How Long Can a Generac Generator Run Uninterruptedly?

Generac Generator Powering a House
Generac Generator Powering a House

Most power outages are brief. According to the US Energy Information Administration, the average energy consumer must be without power for four hours yearly.

However, other people have far longer outages, prompting them to ask how long Generac generators can run continuously. What if they have to wait days or weeks for the utility company to restore power? Finding out what to do in this situation is critical in maintaining your generator power source. 

Run Times for a Generac Generator

If your generator is in good working order, it will continue to run as long as the fuel lasts, similar to a car. The running time is proportional to the amount of diesel or gas fed into it.

You may be able to provide your Generac with fuel indefinitely if you have a gas generator and receive natural gas through the main pipes to your home. The fuel that your generator uses is constantly replenished by gas from the main lines, so the unit may be able to run for weeks at a time. That is, if there are no mechanical issues that pop up.

When propane stored in a tank is used, the running times are not infinite, but they are still significant. You can usually get a couple of weeks of use out of the generator before you will need to refill the propane tank. 

Whatever the type, if there is fuel and the engine is maintained properly, it will continue to run. Some are hardwired into the fuel lines, while others are portable and will need fuel fed to them.

Problems with Maintenance

Whole-house generators, like automobile engines, require regular maintenance to be in good working order. Wear and tear, as with any equipment with moving parts, can be severe.

These machines use oil, as with any motor, and will need this oil changed every couple of days with continuous use. For every fifty hours of continuous use, you need to replace the oil in your generator. This equates to about once every couple of days. This seems to be something that many people miss or forget. However, this is very important in keeping your generator running properly.

Generators, Both Portable and Standby

Generac generators are classified into two types: standby and portable. This influences how long they can provide power.

Standby generators connect directly to the main lines or established fuel sources on your property. Generac workers, for example, will connect your unit to the main natural gas pipelines feeding your property. As previously stated, this type of generator can provide power indefinitely with proper maintenance. Don’t forget to replace the oil every couple of days when this happens.

Portable units are easier to move. These generators must be constantly fed fuel while in use. Therefore, they can only provide electricity for a short duration. However, they will continue to run if you keep fuel in them. Again, don’t forget to replace the oil during long durations of running.

Considerations for Wattage

The length of time your Generac generator runs continuously is also determined by the wattage requirements of your home. You will need to purchase a generator that will meet the demands of your home. Haley Mechanical would be happy to discuss this with you and determine the size that would best suit your needs.

Obviously, the power you utilize and if you have a limited fuel supply, the shorter the time your Generac generator will run. If you connect your generator to the main lines, wattage issues are irrelevant. On the other hand, extending your unit’s maximum rated power output is unsafe and may decrease its life.

Preventive Measures We Take During Flu and Virus Season

Woman with fall allergies

This is the prime time of year for viruses and flu, and while this season the concerns are more far-reaching, comfort is still important – especially considering you may be spending more time at home than usual. Homeowners in Ann Arbor and throughout southeast Michigan rely on their HVAC systems for a cozy, comfortable space. That said, our heating and cooling technicians are responsible for keeping your equipment in good working order. 

While we are serious about keeping our community safe and preventing the spread of viruses or other illnesses throughout the year, we want to remind you of some of the preventive measures we take in an effort to keep flu or emergent viruses in check. 

You can help by doing your part, which is simple. If someone in your household is ill, contact us to reschedule your appointment.

Haley Mechanical Flu Season Protocol

Wash hands for at least 20 seconds. This is mandatory and performed not only after visiting the bathroom, but at every break. Thoroughly washing hands is the simplest way to avoid spreading germs.

Hand sanitizer is supplied in all of our company vehicles and used following customer interactions, deliveries, or prior to entering another establishment.

Disposable gloves are used when possible for removing filters, trash, or other items at customers’ homes or place of business. Wash hands right away upon disposing of gloves.

Customer service reps inquire about illness when confirming appointments. As mentioned earlier, if you or a family member are sick we ask that you reschedule your appointment.

Anti-bacterial wipes are provided in our vehicles and are used to thoroughly wipe down all devices we use following every interaction with customers. You know that the equipment we bring in to diagnose or make repairs is sanitized to prevent spread of germs or viruses.

Proper storage and removal of trash. Air filters and other trash taken from customer homes is contained completely within a trash bag and removed immediately from vehicles for trash pick-up by field staff.

Items brought in from homes where someone is being treated for the flu are disinfected prior to entering Haley Mechanical’s office or company vehicles, or before entering a customer’s home. Our technicians relay any information regarding customer illness to managers.

Call in sick. If any technician is ill or has symptoms similar to those of the flu, he/she communicates with the manager by calling in. We do our part not to spread those germs and viruses around!

At Haley Mechanical we have a device that cleans air circulating throughout our premises, the Clear Sky DM by RGF Environmental Group. If you are in the SE Michigan area you can rely on our team to not only ensure your family’s comfort, but to support wellness during a tough flu and virus season. Give us a call today!

Standby Generators Live up to Their Name – Here’s Why

Broken Power Lines

While a portable generator is better than nothing at all when you lose power in your southeast Michigan home, nothing compares to a standby generator.  It’s not easy being in the dark, especially if your home heating or cooling system relies on electricity – and your groceries could ruin as well, depending on how long the power is out.  Before you decide whether to purchase a portable or standby generator, understand the difference!

With a standby generator, you have power – NOW.  Portable generators require set up, fuel, extension cords . . . It can be a real hassle.  Even then, you have to make sure you set it up in a way that fumes will not make their way inside your home.  A portable generator is great as a temporary solution but is not the best choice when you need back-up power for an entire day or even a week.  For critical systems like your cooling/heating system and sump pump, portable generators just aren’t a reliable choice.  Standby generators kick on automatically when the power goes out, powering your entire home.

What happens if you’re not home when the power goes out?  A portable generator certainly cannot set itself up in the event you are away from your home or business when the power goes out.  Depending on the duration of the power outage, you could lose everything in your refrigerator or deep-freeze – and we all know that food isn’t cheap these days.  This can be a particular problem if your business relies on freezers/coolers to keep perishables fresh or ice cream frozen.

Standby generators require zero effort.  A standby generator will restore power in just 10 seconds, without you having to lift a finger.  Because it is permanently installed on your property, there is no heavy lifting or running extension cords through a window/door.

Quiet supply of “super” power.  With a portable generator, you have to decide which appliances/electronics you want to use.  For instance, to use the stove, you may have to turn off the refrigerator.  Standby generators are powerful, capable of handling large electrical loads – and it runs quietly, so you don’t have to listen to a loud motor running all day/night.

With a standby generator installed in your Ann Arbor or Ypsilanti home, it’s always a beautiful day.  Regardless of high winds, heavy rain, or electrical storms, your home will continue running as usual – and you will never have to get up in the middle of the night to set up the portable generator.  What could be easier than that?

At Haley Mechanical, we highly recommend having a standby generator installed in your SE Michigan home.  With winter just around the corner, you never know what mother nature will bring regarding snow, sleet, and ice!  Never be without power again.

Are You Prepared for Winter Power Outages?

Broken Power Lines

With all of the winter storms the nation has experienced so far this winter season – Winter Storms Maximus and Nika, Polar Vortex – it can make you feel like you are living somewhere other than the good old U.S., perhaps Antarctica or deep in the Siberian wilderness! All we wish is that it was over, but there are still a few weeks to go before we can enjoy the warmer weather. In the meantime, it is important to be prepared for a power outage which could be brought on by heavy snowfall, ice, or even wind.

No one wants to be out of power, but having an outage presents far more danger than having a power outage in warmer months. Extremely cold temperatures can be deadly, so it is important you be well prepared for safety’s sake. How can you be ready the next time one of these dangerous storms hits the southeast Michigan area? Here are a few pointers.

Consider an automatic generator. An automatic generator makes it possible to run your entire home during an outage, or just the necessities such as your refrigerator and heat, depending on the size you choose. Automatic generators work much like portable models but are more convenient because of their ability to shut on and off automatically when the power goes out and comes back on. This is possible because of the fact the generator is installed at the back or side of your home and hooked up to a natural gas line – no constant fuelling up!

Automatic generators can be costly, but the investment is well worth it if you can afford it. Not only can your home remain safe and warm for your family, but you also enjoy peace of mind. If an automatic generation simply isn’t within your budget, here are some other suggestions to keep you safe and warm during the next winter storm.

Have emergency supplies on hand. These supplies should include:

  • Flashlights, generators, battery-powered lanterns and other emergency equipment, tested and ready for use
  • Non-perishable food items
  • If you have a woodstove or fireplace, have plenty of firewood on hand
  • Collect water in bottles for drinking, cooking, and other needs should your pipes freeze
  • Also, make sure all of the batteries on your mobile devices are charged such as your laptop or mobile phone.

Make sure your home is prepared for the next winter storm by:

  • Applying caulk or weather stripping to exterior doors and windows
  • To prevent busted water pipes, drip faucets when temperatures are extremely cold
  • Ensure your walls and attic are sufficiently insulated
  • Set up equipment for emergency heat, such as a camp stove and fuel, fireplace and wood/coal
  • Know how to shut off the water valves to your home should a pipe break
  • Consider purchasing space heaters, but know how to use them in a safe manner. Space heaters should never be operated in a room or home when no one is present, and should not be placed in close proximity to furniture, drapes, blankets, throws, or any item/material which is potentially flammable. They’re also not to be used for drying wet gloves, hats, or other items of clothing.

At Haley Mechanical our mission is to help southeast Michigan homeowners in Ann Arbor, Dexter, Ypsilanti, and surrounding areas stay warm and safe this winter season, regardless of what storms may roll our way. Have questions about automatic generators? Give us a call today.

What All Can You Run on a Standby Generator

Broken Power Lines

If you are a southeast Michigan homeowner curious about what you can expect a Kohler standby generator to run, we’ve provided some information we believe will be helpful. The quick answer to what appliances or electronics your generator will run is that it depends on the power each appliance consumes, and the output capacity of the generator you choose.

It’s important to think about what is most vital when the power goes out.  For instance, powering the sump pump to prevent flooding of the basement would likely take top priority over having the electric range work for cooking.  If the power remains out for hours or even days, you can change which appliances you power, depending on your needs.  Here’s a bit more information to enlighten you regarding electricity and generator capacity.

Understanding Electricity

Amps (A) or amperage and Volts (V) are used to measure electricity.  Amps are current which measure the volume of electrons moving within an electrical circuit.  Voltage measures the volume of force those electrons are under, and generates current.  No doubt you’ve heard of “watts” such as in the wattage of light bulbs or microwaves.  This is how the amount of electricity used by appliances or electronics is measured, in watts.  Essentially, by multiplying the volts by the amperage, you can determine the wattage of an appliance.  For instance, an appliance plugged into a 120-volt outlet that draws 5 amperes of current would use 600 watts.

The power used by motors on larger appliances such as air conditioners or refrigerators is measured in volt-amps, instead of watts.  Often converted to kVA (1kVA = 1,000 volt amps), with these larger appliances it is important to consider not only the running current, but the startup current as well.  Motor-driven appliances generally use a surge of power upon startup, then drop to a steady, lower current while running.  It’s fairly simple to determine startup current.  For most motors, multiply the running watts times three (3); heavy duty motors’ startup current can be determined by multiplying the running watts times six (6).

So that you can determine how much power your standby generator will produce, it is rated in kilowatts.  Standby generators manufactured by Kohler are capable of supplying power in addition to their rated power for support starting motors for a brief time period.  Kohler’s standby generators are available in 14kW and 20kW depending on your needs.  14kW generators are capable of supplying 35kVA, while 20kW models will supply 40.5kVA to support startup currents.

How Much Power Do Appliances Require?

Many homeowners in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Howell, and other cities in SE Michigan aren’t aware of starting and running watts of their home appliances.  In most cases, this information is provided on the product tag/owner’s manual.

Managing Standby Generator Power

Your local Kohler dealer will help you choose a load control module and transfer switch for your system.  When the power goes out, the transfer switch will transfer power from the utility grid to your standby generator automatically.  Once the power has been transferred over, however, some systems require that you control the load.  This is critical to ensure your generator does not become overloaded.  A load control module makes it possible for you to access all appliances in your home, just not simultaneously.

You have the ability to prioritize which appliances come on in what order when your generator is installed.  For instance, many homeowners choose to power the sump pump, refrigerator, and freezer, then the heating/cooling system depending on the season.  When prioritizing your appliances, add up the power for each and don’t forget to include the starting watts for appliances with motors.

Flexibility is another advantage of having a Kohler standby generator, as you can manage the power yourself when necessary.  For instance, when the A/C unit does not start and it begins to get stuffy or uncomfortable in your home, you can shut some of the appliances that are running off, thereby freeing up power to turn on the A/C.

While we have tried to explain how electricity works and its importance in determining what can be powered by a standby generator, we understand that it can still be confusing.  If you’re considering a Kohler standby generator and have questions, give us a call at Haley Mechanical today!  We’ll be more than happy to explain it in simpler language.

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