How Much Should a Whole Home Generator Cost?

Whole Home Generator Cost

According to BobVila, the average whole-house generator price is about $15,000, with systems ranging from $10,000 to $20,000. If a power outage affects your Los Angeles home, this investment can keep the lights on, food frozen, the AC going, or medical equipment running. Keep reading to discover how a home generator works and the factors that affect the price. 

Understanding Whole Home Generators

The price of a whole home generator reflects the value it brings to your home. If the power goes out, the system will automatically sense it and turn on your backup power system, often without you even realizing it. 

With proper maintenance, your home generator can provide emergency power for 20 years. If your generator has reached this age, constantly requires repair, or doesn’t power your home like it used to, contact our team of certified electricians about a replacement. We’ll install a new generator to protect your home against power outages as soon as possible.

What Impacts the Cost of a Whole Home Generator?

Home generator installation is one of the many electrical services we offer, so our team is familiar with all the variables that affect the cost of a system. Below are the seven factors that will affect the price of your unit.

Generator Type

A fixed generator that powers your entire home is more expensive than a smaller portable unit. Fixed systems operate as standby generators. They are permanently installed and hardwired to your electrical panel. They have safety features that minimize the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. While the safety features are effective, it’s important to keep generators at least 20 feet from your house as a precaution. In any case, it’s a good idea to have carbon monoxide detectors installed.


Capacity determines how much power a generator can produce at any given time. If the generator is not powerful enough, it won’t meet your electrical requirements and can be damaged. While generator capacity is generally proportional to home size, a smaller home may require more energy in a cold climate to account for your heating needs. Also, consider what appliances you’ll need to run during an outage; if that number is limited, consider unit capacity accordingly.

Most whole-home generators have a capacity of 10,000 to 60,000 watts. The higher the capacity, the higher the cost of the unit. The bigger your home is, the more significant the generator you need. You need about 25,000 watts to power a 2,500-square-foot homePortable generators are generally lower capacity.

Fuel or Power Source

Whether you have a generator powered by natural gas, propane, diesel fuel, or gasoline, it doesn’t affect the initial cost. However, it can impact the cost of running the system. Fluctuating fuel and storing costs are just a couple of things to consider. Solar-powered generators are newer and less common, but come with different maintenance costs and considerations than traditional models.

Mounting Surface

Site preparation is important for a successful installation and the longevity of your generator. To reduce vibration and ensure adequate airflow, place the generator on a concrete pad.You’ll need to pour one if you don’t have a suitable concrete spot in place. It will also prevent water from pooling under the unit, causing rust or damage. A professional installation job for the pad is around $50 to $75 per square foot.

Transfer Switch

Home generators require a transfer switch to connect to your home’s circuit panel. This can take several hours and requires a professional electrician. Your options include manual switches, which you turn on when you need the generator, and automated switches that turn on automatically when the generator detects a power failure. Installing a transfer switch can add hundreds of dollars in labor costs to the project.


In addition to the equipment aspects of the whole home generator cost, you’ll also require a permit and inspection from your local air district to ensure the safety of the job. You may need to pay up to $200 to acquire a permit.

Installation and Labor

Whole house generator installation costs can range from $500 to $3,000. Depending on the contractor, they may charge a flat rate or itemize the installation cost to factor in site prep, electrical panel work, materials, and labor. When hiring a contractor, ask what is included in the quoted installation price to ensure there are no surprises later.

Additional Considerations

Emergency generators come with maintenance considerations. Fuel purchase and storage, annual servicing, and efficiency upgrades such as wireless monitors and smart load managers are ongoing expenses for whole-home generators. Natural gas, liquid propane, and diesel are generally more expensive than gasoline. You may save by comparing multiple estimates, having one contractor complete all necessary tasks, and purchasing a generator at the right time of year. Wait until storm season has passed and power failures are less common to avoid higher product, material, and labor costs.

Schedule a Consultation with Express Electrical Services

At Express Electrical, we can help with all of your generator needs. Our licensed electricians in Los Angeles specialize in home generator installations and other electrical installation services. If you’re unsure which generator is right for you, we can inspect your home to determine the right fit for your needs. Call us today for an estimate on your whole home generator and to learn more about the options, specials, and financing we offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I install a home generator myself?

Installing a home generator is a job best left to the pros as it requires extensive electrical and plumbing knowledge. Completing the installation yourself can put you and your household at risk. Our trained electricians have the skills and experience to get the job done safely and correctly.

What size of generator do I need for my home?

To determine the generator size required to power your home, list the number of appliances you’ll need to power during an outage. The sum of their watt usage will determine the generator size you need. For example, a 7,500-watt generator will power your refrigerator, freezer, well pump, and lights. However, you’ll require additional power if you have a water heater or furnace. If you need help, our team can inspect your home to determine the recommended size for your home.

How do I maintain my generator?

Contact our team for bi-annual generator maintenance visits. We’ll complete a full unit inspection during the visit, clean it, and perform any required repairs. With regular maintenance, your generator will stay in tip-top shape, lasting for many years and requiring less frequent repairs.