September 15, 2019
How Much Will a Generator Cost
You can buy a generator for as little as $500.00. What most people are interested in is how much does it cost to backup power in their house in the event of an outage (ie. like Hurricane Dorian). You can do some stuff with the $500 generator and a long extension cord however, most people are looking for a more comprehensive solution.
Keep in mind that the costs below are not just the cost of the equipment. It is also the cost of the labour to do the work, any permits involved and in the case of home standby generators the cost to get a propane hookup (not cheap, usually between $1000 and $1500).
Here is what you can expect (this assumes you have to go out and by a new generator):
$500 – $1000
With this you can get a portable generator and some heavy duty extension cords (make sure in good condition) and keep the fridge running, a portable heater, sump pump and maybe the water pump (not necessarily at the same time). It is bare bones however, much better than nothing.
$2000 – $4000
With this amount you can have a generator panel with manual transfer switch installed. On the generator panel you can put all the essentials including well pump, sump pump, microwave, plug for TV and cable/satellite, mini split or essential baseboard heaters, lights and other essential plugs. You can even put on the hot water tank which is really nice during an extended outage.
You can also install a Generlink transfer switch (see my blog on Generlinkhttps://wattsource.ca/generlink-worth-the-price). With this option you do not need a separate generator panel and most of the circuits on your house panel can be used (not at the same time of course and forget about large heat pumps and furnaces).
With either a gen panel or Generlink you can also expect that when the outage occurs you will need to go out to the garage or shed, haul out the generator, get it started and fuel up when required. If you don’t mind doing this and able bodied this solution is cost effective and will give you peace of mind and comfort when the lights go out.
$6500 – $15,000
With this amount you can get the cat’s meow of a generator back up solutions. With this option you will never have to lift a finger, except to press the power button on your TV remote to turn the game back on for the brief ten second power loss while the automatic home-standby generator starts when the lights go out.
Why the dramatic price range? Well, it depends on what you want to run during an outage and how big your house is. For $6500 you can power up what you can in the previous option (2k – 4k) however, everything is automatic. It will also work whether you are home or not so you don’t have to worry about the sump pump or other essential things like the fridge and freezer not working. You also won’t need to bother your neighbour or father in-law (Again!) to go to your house while you are lounging on some tropical beach to start your portable generator. The first time they are happy to do it, the second not so much especially if they are freezing their you know what off and you’re sipping cocktails with little umbrellas on the hot sand.
All kidding aside, there are other practical reasons for investing in this type of solution. My neighbour called me and asked to give his recently widowed mother a call about setting up an automatic generator solution. After Dorian she decided that if she is to live alone she does not want to have to worry about the lights going out. For her hauling a 150 – 250 lb generator out of the shed in the blinding snow storm is simply not an option. Why did I get one? See my blog https://wattsource.ca/which-generator-to-choose
For 10,000 – 15,000 you will be able to run a lot. A 20 kW generator (equivalent to about a 100A service) can run a central furnace with some backup heating coils. It will certainly run a lot of baseboards, plenty of mini splits and pretty much everything else in the house.
Clear as mud? Before you spend figure out what you want to accomplish with a backup generator solution, check your budget and then go get some quotes.
Red Seal Electrician