How to Purchase a Good Generator for Your Home

So you've decided to buy a home standby generator for your home. What do you need to look out for? What brands do you look at? How much do these generators cost?


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    Know what to look for in a generator. To give you a rough ballpark idea of what an installation consists of, below are the main components of our generator installation pricing, including factors that can increase or decrease an installation price.
    • Generator: This includes the actual purchasing of the Generator and Transfer Switch, getting the equipment delivered to your home, starting up the generator, getting any permits together, and most companies will include some sort of maintenance agreement. My company includes a one year service agreement free of charge with generator installations (an annual maintenance agreement runs ~$400). You are required by most brands to have a service agreement with an authorized dealer in order to maintain your warranty coverage. Most generators come with 2-5 year warranties.
      • This portion of the price is a fixed price, and generally close to 50% of the total generator purchase price.
    • Electrical Work. This includes the electrical permit and inspection, installation of the transfer switch, and running the lines from your current electrical service to the transfer switch and to the generator. The further away the generator is from your main electrical panel, the more it generally costs to be installed.
      • If you have a licensed electrician whom you would prefer to use, most companies are more than happy to work with him/her.
    • Plumbing Work. This includes the plumbing permit and inspection, installation of the gas line from your natural gas meter to the generator, and upgrading your natural gas meter to meet the demands of the generator.
      • If you have a licensed plumber that you would prefer to use, most companies are more than happy to work with him/her.
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    Know why generators will vary widely in price.
    • If there are any electrical or plumbing violations, they must be fixed prior to the generator installation, which can add additional cost to the installation.
    • Sometimes a crane rental is necessary to get the generator in the proper location – renting a crane can impact the price.
    • Sometimes the generator has to be placed more than 80 feet (24.4 m) from the electric panel – this makes the electrical work more expensive
    • The further away from the gas meter the generator is placed, the more expensive the installation will be
    • Some towns require professional engineer stamped drawings with the generator permits. These drawings can increase the price.


  • Check out the major brand's websites (listed below), and contact a certified dealer for those price quotes.
  • Compare all warranties on all of the generators - pick what's right for you.
  • Get multiple bids from multiple generator installation companies prior to purchasing your generator.
  • Make sure you're comfortable with the generator installer that you choose.
  • Maintain your generator. Improper maintenance will cause your generator to not work properly during times of emergency.


  • With everything above being said, Most Importantly – NEVER install a generator without the proper electrical and plumbing permits and inspections in place. Below is a link to State Farm’s site on Emergency Generator Tips.

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Categories: Disaster Preparedness | Hazard Survival Equipment