Please note that all costs are subject to change at any time. Any prices on this page are up to date as of 1/31/22.
The Cost of owning a generator
Nowadays, uncertainty looms regarding power outages. In fact, on average, American citizens can go over eight hours without electricity. Without a home generator, this would affect not only your daily life, but the appliances at your house, such as the refrigerator. In a world where technology and electricity play such a crucial role, a home generator will protect your home from further loss and/or damage during a prolonged power outage or a major weather event. Nevertheless, when time comes to buy a generator, several factors come into play that may affect the price you pay for safety and comfort. For this, when doubts come in, we’re here to ensure you’re well prepared and informed to make the correct decision for you and your family.
WHAT FACTORS INTO THE COST OF A WHOLE HOME GENERATOR?
Here at A&J Generator and Equipment, we’re ready to answer every question you may have on the different factors with your generator. A whole house generator varies in price; based on the requirements you may ask for, the cost is bound to differ. Size, manufacturer, and installation are some of the aspects you need to take into consideration when you decide to invest in a house generator. If you’re researching the best type of generator for your family, it’s best to start with the size you wish and/or need.
This is a key part of the cost; depending on the appliances you wish to power and the size of your home, you may expect to pay a larger fee. The bigger the generator, more circuits can be wired, thus the installation cost goes up. For a generator, the size is measured in Kilowatts– there is a great range of KW for generators, so every customer is satisfied. Next, we include the different sizes you may encounter in your search:
- Recreational Inverter– max 2KW: Ranges from $400-$1,000
- Midsized Inverter– max 3.5KW: Ranges from $1,000-$1,700
- Large Inverter– max 7.5KW: Ranges from $1,400-$4,000
- Portable Generator– max 7.5KW: Ranges from $700-$2,800
- Standby Generator– max 26KW: Ranges from $3,000-$8,000
Although the prices now mentioned are averages, some generators can rise up to $10,000-$20,000 taking into consideration other factors seen below.
While this one necessarily affects the cost of the home generator, it could alter the decision due to the circumstances you may find yourself in. You’ll see generators that run on gasoline, diesel, natural gas, propane, and liquid propane. This part of the power source is what truly affects the cost; when you purchase and store the fuel that’s based on how much it takes to run the generator. Additionally, if you were to invest in a standby generator, a dedicated fuel line would need to be installed, which means another added cost.
A transfer switch detects when a house has lost power and immediately moves the load from the electrical grid to the backup generator. The standby generators require that a professional electrician installs and can be included in the installation cost. The price here is determined by the size of the generator and the amount of circuits connected in your home; it ranges from $600 to $1,200.
Once you buy a standby generator, it is necessary to get a permit for various reasons. First, to install a whole house generator into the electrical grid a permit is needed by the electrical company. Furthermore, some generators require a concrete pad to be placed and function. Based on each municipality and size, the cost varies from $50 to $800 apiece.
To install a whole house generator, you need professional help due to the size, type, and requirements needed. It is commonly found that a customer pays for installation 75% of the generator cost. Here, generator installation includes permits, preparation, assembly, placement, and connecting/wiring. It is possible that the electrician must make additional upgrades such as installing a subpanel and circuit breaker; this may cost you an extra $1500-$9000.
Every company designs its own generator, with different enclosures, power, engine, and cost. Alongside, the price of raw material, manufacturing process, and labor costs impact what you pay for a generator. At A&J, we deal with the most popular whole home generator brands like Briggs & Stratton, Generac, and Kohler.
Briggs & Stratton
Briggs & Stratton generators are made of galvanneal steel with a commercial-grade engine that’s built to last. With advanced features like smarter power management, buying a home generator here is a solid choice. Their just cost, industry-leading warranty, and equipped self-diagnostic technology allows you and your family to remain calm and safe, especially during prolonged periods of time without electricity.
Generac produces their generators with a durable aluminum material that is made to last for years. Most commonly, they run on natural gas or LP fuel. Each generator comes with a 5-year limited or 2,000-hour warranty and can run up to 200 hours with proper tanks. Nevertheless, you can expect the prices in this brand to be higher compared to others.
Kohler assures that every generator, built with a corrosion-proof enclosure, is tested hundreds of times during production and before sell. With a commercial-grade engine built to withstand, they also have a 5-year or 2,000-hour warranty. Kohler generators tend to be among the most expensive generators.
The manufacturers are the start to finding out the possible cost of a home generator; based on each company’s way of production, you could see a great difference in prices. This factor, alongside the size of your desired generator, are what determine the power source needed for the generator to be productive.
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WHAT KIND OF HOME GENERATOR CAN I AFFORD WITH MY BUDGET?
We know a budget is an important part of the decision done by you and your family. A generator is a life changing financial aspect that can resolve your needs and since every family has their own, we want to assure you have every information possible. You may be wondering: What is my best option with my budget? We’ve got the answers for every situation.
Budget of Less than $5,000
With a budget of less than $5,000 you could afford a portable generator. This often begin at $300 with a capacity of 4KW but can go up to a 10KW range. The generators usually run-on diesel, gas, propone, or solar energy. Nevertheless, these generators are better for emergency situations like major weather events and not long-term situations for your home.
Budget of $5,000-$15,000
If your budget ranges from $5,000-$15,000 there is a great variety of options here that could fit your desires. You could get a smaller standby unit capable of powering several circuits, or up to a whole-house generator that can power a great portion of the appliances at a home. In this budget you do need to take into consideration installation costs. If you were to use $5,000 your generator could achieve a capacity of 16KW, which lets you power select appliances during emergencies. With at least $10,000 the generator could handle a 3,000 to 5,000 square-foot home; they can power a major appliance and several circuits for a long period of time depending on the capacity(22KW-35KW). It is certain that with this generator you will be able to live comfortably during an extended time.
Budget of $20,000+
An over $20,000 budget allows you to get a state-of-the-art generator that can easily power your house or business for an indefinite time. These home generators can have a capacity up to 40KW and are the best option if you live off the grid or an ease that’s known to suffer constant loss of electricity. These units use your existing gas or propane line to provide continuous power; nevertheless, you may be obligated to install one due to the size. More importantly, it has the power to assure you’re able to live your daily life as if you had conventional electricity. If you have any doubts regarding your budget and possible generator, feel free to contact us and we’ll happily answer.
WHAT WILL THE INSTALLATION COST ME?
With a whole house generator, installation is a big factor to take into consideration; this includes your budget. In this section, you could find several factors that affect the price you pay. First, you could pay between $3,000-$6,500 for skilled labor to install your generator. Second, the materials the professionals need could see a price of $300-$2,000. If needed, you may have to construct a concrete pad that’s worth $50-$75 per square foot; to add a fuel tank can be cost at $50-$100 per hour; wiring the electrical panel costs between $65 to $85 an hour. Lastly, you will need to pay the permits the municipality requires which varies from $50 to $200 per permit. Although the price of generator installation is an investment, it’s an important aspect to ensure that your family is secured when an emergency comes. After this, it’s up to you to maintain the generator, refueling it constantly and repairing what’s necessary.
WHAT WILL MY FUEL COST?
How much you spend on fuel is a combination of the capacity of KW, the size, and how often you use it. Every generator has its own power source and fuel supply, this means that when deciding on which one to buy, you should take into consideration availability and cost. The fuels most seen for whole house generators are: natural gas, propane, diesel, and liquid propane.
The current price you’ll see for natural gas is that of $6.23 per gallon; here, you would see the generator run for roughly 8 hours if not used to its fullest.
Propane, the cleaner energy option for a generator, can be bought at $2.50 the gallon; nevertheless, you would see the propane burn faster than any other fuel source. You could also install a propane generator to establish a direct line to the generator; they differ in sizes to fit each home and could range from $300(100 gallons) to $2,500(1000 gallons).
Diesel costs rise and fall constantly. Now, the average per gallon is $3.64 and it would cost $122 to run a generator for a whole day.
Lastly, liquid propane can be found at approximately $2.34 the gallon yet it’s possible you could pay more or less based on the usage and the location. Installing a liquid propane tank is also an option and usually around $1,765 dollar.
Most whole home generator tanks range from 100 to 1,000 gallons depending on the size and function of the generator and you are responsible for refilling it, which usually costs between $3-$5 dollars per gallon. The fuel source should be a key factor when deciding your generator, especially with your location and cost variation.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT IN REPAIRS?
It’s common for your generator to experience problems along the years, especially after a major event such as a hurricane. In this case, it’s better for you to hire a professional generator repair company to assure your generator is in the best condition possible. A portable general usually pays from $80-$150; meanwhile, a standby generator owner would be looking at a price around $600. You may be wondering: “What could I have to repair?” Lucky for you, here at A&J, we answer your every need.
In charge of ensuring the voltage output remains consistent and your battery isn’t damaged.
Price: up to $800
Vital so that the main power line does not encounter the generator and is what allows for the generator to power your home when you lose electricity.
Price: repairs cost from $50-$400 depending on the condition; replacing the part entirely between $200 and $400 and extra for labor costs.
An essential part of the mechanics, it’s dedicated to mix fuel and air for the combustion process in the generator.
Price: a minor repair like a loose gasket can cost $50; for a complete replacement, you could be looking at anything around $60-$500.
Designed to produce the desired output voltage, which means a disturbance in this could result in failing to do its function and damage the generator completely.
Price: Ranges from $250 to $1,500 based on if it’s rewinding the pieces or replacing the equipment.
Arguably the most important part of a generator, it’s imperative this part is always in perfect condition for smooth operation.
Price: Depending on the condition and size, will be around $50-$4,000.
WILL I HAVE TO PAY FOR GENERATOR MAINTENANCE?
Maintenance is key so your generator is functionable for years to come; an experienced service technician will make sure that its repairs are up to date, fuel is correct, engine filter and battery are working, and there are correct levels of lubrication and coolant. For this, we recommend you make an annual, or semi-annual appointment to check your generator is running in peak form. The price for generator maintenance is the sum of several factors: the size, type, run-time, and fuel force. You could see the price beginning from $575 for semi-annual checks and $350-$550 for annual checks– since the more time passes the more likely there are repairs to be made.
Although for some the price of a whole house generator may seem excessive, the truth is it’s a worthy investment that will surely benefit your family for years to come. Here at A&J Generator and Equipment, we can promise we’ll do the best work possible to repair and ensure your generator is at prime condition. Feel free to contact us for an appointment and we’ll happily serve you!