up to 500 hours – 21 days – in one go. Remember that you will need to monitor your generator whenever you run it for long periods.

Generators are designed as an emergency power generator, but they can only cope with so much abuse and will eventually fail. If it’s not necessary to keep your generator running continuously, it is best to switch it off, allow the engine cool down, and perform basic maintenance before you turn it on again.

It’s a bad idea to refuel the generator while it’s running. This means while you’re refueling the generator, you have to turn it off. Regardless of how long your generator has been running, if it’s running on all its fuel, you’ll need to turn it off for a while as you refuel it.

Can you put gas in a generator while it’s running?

One thing to keep in mind is that you never want to refuel the generator when it’s on. As with any internal combustion engine, it’s much safer to exercise caution, as refueling while running is dangerous. This is one of the most important safety issues with generators.

Also keep in mind is to run the generator in an open space, never in an enclosed space. This is because the engine produces carbon monoxide, which is lethal if you breathe in enough.

How much fuel does your gas generator hold?

It could be dangerous to store gas in large quantities. It’s one of the most common ways to run a generator and to be honest, quite expensive. In any case, it’s easy to use for a portable generator.

A 5k watt generator can run on eighteen gallons of gas all day long. This is where the problem begins. Because the cost is unrealistically high.

But you still have the option to buy some efficient gas generators. You can supply these for one or two gallons of gas for about eight to ten hours. In most cases, however, a gallon is enough for an hour. That’s why inverter generators are quite a practical thing today.

The environmentally friendly modes available for these types vary depending on the load requirements.

Factors That Determines How Long You Can Run a Generator continuously

Running time – most manufacturers advertise generator running time. As already mentioned, generators are not designed for a running time of about 8 – 12 hours. So if you’ve been running, this for weeks, months, or even years; without a break, we seriously advise against it.

Maintenance – this is another important element in extending the life of your generator. The internal parts inside the generators require lubricant, engine fuel, etc. So you want the engine of your generator to always be filled and lubricated. Neglecting this process can cause your generator to stutter and die.

Generator Strain – generator engines aren’t designed like car engines. They’re not designed for long runtimes and in this case, tend to overheat. The life of a generator can be reduced by loading the engine. It can be tempting to run it again and again in times of need.  However, if you choose to do so, you run the risk of overheating.

It’s recommended not to run the generator for longer than 24 hours. Usually, this is about three to four cycles. Overall, you should take a break and not run the generator for too long.

Durability – This is to check the durability specification of your generator. As some manufactures have deliberately built with a certain time frame within their lifespan.

Common Use – a portable generator is used for many scenarios. Power surges may occur and you may not have power for some time. Generators are likely to be very useful when you’re working outside of your company and you need to power your tools. A chain can be easily powered by a generator.

For this reason, generators are often found on beaches and camping grounds. They’re perfect for times when you need a lot of electricity but are in the middle of nowhere.

Portable Generator with Gasoline

If you’re operating a portable generator with gasoline, the amount of time when your generator is the most limited.

The reason for this is that you should never refuel a petrol generator while it’s running. Although it may seem tempting to just pour more fuel into the tank, it is an extremely dangerous thing.

A running generator is hot, and there is a danger that the vapors of the fuel you add may cause sparks and unexpectedly ignite the generator or the fuel tank you are holding in your hand.

The bottom line: switch off your generator and let it cool down when you refuel.

This means that for petrol you’re limited to the nominal running time of your generator. Depending on how much electricity your generator consumes, this can range from a few hours to 12 or more hours. However, there are few portable gasoline generators with a fuel tank that is large enough to work for days.

Portable Generator with Propane

how to run a generator continously

You’re in control of your generator’s fuel tank if you have a generator that runs on propane. This provides some additional options to continuously supply your generator fuel.

The simplest way to extend your runtime with a propane generator is to connect two propane tanks to a single gas line using a shut-off valve – or changeover controller. This allows you to turn on the flow from one propane tank and leave the other closed. When it’s time to switch the propane tanks, simply twist the stop valve.

In this scenario, the used propane tank can be replaced with a new tank so you never run out of fuel. Assuming you have an endless supply of propane, how long can you run your generator?

Most portable generators need to be serviced every 100 hours, but that’s not a hard and quick rule. What restricts you instead is the amount of oil in the engine of your generator. This usually runs out after 150-200 hours of operation, and most modern generators are switched off automatically when the oil to protect the engine runs out.

Remember that heat accumulation is also an important consideration if you run your generator well beyond its running time. Generators can only build up a small amount of excess heat for 12-24-hours, but once you go beyond one day of continuous use, you run the risk of engine heat building up that could permanently damage your generator.

Consider using a fan to cool the engine of your generator down, if you’re running your generator in warm weather. Also, remember that operating the generator at higher wattage produces more heat.

So if you manage your generator properly, you could run it continuously on propane for 150-200 hours.

How long do generators last?

An additional generator is an excellent asset for your home or business, so make sure it works as long as possible.

You will tend not to spend a large amount of money on the fact that within five years it will no longer work. Or, on the other hand, you might need something you can rely on.

In particular, it is essential to take into account as far as possible the sections that provide the generator of aid: a brilliant brand with a reputation for long-term use.

Establishes a connection to the generator base that visualizes how the station is correctly configured and offers you solutions to ensure that the generator continues to run.

Following the guidelines for the Alliance Generator Proposal, you are guaranteed that your generator will last as planned for 20 years. Please note in any event that the unit is air-cooled and not liquid-cooled, it doesn’t require daily continuous operation.

Generator Maintenance tips

  • Take care of the air filters regularly. Make sure they’re cleaned, change these filters about monthly or every 100 hours.
  • If you have an older system generator, change the oil after extreme use every 24hours. If you have a newer system, change the oil every hundred hours or as needed.
  • Never use dirty fuel to refill the tank
  • Ensure that the generator is kept clean so that no dirt or dust can accumulate. This can cause the operating system to malfunction; dirt deposits can best be removed with an air supply. To blow off then, never wipe off excess dirt pressurized water, as this can destroy the internals.
  • Make sure that no leakage or leaks are detected. If you happen to see any, make sure that all parts are tightened securely or replaced immediately.
  • Annually check on your generator. Pay attention to any significant damage, such as broken or missing parts.
  • Make sure that the spark plugs are in new condition and have do not show any damage, as this can lead to a carbon deposit. If you notice them, wipe them off with a wire brush or sponge cleaner.
  • Store your generator properly. If you’re not going to be using it for a long time. Therefore, precautionary measures are mandatory. These include fully charging the system, then to prevent corrosion, remove all the fuel and the carburettor float chamber in the cylinder bore. Then remove all spark plug and move the coiled starter button in a neutral position. Make sure the storage location is a dry area.

Wrapping up

First of all, never forget the fact that generators only serve as a backup source to regulate electricity. Generators are a temporary alternative source of electricity that is not intended to replace your utility company. Similarly, the generators cannot be equated with solar panels because they are deliberately designed as an emergency power source, and nothing more.

Never overlook the fact that it is not recommended to keep your generators running continuously. Like everything else, they need a break from time to time.

Then get ready to face all the mechanical problems caused by wear and tears, and perhaps eventually engine damage. Generators have an engine just like any other engine that needs a break from the workload.

After purchasing your generator, you can’t be sure how accurate you can get in installing and running your new tool. The best thing to do is to read the user’s manual.


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