The cost to install a whole-home generator averages $10,000, but it can range from $7,500 to even $50,000.
Because it’s such a huge range, we recommend having an electrician survey your home to give you an exact quote.
However, we can tell you that your generator costs will depend on the following factors:
To help you prepare and budget, we’ll take a look at why these factors impact the cost of your whole-home generator below.
Want a quote for a whole-home generator? Contact Michael & Son today.
For more than 40 years, we’ve offered honest and thorough generator estimates. Performed by trustworthy and licensed electricians, you can count on us for top-notch service and 100% customer satisfaction.
Cost Factor #1: Size
Whole-home generators are sold by kilowatts (kW) and range from 16kW to upwards of 50kW.
The higher the kW rating, the more power it can supply, but the more expensive it will be. So if you happen to need one on the larger end, expect to pay more.
To power the average 2,000 square foot home, you’ll probably need a minimum 20 kilowatt standy-by generator, which starts around $5,000 — not including installation (more on that below because it adds to your cost).
However, this is just a ballpark example. With generators, the cost isn’t so much about the size of your home, but rather the amount of electricity you require in total. Why? Because in order to avoid complications, you need to be able to power all of your appliances at the same time.
To help you find the right sized generator, a licensed electrician will survey the exact wattage of your appliances, as well as how much electricity they use upon start-up. Once they know how much power you need, you can start to get a better cost estimate.
Cost Factor #2: Fuel type
Whole-home generators require fuel to supply power to your home’s appliances.
In general, gasoline generators are less expensive to purchase and install. However, due to fluctuations in gas prices, they’re not the most efficient for larger whole-home use.
When it comes to fuel efficiency, natural gas and liquid propane are the most cost-effective.
Moreover, natural gas is often hooked up to the local utility grid, which means you don’t have to manually refill it. If convenience comes at a premium for you, this could make or break your decision.
Another common generator fuel type is diesel, which is equally, if not more energy efficient than propane and natural gas. However, diesel generators are considerably more expensive to install and don’t do well when stored for long periods of time in a tank.
Depending on your location and usage, talk to a licensed electrician about which fuel type is better suited for you.
Cost Factor #3: The location of the generator
If your generator needs to be installed further away from your gas or electricity meters, expect to pay more for installation.
This is because your installer will need to run new gas lines and electrical wires and you’ll pay for the labor and materials.
Qualified installers are knowledgeable of code compliance, so upon inspection your electrician should be able to help you estimate where to place the generator and how much it might cost you.
Additionally, because of their size, whole-home generators require a concrete or gravel-filled foundation to support them. Depending on your home’s setup, if you don’t already have an ideal foundation for your whole-home generator you may need to pay to install one. This will add to your overall costs.
Cost Factor #4: Electrical upgrades and modifications
To accommodate the new generator, your home may need electrical upgrades or modifications which can increase your installation cost.
Depending on the age and condition of your home, your installer may need to:
- Upgrade your electrical panel
- Replace any old or faulty wiring
- Install or upgrade a transfer switch
The transfer switch is what turns on your generator during a power outage. If you need one installed (either manual or automatic) your electrician will need to install a sub-panel with its own circuit breaker. This is for safety reasons, to protect your home from electricity overload.
And because safety is paramount, you may need to pay for city permits that give your electrician permission to make any electrical modifications. For homes connected to a municipal utility grid, it’s important to ensure that your generator isn’t exporting power back to it.
Cost Factor #5: Installation and labor
In addition to the purchase price of your generator, you’ll also need to pay for the labor to install it. The cost is anywhere from several hundred to thousands of dollars.
Given the intricate electrical wiring and flammable gas involved, it’s important to hire an experienced technician. And in general, the more experience a contractor has, the more money they will charge per hour.
When searching for a trustworthy whole-home generator installer, look for the following:
- Proof of licensing and insurance
- 10+ years of experience
- Transparent pricing
- Written guarantee of work to be completed
- Recent 4 and 5 star customer reviews and ratings
Your needs are unique to your home, so make sure you speak with a licensed professional who values your goals and budget.
Want a whole-home generator quote from an electrician you can trust?
Contact Michael & Son. Since 1967, our team of licensed professionals is here for honest advice and no-obligation estimates. Backed by first-class work and full customer satisfaction, you can trust us to deliver the generator you need, at a price that works for your budget.
Learn more about what to expect when you hire us by visiting our generator installation page.
This blog was written on Apr 15, 2021. Any pricing information is subject to change.