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When power outages strike Dallas-Fort Worth, a home backup generator keeps the lights on. Generators provide crucial electricity for medical devices, heating, cooling, and more during blackouts.

 But how long can you expect your home generator to last?

As a top generator provider and installer serving Dallas-Fort Worth, McBride Electric answers common questions about generator lifespans. Read on for average expectancy ranges based on size, fuel type, and maintenance.

A large, stationary backup power generator is installed outside a building, with ventilation grills and a small window

Key Factors Affecting Generator Lifespan

The years of reliable service you’ll get from a home backup generator depend on:

  • Generator size In general, the larger the generator’s power output, the longer it will last. Models that run at less than 50% of capacity for usual home needs operate most efficiently.
  • Fuel type Natural gas generators tend to have slightly longer lifespans than diesel or gasoline models. There are fewer moving parts.
  • Location Outdoor standby units last longer than generators used frequently for portable applications. Constant movement and vibration take a toll.
  • Frequency of use  Home standby generators only run for brief outages and tests. Less wear and tear equals greater longevity.
  • Maintenance  Regular upkeep like oil, filter, and battery changes extends a generator’s life according to manufacturer directions.
  • Environment  Temperature extremes, dirt or debris, and salt corrosion from ocean air reduce lifespan. Mild inland climates help longevity.

Knowing these factors help you make the best generator purchase and get maximum years of service in return for your investment.

READ: Generator Maintenance in North Texas: Frequency and Expert Tips

Generator Lifespan by Fuel Type

The most common home generator fuels gasoline, diesel, propane, and natural gas have varying lifespans:

  • Gasoline  8-10 years or 500-800 hours. Requires carefully maintained fuel stabilizer to prevent deterioration.
  • Diesel  10-15 years or 1500-2500 hours. Long shelf life but requires fuel polishing and stabilizers to prevent gelling.
  • Propane  10-12 years or 1200-1500 hours. No fuel issues but may need regulator and gas line maintenance.
  • Natural Gas  15-20 years or 1500-2500 hours. No fuel maintenance needed but depends on reliable piped supply.

As you can see, natural gas offers the longest functional lifespan for home whole-house generators. But all fuel types can deliver over a decade of reliable backup power if properly maintained.

Standby vs Portable: Expected Lifespans

For home use, standby generators far outlast portable models in terms of lifespan:

  • Standby generators  Stationary permanently installed units have expected lifespans of 15-25 years when properly maintained and serviced.
  • Portable generators  Frequently moved units only last 2-5 years on average with regular use. Their engines wear out quicker.

Across fuel types gasoline, diesel, or propane permanently installed standby home generators operated only for occasional outages substantially outlast portable power equipment used routinely in variable locations.

Home Generator Lifespan by Size

A generator’s power output, stated in kilowatts (kW) or watts (W), also impacts its lifespan and durability:

  • 3,000-5,000 watts  These smaller units for basic backup power last approximately 8-12 years with proper maintenance.
  • 5,000-10,000 watts  Mid-sized home standby generators in this range typically last 12-18 years under optimal conditions.
  • 10,000-20,000+ watts  Larger whole-house generators can operate reliably for 15-25 years if well-maintained according to manufacturers’ recommendations.

In general, smaller gasoline portable generators have shorter lifespans around 5-10 years while larger permanently installed home generators using diesel, natural gas, or propane last 15-20+ years.

Regular Maintenance = Longer Generator Lifespan

No generator will reach its maximum lifespan potential without proper periodic maintenance. Follow your owner’s manual for optimal:

  • Oil and filter changes  Generator engines require regular oil service every 200 hours or annually. This prevents sludge buildup.
  • Battery replacement  Stationary unit batteries ensure easy starting but wear out every 3-5 years. Replace proactively.
  • Air, fuel, and cooling filter cleaning  Generators rely on proper airflow, temperature regulation, and clean fuel. Service filters regularly.
  • Fuel polishing and stabilizing  Gasoline and diesel both need additives and periodic fuel replacement for maximum performance and engine life.
  • Load testing  Routine testing under load ensures the generator works when needed. Operating it routinely helps prevent corrosion.

Don’t wait until your generator fails to service it adhere to maintenance intervals for optimal longevity. Let McBride Electric handle repairs and tune-ups.

Estimating Your Generator’s Lifespan

While the above averages provide general timelines, your specific model’s lifespan depends on the:

  • Size of generator needed for your home’s electrical load
  • Fuel type you select
  • Installation type stationary vs. portable use
  • Frequency of use for outages, tests, and exercise
  • Consistency of maintenance on schedules

A properly sized natural gas whole-house unit with periodic McBride Electric maintenance could easily operate for 20-25 years. A smaller gasoline portable model used heavily may last only 5-8 years.

Get Expert Generator Maintenance & Repair

If you want your backup generator to operate reliably for years to come, the electrical professionals at McBride Electric can help. Contact us at 817-858-0255 for Fort Worth or 972-733-1199 for Dallas to schedule generator maintenance or repair.

Our master electricians have extensive experience servicing all generator makes and models. We’ll perform routine maintenance to maximize your generator’s lifespan and optimize performance. If issues arise, we can troubleshoot problems and provide repairs to restore smooth operation.

At McBride Electric, we’re your trusted source for generator maintenance and repair. Don’t risk being caught without backup power when you need it most. With proper care from our experts, you can expect your generator to provide power for 10-25 years.


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