How Long Does A Motorhome Generator Last?

Generators are extremely helpful for motorhomes when you are looking to have a night or even some time off-grid, off a campsite and need extra power to help power things such as lights, cooking appliances and a fridge.

A motorhome generator can last anything from 8 to 20 hours, depending on the size of the generator and what is being used on the system. The less that has been powered by the generator the longer it will last, you can top up your generator with solar power to create more energy and keep the levels up.

In this article we are going to talk about the total use time of a generator, how to preserve power and even create more.

How Long Does A Motorhome Generator Last?

Motorhomes are definitely incomplete without generators, even if the campground has electricity connections that cost less than the motorhome generator, campers will still need a generator to power the rooftop air conditioner when heading down the road.

it is also possible to have a generator and not use it, this happens a lot. An average motorhome generator can use between 8-20 hours, depending on its model and use cases.

At different points, many motorhome owners wonder just how long they could run their generator without causing it any damage. After all, there are cases where one is going to have to run it for hours or some couple of days when perhaps a blackout or inclement weather on your camping trip happens.

Having your generator at a time like this can keep you going anywhere from only a few hours to a few days.

Generally, they are known to be able to for about 8 to 20 hours as mentioned earlier. Although some other models lie beyond this range, this is a decent average that you can expect from the vast majority of these generators. Do note that due to the unusual construction of in-built generators, they can run for days.

Below are some generator models for comparison just to offer an idea of how long they will last:

ModelRuntimeFuel capacityWarranty
WEN 56200i 2000-Watt Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator6 hours at 1/2loads1.0 gallons2 years
Yamaha 900 Running Watts/1000 Starting Watts, Gas Powered Portable Inverter12 hours at 1/4 load0.8 gallons2 years
Champion 2800-Watt Inverter Generator14.5 hours at 1/4 load2.9 gallons3 years
Honda 120-Volt Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator4.0 – 9.5 hours0.9 gallons3 years
DuroStar DS4000S 3300-Watt Gas Generator8 hours at 1/2 load4 gallons1 year
Generac GP3500iO Open Frame RV Ready Inverter Generator12 hours at 1/2 load2.37 gallons3 years
Firman H03652 4,000-Watt Dual Fuel Generator14 hours5 gallons3 years
Generac 6864, 5000 Running Watts/5500 Starting Watts32.4 hours12 gallons3 years
Champion 7500-Watt Gas Generator 8 hours6.1 gallons3 years
Firman H08051 8000-Watt Dual Fuel Generator12 Hours8 gallons3 years
DuroMax XP12000E 9500-Watt Gas- And Propane-Powered Generator10 Hours at 1/2 load8.3 gallons1 year

Why Should You Have A Motorhome Generator?

Today, motorhomes can be used to travel really far distances than many years ago. Its level of convenience has brought about the need to be equipped. For example, there is always the need to make a couple of stops at different campgrounds or perhaps spend the night in a parking lot during longer trips in recent times. Then the journey could continue the next day after everyone eats and packs up for the remainder of the trip.

While on trips like this, there is usually a fridge packed with beverages, drinks, and fresh food so that there are good meals to eat and water to drink. These are things that make camping quite comfortable for the camper.

The need for a generator suddenly became unavoidable, motorhome needed an alternative power supply for powering all the electric equipment on board. This brought about the use of a generator.

Generators can be used to power roof fans, recharge the car battery or even power the fridge. This can be done overnight while the camper sleeps. The downside however is that the generator makes a lot of noise.

After the adoption of generators for its use in motorhomes, manufacturers began to make them with newer models. These models have them easy because now these generators are built especially for the motorhome appliances, they are also straightforward to run and operate.

So if you’re considering buying a motorhome, you need to plan on getting a generator too, if you can’t afford a motorhome with a built-in generator.

What Size Generator Should I Have For My RV?

You must calculate and analyze your motorhome generator’s physical dimensions and electrical capacity.

Here are two things you should note:

  1. Determine your specific power need.
    Collect the wattage requirement for everything you will be running at once.
    This is the minimum wattage required.
    Appliances that consume the most power to run would usually have the highest wattage requirements.
    The number of air conditioning units in your motorhome decides how much power you need.
  2. You should ensure that your generator would fit into your motorhome.
    Measure the motorhome generator’s compartment’s dimensions to ensure that it would match where you would like it.

Do I Use A Built-In Or Portable Generator?

If your motorhome has a generator mounted in the engine compartment, then an exclusively-constructed motorhome generator is the best choice. This installed generator runs off of your vehicle’s battery and is connected to your vehicle’s system. The fuel is transported from the motorhome in sealed containers so it won’t spill out during a rain storm.

Motorhome generators are powerful and offer the largest amount of power available. There’s no set-up needed because the push-start feature is built into the vehicle. Various models can even adjust performance to high altitude circumstances, such as mountains.

A built-in generator model will get the job done with greater efficiency than a portable generator for those with a large motorcoach.

You can plug in a portable open frame unit, but it’s heavy and very loud. The downside to having a portable generator is that the owner must have easy access to it. They also sit inside your motorhome and, because of that, you should still setup a CO alarm should there be a malfunction.

Additionally, ensure that your windows are shut so the exhaust cannot creep back inside.

Portable generators eliminate the risk of running out of fuel because they’re easily accessible from your motorhome and can be easily maintained. Their smaller output and manual operation provide them with the best application for smaller motorhome and camper vans.

What To Do To Make A Motorhome Generator Last Longer

A time extension of your generator can be accomplished by making simple power-saving decisions. If you have a less fuel-consuming generator, you will be able to run it for longer before refilling.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Close all windows and doors while using the air conditioner.

One of the most effective ways to cut your generator use is to ensure you aren’t using more power than necessary. You don’t know how many people keep their front door open and run their air conditioner all night.

By keeping your windows and doors closed as much as possible while running your AC air conditioning, you can cut down on the duration and amount of run time and fuel consumption.

Add some LED lights.

You can also switch your indicators to LED lights if they don’t already do LED lights use much less energy than incandescent lights, making them a more ecologically-friendly alternative. You can do some research on how to change your bulbs to led light, this is sure to cut down major power use.    

Carry out maintenance on your generator.

Performing periodic maintenance on your generator will ensure that it performs as efficiently as possible and will also result in lower fuel consumption.

Here are maintenances you should carry out regularly to ensure your motorhome generator is at its best:

  1. Spark plug
    With a gas generator, you should keep your old spark plug after you replacing it, you just might need it during an emergency. 
  2. Fuel filter
    You should definitely get a spare of this if you happen to use your generator a lot.  
  3. Air filter
    When you notice your generator is running in a rough manner with odd sounds, you should try to remove and change the air filter for a more improved performance and as a temporary fix.  
  4. Gas jet
    This is something only a trained mechanic can change.  
  5. Diesel injector
    This is something only a trained mechanic can change.    
  6. Fuel lines
    Check this part for leaks and wears, especially if you can smell fuel around that area.  
  7. DC and AC wiring
    Check the wires periodically for loose connections, wear and also torn insulation.
    Get a trained mechanic to replace the wires for you if need be.    
  8. Motor oil
    Check your oil level frequently and replace it when needed.
    Check with the manufacturers to know the recommended type.   
  9. Oil filter
    Follow the manufacturer’s instruction to change this. It is relatively easy to change. 
  10. Coolants
    Use the coolant (anti-freeze) mixture suggested by the manufacturer.
    Track the level periodically while using the generator and maintain the same level under the tank’s limits.

Reduce overall load on the generator.

You will free up fuel if you never overload your generator. By this, I mean just using electricity that’s needed for critical appliances. In several motorhomes, your refrigerator and water heater can be powered on propane, and when you’re trading one fuel source for another there would be less of a pull on your generator directly.

Adding solar to help with power supply.

One of the most common modifications for motorhomes is to add solar panels. Solar is amazing because it helps you to charge your batteries, operate battery-powered lights, and reduce the amount of power you have to take from the generator.

Scroll to Top