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How much will your generator installation cost?

Ashburn, VA 20149

Generator Installers on Thumbtack cost$750 - $1468

National average price

4 Generator Installers found near you!

  • Lowest price:$
  • Most common low price:$750
  • Most common high price:$1468
  • Highest price:$

How much do generators cost?

On average, a new home generator costs $1,000 to install, but homeowners pay anywhere from $330 to $10,500. Most homeowners spend an average of $750 to $1,469 for generator installation services.

Generator installation costs:

National average cost

$1,000

Average cost range

$750-$1,468

Low-end cost range

$330-$650

High-end cost range

$1,500-$10,500

How much are generators?

In the simplest terms, there are three different types of generators available for purchase on the market: home standby generators (also called whole house generators), portable generators and inverter generators.

Generator type

Installation costs

Home standby (whole house) generators

$3,000-$6,000

Portable generators

$400-$1,000

Inverter generators

$500-$4,000

Standby home generator cost

A whole house or standby generator costs approximately $3,000 to $6,000. This type of generator is always on standby to handle a power outage or other disturbance to your home’s electrical system. It typically runs on propane or natural gas and includes an automatic transfer switch, which causes it to switch on when power is lost. This transfer switch creates automatic engagement, allowing the generator to immediately provide power to every appliance and utility in your home. A standby generator can also power up a single selected appliance or device.

Portable generator cost

Portable generators cost $400 to $1,000 and can be used on remote sites. They run on gasoline and are ideal for powering tools, lights and other devices off-grid. A portable unit can also be wired into electric sub-panels as a backup generator, though they don’t have an automatic transfer switch. Pros:

Inverter generator cost

Inverter generators cost $500 to $4,000 and are the most complex generator typeThey produce AC power with magnets and advanced electronic circuitry. Using a rectifier, it converts AC power back into DC power. Because they are compact and lightweight, inverter generators are great for traveling and can be used in boats and cars.

Compare prices from generator installers near you.

Generator fuel types

The design and materials used in generators depend heavily on their fuel type. While new technologies (like solar generators) are emerging, gasoline, natural gas, propane and diesel are the primary fuel types.

Gasoline generators generally include portable and inverter generators. Gasoline is a familiar and easily obtained fuel, and a generator that uses it will produce the same noise and exhaust one might expect from a car or lawnmower.

As natural gas becomes increasingly abundant, it has become an attractive option for fueling standby generators. Natural gas-powered generators are a popular and cost-effective choice.

Clean-burning and boasting a high-BTU rating, propane is a good choice for standby generators. Propane has a long shelf life and can be stored in large quantities, with home delivery making it feasible for homeowners to fill their 

Diesel is a reliable fuel source, and diesel generators have famously long lifespans. With on-site fuel delivery and low operating costs, diesel units are sound choices for whole-house generators. 

Additional installation cost factors

Norh Robinson, the owner of Smalltyme Electric in Worth, Illinois, outside Chicago, has installed a number of standby generators in the past decade and estimates they cost anywhere from $1,800 to $10,000, depending on the make, model and capacity. Generally, the higher the capacity, the higher the cost.

Generators are sized in kilowatts (kW). A 10 kW generator will produce 10 kilowatts or 10,000 watts of power. You can determine what capacity generator you’ll need by making a list of all the appliances you want to have power during an outage, then adding up the amount of electricity required to start their motors. (Keep in mind that a typical refrigerator uses 700 watts to run but needs 2,800 watts to start up.)

Many generator manufacturers’ websites provide an online calculator to estimate the wattage needed. Robinson says he is happy to advise his customers about what size generator they need to power the required circuits and devices. If you want the generator to power your entire home during an outage, the unit itself and installation will cost more.

There are other considerations to be aware of when selecting a generator, including how it’s powered — natural gas, liquid propane or diesel fuel —and how it’s cooled — via liquid or air. In addition to fuel type and generator type, pros will calculate the cost of installation based on a few other factors:

  • Brand, model and make. There are several types of generator brands you can choose from, including Generac, Briggs & Stratton, Energizer, etc.
  • Access to the unit. If getting the unit in place is tricky — if it needs a crane or other heavy involvement to install — the price will go up. This usually occurs when the generator is tucked in a tight space behind a house where vehicles cannot fit. The complexity of hooking the generator up to your sub-panel and grid-supplied electricity will also factor in.
  • Size. A larger house generator has a higher total cost due to its materials and the additional costs of installation.
  • Accessories. Transfer switches, covers, inlet boxes, cords and cables may add to your unit’s cost.
  • Wattage. Power output typically correlates with the generator size you buy, and higher wattage will cost more.
  • Size of storage tanks. If you live in an area that gets violent weather or frequent or prolonged power outages, you may need larger storage tanks to power your home backup generator. This might raise the cost.
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Signs you need a new generator

Use your eyes and ears to tell when your generator needs replacing. The following are five signs you may need a new generator for your home:

  • Residential propane backup generators are supposed to last for at least 12 years. The older the generator, the greater the likelihood that it needs to be replaced.
  • Frequent, excessive repairs indicate that your generator is failing.
  • Difficulty starting your generator suggests that it may need to be replaced.
  • High fuel consumption is common as generators start to wear out.

How to hire a generator installation service

When hiring a generator installer, search Thumbtack for local pros with great customer reviews and ratings. Look for a license on their profile, and check customer-uploaded photos for evidence of their quality. Contact several pros and ask them any questions you have, such as:

  • What type of fuel source would you recommend for my needs?
  • How large of a generator should I purchase?
  • Can you provide a free estimate?

It’s recommended that you let know your power usage (check your electric bill) and which appliances are necessary for more extended power outages.

Find a generator installation service near you

Whether you’re after a whole-house unit or a small portable generator for your dream cabin, there’s a pro nearby who can deliver. Get a free quote with a few clicks by visiting Thumbtack and searching for generator installers near you.

Find a great generator installer in your area.

FAQs

Will a 22 kW generator run my house?

Yes, a 22 kW generator should operate your house.

What size generator do I need to run my whole house?

While smaller generators (say, a 5kW generator) can typically run kitchen appliances, water heaters, water pumps, and other appliances, a higher wattage rating will simultaneously run all of your appliances.

Are whole house generators worth it?

A whole house generator is a practical choice, especially if you live in a hurricane-, storm- or earthquake-prone area. If you don’t experience significant power outages or store a lot of food in your freezer or fridge, it may not be a worthwhile investment.

How do I calculate what size generator I need?

Know how big your house is and list all the essential items you need during an outage. Add up the starting and running wattage of each. This is your total power requirement.

How long do house generators last?

Residential propane backup generators last 12 years, according to the Inter­national Association of Certified Home Inspectors.

Additional sources: Consumer Reports

How do we know these prices?

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