Purchase Costs of Standby Generators
The most important feature that drives the cost of generators is their output capacity. This means the amount of power the generator can generate. For example, a 7KW generator can generate 7KW or 7,000 watts. The higher the power output, the higher the cost. A 10KW generator costs higher than a 7KW but costs less than a 20KW generator.
Another factor that plays a prominent role in the determination of the cost of a generator is its brand. Known brands cost higher than new brands, and that’s because they have been tested.
So, they’re now trusted. In other words, a Generac 20KW generator will definitely cost higher than a 20KW generator from a new brand.
That being said, a 20KW generator costs around $5,000 and above, while a 10KW generator begins at $3,500. Higher power output will cost more. Remember that this does not include the installation cost. We’ll discuss the installation cost below.
The installation cost is the amount it will cost you to install your generator. It is different from its purchase cost. However, virtually all distributors of standby generators also render installation services and may add the installation cost to the purchase cost if you request it.
The factors that determine installation costs are the power output, size of the generator, and the complexity involved. It will cost you more to install a bigger generator with higher power output. Generally, it will cost you the range of $500 to $4,500 to install a 7-10KW generator professionally.
To install a 12-20KW generator, you’ll cough out about $4,000 – $10,000, depending on the size and the quality of the cabinet. On the same note, installing a 22 – 45KW liquid-cooled generator will cost about $9,000 – $15,000. This is because it is more complex and difficult to install this kind of standby generator.
Sometimes, there may be additional costs apart from the purchase and installation costs.
1. Upgrade Your Gas Meter
Your generator will share the same gas source with your home, and the volume of gas that you use may shoot up dramatically, depending on how often you use your generator.
It is likely that your existing gas meter may not be able to handle the new volume of gas. So, you may need to upgrade your gas meter.
The average cost of upgrading a gas meter is $1,000. You may be lucky to have your existing gas meter handle the volume surge easily. In that situation, an upgrade won’t be necessary.
2. Automatic Transfer Switch
Many years ago, standby generators were sold without an automatic transfer switch, but now it often comes with the package. Nevertheless, there are a few exceptions to the rule.
If the automatic transfer switch does not come with the package, it may cost you around $1,000 since that is the average cost of an automatic transfer switch.
Also, this switch sometimes packs up. So, even if a transfer switch comes with your generator, it may stop working after several years, and you’ll have to replace it.
What You Should Bear in Mind?
If you’re not an expert in this field, don’t do the installation yourself. So many things can go wrong. Remember, if your generator is installed by non-qualified personnel, the warranty on it will be voided.
And if anything goes wrong, you’ll bear the cost. You don’t want to start paying for repair works on a generator that has not even served you.
Generators are fueled by natural gas, propane, gasoline, or diesel. Natural gas is the best option as the fuel will be supplied by a utility company.
Also, natural gas gives off less fumes. A standby generator is installed outdoors, on a cement pad. Its installation requires wiring it into your home’s electrical system.
A subpanel may be added. An automatic transfer switch should be in the equation so that when an outage is sensed, the generator will start up automatically. And some generators will go off on their own when electricity from the grid is restored.
Tips on Buying a Standby Generator
1. Get Your Total Power Consumption
To order a generator, you must know your total power consumption. You don’t want to buy a generator that can’t power all your appliances or, at least, the essential ones. So, you must sum up the total power consumption of your appliances.
At this point, we need to make a clarification. The startup wattage of every appliance is higher than its running wattage. You must base your calculation on the starting watts. For example, a refrigerator requires about 2.8KW (2,800 Watts) to start, but it runs on 700 Watts. If your generator does not offer up to 2,800 Watts, your fridge will not come on.
So, you need to get the starting power of all your electrical appliances and sum them up. You can then order a generator that can provide enough output.
2. Select a Known Brand
A generator costs several thousands of dollars. Buying an obscure or new brand is like gambling. You don’t want to gamble with your money. It is better to buy a product of a brand that has a proven track record of producing great products.
That being said, some of the brands that have carved a niche for themselves are Winco, Kohler, Generac, GE, Cummins Onan, Champion, and Briggs & Stratton. You can select from this branch.
3. Read Reviews
When you make up your mind on a particular model, try to read some of the reviews of the product before you purchase it. You may discover something you don’t like about it, or you could also learn from other users’ mistakes.
4. Compare Price Deals
To get the best price offer, you need to check the prices on several platforms. One online store that has been blazing the trail in competitive prices is Amazon. The prices of generators on the platform are competitive.
Buying and installing a standby generator is not something you can rush into. A lot of considerations have to be taken in your decision. Finally, when calculating how much you need for a standby generator, add the purchase cost to the installation cost.