How Long Can Your Generator Run?

In the past few years, the East Coast has been hit by some severe storms. As a precaution, many homeowners have chosen to install a generator to power their houses when an outage occurs. With summer thunderstorms, heavy rain and wind in the forecast now is a great time to invest in a generator.

Finding the Right Generator

When a big storm hits, power could be out for a day or even a week. Therefore, it’s essential to select a generator that works best for your home and unique needs. The latest in generator technology allows you to choose the types of appliances you want to keep on, such as your lighting, refrigerator, HVAC unit, washer and dryer, etc., so you can power what you need and leave the rest off to save on costs.

Generally, a standby generator will run as long as it has a fuel supply. There are three common fuel supplies for a generator:

  • Natural gas
  • Liquid propane
  • Diesel

If your generator is connected to your natural gas line, you should have an endless supply from your utility company (but the longer it’s on, the bigger the utility bill will be). It’s crucial to conserve generator usage when powered by propane or diesel. Most of the time, you will have a 24-hour fuel tank, although there are options for a 48- and 72-hour tank.

If you’ve already seen your generator through a few storms, you probably have a relationship with a refueling service that can come to your home and top off your generator. Keep in touch with your refueling provider during extended outages so your power stays up and running.

Whole House Vs. Portable Generators

How your generator functions during an outage also depends on whether it is a whole house generator or a portable generator. Whole house generators are permanently installed outside your home and will start working as soon as the power goes out. These usually run on propane or natural gas. These generators are a larger investment, as they can keep your whole house up and running during an outage.

A portable generator costs less but provides limited power during an outage. Homeowners generally use these to provide power to a few lights and appliances, such as the refrigerator, to avoid spoiled food. These are easily stored in a shed or garage.

Generator Maintenance

During an outage, you will need to do some daily maintenance to keep your generator running smoothly. Here are some of our top generator maintenance tips:

  • Keep it cool. These systems run hot, and it’s a good idea to periodically shut off your generator to allow it to cool down. Most homeowners will turn off their generator at night or while they’re away from home.
  • Change the oil. Generators also require oil changes, but the frequency depends on their RPM. A 3600 RPM engine will need more oil, so be sure to check the level every day during an outage. Be sure not to overfill it, as this can cause issues. These generators are best suited for shorter outages, so let it rest periodically during an extended outage. Engines that operate at 1800 RPM are more reliable and fuel-efficient, especially for extended power outages.
  • Test your unit. If your generator hasn’t been turned on in several months, it’s worthwhile to turn it on and let it run for around 20 minutes. This ensures everything is in working order and can also help you identify issues ahead of an outage. Rather than service your generator during an emergency, these test runs give you a cushion to schedule and perform repairs.
  • Schedule routine servicing. It’s also important to regularly service your generator outside of an outage. The generator experts at Bradley Mechanical can help with regular generator maintenance and repairs all year long. We’ll make sure your filters are in good condition and will replace them when it’s time for a new one. We can also provide load bank tests, coolant flushes, and belt and hose replacement. Fuel cleaning on a regular basis also helps recondition, stabilize, and decontaminate the fuel in your generator.

Keeping the Power On

Avoid a blackout this stormy summer season by calling Bradley Mechanical to select and install a reliable generator. We have a wide selection of whole house generators to fit your unique needs and budget. Additionally, we’ll install the system and ensure it’s ready to supply power when you need it most.

For more information on generator installation, maintenance, and repair, call Bradley Mechanical today.

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