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running a generator non stop - will it hurt anything?


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#1 Madoshi

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 03:44

been living on a 6.5kW generator for the last three days now up here in middle New York

the generator - a Yamaha gasoline engine on a Homelite portable wheeled chassis - has been running almost nonstop for about 60 hours now, with only about 10 minutes of downtime this morning when it ran out of fuel. other than that we have been refueling it live. it was bought a year ago and prior to Tuesday it had maybe 12 hours on it since new. as far as we know, the load is well within the continuous output capacity of 6500 watts.

what i would like to know is, will it hurt or put excessive wear on anything to have this run for another 72 hours? 96 hours? should the machine be allowed an hour or few hour break? how often?

the electric utility company says its going to be at least a few days longer due to the weather getting worse as the week goes on.


#2 redvamp128

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 03:55

When I was in the Army and we had to run off generators in the Field- It was customary for us to shut off power every 6 hours to check the oil and air filter as well as to fuel them up. (these were diesel though) ,

But you should probably read the manual... and occasionally shut it down to check the oil and air filter as well as to refuel. ( I would say every 4 - 6 hours to check the fluids then let it sit for at least 10 min ) not to mention if the belts are visible then check them. (some have chains and those you have to make sure are lubed) . Not to mention you should see if there are any lube points- though probably you are snowed in and don't have a grease gun.

If not then look online for a manual- usually they have a general maintenance section.

Also to note make sure that it is in a well ventilated area.

Though after this period of use you may want to consider getting the oil changed in the generator as soon as the weather clears.

#3 vetNicholas-c

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 04:00

If you know how to maintain it; it shouldn't be a problem, i would say every 6 hours or so give it around an hour to cool down and give it a check over before starting up again.

#4 MR_Candyman

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 04:12

is it a premium series or an inverter series of their generators? If your generator says it's 6500W then that is PEAK, NOT CONTINUOUS. Do not operate at a maximum power for more than 30 minutes. For continuous operations, do not exceed the rated power.

For example their E6600DE is 6600 watts peak, but 6000 continuous (which is still quite high because normally continuous is 50-60% of peak) with a running time of 7.4 hours at rated load.

Check out the current ones here: http://www.yamaha-mo...dex.php?group=G

#5 OP Madoshi

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 04:50

i'm positive its 6500 continuous watts. no worries there, i know the difference between peak and continuous output. by the sound of the gen outside, we aren't even getting close to the continuous max for more than a little while at a time.

i am more worried about the engine really, but at least its cold, not hot, out there right now being the middle of winter so it won't overheat or anything. i will see about checking the oil tomorrow, something we forgot about really. as for shutting it down every few hours, its not going to happen with my family. dad dumps gas into it while its running as it is.

the manual is long hidden away and i'm not going outside to find out the model. it seems to be holding up well.

the power definitely isn't clean, the blower in the furnace is a tad quieter (and slower) and the incandescent lamp in our fridge has a noticeable flicker depending on the load. but it seems to be holding up well. it powers enough of this household to keep all 4 of us happy. energy efficient integrated florescent light bulbs (the 15w kind that screw in to replace regular 60w bulbs) are used in all other light sources and they operate just fine.

its connected to our mains box with a cable that provides two leg power (2x120 or 240 volts). we are careful as to what is running. so far its lighting, two small televisions, a 3 month old fridge, a trailer-sized oil burnig furnace from the 70s that is running about 60% of the time, cable modem and router, three laptops plugged in and powered on, a water pump hooked to an underground well, and for a short time this afternoon, my Oki LED page printer. if we kill the heat, the water heater can be run, usually for 30 minutes or so at a time we give it.same with the clothes dryer. no light dimming here, though i wish i had a P3 Kill-a-Watt handy


thanks for the replies, im going to sleep now :)

#6 OP Madoshi

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 05:18

its costing about 30 bucks a day, 7 gallons = $20 local price

#7 Caleo

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 17:35

Do you really need power 24 hours a day?

Why not just run it for a few hours every once in a while to have the furnace run? I hope you don't have neighbors.. Power went out here a couple weeks ago at midnight and some ******* a door down fired up his generator at 1am and ran it all night. Needless to say that's the closest I've ever come to committing a crime (vandalization / sabotage of a generator).

#8 what

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 18:39

Do you really need power 24 hours a day?

Why not just run it for a few hours every once in a while to have the furnace run? I hope you don't have neighbors.. Power went out here a couple weeks ago at midnight and some ******* a door down fired up his generator at 1am and ran it all night. Needless to say that's the closest I've ever come to committing a crime (vandalization / sabotage of a generator).

If you have a fridge/freezer... yes you do need power 24 hours a day.

#9 HawkMan

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 19:11

If you have a fridge/freezer... yes you do need power 24 hours a day.


a Decent fridge and freezer should keep the cold for a considerable amount of time before they need power.

Freezers also last up to 3 days. fridges not so long but still depending on how often you open it it should last 12-24 hours.

#10 vetneufuse

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 19:27

Not sure what a gen like that can handle but whole home ones are great

http://www.amazon.co...r/dp/B001DZLKIW

connect right to your power and it auto switches on when the power goes out... nice to have them and they run off natural gas so no refilling

#11 OP Madoshi

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 02:09

Not sure what a gen like that can handle but whole home ones are great

http://www.amazon.co...r/dp/B001DZLKIW

connect right to your power and it auto switches on when the power goes out... nice to have them and they run off natural gas so no refilling


dad is thinking of a 12000 watt diesel for a future upgrade, as it would be more than enough to power *everything* we normally use. natural gas would be nice, but i think he'd go for diesel because it could easily be hooked into our heating oil tank and would burn slightly cleaner for a cheaper price per gallon than standard road vehicle diesel fuel.

all else: turning off the heat for an hour makes the place pretty chilly, but the fridge temp creeps up to 50 degrees which isn't good for our food. tomorrow we plan for a two to three hour break.

and about the noise? there are at least 5 generators running on our road at any given moment, although i think we might be the only ones running one constant.

#12 gnuman

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 16:43

First off why do you need to run a freezer 24 hours per day? It is winter outside and you could put the stuff in a cooler and leave it outside unless of course the temperature is above freezing. Second of all that is why it is always good to have a wood burning stove in situations like that where power could be out for days. Luckily during the ice storm about 12 years ago it was only for a stretch of 8 hours that we were out but had constant loss of electricity.

Turning the heat off for an hour makes the place chilly? You probably have lousy insulation if that is the case and to save energy should put on more clothes. Sheesh talk about panzies.

#13 thejohnnyq

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 16:53

When our power went out because of the wind storm in the Midwest, we ran our generator 12 at a time, and never had any issues except the noise. I used good quality fuel and Castrol oil, with some Jacobs added to the gas and oil. It worked great. We had 2 freezers, and a refrigerator, and they were fine with only 12 hours a day. The trick is to keep the freezers covered to keep the cold in. We had no power for 6 1/2 days.

We are planning to get a whole house generator, Costco has a 10k NG/PG unit (12k PG) that comes with auto 100 amp switch box (it will cover up to 150 if you upgrade), which is more then enough to power my house. It can handle most homes, and only cost $1997.99. It is a little larger then an air conditioner, but something that i plan to get, (the batteries for my UPS are getting to costly).

#14 Konstanov

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 16:55

You don't need a fridge or freezer at a time like this, just pack your food in bins, and then bury the bins in the snow to keep it cold. I've worked with generators before, run it twelve hours on, then three hours down.

#15 XerXis

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 17:04

aren't your powerlines underground or something? I know a lot of snow has fallen, but really, a few days without power? There would be riots if something like that happened here, no one even has a generator over here :D



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