Home Standby Generators

How Much Will You Pay for a Whole House Generator? Home Standby Generator Cost

Cost of Whole House Generators

Costs of Whole House Generators

You’ve been considering purchasing a whole-house generator for some time, but the price has always put you off.

But do you have any idea how much a new standby unit can set you back?

The majority of homeowners put off the installation because they see dollar signs that are considerably higher than the actual cost of the purchase. The price range can vary substantially based on a number of factors, and each decision you make can have an impact on the final cost of your investment.

Let’s have a look at some of the aspects that can affect the price of a whole-house generator:

Wattage is the first cost factor to consider. What amount of electricity do you require for your electrical load?

The size of the unit is often the most important factor in determining the cost of a whole-house generator. When we say size, we don’t necessarily mean the weight or size of the generator (although this will rise as your power needs grow!).

The kilowatts (kW)  that your standby will require is often referred to as generator size.

Let’s look at a sampling of prices for different manufacturers’ units.  You’ll note that a direct comparison is difficult because not all manufacturers make the same size units with the same features.

Fuel Type is the second cost factor. Are you planning to purchase a natural gas or liquid propane generator?

Natural gas (NG) and liquid propane (LP) are the two most common power sources for generators (LP). The cost of your standby unit varies according on the fuel type, both in terms of the initial purchase price and the cost of refueling.

Liquid propane backup generators are generally more expensive up front, but they can save you money on fuel over time. However, choose between NG and LP whole house generators isn’t always so straightforward, as each unit has its own set of benefits and drawbacks.

Natural gas, for example, is often less expensive per unit, and because it comes from underground pipelines, you won’t have to worry about propane tank service or cleaning fees every few years. However, because liquid propane burns cleaner and LP units are often quieter, some homes prefer propane despite the higher expenses.

Installation is the third cost factor. Will you need a permit to excavate a tank, and how long must your lines run?

Do you even have natural gas service in your neighborhood? Due to the lack of underground piping in some rural places, you may be forced to use LP. Liquid propane generators require an external fuel source, and many homeowners opt to install an underground propane tank to ensure that they have a plentiful supply on hand.

Certain places or communities may require a specific permit to excavate and install these tanks, which can cost you more money down the road if you don’t have one. Even if no one complains (unlikely, because a big, gleaming generator permanently installed in your backyard is hard to miss! ), you’ll need a permission sticker to pass inspection when reselling your house!

For example, depending on how far away from your home the team needs to run fuel lines or for the safe installation of ventilation, fuel, and exhaust ducting, installation may cost more or less. This can cost further money if existing electrical equipment needs to be updated to support the generator (such as building a new subpanel near the original electrical panel or an automatic transfer switch).

The unit’s quality is the fourth cost factor. Which brand are you going to go with?

You may spend a bit extra for a trusted standby generator brand, just like any other product, but it’s usually worth it.

Although an off-brand generator may have a lower upfront cost, does it come with a reputation for quality or a reliable warranty? Long-standing manufacturers, such as Generac or Kohler, offer large warranties and have spent years developing highly efficient units that save you money in the long term.

There are many different brands of whole house generators to choose from, and it can be difficult to make a decision.

Last but not least, there’s the cost of maintenance and service.

The cost issues do not cease once you purchase a new standby generator. Buying a generator without support can lead to costly repairs or services down the road.

Depending on your climate and the length of time your power is off, power outages can be both inconvenient and dangerous. Food degrades and goes to waste when there is no electricity. Your home could reach dangerously hot or frigid temperatures during the hottest or coldest months of the year. If the electricity is off for days or weeks, you may need to relocate until it is restored. This is altered by generators. Until the electrical grid is restored, a generator can power some or all of your home. It may keep your refrigerator, lights, and heating system running at a minimum, or it can power everything as if the power grid had never gone down.

Generators are available in a variety of capacities and can be either automated standby models that turn on automatically when needed or portable variants that you start yourself. Purchasing a backup generator might come with a wide variety of expenses.

Table of Contents

Cost of a House Generator by Type

Cost of a Backup Generator by Size

What Generator Size Do You Require?

Price of a Home Generator by Power Source

The price of a home generator varies depending on the type of start.

The average cost of whole-house generators varies depending on the brand.

The price of installing a generator in your home

What Is the Best Place to Put a Whole House Generator?

How Much Does a Whole House Generator Cost to Run?

What is the maximum amount of time a generator can run continuously?

Costs of Maintaining a Standby Generator

Generators: Portable vs. Standby

Costs of Enhancement and Improvement

Additional Points to Consider



Cost of a House Generator by Type

Generators for household use are divided into two types: standby and portable. Both are available in a variety of capacities and can power part or all of your home in the event of a power outage, but they operate in different ways. Portable generators and standby generators both require personal supervision and setup. They also have drastically varied prices.

Portable and standby house generators are both expensive.

Average Cost Range by Generator Type (Only the material)

$400 – $2,100 (portable)

$2,100 – $22,000  standby

Cost of a Portable Generator

On average, portable generators cost between $400 and $2,100. Portable generators are available in a variety of sizes, ranging from small machines that can power a small area to larger units that can power an entire home. Portable generators are powered by gasoline or diesel. The generator and fuel are normally kept outside, often in a specially designed container. They’re manually turned on and started, and they’re connected to your house by an extension connection. If you need to operate the generator for an extended period of time, you must keep an eye on the fuel level and refill it as needed.


Cost of a Whole-House Generator

On average, a whole house or standby generator (also known as a backup generator) costs between $2,100 and $22,000. Standby generators are permanently connected to your home. They have their own pad and are always connected to a fuel supply. When the grid goes down, the backup generator automatically kicks in to keep your home powered until the grid is restored. These generators require a constant supply of propane or natural gas. Your generator is immediately connected to your propane tanks if you have them. A line fuels your generator if you have natural gas. These generators are larger and, depending on their size, can typically handle most or all of your home’s load.

Cost of a Backup Generator by Size

Portable and standby generators are available in a variety of sizes. Portable generators are often smaller than backup generators because they are not designed to provide power to the full house. They can start with less  than 2 kW, but to power some of your home, you’ll need 5 kW or more. Standby generators start at 7kW, but most households require a minimum of 10kW to 12kW, with larger generators required for residences with higher power requirements.

What Generator Size Do You Require?

Finally, the size of the generator you require is determined by your average daily power use. Before you buy it, the installation team will come to your house and inspect it. During this visit, they will identify the type of system you have, whether you have a well pump, the power source for your hot water heater, the number of lights you have, and whether you have any significant home appliances. If your home is between sizes, you can choose the smaller one, which may entail only using one major appliance at a time. You can even go bigger to use all of the appliances and lighting.


Take a survey of the appliances, HVAC systems, lights, and outlets you’ll require during an outage to get a general idea of the size you’ll need. All of these should be given a power rating. One kilowatt equals 1,000 watts. A hair dryer needs 2kW alone, whereas energy-efficient lights utilize 6 watts each. Calculate the size you’ll need by adding up the number of watts you’ll need during a power outage.


Price of a Home Generator by Power Source

If you have a standby generator, you should use natural gas, propane, or another easily available fuel that you can store in huge tanks to power it. Portable generators can run on gasoline or diesel fuel, but you’ll have to buy and transport smaller amounts when you need it.

Consider the advantages and disadvantages of each generator. There is a cost overlap for the generator for many people. Fuel prices and availability are frequently the deciding factors.

Generator prices for gasoline, diesel, propane and natural gas


Price of a Gas Generator

Gas-powered generators range in price from $500 to $2,000. Portable natural gas generators are not to be confused with standby natural gas generators. Gasoline generators necessitate the purchase and storage of gasoline at a petrol station. Depending on the size and runtime of the generator, it uses varied amounts of gasoline. You must have enough gasoline on hand in case of an extended power outage. You should also refuel your generator on a regular basis. Gasoline should not be kept in the house.


Price of a Diesel Generator

A diesel generator might cost anywhere between $500 and $2,000. Portable diesel generators are also available. You’ll need to buy diesel fuel and store it until you need it. Because not all gas stations sell diesel, be sure you have one nearby. The fuel it uses, like all portable generators, is dictated by its size and runtime. Longer outages may necessitate additional fuel and more frequent refueling. Diesel fuel should not be kept in the house.

The cost of a propane generator

Depending on whether they are portable or standby, propane generators range in price from $500 to $20,000. You must purchase and store propane for portable propane generators until they are needed. The propane tank supply for standby propane generators is directly connected to your home’s propane tank supply. The standby generator will continue to draw as long as you have enough propane in your tanks. You’re unlikely to run out of propane with this generator because most propane delivery providers can make deliveries even if there’s a power outage. Propane should not be kept inside.


Price of a Gas Generator

Depending on the size, natural gas generators can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $20,000. Standby generators are what they’re called. They connect to the natural gas supply in your home. You may easily separate a line for a natural gas generator if you already have natural gas for cooking, heating, fireplaces, or other appliances. Because you don’t have to worry about the fuel supply, this is one of the easiest generators to maintain. Even propane standby generators must be closely monitored to ensure that no additional deliveries are required before the electricity is restored. The fuel supply is steady with a natural gas generator.

The price of a home generator varies depending on the type of start.

Home generators are also divided into categories based on how they start. You can choose between an automated generator, which starts when it detects a power outage in your home, and a manual start, which requires you to manually start the generator.

All automatic generators can be started manually, however all manual generators must be started manually.


Manual and automatic home generators are both expensive.


Manual Cost Ranges for Starting a Generator


Between $500 and $2,000
ranging from $2,000 to $30,000

Start the generator manually

Manually started generators cost between $500 and $2,000 on average. These are generators that may be taken with you. To work, they must be taken out of their housing, linked to your home, and either filled with fuel or powered by a battery. Some start with a button, while others use a pull cord. Some of them might be physically demanding and tough to begin with. If you’re not sure if you’ll be able to turn it on manually, go with a push-button model or an automatic standby type.

Cost of an Automatic Generator

Depending on the size, automatic generators can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $20,000. Standby generators are automatic generators. They are constantly “on.” For maintenance, they usually run for around 10 minutes once a week. They are permanently plugged into the electrical infrastructure of your home. When they detect a power outage, they begin supplying power to your home. When they perceive the power returning, they stop providing it. A manual override is available on all automatic generators. This way, you can turn them off at night or while you’re not at home, then turn them back on when you’re ready.


Cost comparisons of whole house generators chart

How much do Kohler home generators cost?

Kohler generators cost between $2,000 and $6,000 on average. Kohler was one of the early backup generator producers. For nearly two decades, their plant served as a backup generator for vast regions, and they have some of the most well-known generators in the country. Their sizing ranges from 5kW to 15kW, which is more than enough for most homes. Propane or natural gas might be used to power their backup generators.

How much do Generac home generators cost?

Depending on the size, Generac home generators can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $30,000. One of the most popular and widely installed household standby generators is Generac. They have a fantastic selection of generators that can power both huge business and residential settings. Even the largest residence with the most demanding power requirements can simply be powered by a generator. Propane or natural gas can be used to power their generators. The prices do not include transfer switches or other installation components.

Cost of a Briggs & Stratton Generator

Briggs & Stratton generators range in price from $2,000 to $5,000. Smaller portable generators, starting at $700, are also available from this manufacturer. Their backup generators are either propane or natural gas powered. They are available in sizes up to 15kW, which is more than enough for most homes. Gasoline is used in their smaller portable generators. These prices do not include transfer switches or other installation components.


Cost of a House Generator Installation

A home generator installation starts at roughly $5,000. For highly sophisticated installations, costs can reach $11,000, although most customers spend between $5,000 and $6,000.

The generator is installed on a tiny pad near the home, close to the electrical panel. This pad can be made of concrete or gravel. A transfer switch is installed with the generator, which is hooked into your home’s panel. The transfer switch detects power disruptions and turns your system on and off.

To connect your generator to your propane tanks or natural gas line, you’ll need a plumber. It takes between 4 and 6 hours to complete the operation.


Cost of Installing a Generator at Home

Average Costs in the Installation Area (Labor Only)
Installing a bed costs between $500 and $1,000.
$1,000 – $1,500 for piping installation
$1,000 – $2,000 for house wiring
Installation of a transfer switch costs between $1,800 and $2,800.

Cost of installing a whole-house generator

The overall cost of installing a complete house generator, including all parts and labor, is between $10,000 and $20,000. The labor portion is about $5,000, while parts like the transfer switch are about $1,000, and the rest is made up of various materials and the generator. This comprises receiving the generator, setting it up, and connecting it to the fuel supply and electrical grid. The majority of the work on this project is done outside. Indoors, the transfer switch is installed. To install the transfer switch beneath your electrical panel, a bit of drywall must be removed in most circumstances.

The cost of installing a generator transfer switch

The cost of installing a transfer switch ranges from $2,700 to $3,700, depending on the transfer switch, electrical wiring, and labor. Labor costs between $1,800 and $2,800, with the changeover costing around $900. Indoors, beneath your circuit breaker, installation takes place. To install the transfer switch, the wall must be opened. You can cover it with a box or a door, or tape and spackle the drywall to hide it. Make a note of the location and keep in mind that the wall will need to be opened again in the future for repairs or maintenance.

What Is the Best Place to Put a Whole House Generator?

The exact placement is most likely dictated by the location of your home’s circuit panel. The transfer switch must be positioned below the circuit panel and the generator must be wired to it. The generator is normally situated near the meter or circuit breaker, a few feet away from the house. In other circumstances, it may be shifted a few feet in one way or the other to make the fuel source connection easier.

How Much Does a Whole House Generator Cost to Run?

The cost is determined by various factors, including the generator size, the amount of electricity you demand at any given moment, the cost and type of fuel, and the length of time you operate the generator. When you don’t use your HVAC system except during the coldest and hottest months, the cost of running a generator is cheaper. Your operating costs will also be higher if you use a lot of power at once rather than conserving it.

Energy expenditures can range from $0 to $500 per year, depending on how often you use the generator, how much fuel it costs, and how long it runs.

What is the maximum amount of time a generator can run continuously?

The duration of a generator’s continuous operation varies. The purpose of standby generators is to keep functioning until the power is restored. Running for days or weeks at a time is possible. It can keep running as long as there is a source of fuel and the generator is in good working order. To ensure that a standby generator can continue to perform at this level, proper maintenance is essential.

Portable generators can run for as long as there is fuel in them. Check the fuel supply on a regular basis and replenish it as needed. The majority of people who own portable generators switch them off for long periods of time to save fuel or prevent running out in the middle of the night.

Maximum run times are available for some smaller generators. They differ by hours or days, so always consult the owner’s handbook to see what limitations your model has.

Costs of Maintaining a Standby Generator

Every week, standby generators are designed to run for a few minutes. They do self-diagnostics at this time and can warn you to any potential problems. Homeowners have the option of having them serviced or paying for routine maintenance. A service professional will come out on a regular basis to do routine maintenance.

Generators: Portable vs. Standby

During a power outage, portable and standby generators are viable solutions for keeping lights and appliances on. They do, however, work in various ways. You must take a portable generator out of storage, fill it with fuel, and plug it into your home. You must manually start the generator, which, depending on the model, may take some time. Keep an eye on the generator’s fuel level and refill it as needed. This necessitates having a fuel supply on available.

Generators on standby are constantly “on.” They’re connected to your home’s electrical system as well as your natural gas or propane tanks. When they detect a power outage on the grid, they instantly begin to power your home. The time between the grid going out and a standby generator starting is only about 1 to 2 seconds.

Portable generators are frequently insufficient to power a complete home. You may need to decide which sections of your home, such as the refrigerator and lighting, you want to power. Standby generators are typically large enough to power your entire home at once, including your HVAC, large appliances, and lighting.

Battery for Generator

A battery generator can supply enough electricity to run a few tiny lights or appliances. You can use one in conjunction with a portable generator to charge phones and power other small electronics, freeing up the portable generator to power larger appliances or your HVAC system. They range in price from $50 to $100.

Monitor using Wi-Fi

If you have a standby generator, you can get status updates while you’re away by purchasing a wireless monitor. A wireless monitor can inform you if you are concerned about a power loss while you are gone and want to know if your generator is working. They range in price from $200 to $400.

Load Manager with Intelligence

If your generator isn’t big enough to handle the whole load, a sophisticated load manager can help. Smart load managers identify which areas of the house are powered by the generator and allow you to switch as needed. If your generator can’t handle numerous major appliances at once, for example, you can use it to power the washer and dryer first, then the stove to cook meals. A clever load management might cost anything from $150 to $300.

Additional Installed Cost and Considerations

Most appliances use more watts when they first turn on than when they are in use. If you don’t account for this additional load in your calculations, you risk overloading or browning your generator. Your lights may fade, then brighten, and major appliances such as stoves and washing machines may briefly cease working when a brownout occurs.
There are now no tax credits available for whole-house generators, although this could change in the future.
Whole-house generators raise the value of a home and make resale more appealing.
If you require extra load capacity from your portable generator, you can use more than one.
Whole-house generators are usually loud, however their sound is muffled indoors compared to outside. If you are close to the wall where the generator is turned on, it may sound like a train passing by. It sounds more like white noise in other parts of the house.

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