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How Much Gas Does A Generator Use Per Hour?

When planning to buy a gas generator, it’s important to know how much gas it will burn. Also, accept that it will need regular maintenance and checkups just as a gas-powered vehicle would.

You will need to run it to make sure it will start when you need it.

You will need to maintain it, including oil, filters, and air access. Gas generators can be lifesavers when used properly, but you can destroy them if you don’t maintain them effectively.

If you need to run a generator for a longer period of time, knowing how much gas it will burn per hour will help you plan in advance and avoid stress and frustration by running out of gas.

How much gas does a generator burn per hour?

On average, a gas-powered generator will burn about 3/4 of a gallon of gas per hour. Certain generators will burn more and others will burn less. It’s common for a 5000-watt generator to burn 3/4 of a gallon every hour. If your generator holds 5 gallons of gas, it should run between 6.5 to 7 hours.

New generators are smaller, lighter, and quieter. Most folks who get a new generator get a little one. The more load you put on the generator, the more fuel it will burn.

Gas can get old; the additives that were in suspension to help the gas burn clean will fall out of suspension and clump.

When these clumps burn, they can damage seals in your engine by causing build-up on the metal components of the engine.

Try not to store more than 3 months’ worth of gas for your generator in your garage. If your lawnmower runs on plain gas, you’ll obviously need more in the summer.

Date the can when you fill it or add a reminder to your phone to use the stored gasoline and refill the container.

Gasoline powered portable generator at home.
Gasoline-powered portable generator at home.

Choosing the right container

Most portable gas generators have a tank that is just under one gallon. The bigger the tank, the heavier the generator. Gasoline is 6 pounds per gallon.

When choosing a portable generator and your gasoline containers, do your best to buy items that you can manage easily.

Lining up a 5-gallon gas can over the tank opening of your generator on a dark rainy night will be messy and frustrating; you could injure yourself or damage your generator.

Get a one-gallon can and a good-quality funnel you can use to add gas to the generator tank.

Location, location, location

Generators can be damaged if forced to run on an uneven surface. The lubricants that protect the engine can’t function properly if the oil pan is at a severe angle.

Before you need it, find a spot on your lawn or in your yard where the generator can sit flat and stay dry.

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Invest in excellent quality extension cords that you know will reach your home and line up extension cords that will stretch from your critical tools, such as your refrigerator, water purifier, and freezer.

On average, a generator will burn 3/4 of a gallon per hour.

What factors waste generator fuel?

Generator Load

Your generator will serve you better if you can keep a steady load of power pulling for short bursts of time.

If you need to run one to keep your refrigerator going after a bad storm, put in a gallon of fresh gas and power it up for an hour.

Chill your refrigerator and freezer, then turn off the generator and let it cool down.

IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTE: Gas-powered engines generate a lot of heat. Your generator will get quite hot after you run it for an hour. Gas is volatile and likes to burn. (OK, you knew all that.) Let the generator cool down completely before you add more fuel. Never try to fill a hot generator! Once it’s cool, check the oil level and the air filter.

Old or low oil

Like gasoline, generator oil has additives. While they will settle out more slowly than the additives in gasoline, they’ll still eventually settle to the bottom. Instead of lubricating your generator motor, they’ll burn onto the metal components and create even more heat, leading to a faster oil breakdown.

If you live in the Midwest, you know that spring is usually the season that produces volatile weather. In February, service your generator.

Change the oil, clean or change the air filter and top it off with fresh gas. Run it for an hour to warm it up. Let it cool, check the oil and filters one more time, and fill it if you have fresh gasoline.

All you need is power cords and a flat spot to run it and you’re ready for rough weather until June.

gasoline electric generator

Clogged filters

Some generators have disposable oil and air filters; others can be flushed out and reused. Keep replacements for the disposables in a sealed container to protect them from dust and grit so you can refresh the generator when you need it.

A very simple way to keep all this together is to tie a nylon drawstring bag to the handle of your generator. Inside the tote, a small plastic tub with a tight-fitting lid can contain the extra filters you need to keep the generator going.

ANOTHER SAFETY NOTE: Never run your generator in your garage, even if the door is wide open. If your carbon monoxide detector is hardwired into your home, it may not let you know that this deadly gas is building up.

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