How Long Will a Standby Generator Run During an Extended Power Outage?

In theory, standby generators will run indefinitely or for however long fuel is supplied to the generator.   Most home standby generators in metropolitan areas are fueled by natural gas (NG) and, thus, there is no need for a fuel tank since there is an endless supply of NG from your utility company.  Standby generators located in rural areas are often fueled by liquid propane (LP) or diesel and require a fuel storage tank. Generator run time will be limited by the amount of fuel remaining in the tank.

During an extended power outage lasting several days, you will want to conserve generator usage, especially if your generator is fueled by LP or diesel.  Most diesel generators have a 24-hour fuel tank, although 48- and 72-hour fuel tanks are available.  If your generator is diesel or LP, you probably already have a relationship with a refueling service that will stop by your home or business to top off your tank.  During extended outages you will need to stay in touch with your fuel service provider to make sure the tank is topped off periodically.

During extended power outages, consider shutting down the generator every 48-72 hours for purposes of engine cooling and to check oil levels. This is especially true if the generator’s engine runs at 3600 RPM. Check the oil level during periodic shut downs use care when adding oil, being careful not to overfill as this can cause problems.

The best generators have engines operating at 1800 RPM. These engines use less oil, run cooler, and are perfect for extended power outages. While more expensive than 3600 RPM generators, these engines are also more reliable and fuel efficient. If your goal is to have absolute reliability, be sure to choose a generator with an engine running at 1800 RPM. Generator engines running at 3600 RPM work fine, but they are best suited for short term power outages.

Diesel generators are generally regarded as being the most reliable.  We’ve all heard the John Deere motto, “Runs like a Deere”, but the same is true for most diesel engine manufacturers like Cummins. The two downsides to owning a diesel generator is (1) cost, and (2) the need to keep an eye on the fuel tank levels. Most residential generators run on natural gas where homeowners enjoy an endless supply of fuel.

If you are in the market for a new generator, Buckeye Power Systems has a wide choice of generators that can run off NG, LP, or diesel. While we are an authorized dealer for all major manufacturers, generators built by Cummins Power Generation are of the highest quality and deliver unparalleled reliability.

Browse our selection of air-cooled generators or, if you need something larger for whole house coverage, check out our liquid-cooled generators. Or, check out our line-up of diesel generators ... all in stock and ready to ship.

To learn more, feel free to call us Monday - Friday, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm CDT. Our trained representatives are ready to field your questions and can help recommend an appropriately sized generator based on your standby power needs.

So, give us a call today at 901-379-8097.