Is it okay to leave a generator running all night?

Is it okay to leave a generator running all night?

Generators are a great source of power for blackouts and power outages. But these incredible machines that make our lives so easy needs to be handled with safety and care. As a generator owner, you might be interested to know whether is it okay to leave a generator running all night or not? And the short answer is Yes. You can leave a generator running all night as long as you have enough fuel to get that power out of it. 

However, it is not a good idea (unless emergencies) to keep the generator running for an extended period of time, like days, without giving them time to rest.

Generators are motorized machines that require fuel, grease, and maintenance. So it’s essential to make sure you use the right kind of fuel, give them time to rest, along with other safety measures to get the best out of them.

When the tank dries, most of the models automatically shut down to avoid damage that can’t be repaired or is difficult to be repaired.

Most generators have a run time of about 8 hours, some can run up to 12 hours, and others even more, which is quite enough to keep them running overnight. But there are certain things that you need to take care of before you keep your generator running up all night long.

Use CO Detectors

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas produced by many household items, including portable generators. Whenever fuel is burned, it can build to deadly levels incredibly quickly in enclosed spaces. 

Portable generators, whose engines emit as much carbon monoxide as approximately 450 cars, are more at risk. 

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 900 people died of CO poisoning from portable generators between 2005 and 2017. 

Install battery-operated CO detectors or alarms near every sleeping area in your residence.

Check CO detectors regularly to be sure they are functioning correctly.

Proper Use

Federal agencies like the CPSC and CDC offer guidance regarding proper portable generator use. Consumers are advised to operate portable generators outside only and keep them at least 20 feet away from home, facing away from all structures. 

Safer models

Some portable generator manufacturers have begun offering models with automatic shutoff valves if carbon monoxide reaches a certain threshold in an enclosed area and, in some situations, models with lower carbon monoxide emissions in general.


Apart from the risks mentioned above on leaving a generator on all night, there is also noise problem that can cause disturbance to you as well as neighbors (if any) around you. If your generator works on less decibels or you are using noise mufflers, that might not be a big deal. Or you can consider buying quiet portable generators.

In general, generators, even though a great source of backup power, are not designed to run continuously without end. There are certain risks associated with keeping them running all night when no one’s in check. But if you are ready to take the precautions and consider safety, you can manage.

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