A standby home generator is one of the best investments you can make for your home. It provides peace of mind that major storms and other events won’t leave you without power for days or even weeks at a time. It can also add to your home’s value, making it a true investment for the future.
There are many factors to consider when choosing whether a home generator is right for you. One of the biggest considerations in any purchase is how long the product will last. Understanding how long home generators last can help inform your decision on this major purchase for your home.
The Typical Lifespan of Home Generators
Of course, many different details can affect how long any given home generator lasts. However, there are some general rules of thumb that can help give you an idea of what to expect.
Most home generators are built to last for decades to provide reliable backup power over a long period of time. Depending on the specific brand and model you choose, your standby generator will have an expected lifespan of between 25 and 40 years.
A new generator will also carry a warranty covering certain repairs for a period of time after your purchase. This warranty will also vary widely based on the brand and model you choose.
Within the industry, a five-year warranty is generally considered to be a good standard. The warranty will typically cover both parts and labor, and some warranties will include the travel required for repairs as well.
Some warranties will have different classes for different parts of your home generator. The engine, alternator, and other electrical components can have different limitations on their coverage. When choosing a generator, consider all of these important details.
Factors That Can Affect How Long Your Home Generator Lasts
Most generators have a lifespan of between 25 and 40 years, but that doesn’t tell you much about your specific generator. There are many circumstances that can happen in that timeframe to reduce or extend the useful life you get out of your generator.
Generator lifespan isn’t measured only in years but also in hours of use. Most generators will have an expected lifespan of 1,500 to 3,000 hours. Over the course of 30 years, that translates to between 50 and 100 hours of use per year. Depending on how often your generator sees use, you could reach this range sooner.
If you’re dealing with very frequent outages in your area, the expected lifespan in terms of running hours should be a major factor in your choice of generator. Different brands and models will vary in their expected range, so there are plenty of options available.
How well you take care of your home generator plays an important role in how long it lasts. One of the most important elements of that maintenance is not letting your generator sit for extended periods of time without being used.
Running the generator briefly from time to time is called exercising the generator. Most standby generators will have an automated schedule that sees them run for about half an hour each week. This prevents a wide range of issues and also lets you find out about problems earlier, instead of during an emergency.
Home generators also require regular maintenance visits to run properly. Your generator will likely have a recommended service schedule of either annual or bi-annual visits.
A professional technician will carry out several steps to maintain your generator. They’ll change the oil, check various components, carry out diagnostics, and handle other preventive maintenance tasks.
Keeping your home generator maintained is the most important thing you can do to make the most of its available lifespan. Without proper maintenance, you could take years off of that lifespan and find yourself needing a replacement much sooner.
Other Factors to Consider When Choosing a Home Generator
How long your generator will last isn’t the only thing you need to think about when choosing a generator. Other factors can be just as important and will affect your overall ownership experience.
Of course, price is one thing to consider. In general, higher-quality generators are more expensive. When choosing a generator, you need to carefully weigh quality against the cost to find the right option for your needs and your budget.
Matching your needs to the size of your new generator is also important. Generators work most effectively when operating at the proper capacity. A generator that is properly sized for your home’s electrical demand will run more efficiently and last longer as well.
Is It Time to Replace Your Home Generator?
Just because your home generator has reached its expected lifespan doesn’t mean it’s necessarily time to replace it. On the other hand, if your generator is newer, that’s no guarantee that it doesn’t need replacing. Each situation is unique, so you’ll need to consider your generator’s individual performance.
Your generator can start to show signs of wear and broken parts as it ages. You might notice this during scheduled maintenance or if your generator breaks down. Eventually, your generator will reach a point where continuing to repair it can be just as expensive as a replacement.
It might also be time to replace your generator if your needs have changed since it was installed. If your home has been expanded and now has increased electrical demand, your generator might no longer be the appropriate size. This can also be true if you’ve installed major upgrades like air conditioning or a heat pump.
Reliability is another major factor. If your generator is struggling during exercise, showing issues during diagnostics, or doesn’t start up when needed, then it could be time for a replacement.
No matter what the reason you’re replacing your home generator, it’s important to make the right choices during and after your purchase. Carefully consider the lifespan and other factors when selecting the right standby generator, and make sure to keep up regular maintenance to get the most out of it.