March 2023 came in like a lamb and seems to be going out like a lion. Large portions of Ohio have experienced massive winds and significant amounts of rainfall. Together, these weather patterns may make you wonder if you should install a backup power system for your home. But how long can a backup generator power a house? Is there a limit to what’s considered safe? Do you need to perform maintenance?
The purpose of a backup generator
Before answering those questions, let’s address the purpose of a backup generator. Solar panel systems are meant to act as either a replacement for or a way of reducing your dependence on the local power grid.
However, this is not the purpose of a backup generator. Rather, if you’re wondering how long a backup generator can power a home, the simplified answer is “for a short time.” In other words, it’s not meant to be your only source of power like a potential solar system. Instead, they are a backup method of power during an outage.
The two types of backup generators
There are two types of backup generator systems. One is simply called a backup generator. These are portable units, typically gasoline or diesel-powered, and can keep a small handful of electronics or a couple of larger appliances powered during an outage. The second type is a whole-house generator, which attaches to your natural gas or propane line. This can power virtually your entire home, though the tradeoff is you’ll burn through your heating fuel at a faster rate.
A short-term power outage
Our focus today is on how long either of these systems can power your house. The first type, those of the portable backup generator classification, typically have large enough of a fuel tank to power a home for seven to eight days of continuous run time or approximately 200 hours. However, at least once (possibly twice, depending on you last used your generator) you will need to power down the unit and replace the oil and filter.
A long-term problem
Many of us remember the ice storms from the late 90s and early 2000s. Those outages lasted upward of a week in some areas. But what happens if your home is without power even longer?
A whole-house generator should have the capability to power your home for up to 3,000 hours, though you will want to consider giving the unit a break. Running it for 500 hours without turning it off is not advised. In addition, if you’re using a propane tank, you’ll run the risk of running out of fuel for both heating and electricity quicker.
A better solution is to run it in 10-12 hour increments, and only leave appliances plugged in as necessary.
So how long can a backup generator power a house?
As with most things in life, your mileage may vary. However, the answer to “how long can a backup generator power a house” is between 200 to 500 hours of continuous use. It depends on your fuel supply, what you need to power, and how often you can afford to take the system offline for maintenance.
Would you like to learn more about your options with home generators? Then just let us know by sending us a message here. We’ll then be in touch ASAP to go over your needs and how we can help.