Your Cost to Install a Generac can be Calculated Upfront

A representation of the big factors to consider when finding the cost to install a Generac generator: The generator, cement pad, wiring, and transfer switch, outside a home.

Due to a range of standby power generator sizes and models to back up your home, the cost to install a Generac can also vary greatly. If you want reliable backup power for your home or business, you should consult a qualified installer.

In general, the price to put in a Generac generator depends on its size. Other factors are the fuel source, distance from the electrical panel and gas meter, and the amount of wiring and gas plumbing required. Installing liquid-cooled generators gets a little more in-depth. Large trenches may be needed to run electrical conduit and gas pipes, or propane tanks may need to be installed.


The ‘Why’ Behind the Cost to Install a Generac

Depending on the size of the unit, your home’s specifics, and other factors, the cost to install a Generac generator can be anywhere between $1,500 and $5,000. Natural gas or liquid propane is used in Generac’s standby generators during power outages.

If you try to “do it yourself” versus paying one flat rate for installation and any other costs, consider the following:

  • A backup generator is hooked up to an electrical panel by an electrician for $50 to $130 per hour.
  • Generator interlocks cost $400 to $850 to install and allow portable generators to connect directly to electrical panels.
  • The cost of DIY generator maintenance kits range from $20 to $110. Maintenance contracts for generators cost $200 to $650 per year and include an inspection, oil change, and filters.
  • A generator transfer switch typically costs $400 to $2,500 to install.
  • Generators powered by natural gas or liquid propane require gas plumbing. The cost of installing a gas line per linear foot ranges from $12 to $25.
  • Fuel tanks are required for liquid propane generators. The average cost of a propane tank is $400 to $1,800.
  • Permits may be required for electrical work, plumbing work, and mechanical work. Average permit costs range from $80 to $450.
  • In order to install a generator, you need a concrete pad that is 3 to 4 inches thick and costs $150 to $400.

This is why — for so many homeowners — how much a Generac installation will cost is oftentimes easier to swallow when it’s bundled together by a professional Generac service nearby. They can deal with the purchase and paperwork headache instead of you.


Total Project and Installation Expenses to Consider

The price of a typical 20 kilowatt (Kw) generator that has an automatic transfer switch ranges between $5,000 and $10,000, depending on the home’s needs, the exact model, and other factors — which is just the first expense before considering the actual cost to install a Generac.

You should also remember that it’s common nowadays for manufacturers to offer a five-year limited warranty (generally five years on parts and two years on labor), along with an optional five-year comprehensive warranty.

A growing number of homeowners are turning to Generac generators for good reasons. Generac is recognized on several consumer report websites, in many magazines and other publications and media analyses for being the quietest air-cooled generator on the market.

Cold-weather kits are mandatory for people living in the northern half of the United States. It is usually less than $4,900 to buy the generator and transfer switch here. In some areas, there is no need for a cold weather kit, so the generator and switch can be purchased for less than $4,600.


A Wide Range of Installation Costs

There can be a wide range of installation costs with respect to the price to put in a Generac generator — and it’s not recommended that you do it yourself. Having the electric meter and gas meter adjacent to each other on the same side of the house will result in the lowest installation cost. Generator installation costs can be higher when the generator is located away from the electric or gas meters, especially when the gas meter is on the opposite side of the house from the electric meter.

If you are planning to install a standby generator for your home, you should assume the installation cost will be close to the cost of the generator equipment. There are exceptions to this rule of thumb, but it is generally accurate most of the time. You should expect your total project cost to be around $10,000 if you spend up to $5,000 on generator equipment. Liquid-cooled generator project costs typically begin in the mid-teens and can exceed $20,000.

In 70 percent of installations, the 20 Kw air-cooled generator is used. If your home is under 2,500 square feet (with gas heat and hot water), you can use it as a whole-house generator, or you can use it as a partial-house generator, which only powers essential circuits in a larger house. If you’re looking for a whole-house generator for a home larger than 2,500 square feet or that has an electric panel, you will need to choose a liquid-cooled unit.


Kilowatts, Generator Length, and Cost to Install a Generac

Power is measured in kilowatts, so a generator with 10 Kw will produce 10 kilowatts or 10,000 watts of power — something to consider when calculating the cost to install a Generac, on top of the unit’s manufactured cost. When calculating the anticipated electrical loads required for desired backup power, a qualified generator installer can help you determine the appropriate generator size.

Depending on your home’s electrical circuits, a standby generator can be connected to all or just a few “essential circuits.” Refrigerators and freezers, kitchen receptacles, a few lights and receptacles, the fan blower motor for gas heating equipment, the security system, garage door opener, and sump pumps and water pumps are all examples of essential circuits. It is important to consider the sum total of each of these loads when sizing a standby system, as most of these circuits don’t require much power.

Among the most popular and affordable generators are 20 Kw (20,000 Watts) models, which are air-cooled (as opposed to liquid-cooled) and cost around $5,000, including an automatic transfer switch. Remember one thing: How much a Generac installation will cost comes on top of these initial expenses as well.


The Transfer Switch: Which Size is Needed?

The transfer switch controls the amount of electricity (“electrical load”) delivered to each source requiring electricity. It also prevents current from travelling in the wrong direction. This is also something to consider when figuring out the cost to install a Generac. Most electric codes require transfer switches because they allow for safe connections.

The transfer switch does more than switch power between grid service and generators (and between different generators or grid services). They also switch power between other grid services. Transfer switches come in three main types: Manual, non-automatic, and automatic.

It is important that the size of the automatic transfer switch matches the size of the “load center” to which it will be connected. An automatic transfer switch of 200 amps is included with the 20 Kw generator. Generators that are connected to breaker panels with a 100-amp load center will need an automatic transfer switch with a 100-amp breaker.

Your backup power needs should be met by a generator with 20 Kw – 25 Kw if your home is less than 2,500 square feet. It would be even better if the top of the range was gas as well. An electric unit rated 20 Kw – 25 Kw can run most household appliances (receptacles), lights, and a central air conditioner up to 5 tons. All of these components should be reviewed when calculating the final price to put in a Generac generator.


Getting Estimates for the Cost to Install a Generac

The cost to install a Generac includes bringing together all the pieces of a finely built puzzle. Installers pull permits and determine the size and power of generators needed to run homes. They also pour concrete pads for some homes, install wiring, and safely connect generators to utility grids. Steps to finding the best professional installer can include:

  • Online reviews.  Previous work can be found by reading reviews.
  • Look for companies that are insured, bonded, and have been in business for more than five years.
  • You should avoid selecting the lowest quote, because quality may be compromised.
  • Compare at least three in-person estimates.
  • Installing home generators requires an electrician with experience.
  • Find out what all the costs are.
  • Don’t make large payments upfront. Plan out the payment schedule.
  • You should choose a certified gas plumber if you need a generator that runs on natural gas or propane.
  • Make sure the contract and warranty are in writing.

Smart questions to ask include: What is the length of your experience installing generators? Do you have any experience installing generators? Are you going to handle the gas plumbing yourself or will you use a subcontractor? Are there any references you can provide?

In addition, ask your provider if they are licensed, bonded, and insured. Also, are there any costs associated with the installation? Are they able to obtain the permits needed? If you plan on making payments, ask what their payment plan looks like.

These are all excellent questions to ask when deciphering how much a Generac installation will cost.


W. Danley Electrical

At W. Danley Electrical, we assist you throughout the entire process. This means answering questions to helping you prepare for the repair, maintenance, or the cost to install a Generac. We also help obtain permits, inspections, and much more. We help you optimize and fine-tune your situation. This way you get the most out of your investment, as well as determine the correct generator size.


Learn more about Generac installers near you or contact us today.