How Long Will a Standby Generator Last?

A standby home generator is a big investment: when you purchase a generator, you want to know that it will provide a lot of value. But how can you be sure your generator will be there for you when you need it? How long will a standby generator last during an extended power outage, and what is its overall lifespan?

How Long Will a Standby Generator Last in an Outage?

As long as your generator has fuel, you can expect it to run indefinitely during an outage. This will depend on the type of fuel that your generator uses. If you have a natural gas generator, fuel should not be a concern because the generator will be hooked up to your home’s gas line. But if you have a diesel or propane generator, fuel should be your top concern. Most generators are equipped with a 24 hour fuel tank, but larger tanks can be purchased if you want to store more. To ensure you don’t run out, you should keep in contact with a refueling service that can keep you stocked during an extended outage.

While your generator should be able to keep running during an extended outage, there are things you can do that help your generator to function better. Make sure it is clear of snow and debris, and do what you can to lighten its load. Too much stress will shorten your generator’s lifespan, so use it to power only the appliances and lights that you really need, and give it some time to rest by shutting it down periodically. This will give the engine a chance to cool, and it is a good time to check the oil level. Kohler recommends checking your oil every 8-24 hours of operation, so you may need to check it several times during an extended outage.

What is the Lifespan of a Standby Generator?

The overall lifespan will depend on the type and size of your generator, but a typical range is about 1500-3000 hours. You should be powering your generator on for about half an hour each week to exercise it, which means it will run for a minimum of 26 hours per year. Power outages, especially extended outages, will require running your generator for more time. Typically, standby generators have a lifespan of 20-40 years, depending on how often they run and how well they are maintained.

How to Extend the Life of Your Standby Generator

As with any engine, your generator will only have a long life if it is properly maintained and cared for. There are a few ways that you can extend your generator’s life. Be sure to exercise your generator weekly, perform routine maintenance, and schedule yearly service. Additionally, be wary of how long you run your generator during extended outages, and lighten its load if possible. When you take care of your standby generator, you can expect it to last for a long time.

Are you considering purchasing a long-lasting standby generator for your home? Do you already have a generator, and want to make sure it is properly maintained and cared for? Call one of our certified technicians today.

How Often Should a Standby Generator Be Serviced?

A home generator is a big investment, so you want your generator to keep running for as long as possible. What’s the secret to a longer life? Maintenance and service! A well-maintained generator can last as long as 30 years, but one that isn’t regularly serviced will certainly run into problems well before then. If you want to make the most of your generator investment, start with regular standby generator maintenance. Power Products specializes in Kohler generators, so we will be using those as a reference point, but these maintenance tips can apply to all generator brands.

First: Read the Manual

All generators need to be serviced regularly, and they all have similar needs. However, not all generators are the same. Your specific model may need more frequent service or have specific needs that other models do not have. Make sure that you are familiar with your generator so that there are no surprises later.

Factors Affecting Standby Generator Service Frequency

Every standby generator should be run weekly for half an hour. This exercises the generator and ensures that it is ready to switch on in the event of a power outage. If you’re lucky, this weekly exercise is the only time throughout the year that your generator will need to switch on. However, we know that in New England that is often not the case.

If you experience frequent or lengthy power outages, your generator may be running for hundreds of hours per year. This type of heavy use puts a strain on your machine, so it may need more frequent service.

You should also consider your generator’s environment. Standby generators sit outside your home, so if your environment is particularly cold, hot, dusty, or otherwise difficult for your generator to manage, you may need to have it serviced more often.

Monthly Maintenance

There’s no need to have a professional technician come out to see your generator every month, but you also shouldn’t be ignoring your generator throughout the year. Once a month, you should perform some basic maintenance tasks, including:

  • Visual inspection. Look at the wire connections and clamps to make sure nothing has come loose. If you have a gas powered generator, check its piping for damage or leaks. Make sure that the generator and the area around it is clean. This may include clearing away snow during the winter months.
  • Check oil level. Between oil changes, check that your machine has enough oil. You may need to add some. Be sure to perform this check when the generator is off so that you can accurately measure your oil level.
  • Check coolant level. Take a look at the overflow tank. You may need to add some coolant.
  • Check fuel (for diesel generators). Be sure to add fuel when you’re running low. You don’t want to find out during a power outage that you’re running on empty.

Schedule Service with a Kohler Technician

There are basic maintenance tasks that you can perform yourself, but to ensure a long life for your generator you should schedule standby generator service with a qualified technician. Typically, this is done yearly, but keep in mind how often your generator runs and your specific generator model; you may need to schedule maintenance more often.

During these scheduled visits, your technician will perform maintenance tasks such as:

  • Changing your oil and filter. Just as a car cannot keep running on old oil, your generator’s oil needs to be drained and replaced.
  • Replacing air and fuel filters. Your air filter keeps dust and debris from clogging up your engine, so it’s important to have a clean one installed.
  • Changing spark plugs. Spark plugs get worn out by frequent use. Your technician can install new ones to ensure your engine will keep running to the best of its ability.
  • Other services. Your technician will perform a thorough inspection of your entire generator. If your generator has been damaged or parts are worn out, it may require additional service.

The Importance of Standby Generator Service

Just like your car, your generator needs regular service in order to function effectively. You can do many of the simpler maintenance tasks yourself, but it is essential that you have a professional service your generator at least once a year. Want to make sure that your generator stays in tip-top shape? Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our certified Kohler technicians.

Will My Home Generator Run in the Snow?

Have you invested in a generator for your New England home? Are you considering one? Many homeowners in the area know that unpredictable weather and harsh storms mean they can lose power at any moment – especially in the winter. Snow and ice have a habit of ruining even the best-laid plans. Can you count on a home generator to run in the snow?

Will Your Home Generator Run in the Snow?

Winter in New England is no joke. Every year, the area is hit by heavy snow and ice storms which can be powerful enough to down trees and power lines. This is often the harshest season of the year, and for that reason, it is the most common season for power outages. It should come as no surprise that Kohler generators are built tough; your generator needs to withstand ice, snow, and frigid conditions so you always have power when you need it. However, it is important to properly maintain your generator, especially in harsh winter weather, or you will run into problems.

How to Properly Maintain Your Generator in the Winter

There are a few actions you can take to ensure your generator will be up for the challenge when the snow starts to fall.

  • Clear snow from the intake and vents. The air intake is there for one reason: to take in air. When the air intake is clear, the generator can operate efficiently and cool the engine. However, if your generator is covered in snow, the intake cannot do its job, which may cause your engine to overheat and your generator to fail. To ensure this doesn’t happen, periodically clear snow and ice from your generator. During particularly heavy storms, this may mean doing the job a few times a day.
  • Make a path. If you’re going to be cleaning off your generator, make it easier for yourself by clearing a path from your house to your generator. You don’t want to find yourself trudging through several feet of snow just to clear your generator. Additionally, having a path clear ensures easy access if you do need emergency generator maintenance.
  • Take care of it all year long. All generators need to be properly maintained throughout the year to ensure top performance when you need it. Don’t ignore your generator through the spring, summer, and fall just because the weather is nice! You should be running your generator for 10-30 minutes at least once a month – and during the cold months, be sure to run it for about 10 minutes a week. Frequent exercise keeps your generator in peak condition, ensures it will function as it should when you lose power and will extend the lifespan of your machine. In addition to periodically running your generator, you should also have yearly maintenance performed by a professional.

Don’t Get Left Out in the Cold

Winters in New England can be brutal, but with the right generator and proper maintenance, you never have to face another storm without power. Are you considering purchasing a generator for your home? Contact one of our certified technicians today; we can help you select and maintain the generator that fits your needs at home.