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How Much Does It Cost to Install a Whole House Generator in 2024?

portable solar generator

If you want to make power outages a thing of the past, you need a whole-house generator. Unlike most generators out there, these generators produce enough power to provide electricity to the average household. They do not just provide “emergency” power to your fridge and heating system, for instance.

However, as you may expect, these generators are quite expensive. Therefore, they are usually only installed by those who expect frequent and long power outages. If you fall into this category, keep reading to find out how much one might cost.

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The Importance of a Whole-House Generator

When you have a whole-house generator installed, you can typically go about your day almost just like you would without the outage. You may need to be more mindful of the energy consumption of the appliances in the house. (Don’t run everything at once, for instance.) However, for the most part, you can go about your everyday life without needing to worry about the power.

These systems may be more important in some regions than others. For instance, if you live in a place that is very cold or very hot, you may want backup heating or cooling just in case the power goes out. No one wants to be stuck in -30-degree weather with no power!

Not only is this mighty uncomfortable, but it can also be dangerous.

Those who experience more power outages may want to upgrade to one of these systems, as well. Typically, power outages are just annoying. But, if you experience enough of them, it can seriously cut into your everyday life.

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How Much Does a Whole House Generator Cost?

These systems can be quite expensive. Generally, the generator itself will cost around $7,000 to $15,000 for a medium-sized home. These generators are traditional and fuel-powered (which means that you’ll need to stock up on enough fuel to power them).

Alternatively, you can select a home battery system. These batteries charge from the typical electrical grid and then reuse the energy when the grid goes down. Usually, these cost about $10,000 to $20,000 apiece for your average home.

You can also purchase solar-powered units. However, these cost around $20,000 to $40,000 each and are not suitable everywhere. You need a sunny area without trees, which can be difficult to find in some areas.

Occasionally, you can find units that use two or more of these power options but these are typically more expensive than just purchasing one type.

Additional Costs to Anticipate

Of course, beyond the cost of the generator itself, you’ll also need to worry about the installation costs. These costs will vary depending on where you live and the installer you choose, and the type of generator really matters too.

For a traditional generator, you may be looking at anywhere from $500 to $4,000 for installation. These are much easier to install than other options.

However, if you decide to purchase a solar generator, it will be much more expensive. Assuming that you have somewhere to put them ready to go, they can cost as much as $7,000 to install (and even more, in some areas). Of course, if you have to clear trees and prepare the land, you can expect it to cost even more.

There is also the yearly maintenance of the generator, which will depend on the type of generator you get. However, you should plan on spending at least a few hundred dollars each year to keep the generator in tip-top shape.

red generator on the ground
Image Credit: Potashev Aleksandr, Shutterstock

Is It Worth Getting a Whole-House Generator?

For most people handling minor, rare power outages, an emergency generator is often all you need. One of these generators will help run things like your fridge and may even be powerful enough to provide some heating or cooling. They will also keep your phone charged, which is vital in these emergency situations.

However, for those in more extreme climates or facing regular power outages, you may want something a bit more powerful. We especially recommend these generators for those that spend much of their time at home—and don’t necessarily have anywhere else to go if the power clicks off.

When taken care of, these generators can run for weeks on end, making them a great option for those who really need them.

With that said, if you live in a mild climate, don’t spend much time at home, have relatives that live nearby, or don’t face many outages, you may not need one of these generators. They are exceedingly expensive, so they aren’t necessarily good choices for everyone.

What Size Generator Do I Need to Run My House?

If you need a generator to run your whole house, you’ll likely need to get one that is pretty big. For all the critical household appliances, you can often get away with 7,500-running watts. This includes a freezer, lighting, and well pump. However, heating and cooling can require a lot of energy, so you’ll need to include these functions as well.

In the end, if you’re looking at a whole-house generator, you’ll probably need one that makes at least 35,000 watts. If you have a bigger home, you may need more. However, the size of the home isn’t always an accurate predictor of the amount of energy you’ll need.

Those in extreme climates will need more energy than those not in extreme climates. If you can get away without heating or cooling, you may be able to have a smaller generator.


You’ll need a large generator to run your whole home, which also means that you’ll have to spend quite a bit of money on it. Installing a whole-home generator can cost thousands of dollars very easily.

However, there are a lot of factors that go into the price of a generator. For instance, the type of the generator matters greatly. A traditional generator is often the cheapest, but you’ll have to purchase fuel. A solar generator can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars and costs more to set up. However, you do not have to provide any amount of fuel.

Furthermore, you’ll have to consider yearly maintenance costs and how much installation might be. Both of these factors vary, but they will likely cost you some amount of money. Often, the only thing you can do is guess how much these factors may cost, but it is still important to budget for them.

Featured Image Credit: CL Shebley, Shutterstock


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