How Long Do Generators Last?

by | Jun 26, 2023 | Energy Saving, FAQs

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Thinking about how long generators last? Well, several factors determine the lifespan of a generator. Depending on how the machine is used and correctly maintained, it can survive for up to 30,000 hours. However, if not correctly cared for and maintained, a generator can last for 10,000 hours or less.

A diesel generator’s life expectancy is usually more significant compared to that of a natural gas generator. However, diesel alternatives require some more effort to keep functioning smoothly. So in this article, we’ll discuss the factors that influence a generator’s life expectancy.

Types of Generators

1. Portable Generators

These are not developed to work continuously for longer. You should only use your portable generator for brief periods. The course a portable generator can deliver continuous power generation depending on its fuel source, size, and the models you purchase:

If you need to utilize your portable generator for an elevated period, consider the manufacturer’s recommendations to avoid any problems. Some manufacturers may advise replacing the oil and filter after a particular number of hours of operation.

How long do generators last?

2. Residential Standby Generators

These differ from mobile generators because they have a fixed location and are built to withstand continuous use. They can often power more appliances and devices simultaneously than portable generators, most of which can run securely for days or even weeks. They are often powered by gas such as natural gas or propane, but certain kinds can also run on petrol, diesel, or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Some factors, like the size of the generators and the gadgets or electronics being powered, might alter the run time of a standby generator. Generally speaking:

  • Propane-powered backup generators can run for roughly a month, give or take a few days, on the supply inside the propane storage container. This presumes you have a suitable container.
  • Standby generators fuelled by natural gas can run indefinitely when there is a natural gas supply. However, it is critical to let the equipment “cool downs” and not leave it running for any longer than the manufacturer’s instructions suggest. In general, a backup generator can safely offer continuous power generation for two to three weeks before needing to be restarted.

Running your standby generator for an extended period might cause damage to the generator as well as your home’s appliances and electrical system. To avoid overworking your generator, keep track of how long it runs.

5 Factors That Affect The Lifespan Of Your Generator

1. A Faulty Or Dead Battery

While there are numerous causes for generator failure, battery issues are among the most common factors that decide how long generators last. Many problems can impair battery performance, including loose wires, filthy or rusted connections, excessive age, and the accumulation of lead sulfates on battery plates, which damages the ability to generate sufficient electrical current.

2. Leaks

Oil, gasoline, or coolant leaks are a further contributory factor to a generator failure, and they are incredibly misleading because they happen slowly over time. Consequently, you may only recognize an issue once it is too late. Wet stacking, a condition in which oil, petrol, and other liquids accumulate in a generator’s exhaust pipes, can cause leaks. You may lose enough oil to cause engine damage based on the number of leaks. A fuel leak reduces generator efficiency and can be extremely dangerous, potentially resulting in failures and fires that damage property and hurt employees.

3. Inadequate Coolant

Inadequate coolant levels are another major cause of how long generators last, which can cause unexpected failure and damage from overheating. Further, it is critical to monitor coolant levels on a routine basis; if you have lost any, then could be a leak in the system. Keep an eye out for any apparent puddles within your diesel generator.

4. Inadequate Maintenance

Operators that disregard maintenance have a substantially greater failure rate than generators. Filters, for example, should be updated regularly because dirt accumulates in them over time, affecting air quality and making the generating system work harder. For how long do generators last quarterly inspection is recommended, as well as a yearly significant generator maintenance service visit which involves a change of oil, filter replacement, connection checking, and a run test.

5. The Presence Of Air In The Fuel System

Another reason for your generator not starting could be air in the fuel system. This happens when the system isn’t operated on an ongoing basis, which is familiar to many emergency generators. Air can prevent fuel from reaching the fuel injector, preventing the engine from starting. This problem can be prevented by running the generator for at least a few minutes once a week to allow air to escape from the fuel system.

6 Signs That Your Generator Needs To Be Replaced

How long do generators last diagram

1. Your Generator Needs Help Starting

Nothing is more aggravating than a generator that refuses to start. This could occur for various reasons. Check the crankcase oil level. If the group is down, add more oil. Remember that running a generator on an uneven surface may cause the low-oil sensor to activate even if there is enough oil. Check the choke to ensure that it is closed. Examine the fuel valve and the carburetor. When gasoline sits for an extended period, sediment can create blocking.

2. It Has A Low Power Flow

Have you examined the flow of power? If your generator isn’t producing as much electricity as it should, the master stage selector switch, master breaker, or control panel may malfunction. Do not attempt to mend yourself.

3. Any External Or Internal Leak Is Possible

Leaking or symptoms of circulating are usually easy to detect. Look for puddles of rainbow-colored fluid with a coating on top. This might be oil or coolant. If your generator leaks gasoline, you may notice a petrol odor. Transfer it to a well-ventilated place and inspect the hoses and fuel lines for cracking, ripping, or punctures. A malfunctioning storage pan could also cause fluid loss.

4. Examine The Body For Damage

Again, this is the product of prolonged storage. Something either fell, rolled over, or pressed up on it. Exterior body damage is usually not a problem, but inspect hoses, cables, and fuel supply lines for friction or tearing.

5. Battery That Is Not Fully Charged

Generator batteries, like automobile batteries, can degrade over time if not used frequently. Using a voltmeter, test your voltage regularly. Examine the cables for corrosion and scrub them with a wire brush if necessary. If you put a battery on a charger, ensure it is for the correct voltage. Electrolytes can be added to conventional batteries as needed. You won’t be able to contact any of the cells if you have a maintenance-free battery. If the battery is three years or more, it may be time to change it.

6. The Electrical Components Show Wear

The majority of electrical component deterioration may be seen visually. They consist of but aren’t restricted to, Wiring that is frayed or has bare wires, Control knobs that are worn, broken, or missing, and loose Connectors. These difficulties could result from wear, abandonment, or improper storage. Electrical damage can be harmful and, if not addressed, can result in costly repair or replacement.


How long generators last is only as dependable as its weakest component. Since most generators are only utilized as backup generators to keep equipment functioning during a power outage, they are subject to possible problems going undiscovered. Furthermore, if generators are not repaired regularly, they are more likely to fail mechanically as they age.

Regular generator maintenance should be carried out to maintain your equipment’s reliability and efficiency. Organizations not prioritizing periodic maintenance are far more likely to suffer a generator failure. Industrial generator maintenance and repair services not only provide you peace of mind that your power equipment will function as expected when you need it the most, but they also extend your generator’s lifetime. Given the high initial cost of a generator system, it is prudent to maximize its longevity through frequent preventative maintenance.

Also Read: ChatGPT’s Carbon Footprint


  • Dr. Tanushree Kain

    Tanushree is a passionate Environmentalist with a Doctorate in Environmental Sciences. She is also a Gold medalist in Master of Science (M.Sc), Environmental Sciences. She has 6 years of experience as a guest faculty in Environmental Sciences. With her combination of technical knowledge and research expertise, she can create clear, accurate, and engaging content that helps users get the maximum information regarding environmental topics.


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