Is Installing A Backup Generator Cost Effective?

How much does it cost to install a backup generator?

Most modern households rely heavily upon electrical energy supply. The installation of a backup generator can deliver whole-house energy during a loss of power due to storms, general power outages and natural disasters.  It can also be designed to supply only necessary systems, like a refrigerator or electric heat, until electrical service is restored.

There are small, mid-sized and large generators available, and they work in the following ways:

  • Small to Mid-Sized will deliver 7-10 kW, and will be able to run a few basic household systems, but cannot sustain the needs of the entire home. These tend to need manual start and will average from $500 to $2500.
  • Mid-Sized to Large will deliver 12-20 kW, and will be able to function more effectively than a small system, but will not deliver the power needed for the entire home. This is a good option for those who need heating during cold weather situations. These will cost from $2000 to $4500.
  • Large Sized or ‘Whole Home’ will deliver 22-45 KW, and will be able to operate the entire home. These will usually be permanently in position and contained in protective “cases”. They are usually liquid cooled and can be permanently connected to the home. Many will come with installation fees of a few thousand dollars. These will cost from $5000 to $15000 and up.

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Cost breakdown

Installation of a backup generator is not considered a “DIY” project and it is not recommended that anyone but a licensed electrician perform the work. Typical installation can include:

  • Assessment of home energy needs to select suitable equipment (unless whole-house supplies are the goal). To understand the needs of the building the homeowner must do simple math that totals all appliances and household systems, and use the total kW figure to select the proper equipment;
  • Selection of equipment and list of installation requirements from contractor or supplier
  • Preparing site nearest to current electrical meter and power panel
  • Pouring of suitably sized concrete pad
  • Installation of fuel tank to feed generator throughout use. This must be done by a utility company and can rely on propane or diesel. The tank can be buried or positioned next to equipment, and professional connection is also usually required
  • new subpanel must be installed near the original electrical panel and an automatic transfer switch should be included as well
  • detailed plan of which appliances and electronic devices should be disconnected during use is necessary as well. Usually only the installer can indicate items such as televisions and computers that will be damaged by the fluctuating energy of the generator.
  • Provide electrical wiring and lighting to code – This is going to depend upon the amount of work required.  If the generator is located near the house panel with a suitable foundation, installation can be as little as $499 + tax.  This will include the transfer switch and attachment of any circuit(s) the need to be energized through the generator.

B&G Electrical Contracting is the Puget Sound’s best option for installing Backup Generators for residential use.  For more information or to set up a Free Estimate, please visit the Contact Us page at our website,

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