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Whole-Home Generator Buyer’s Guide: Cost, Sizing, and Installation

Residential house natural gas backup generator.

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When it comes to ensuring your home (and business too!) is always powered, even during unexpected outages, a “whole-home” or Standby generator can be a game-changer. As your trusted electrician, Haines Electric is here to guide you through the process of buying and installing a whole-home generator. Let’s walk you through the key factors you need to consider: cost, sizing, and installation.

briggs and stratton home generator outside of a home installed by an electrician

What is a Whole-Home or Standby Generator?

A standby or “whole-home” generator gives you power during an outage, keeping essential appliances like fridges, heaters, and lights on. Want to learn more? Check out our full post all about generators.

Understanding the Cost

The cost of a whole-home generator can vary significantly based on its size, type, and the specific power needs of your home. On average, you can expect to spend anywhere from $3,000 to $15,000 on the generator itself. Keep in mind, this doesn’t include the cost of installation, which can add another $1,000 to $7,000+ to the total cost.

The price may seem steep, but considering the comfort, convenience, and peace of mind a generator provides during power outages, many homeowners find it a worthwhile investment.

Home or Business Size Matters.

Just like a big toy uses more batteries than a small one, a big house needs a bigger generator than a small house. Why? Because a big house has more things that need power when the lights go out. So, the bigger the house, the bigger the generator, and the more it costs. But, if your house is smaller, you can use a smaller generator that doesn’t cost as much. We recommend sticking with a quality product, sized correctly.

Knowing how much power your house uses is essential to helping you figure out how much money you need to save for a generator. 

Sizing Your Generator

⚠️ It's essential not to over or under estimate your generator needs. Call a reputable electrician in your area for accuracy.

Choosing the right size for your generator is crucial. A generator that’s too small won’t be able to power all your essential appliances, while one that’s too large will consume unnecessary fuel. Generators are sized by the power they produce, measured in watts.

To determine the right size, start by making a list of all the appliances and systems you want to keep running during a power outage. This might include your refrigerator, HVAC system, lights, and any medical equipment. Add up their wattage requirements (you can often find this information on the appliance or in its manual), and this will give you an idea of the generator size you need.

That leads us into our next topic:

Professional Installation

Installing a whole-home or standby generator is not a DIY job.

It involves working with both electricity and gas, and requires a certain level of expertise to ensure it’s done safely and correctly. If you’re in Nassau County, that’s where Haines Electric comes in. If you’re anywhere else, be sure to find a reputable electrician to perform the job.

Our team of licensed electricians has extensive experience installing generators. We’ll handle everything from preparing the installation site to setting up the electrical connections and testing the unit to make sure it works properly.

Steps Your Installer Should Take:

First things first, your electrician needs to find the perfect spot for your generator.

It should be close to your house but not too close. They need to make sure it’s safe and won’t bother you with noise.

Next, they’ll prepare the ground where the generator will sit. This might involve clearing away grass and dirt, then laying down a concrete pad for the generator to sit on.

Now it’s time to bring in the generator. It’s heavy depending on size, so they may use special equipment to lift it onto the concrete pad.

Then, the electrician connects the generator to your house. They run wires from the generator to your home’s electrical panel. This is like creating a new path for electricity to follow when the main power goes out.

The generator needs fuel to create electricity, just like a car needs gas to go. The electrician connects it to a fuel source, like natural gas or propane.

Finally, the electrician tests everything to make sure it works correctly. Make sure they turn the generator on and check that it sends power to your house. Once they know everything is working fine, they’ll show you how to use it.

At Haines Electric, we’re committed to helping you navigate the process of choosing and installing a whole-home generator. We offer top-quality generators and professional installation services to ensure your home is always powered, even when the grid goes down.

Contact us today to learn more about our services and get started on your path to reliable backup power.

With over 50 years of experience, Haines Electric is a trusted team of local electricians serving Nassau County, Long Island. Committed to excellence, we offer transparent pricing, safety-focused services, and a 3-year warranty on equipment. 

With 3 master electricians on board, we prioritize exceeding customer expectations while ensuring clean, courteous service. 

Trust Haines Electric for reliable, efficient electrical solutions that prioritize customer satisfaction.