If you want to have a generator installed in your home, it’s important to know how much it will cost. The total costs can include the generator itself, installation, and a transfer switch.
Whole house generators, also known as standby generators, are a great way to keep your entire home running in case of an outage. They provide backup power for your entire electrical system and turn on automatically when the power goes out.
Cost of the Generator
A whole house generator is a smart investment, especially if you live in an area that regularly experiences power outages. It can save you from throwing away food in the refrigerator, having your water heater tripped or flooded, and having to repair frozen pipes.
The cost of a whole house generator depends on several factors, including the size and type of generator. It also includes installation costs.
Standby generators cost between $3,000 and $6,000. These are a hands-off solution that automatically powers your entire home when utility power is lost.
They typically run on propane or natural gas and feature an automatic transfer switch that engages the generator when power is lost.
You’ll need to install the generator at a specific location, usually a few feet from your circuit panel. The installation usually involves wiring the generator to your electrical panel and installing a transfer switch below it.
Cost of the Installation
The cost of a whole house generator installation depends on your fuel source, the distance from your electrical panel and gas meter, and the complexity of wiring and plumbing a backup generator. It may also include labor costs for a licensed electrician to install the electrical wiring and a plumber to hook up natural gas or liquid propane lines.
The price for a generator can range from several hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, depending on its size and whether it needs to be tucked into a tight space behind the home or placed outside in a driveway or patio. If it requires long trenches for electrical conduit and gas pipes, or if you need a licensed plumber to connect your generator’s fuel line, the price will increase.
Unless you’re an experienced home contractor, it’s best to hire an electrician for the job. An electrician can ensure that the installation is done correctly, and will help you size the generator properly so it meets your power requirements.
Cost of the Transfer Switch
A transfer switch is an essential part of a whole house generator installation. It connects your home’s circuit breaker to your generator, which lets you power more appliances without the need for extension cords.
You can add a transfer switch to your portable or standby generator for $800 to $2,000. This cost includes materials and labor.
The transfer switch is designed to be a miniature circuit breaker panel, allowing you to back up selected circuits from your generator. The switch is located outside your home, a few feet from your meter or circuit breaker.
You should always consult an electrician before purchasing a transfer switch. They can determine if your existing circuit breaker is sized correctly, and whether any modification is necessary to make the switch work with it.
Cost of the Fuel
Whether it’s natural gas, liquid propane or gasoline, the fuel source of your whole house generator is one of its most important factors. It’s a major consideration because it determines the amount of fuel you’ll need to run your generator during power outages.
For portable generators, the fuel source is a gas station, but for permanent standby models it’s best to have your own supply. A liquid propane or natural gas line can be installed to a home’s existing supply, or you can buy a propane tank and receive regular deliveries.
Another option is to use diesel fuel, which also burns cleaner and is equally energy efficient as gasoline or propane but is more expensive. Talk to a licensed electrician about which type of fuel is best for your needs.
The total cost of your whole house generator installation depends on several factors, including the size of your home and appliances you use. A licensed electrician will survey your home to see how much electricity you need and help you determine a generator size that will power all your essentials.