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How Much Do Generators Cost To Install?

National Average Change Location | View National
$3,737
Typical Range
$1,155 - $6,322
Low End
$400
High End
$9,500

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Most homeowners pay between $1,155 and $6,322 to install a generator in their home. While the project can cost as little as $400 and as much as $9,500, the average installation price including all variables is $3,737.
When you lose power due to bad weather or a natural disaster, you will realize why home generators are becoming increasingly popular. It can provide light, heat and electricity until the power is restored. A wide range of types and options make it affordable for all budgets and needs. Here are a few factors that will influence the price of adding a unit in your home.

Generator Prices by Type

The type of home generator you buy will be the biggest cost variable. Small, portable models can cost as little as $300. Large, permanent, diesel-powered alternatives are priced as much as $15,000 to generate enough electricity for a large home.
Generator Costs
TypePrice
Gasoline$500 - $3,000
Natural Gas$1,900 - $5,000
Diesel$3,000 - $15,000
Liquid Propane$500 - $6,000
Solar$300 - $5,000

Gasoline - $500 - $3,000

This is the most cost-effective option. Because gas is easily available in most regions, this is a popular choice. However, gasoline is difficult to store. It has a short shelf life and issues in cold weather.

Natural Gas- $1,900 - $5,000

While you may dislike the higher price, natural gas models can be more convenient. They don't usually require fuel storage because they can be hooked up to the utility grid. This type also works well in cold climates. However, it uses more fuel than other types.

Diesel - $3,000 - $15,000

Diesel generators are commonly used to power an entire home. These large units run more efficiently than natural gas or gasoline. The more power you need, the more beneficial a diesel model becomes.

Liquid Propane - $500 - $6,000

Liquid propane burns clean and has an indefinite shelf life when stored correctly. However, these models don't last as long, and the fuel can be difficult to store.

Solar - $300 - $5,000

Sustainability is a big benefit to solar backup systems. These don't require a constant fuel supply. However, small units cannot store large amounts of energy and may be affected by limited sun exposure in a storm.

Generac Generator Costs

Generac is a leading brand in home generators. They specialize in permanent, whole-house models. After products are installed, they turn on automatically when the power goes out. They run on natural gas or liquid propane, and are normally tap into local utility lines.
Large units are beneficial in areas with frequent power outages and extreme weather. The exact capability depends on your home and needs:
Costs of Generac Generators
Power CapabilityAverage PriceTypical Coverage
7 KW$1,9001 appliance or up to 8 circuits
11 KW$3,0002 appliances or up to 16 circuits
16 KW$3,700Full 1K – 3K sq. ft. home
17 KW$4,500Full 2,500 – 3K sq. ft. home
20 KW$4,900Full 3K – 5K sq. ft. home
22 KW$5,800Full 5K+ sq. ft. home
30+ KW$12,000Commercial Applications Only

Whole House or Major Appliance - How Much Power Do You Need?

The most important cost factor when installing a home generator is how much electricity it can produce. You can choose to install a permanent generator unit that creates electricity for your entire house, so that when it kicks on, it feels as if there is no difference between your home with regular power and your home with backup power.
However, adding a stationary unit can be expensive, and costs up to $15,000. To cover your basic needs, you may choose to go with a smaller, less powerful (and less expensive) model that will only power your major appliances. A portable unit still provides heat, hot water, and the ability for your refrigerator to keep your food from spoiling.
The level of comfort you desire at the time of an outage will dictate how much power you want from your generator. Running all your electric appliances at the same time will require a standby unit at or above 20 KW depending on the size of your home. Running only a single or select few major appliances may only require a portable alternative that can be turned on and off as needed.
Finally, it’s important to consider your area's typical weather conditions. Those in areas with frequent and long-lasting outages should consider investing in a powerful generator. Homeowners in hurricane-prone regions should look for larger and greater KW option than those in the relatively calm mid-Atlantic region.
Consult with an Electrician When Choosing a Generator
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Average Generator Installation Costs

Installing a permanent home generator ranges between $500 and $3,000. This is in addition to the cost of the unit itself. Portable units are mobile, and don't require more installation costs.
Most generators sit outside the home on a previously prepared concrete area. They are added as permanent fixtures and will need electrical wiring and gas hookup. For this reason, you should invest in professional installation. Although it may seem expensive in the short term, adding it yourself without prior experience could be costly and dangerous in the long run.
Most installations are charged on a per-project basis. However, some contractors charge according to individual factors, such as:
  • Assessing energy needs, usually free with installation.
  • Site preparation and concrete pad construction - $50 to $75 per square foot.
  • Adding a fuel tank or connection to existing utility lines - $50 to $100 per hour.
  • Improving electrical panel, transfer switch and new wiring - $65 to $85 per hour.
  • Permits and permissions - $50 to $200 per permit.
  • Materials and equipment - $300 to $2,000.

Potential Installation Drawbacks

Noise is the biggest potential disadvantage of installing a home generator. Decibel levels are typically measured at 25 feet, which is not always adequate for tight city properties. At that distance, a typical home generator reaches between 60 and 70 decibels. For reference, that's between the decibel levels of an average conversation (60 dB) and the background noise in a restaurant (70 dB). The noise level should be a core consideration when choosing a unit to include in or by your house.
Safety considerations also matter in your project. Most building codes require these units to be at least five feet away from a house opening. Accommodating these restrictions in a tight lot may require additional consideration and installation cost.

Transfer Switches for Generators

It will take an electrician three to four hours to install a transfer switch, and will cost about $200 – $400 in labor. They can be added with manual or automatic functionality. For more information on the costs and considerations when installing or replacing a transfer switch, visit our Electrical Switch Installation Cost Guide.
Hire an Electrician to Install your Generator
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Cost of Home Standby/Backup Generators

Small, automatic generators can be purchased for a few hundred dollars. A large unit above 20KW, designed to completely power a large home of more than 5,000 square feet, can run more than $20,000.
Size is the biggest factor in determining how much your automatic unit will cost. Take time with your contractor to properly size it to your needs.
Despite the cost, many homeowners are realizing that investing in one is a necessary step to ensure their home's safety. The days when occasional power outages could be endured with candles and ghost stories are growing short. Backup generators are designed for these types of power outages to ensure continued power and heat in your home.
Random thunderstorms and freak accidents that threaten to cut power for a few hours are now only one potential danger to your home. Shifting weather patterns are causing severe weather in areas where homeowners are unaccustomed to them. Power supply shortages and power grid failures are becoming an increasingly common problem.
Emergency generators are designed to run only the heating, refrigerator/freezer, and basic lighting in your home. Stoves and hot water tanks require a lot of power to operate. Some can supply power to both appliances individually, but not simultaneously. High-quality ones also run a lot quieter.

Small Portable Generators

A portable unit is priced between about $300 and $1,200. This will depend on its power and size. It’s the better option if you cannot afford the cost of a full-house backup energy source.
Portables are much less expensive than permanent models and avoid the need for installation entirely. However, they have much less power and typically power only one or two appliances, like a refrigerator, during an outage.
If power outages are infrequent in your area, and your main concern is singular—like heat or food spoilage—then you may consider investing in a portable one. It's also a good temporary option if you need to have backup power in place while waiting on the installation of a permanent unit.

FAQs

How Much Does It Cost to Run a Generator?

Installed home generators draw a lot of power and gas and therefore are expensive to run. During an extended power outage, you may spend up to $30 per day on gas alone.
Only use it when the power is out, and it is your only power source. On standby/test mode, running it in case of an unexpected outage will run you no more than $5 per month.

What's the Estimated Cost to Wire a House for a Generator?

An average electrician’s rate is between $65 and $85. The overall cost to install a subpanel and wire the house runs between $500 and $900. That includes the installation of a transfer switch, which connects the generator to your existing wiring while keeping everything safe.

What Do I need to Know About Generator Maintenance After Installation?

A generator needs regular maintenance to be reliable year after year. Schedule a professional inspection at least once per year. Generator maintenance and repair costs between $75 and $300, depending on what minor damages need to be fixed.

How Long do Generators Typically Last?

Most units last at least 20 years in normal conditions. Frequent use can reduce the life expectancy, sometimes significantly. You can also extend its life with regular service. Look for extended warranties to maximize your investment.
Get a quote from a generator installation pro
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DIY or Hire a Pro?

Portable generators are usually easy to run. They don't always need professional installation either. On the other hand, both maintaining and installing a permanent emergency unit should be done by a pro for safety and functionality.
A professional can help you understand what power and size you need and recommend options that best fit your power needs. Pouring the concrete pad, connecting it to your utility grid, and wiring it to your home are best left to a professional.
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John Esposito More than 1 year ago
Could anybody help me with the cost to install a 16 kilowatt Generac Guardian whole home generator?
LYNN BATTAGLIA More than 1 year ago
I am only interested in the Solar Generator that I read about in my Amac magazine. I have a condo and I am certain that the assc will notb allow an installed generator. The generator I am interested in has a portable Solar Collector and can be run from a garage or interior room after charging. Are any local (Pittsburgh) companies carrying the Patriot Power Generator?
John Price More than 1 year ago
I want a generator to run my house when the power goes out my house and have a service-connected disability need to have appliances for medications, and C-PAP machine need for sleep. Any local in Orange Park, Florida to install a home generator with a good price.
William Shoto More than 1 year ago
Who did Frank get to install his generator?
Brian Bisgood More than 1 year ago
install a house back-up generator
Donald Barkus More than 1 year ago
cost
Hector Mitchell More than 1 year ago
install a portable generator the right way
Donald Barkus More than 1 year ago
how much did it cost you
Frank Clemens More than 1 year ago
Waiting for my Appointment next week.
David Hackett More than 1 year ago
frank if you don't mind sharing how did it go and who did you get your work done by?

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