Should You Leave Your Generator Running Overnight And Unattended?

A generator is an excellent source of power for a home when there is a blackout or power outage.

It can provide the much-needed power to keep your lights on and home electrical equipment running optimally.

Being the best remedy for power outages, generators should be kept safely, free from the element that can cause damage.

While planning to ensure your generators are safe, whether standby or portable generators, it is important to check on the manufacturer’s prescribed safety measures.

One of the questions you will be seeking answers to on the manufacturer’s label is….

See Also: Can You Use A Generator To Power A Mobile Home?

Should You Leave Your Generator Running Overnight And Unattended?

Even though you can run a generator overnight and unattended, it is highly discouraged. Generators run on gasoline and produce carbon monoxide gas, which is highly harmful to human beings when inhaled continuously. Running a generator overnight can bring you into disagreements with your neighbors because generators produce a lot of noise which can disturb neighbors while they are sleeping. Another risk of leaving a generator running overnight is that it can cause a house fire when it breaks down.

A generator is an alternative energy source.

It is not meant to operate for long hours, even though some are designed to run continuously for 8 hours, 12 hours, or even several days.

When in optimal conditions, most portable generators can operate for a maximum of 2000 hours, while the standby generator operates for up to 3000 hours.

Always check the instruction label on your generator before installing it.

If you are a first-time generator owner, this article will cover the safety tips of operating a generator, the risks of leaving it unattended overnight, etc.

Six Reasons Why You SHOULD NOT Leave A Generator Running Overnight

While a generator can be a solution during the power outage caused by storms, it can be risky when left unattended and running overnight.

Here are some of the problems of operating a generator overnight.

1. Durability Risk

Generators are expensive and designed to last longer and supply you with energy depending on your needs.

When left running for many hours, the inner components of a generator begin to heat up and wear out very fast, thus shortening its lifespan.

2. Fire Hazard

Most medium-sized generators are designed to run for 8 or 12 hours nonstop.

By this time, the gasoline tank will be empty.

While operating for those many hours, the generator parts start to heat up and can ignite a fire if the cooling system is poor.

3. Carbon Monoxide Emission

Carbon monoxide is the most dangerous risk associated with running a generator overnight.

Several death cases caused by carbon monoxide inhalation from a generator have been reported.

When a portable generator is enclosed in a room and left running overnight, the emission of carbon monoxide fills up the air and causes breathing difficulties to the people nearby.

4. Noise

Generators are noisy as hell. Even when the manufacturers claim some to be quiet, they will still produce a lot of noise when the motors are powered to start rotating.

When you leave a generator to run overnight, you will be causing noise pollution and denying your household a peaceful night’s sleep.

5. Can Disturb Neighbors

When you leave your generator running through the night, don’t be surprised the next day to get notices from your neighbors or housing agencies over the same.

The carbon monoxide and noise produced by a generator will not only affect you and your household but will also affect the neighbors.

Some neighbors can be chaotic over the same and even report you to authorities for disturbing their peace.

6. It’s Expensive

The gasoline used to power a generator is quite costly. Most people only use generators when there is no electricity because electricity bills are relatively cheaper.

When you leave a generator running overnight, it is obvious that it will consume a lot of gasoline compared to running it for just a few hours.

The gasoline can run out at midnight, which is inconvenient and leaves the items you had powered with a generator off or damaged.

If you must keep the generator effectively running throughout the night, be prepared to spend several dollars every night.

Additional Generator Topics
Are Generators Hard On Appliances?
Can You Overuse a Generator?
Can You Run a Generator In Your Garage with The Door Open?
How Can You Prevent Your Generator From Being Stolen?
Is It Bad for a Generator to Run Out of Gas?
Is It OK To Use Synthetic Or Motorcycle Oil In A Generator?
Should You Leave Your Generator Running Overnight And Unattended?
Should You Store A Generator In Your Basement?

Nine Generator Safety Tips

As mentioned earlier, a generator can be hazardous if mishandled. To be safe, consider the following precautions.

1. Read And Understand Safety Documentation

Carefully read the safety label on every generator before using it.

Every generator is unique and should be handled according to the manufacturer’s prescription.

2. Secure Unattended Portable Generators

This will help prevent the generator from moving out of position and causing a threatening situation.

It is advisable to leave it on a flat surface where there are no possibilities of sliding or rolling.

You can also lock the wheels or place wedges under the wheels to prevent sliding.

It is also safe to position the fridge away from the walls and pathways.

3. Carefully Position The Power Cords

Position your power cords away from the frequently used pathways as they can be hazardous.

Guard the power cords with cable covers or use warning flags to notify people that cables are on the ground.

4. Keep Moisture Away

If you are working with a generator near a still or moving water.

If water is exposed to the current flowing from the generator, it can cause shock, damage the generator and the extension cords, or lead to short circuits.

5. Refuel With Caution

Prevent fires by taking special precautions when refueling or working around fuel tanks.

Avoid refueling while the engine is running, as this can ignite a fire.

Also, avoid smoking while working near a generator or gas cans.

All fuel should be stored in a well-ventilated place and in the right containers that won’t easily leak or get corded with fuel.

6. Keep The Generator In A Well Ventilated Area

Generators have exhaust pipes connected to the gasoline engines.

These pipes help remove the carbon monoxide gas from the engine as it operates.

This gas is odorless and colorless, but it is hazardous and can even cause death when inhaled in large amounts.

To be safe, always operate a generator in properly ventilated areas where you can still get adequate oxygen.

You can also install carbon monoxide sensors to help you detect any carbon monoxide in the house.

7. Wear Protective Gear While Handling Generators

Generators produce a lot of noise that can lead to hearing difficulties.

Always put on hearing protection when operating or working near noisy generators.

8. Carry Out Maintenance Practices

Like other home appliances, maintenance is key for long life.

Carry out all maintenance practices for your generator to keep it at optimal conditions every time you use it.

Turn it off and take precautions when handling the electric components. In case you need to do any repairs, consult a qualified technician to help you out.

9. Keep The Generator And Its Surroundings Clean

Make your working environment safe by keeping the generator and its surroundings clean.

Clean out the greases, ice, snow, or any other material that can be hazardous.


While you can freely leave a generator to run overnight and unattended, you should be ready to incur extra costs and be able to handle the risks it may cause.

The above information may help you who wish to leave a generator running overnight.

If you are a first-time generator owner, you can use the above tips to ensure you are using the generator correctly.