How Long Do Home Generators Last?

How Long Do Home Generators Last? | Wenger Electric

As our modern electricity demands outpace aging infrastructure and as severe weather events come on fast and furious, power outages seem to be more common. For these and other reasons, you could opt to purchase a standby home generator. It’s not a small investment to make, but the peace of mind it brings is priceless.

Understandably, you’ll want to know that when you need it, your generator will kick into action. But you might not be clear on the specifics, leading to questions like these: How long can I rely on my home generator during an outage? What is the lifespan of a home generator? 

How Long Does a Standby Generator Last During an Outage?

Fuel is your top concern if you’re experiencing a prolonged power outage. If your home generator is in good condition and well-maintained, then fuel to run the motor and generate needed electricity is the only thing standing in your way. 

If your home generator runs on natural gas, then refueling shouldn’t be an issue, since the generator will have a direct line that runs to your home’s gas line. Other than some scheduled breaks to let the generator rest, a direct fuel supply could theoretically enable it to run nonstop.

On the other hand, if your generator is powered by diesel or propane, then ensuring an ample fuel supply should be a top priority. That could mean building a relationship with a refueling service provider so that you can rely on them to keep your supply stocked in the case of an extended outage. 

It’s good to know that most of the Kohler models we offer our customers are typically outfitted with a 24-hour capacity fuel tank. Should you want to, you do have the option to purchase a larger tank for additional storage.

Now that the question of fuel is out of the way, there are some things you can do to ensure that your home generator is running at an optimal level, which is especially important during an extended power outage. Here are a few key pointers:

  • Clear the area: keep snow or debris away from the unit for the best operation
  • Be selective: only use your generator to power essential appliances and lights––too much stress will inevitably shorten your generator’s lifespan
  • Schedule downtime: our technicians recommend giving the generator a periodic rest by shutting it down for a few minutes at a time
  • Check the oil: during scheduled downtime, after the engine cools a bit, Kohler recommends checking your generator’s oil––do this every 8-24 hours of operation

What is the Typical Lifespan of a Standby Generator?

The lifespan of any generator often depends more on hours of operation than other factors. While the overall lifespan of your specific model will depend on the type, brand, and size, a somewhat standard range is about 1,500 – 3,000 operational hours. How that translates into years will vary, but oftentimes a well-maintained standby home generator is capable of reliable operation for anywhere from 20 to 40 years. That’s honestly a really good run, and a very worthwhile investment, especially if your home is also your place of work or if family members rely on electrical equipment for health and wellness needs. 

How You Can Extend the Life of Your Standby Generator

When you take care of your standby generator, you can expect it to last for a long time.

To keep your generator running well for as long as possible, you’ll want to regularly take time out of your schedule for preventive maintenance. Kohler recommends that weekly or biweekly, you “exercise” the unit, powering it on and letting it run for about a half hour. Not only does weekly exercise keep the motor running well, but it can also rid the unit of any accumulated moisture.

Monthly fluid checks and routine work – oil changes, checking oil lines, cleaning and testing the battery, etc. – performed by one of our generator installation and maintenance experts are also key. All of these above suggestions are great first steps to ensure that your generator will be there for you when you need it most, even during extended outages.

Rely on Youngstown's Generator Installation Experts

Whether you’re trying to decide on the best generator for your household’s needs, or have a unit that you’d like to keep going for years to come, the team at Wenger Electric is here to help. We can help you to select a reliable generator and we also offer yearly maintenance plans to ensure that your home standby generator is ready to run when you need it to. Give us a call or get in touch with one of our certified technicians today to learn more or schedule a consultation.

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