How Much Does a Backup Generator Cost?

Big Backup Natural Gas Generator for House Building Outdoor

Keeping your home or business powered during outages requires a reliable backup generator.
As extreme weather events become more commonplace, having a backup generator can ensure your home or office maintains power during an outage. However, before investing in a backup generator, you must consider the cost factors influencing the generator’s final price.

In this article, we discuss everything you need to know about backup generator costs, including the
difference between whole house backup generators and portable generators.

Keep reading to discover the key cost considerations for buying a backup generator!

What Does a Backup Generator Cost?

If you are considering purchasing a backup generator, it’s important to budget accordingly. The cost of a
backup generator depends primarily on which type of generator you purchase.

In general, there are two main types of backup generators to choose from:

Whole House Backup Generators

A whole house backup generator is a permanent, stationary unit installed outside of a home or building and typically connected directly to the electrical system of the building. These generators automatically turn on when they detect a power outage.

Whole house backup generators are usually fueled by natural gas, propane, or diesel, providing a
reliable power source during extended outages. They are capable of supplying power to all
essential appliances and systems in a house, including lights, heating and cooling systems,
refrigerators, and other critical equipment.

Portable Generators

A portable generator is a mobile, standalone unit that can be moved and used in various locations where temporary power is needed. These generators are typically smaller in size and capacity compared to whole house backup generators. Portable generators are suitable for powering a limited number of appliances or tools during emergencies or outdoor activities, such as camping or construction sites.

Portable generators are not designed to power an entire house but can provide electricity to a few selected appliances or devices through extension cords. Unlike whole house backup generators, portable generators do not automatically switch on during a power outage and require manual operation.

According to homeowner data from Angi (formerly Angie’s List), the cost of a new whole-house
generator can range widely from $1,545 to $8,722. Key factors impacting the final price include the
generator’s size, assembly, brand, and fuel type.

Per Angi’s data, a portable generator only costs between $500 to $2,000 in comparison to a whole-house backup generator. Additionally, a portable generator can cut back significantly on installation costs, as portable generators offer more flexible placement options and simpler assembly.

How Much Does It Cost to Have a Backup Generator Installed?

tech doing generator maintenance

The type of backup generator you choose can significantly impact the cost of installation.

Data from Angi reveals that the average cost of a whole-house generator installation is around $4,520.
Factors influencing this cost include permits, assembly, placement, and wiring.

When considering the installation costs of backup generators, several factors come into play.

For whole house backup generators, installation costs tend to be higher due to their larger size, permanent installation requirements, and the need for a professional setup. Factors such as the generator’s capacity, fuel type, and any additional accessories needed for installation — such as transfer switches or concrete pads — can all influence the final cost of a generator installation.

Additionally, site preparation, such as excavation or electrical upgrades, may add to the overall expense.

On the other hand, portable generators generally have lower installation costs since they are smaller,
movable units that do not require permanent installation.

However, factors like the generator’s wattage capacity, fuel type, and any necessary accessories can still
impact costs. While portable generators don’t require professional installation, you must still consider the
proper placement, ventilation, and safety measures necessary for operating a portable generator.

Ultimately, whether opting for a whole house backup generator or a portable one, homeowners should
budget for not only the generator itself but also associated installation costs.

Key Considerations When Buying a Backup Generator

Before you purchase a backup generator, you need to know the exact specifications you need and how long you can expect this investment to last.

Here are four key considerations to keep in mind ahead of your generator purchase:

What Size Backup Generator Do I Need?

Determining the appropriate size of a backup generator is crucial to ensure it can meet your power
requirements during an outage.

Consider the essential appliances and systems you want to power, such as refrigerators, lights, heating,
and medical equipment. Calculate the total wattage needed to run these devices simultaneously and
choose a generator with a capacity that exceeds this amount.

How Does a Backup Generator Work?

Backup generators operate by converting fuel, such as natural gas, propane, or diesel, into electricity
through an internal combustion engine.

When a power outage occurs, an automatic transfer switch detects the loss of utility power and signals the generator to start. The transfer switch then redirects the electrical load from the grid to the generator,
restoring power to the connected circuits. Once utility power is restored, the transfer switch returns the
load to the grid and shuts down the generator.

For portable generators, you will likely need to manually transfer power to the generator.

How Long Do Backup Generators Last?

The lifespan of a backup generator depends on various factors, including the quality of the unit,
maintenance practices, and usage patterns.

On average, backup generators can last anywhere from 10 to 30 years. Regular maintenance, such as oil
changes, filter replacements, and inspection of critical components, can extend the lifespan of the
generator. Additionally, investing in a reputable brand and ensuring proper installation by qualified
professionals can contribute to longevity.

Is a Backup Generator Worth It?

Whether a backup generator is worth the investment depends on individual circumstances and priorities.

For homeowners or businesses in areas prone to frequent power outages, a backup generator can be
invaluable in maintaining comfort, safety, and productivity. It can prevent food spoilage, keep essential
medical equipment running, and minimize disruptions to daily routines or business operations. Backup
generators can also enhance the resale value of a property.

However, it’s essential to weigh the upfront cost of purchasing and installing a generator against the
potential benefits. Consider factors such as fuel availability, maintenance requirements, and installation
needs before buying a backup generator.

Choose Oregon Generators for Your Backup Generator Needs

If you live in Portland, OR, Oregon Generators has the products and expertise you need for a reliable
backup generator installation. Visit the Oregon Generators website to get started.