Whole House Generators Cost

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With concerns of power outages, a generator has been high on many homeowners’ shopping list. However, home generators are a hefty investment, and many away turned by the high cost, not knowing what goes behind the number.

The average whole house generator cost is $11,250 including the unit, materials, and labor. Diesel whole house generators average $9,000, and standard gasoline units average $1,750. You will spend an extra $50 per hour if you need concrete work and $125 for permits if your area requires it.

Thankfully, there are cheaper alternatives, like portable generators.

We will also walk you through the cost factors behind whole house generators and relevant installation costs, so you know how to save safely.

Whole House Generator Cost: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional

Like all utility-related investments, you should always keep in mind that you are shooting for the long run. What are the long-term benefits, savings, and purposes of a whole house generator? That’s why we will start by looking at if a whole house generator is worth your money.

Whole House Generator Cost
ItemAverage Cost
Whole House Generator$3,000 – $6,000
Installation$3,000 – $5,000
Total Cost To Install$6,000 – $11,000

*A complex installation costs $5,000 to $12,000+. Learn more

Home Generator Installation Cost

Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you. When a generator connects to all circuits in your home, it’s considered a whole house generator.

Generator Cost
SizePrice RangeTypical Coverage
2 – 5 kW$250 – $1,400One appliance and a few lights.
7 – 10 kW$2,000 – $3,00010 lights, refrigerator, sump pump, well pump, microwave, TV, laptop, coffee maker, and furnace fan.
13 – 16 kW$3,000 – $4,500Full home under 1,500 square feet.
17 – 20 kW$4,000 – $6,000Full 1,500 to 3,000 square foot home.
22 – 25 kW$4,500 – $12,000Full 3,000 to 5,000 square foot home.
30 – 48 kW$10,000 – $16,000Large luxury home or commercial applications.

*Not including installation.

  • A whole house generator is often a permanent installation. The goal is for you to experience no breakage in energy supply. If an outage does happen, your generator should kick right on, and there should be no difference between your regular and backup power.
  • The most fundamental rule with generator ROI is considering your local weather. How often does it flood, storm, or experience other extreme conditions?
  • How likely will you lose power? How long would the power outage last?
  • If you’re unsure about where to start, your local electricity company and your HOA are both excellent places to gather information.
  1. Naturally, if you are at risk of frequent or prolonged power outages, a whole house generator would be a reasonable investment.
  2. Another thing to consider is your desired comfort level.
  3. Are you okay with living a few days only with necessities like hot water and limited lighting, or would that be a deal-breaker?
  4. This decides if you need a whole house generator or opt for something more affordable.
  5. Depending on the type, model, fuel, and capacity, home generators could vary significantly in cost.
  6. In general, a home generator costs $1,414 to $7,599, whereas a whole house generator could cost somewhere between $4,200 to $1,5000.
  7. These numbers do not include installation costs.

Do I Need a Whole House Generator?

Average Cost To Install a Generator
National Average Cost$8,500
Minimum Cost$3,000
Maximum Cost$22,000
Average Range$6,000to$11,000

*Prices for a 13 to 22 kW backup generator plus installation.

What Is A Whole House Generator?

The first factor that affects your generator cost is fuel type. On average, a generator either uses natural gas (NG) or liquid propane (LP) as its power source, but other options exist as well. When deciding which type of generator to buy, remember to think about refueling cost as well, especially if you think you’d need the generator running regularly.

Backup Generator Prices
Fuel TypePortableStandby
Gasoline$250 – $4,500--
Natural Gas$900 – $4,300$2,000 – $6,000
Liquid Propane$250 – $4,000$2,000 – $6,000
Diesel$3,300 – $6,700$5,000 – $18,000
Solar$500 – $3,300--

*Prices for units with power capacity of 2 to 24 kW. Not including installation.

Additional Costs and Considerations

The table below shows the cost of different types of home generators. Whole And Partial Generator Costs by Type. As you may notice, the price seems lower than the average whole house generator cost. That’s because the final cost of a whole house generator is also dependent on the capacity needed.

In other words, the more wattage you need to power your house, the more expensive the generator will be.

What Size Whole House Generator Do I Need?

Before we move onto how the capacity affects cost, let’s take a more in-depth look into the different fuel types. Gasoline: Gas generators are cost-effective. They are also the most affordable options. Gas is easily accessible, and therefore gasoline generators are top-rated among homeowners.

Put away the candles and flashlights: A generator can keep your home up and running during the next power outage. Whole house generator cost averages $15,000 nationally, and we’re here to break it all down.

The only downside is that gasoline has a short shelf life and is hard to store in cold regions. Natural Gas:Natural gas generators are more expensive due to increased convenience. They’re directly hooked into your utility lines, so you never need to worry about refueling.

FAQs

It does use more fuel than all other types. Also, if you have concerns about a gas outage, you may want to look into alternatives. Diesel:Diesel generators range from $3,000 to $15,000, but they are perfect as whole house generators.

Factors in Calculating Whole House Generator Cost

They are often larger units and run on cleaner energies with much higher efficiency. They save you money in the long run, especially if your house is a power-devouring monster. Liquid Propane:LP generators cost $500 to $6,000 depending on you are looking for a portable, partial, or whole house generator.

Whole House Generator Cost Fuel Types

Liquid propane storage comes with a higher risk for fire hazards, and these generators also have a shorter lifespan. Solar:Solar generators are a new addition to the market and cost up to $5,000. They are the most sustainable model and don’t require a constant fuel supply.

Generac Generator Prices
Power CapacityAverage Price
7 kW$2,000
10 kW$3,000
16 kW$3,800
17 kW$4,000
20 kW$4,500
22 kW$5,000
30+ kW$12,000

*Prices not including installation.

They are more suitable as whole house generators since smaller units can only store limited energy.

Related Questions

As mentioned earlier, another critical cost factor behind home generator pricing is the capacity or wattage. The minimum wattage requirement to run all appliances in an average-sized home is 20KW.Therefore, if you are looking for a stationary whole house generator, be sure it hits that requirement.

How to Save Money on a Whole House Generator

Also, depending on the size of your house, the capacity needed may go way higher. Typically, anything above 30KW would be for commercial use only. However, some homes may need generators at 22KW or higher to keep them running. On average, a 20KW whole house stationary generator costs around $5,000, and a 22KW generator costs around $5,800.

Whole House vs. Partial House Generators

If you are looking for generators using solar or other clean energy sources, be prepared to pay more. The other main piece behind whole house generator costs is the cost for installation. When buying from a mainstream manufacturer, you are usually limited to using one of their certified installers.

Whole House Generator Repair Cost

If you go with someone else, you may lose warranty protections, which could be a major expense if anything goes wrong in the future. Generally, a permanent whole house generator unit costs $500 to $3,000 to install. Contractors usually quoted on a project-base, but some may choose an hourly quote if they think they’ll need to put in extra work.

Cost To Install Whole House Generator
TypeAverage Cost
Typical Installation$3,000 – $5,000
Complex Installs (Longer Distances or > 20 kW)$5,000 – $12,000+

*Not including generator.

Generator installation could be a good time for you to make other related improvements to your home.

Questions to Ask About Whole House Generator Cost

These improvements will incur additional costs. However, it’s a better deal to get it done while installing the generator instead of creating separate projects later on.

Standby Generator Installation Cost
FactorAverage Cost
Home Energy AssessmentFree With Installation
Labor Charges For Electrician$40 – $100 per hour
Transfer Switch Installation$400 – $2,000
Electrical Wiring$6 – $8 per foot
Gas Line Installation$12 – $25 per foot
Concrete Pad$150 – $400
Propane Tank Installation$400 – $1,800
Permits$80 – $450
  • Some additional installation charges include. Concrete construction.If you want to build a concrete slab to hold your generator, be ready to pay $50 to $75 per square foot.
  • Electrical panel, switch, and wiring improvements. It’s a good idea to do electrical improvements while installing the generator.
  • Your contractor will probably bill you according to their standard hourly rate. It usually takes $50 to $200 per permit if you don’t want to go through the hassle yourself.
  • Additional material costs. Would it be cheaper to invest in a partial house generator? Upon first glance, the answer might be yes.
  • But you’d be surprised to find out that whole house generators are typically better long-term investments.

How Much Does A Home Generator Cost?

For people with larger homes over 5,000 square feet, it might make more sense to invest in a partial house generator because a whole house one could cost up to $20,000. Your house size is what determines how much your unit will cost. Also, the larger your house, the more complicated the installation will require a higher-capacity generator.Therefore, installing a whole house generator on a large home could cost you up to an additional $10,000.

Cost To Install Generator Transfer Switch
TypeAverage Total Cost
Manual$400 – $1,300
Automatic$600 – $2,000

*Transfer switch plus installation.

  • Alternatively, you can choose to install a partial house generator. These generators can still be stationary units but only connect to certain parts of your circuit.
  • Some popular connections include. Kitchen lights and appliances like the fridge. Home security system.

You Have Crucial Electric Medical Devices

Garage door opener. Gas heater or its blower motor. Lights in dark or high-traffic areas. Central AC unit. Washer and dryer if you expect the outage to last for a while.

Generator Transfer Switch Cost
AmpsManualAutomatic
30 Amp$150 – $500--
100 Amp$200 – $700$350 – $1,000
200 Amp$450 – $1,000$700 – $1,450
400 Amp--$1,650 – $2,700

*Transfer switch only. Installation labor adds $200 to $500.

Only running essential circuits allow you to use a lower wattage generator. For example, an 18KW standby unit would work for a regular-sized home if you are only powering basic appliances.

Q. What do I need to know about generator maintenance after the installation?

This could save you thousands instantly. Another whole house generator alternative is portable generators, which typically go from $300 to $1,200. These are much less expensive because they’re not permanent installations. As the name suggests, portable generators are on-demand devices.

Generator Interlock Installation Cost
ItemAverage Cost
Interlock Kit$50 – $150
Breaker, Power Box, Cords, Misc.$200 – $400
Electricians Labor$150 – $300
Total Cost To Install$400 – $850

Most portable generators can only power one or two appliances. Imagine them to be a band-aid that you keep on the essential items, such as your refrigerator or your heater.

Recently Published

  • Portable generators are also cheaper as you don’t need any installation or permits for them. However, if you live somewhere with frequent power outages, a whole house generator would still be the safest and most economical option in the long run.
  • The highest underlying cost of any fixture added to your home is the typical maintenance cost. When it comes to your home generator, you do not want to slack off on services.
  • On average, generator repair costs $75 to $300.

Q. How much does it cost to run a whole house generator?

Most homeowners spend somewhere around $160 for regular maintenance and $250 for a basic repair. If you require a full replacement, then, of course, the math will be different. Repair for smaller standby generators, such as a 10KW generator, costs much less and usually sits around $50.

Portable Generator Sizes and Prices
WattsPrice Range
Less than 2,000$250 – $700
2,000 to 4,900$300 – $1,400
5,000 to 9,900$600 – $2,500
10,000+$1,500 – $5,000

However, anything above 20KW would come with a hefty repair bill.

If you are running a commercial-grade generator out of your home, expect to pay as much as $600 for a repair.

Gasoline

Some typical generator failures include. Battery failure. Leaks and air pockets. Coolant problems. Carburetor clog. Breaker/switch issues. Gauge malfunction. Same as how it goes with most appliances, the sooner you can catch a problem, the more likely you can save on repair costs.

Portable Generator Installation Cost
FactorAverage Cost
Manual Transfer Switch$200 – $800
Electrical Work$200 – $500
Total Cost To Install$400 – $1,300

If it was already too late, then take a look at the chart below to know how much you need to replace certain parts.

Portable Generator Accessories
AccessoriesPrice RangeDescription
Heavy-Duty Extension Cord$30 – $200Plug major appliances directly into a portable generator.
Wheel Kit$30 – $300Make it easier to move a heavy generator.
Generator Cover$20 – $165Protect a portable generator from the elements when outdoors.

One Level Down: Partial House Generators

Generator Parts Pricing. In the end, your total cost of repair and replacement is dependent on the size, type, and fuel used by your generator. Whole house, standalone units are usually more expensive to keep up than smaller ones. Also, some models are more prone to having problems and have a shorter lifespan.

Portable vs. Standby Generators
FactorPortableStandby
Generator Cost$500 – $2,500$2,000 – $6,000
Lifespan2,000 – 5,000 hours10,000 – 30,000 hours
Power Output2 – 10 kW7 – 22 kW
Fuel Cost$30 – $70 per day$50 – $150 per day
Fuel Needs12 – 20 gallons of gasoline or diesel per day20 – 75 gallons of liquid propane or 3,000 to 8,000 cubic feet of natural gas daily
Pros
  • Therefore, make sure you take maintenance and repair costs into consideration when choosing your home generator.
  • In the meantime, conducting regular inspection and maintenance is always a good idea, especially if you haven’t used your generator for a while.
  • The table below gives you a rough estimate of your maintenance frequency and related costs.
  • Generator Servicing Cost and Required Frequency.
  • In general, expect for $80 to $150 per checkup.
  • If you bought from an established manufacturer, like Generac, then you may qualify for an annual service contract at a much lower price.
  • You also want to work with approved or certified contractors so you stay under the warranty coverage.
  • However, if your generator needs a rewinding, then you will be looking at a $300 to $700 bill.
  • Rewinding is complicated and can be potentially dangerous, that’s why it is a worthy investment and should only be done by professionals.
  • Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.
  • Legally speaking, it should.
  • A whole house generator could increase your property value by 3% to 5%, which often equates to a 100% to 150% ROI compared to the initial investment cost.
  • If you live in an area frequently with extreme weather conditions, that number might even go higher.
Cons
  • The best-known and most-established whole house generator manufacturer is Generac.
  • Their products vary from $1,900 to $5,800.
  • The $5,800 model is sufficient to keep a 5,000 square foot home running.
  • Generac generators also come and exceptional warranties.
  • Besides Generac, Craftsman, Kholer, and Briggs & Stratton are also popular brands with credible warranties.
  • As a general rule, we don’t recommend you to DIY any projects involving large appliances, utilities, and risky work environments.
  • A faulty generator installation is not only costly to fix but also extremely dangerous.
  • You should consider the money spent on professional installation as insurance for you and your family’s wellbeing.
  • Gas generators cost about $30 per day.
  • Solar generators are the cheapest one to keep running since it doesn’t require fueling.
  • When in standby, you spend less than $5 per month on your generators.
  • At least 20 years. However, frequent use may significantly reduce your generator’s lifespan.
  • Make sure to conduct regular maintenance and service so your generator lasts as long as it can.

Natural Gas

Typical Range: $10,000 to $20,000. National Average: $15,000. When lightning strikes too close to home and the power flickers then goes out, what is your first thought? The freezer full of meat?

Cost To Rent Portable Generator
Power CapacityRental Price Per Day
1 – 2.5 kW$40 – $55
3 – 4 kW$50 – $65
5 – 7 kW$70 – $90
8 – 10 kW$80 – $110
100 – 300 kW Towable$300 – $500 per week
500+ kW Towable$700 – $1,100 per week

Concrete Pad

Children who will panic if they wake up without a night-light? Critical medical equipment? The HVAC system? Power outages are inconvenient no matter how brief they may be, but they can be expensive or even dangerous in some circumstances, especially if the outage is prolonged.

Q. How many watts does it take to run a house?

A whole house generator protects your family and home by automatically sensing the power loss and triggering a backup power system.

A top-rated pro can help. Get free, no-commitment estimates from experts near you. Many people envision a Home Depot generator when they consider backup power options.

Home Generator Costs By Fuel Type

That gasoline-powered portable block on wheels that generates power (along with a whole lot of noise) is what you’ll see on sale during storm season.

  • A whole house generator is a different kind of appliance.
  • Once limited to hospitals and government buildings, large generators are now an option available to many homeowners. They can be especially popular in areas regularly threatened with heavy snowfall or high winds or in remote areas where the power lines are less reliable.
  • The average whole house generator cost nationwide is $15,000, but several options can raise or lower this cost based on your home’s needs.
  • It’s essential to understand the possibilities and know the terminology before you start shopping so you can develop a realistic budget and decide if a whole house generator is right for you.
Generator Size Calculator For House
Type of LoadWattageGenerator Size
7 kW20 kW48 kW
Two Lighting Circuits200 W
Four Lighting Circuits400 W
10 Lighting Circuits1000 W
Refrigerator / Freezer1200 W
Sump Pump1000 W
Well Pump1000 W
Furnace Fan500 W
Garage Door Opener850 W
Microwave Oven1000 W
Electric Oven2000 W
Radio150 W
Television300 W
Laptop50 W
Desktop Computer200 W
4-Ton Central Air Conditioner8500 W
Washing Machine1200 W
Electric Clothes Dryer3000 W
Coffee Maker900 W
Gaming Console100 W
Jacuzzi Bathtub1500 W
Hot Tub6000 W
EV Charging Station7200 W

*Running wattage is shown. Some appliances startup wattage can be double the running wattage.

Maintenance

Whether you have a small portable gas generator or a massive standby unit, the cautions you’ll need to take when using them are the same. Never, under any circumstances, operate a generator inside your home or garage—even with the doors and windows open.

Generator Accessories
AccessoryPriceDescription
Generator Battery$70 – $300Starts the generator when the electricity goes out.
Cold-Weather Kit$130 – $500Ensures the generator starts in regions where temperatures drop below freezing.
Wireless Monitor$200 – $210Provides access to generator status from inside the home.
Smart Load Manager$130 – $250Allows smaller generators to power more appliances by balancing the electric load.
Fascia Kit$65 – $130Protects the generator’s base from rodents and insects.

Q. How long does a whole house generator usually last?

Carbon monoxide is a lethal gas that can accumulate quickly, and by the time you know something is wrong, it may be too late. Portable generators belong outside, with the doors and windows nearby closed tightly. Home generators are safe and beneficial instruments, but care must be taken for proper ventilation and air exchange so you can keep your home warm and bright but also protect the people living in it.

Generator Type and Size

The demand for whole house generators varies based on weather conditions, market, and region. You’ll see the cost of all generators spike after an extended power outage caused by a snowstorm or hurricane, for example, as people who have been inconvenienced by the outage rush to stores to protect themselves from future events.

Daily Generator Running Cost Calculation
Fuel SourceGenerator Size
7 kW15 kW20 kW
Natural Gas$10 – $20$22 – $32$30 – $40
Liquid Propane$60 – $70$145 – $165$150 – $170
Diesel$32 – $40$90 – $110$100 – $120
Gasoline$55 – $70----

*Costs depend on current and local fuel prices.

Home Generator Costs By Capacity

In addition, there are several variables you’ll find when you begin shopping, and these choices can affect your total cost by thousands of dollars. You’ll want to know the size of your house and electrical panel so you don’t buy more power than you need.

Time A Generator Can Run
TypeContinuous Hours
Portable8 – 14
StandbyUp to 500

Enhancements and Improvements

Other options may be nonnegotiable. There are two kinds of generators for a house: fixed and portable. Most generators capable of powering an entire home are fixed: permanently installed on the outside of your home and hardwired into your electrical system.

Generator Fuel Consumption
Fuel TypeGenerator Size
5 – 7 kW15 kW20 kW
Gasoline0.75 GPH----
Liquid Propane1.42 GPH3.16 GPH3.45 GPH
Natural Gas118 CfH133 CfH330 CfH
Diesel0.60 GPH1.22 GPH1.60 GPH
  • Gallons Per Hour (GPH)
  • Cubic Feet Per Hour (CfH)

You Have a Sump Pump

They come in sizes ranging in power from 7 to 38 kilowatts and cost from $800 to $20,000. To power a 2,500-square-foot home, you’ll want a standby generator with about 25,000 kilowatts of power. Another option is the portable generator, which can range in power from about 2 to 8 kilowatts.

How Long Do Generators Last?
TypeLifespan In YearsHours of Runtime
PortableUp to 102,000 – 5,000
Standby15 – 3010,000 – 30,000

Part Replacement

These are less expensive but are limited to powering a couple of lights and appliances—they’re generators that will keep the most basic electrical items running but aren’t backup power for the whole home.

These smaller support generators cost between $500 and $2,000. A top-rated pro can install a generator for you. Get free, no-commitment estimates from experts near you. Generators operate on a variety of fuel sources.

Power Source

This won’t affect the purchase price but will affect the cost of purchasing and storing the fuel and the total cost of running the generator. You’ll see generators powered by gasoline, liquid propane, diesel fuel, and natural gas.

  • Some solar-powered generators have entered the market, but they’re a bit less common.
  • Every generator, whether portable or fixed, has a manual start option.
  • In most cases, portable generators have a pull cord similar to a lawn mower starter, but others have an electrical switch.
  • Fixed standby generators, wired into your home’s electrical panel, will sense the power interruption to the house and automatically turn on, ensuring minimal loss of power and potential damage to the home and its systems.
  • These generators also include a manual start switch as a backup. Installed generators need a permanent resting spot.
  • The most common installation method is on a poured concrete pad, which offers reduced vibration and increased airflow and prevents pooling water from damaging or rusting the underside.
  • The pad needs to be strong, solid, and level.
  • Professional installation will run between $50 to $75 per square foot, including site preparation and concrete pouring.
  • Installing a whole house generator is not a one-and-done kind of job. A contractor may itemize the whole house generator installation cost, including the charges for preparing the site, labor, the fuel storage tank, upgrading the electrical panel, and any additional materials.

You Live Where There Are Extreme Weather Conditions

  • Some contractors may have a flat rate for the entire installation.
  • In these cases, it’s essential to be clear about what the installation includes.
  • On average, installation ranges between $500 and $3,000. A top-rated pro can install a generator for you ASAP.
  • Get free, no-commitment estimates from experts near you.
  • For a standby generator that will power your whole home, you’ll need an electrician to install a transfer switch, which connects the generator to the circuit board in your home and allows it to run power through your existing circuits.
  • These take 3 to 4 hours to install (around $200 to $400 in labor costs), and the switches can be manual, which you’ll activate yourself, or automated, which will sense the power cut to your home and smoothly self-start to ensure continuous power.
  • An installed generator hooks into your home’s electrical system, so you’ll need a permit to ensure that the work is done correctly and safely.
  • In addition, most municipalities will require a permit to pour a concrete pad to support the generator.

These permits average between $50 and $200 apiece. Photo: depositphotos.com.


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Along with installation, the cost of the generator itself is high, but it can save money in the long run by allowing you to remain in your home during a lengthy power cut.
Standby generators automatically run themselves for just a few minutes several times a week. This keeps the engine oiled and running smoothly and allows the generator to run diagnostics and let you know if there’s a problem that needs to be addressed.