How Long Does It Take for a Generator to Kick In?

We’ve all experienced a power outage or two in our lifetimes. They are more common than we’d like, leaving us without electricity for minutes, hours, or days at a time. 

When the lights go out, it’s helpful to have a standby generator to keep things running. That way, when your refrigerator stops running, the generator will power on and save your food from spoiling. 

But not all generators kick in automatically, meaning you might have to wait a while for your system to supply backup power. 

Here, we discuss how long generators need to warm up, how quickly different systems kick in, and other factors affecting run times.  Read on for everything you need to know. 

How Do Generators Work? 

Before getting to the crucial information on generator warm-up times, knowing that the type of fuel source and system integration affect the kick-in times is helpful. 

Petrol and natural gas models require fuel. They’re powerful and can run for hours as long as there’s fuel to keep them running. The downside is they are very loud and emit a lot of fumes.

On the other hand, electric generators have no fumes, emit zero sounds, and you can charge them using solar panels or a wall outlet. They’re much cleaner and more reliable than petrol models. 

Standby or whole house generators kick in as a backup power supply when the grid gets knocked out. The system can detect whether there has been a power outage and when it does, the alternator kicks on and begins to convert mechanical energy into electricity. The most impressive part? It does this almost instantly. 

These generators are installed outside your home and connected to a fuel source. Whole house generators can run on petrol, natural gas, or solar energy, depending on homeowner preferences. 

Systems like the EcoFlow DELTA Pro generator directly integrate with one’s home. The DELTA Pro has a Smart Home Panel that allows homeowners to incorporate battery power within home circuits to lower energy consumption. It reduces energy bills, offers emergency backup solutions for unpredictable power outages, and delivers green energy with zero emissions. 

How Long Does a Generator Need to Warm Up?

Whole house generators can start automatically or manually. It’s clear how the automatic version is more convenient, as it turns out moments after the power goes out. Manual standby generators will turn on once you manually push the ‘on’ button.

An automatic standby generator warms up and starts running in as little as 30 seconds (sometimes even less). 

Conversely, petrol-powered generators may take a few minutes to warm up. These systems require a warm-up period so that oil can lubricate the engine’s components. Depending on environmental conditions, such as when it’s below freezing, it may take some time for the oil to warm up to suitable viscosity.  

How Long Do Generators Take to Kick In?

For automatic generators, they’ll turn themselves on (and off) within 30 seconds, many times even less. 

When a blackout hits, the EcoFlow Smart Home Panel automatically reroutes its energy source to the DELTA Pro generator. It does this in a matter of 20 milliseconds! It’s so fast that your family won’t even notice there was a power outage.

How Do Generators Kick In So Quickly?

Standby generators kick in when the transfer switch detects a malfunction, at which point it will switch on almost immediately. It quickly cuts off the utility line and starts running power from the generator power line. 

What happens when the power comes back on? If you have a manual generator, you’ll want to turn it off by pushing the power button. If it’s automatic, it will turn off immediately once the power comes back. You can control the DELTA Pro generator directly from your phone using the EcoFlow app. 

Do Generators Need to Rest?

Letting a standby generator run for more than 500 continuous hours is not advisable. While it can run your home for days, you need to give it time to cool down and rest. If you’re using a petro-fueled generator, it’s best to turn off the generator daily for about 30 minutes to let it cool down and check the oil. 

Run-time is also limited depending on the fuel type used. Diesel generators, for instance, have tanks that can store anywhere from 1 to 3 days worth of fuel. Fuel service providers typically refill these. 

Generators that run on natural gas pull their supply from public utilities don’t need refuelling and can run for days on end. However, the runtime is affected by engine temperature, so it’s important to let it cool down and rest.

If you’re using a solar generator like the EcoFlow DELTA Pro EcoSystem, there’s no need to check the oil since it uses solar energy. However, when the battery is running low, recharge the generators through a connection or using the sun!

Solar generators are the way to go if you’re looking for the cleanest energy possible. These models run on renewable energy from the sun. They’re quiet, can be used indoors, are low-maintenance, and involve no emissions. 

How Long Can You Run Your Generator For?

Each generator has a unique capacity. The DELTA Pro power station, for instance, sports a 3600 Wh capacity. 

To give you a better idea of what this means, it can power a 120W refrigerator for 24 hours or a 1300W microwave for 2.5 hours. It’s also powerful enough to run a 500W washer for 6.5 hours or a 110W TV for 27 hours before it’s time for a recharge. 

Users can even integrate it into their home circuits with the Smart Home Panel, which is ideal for home backup.

Finding the Right Generator for You

Whole house generators are reliable and turn on within seconds. Traditional natural gas models can power your home for days on end and connect to your existing fuel line, but they may take a while to kick in and restore your home’s power.

If you’re looking for a smaller generator that uses renewable energy, consider the EcoFlow DELTA Pro Bundle. It will kick in during power outages and can work year-round to lower energy bills.

View the EcoFlow Smart Home Panel to learn if it’s right for you!

EcoFlow is a portable power and renewable energy solutions company. Since its founding in 2017, EcoFlow has provided peace-of-mind power to customers in over 85 markets through its DELTA and RIVER product lines of portable power stations and eco-friendly accessories.


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