If you’re looking for a backup power source to keep every home appliance up and running, you want a whole-home generator. But how much is a whole-home generator in Colorado? Does the cost include installation? A whole home generator can range from $2,000 for a small portable generator to well over $20,000 for larger, more comprehensive setups. This blog explains the factors that can affect the cost of backup power and what you can expect to pay.
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The size of your generator directly impacts the cost of the unit. The more electricity a generator produces, the more expensive it is to buy. However, a whole-home generator typically starts at 16kW and can have a rating of 20kW or more.
For a 2000-square-foot house, typical recommendations are to install a generator that is at least 20kW, but 25kW is often a better option to handle surges. These start at just over $5,000 for just the unit. Installation isn’t included in that price point.
It’s important to buy only the amount of power you need for your generator, so you don’t waste fuel producing electricity you’re not using. If all you want is to power the HVAC and fridge while the power is out, a much smaller unit will likely do the job. Talk with one of our experienced electricians to better understand what size best fits your needs and budget.
Generators burn fuel to create electricity and most run on gasoline, natural gas, or liquid propane. Gasoline generators are the most easily accessible during an emergency and the least costly to install. However, gas is often one of the most expensive fuel types, so you might keep your upfront costs down but pay a lot more whenever you need to use the generator.
Natural gas and liquid propane burning generators cost more to install but are more economical to run. With propane, you will need the space to install a storage tank in most areas, so your hours of run time may be limited to the amount of propane you can store. In areas with natural gas infrastructure, you can connect your generator to a gas main for uninterrupted power.
The installation location can also affect your total costs for a whole-home generator. If you already have a concrete pad prepared for installation, you may be able to keep costs down, but in many cases, you’ll need to install a support for the generator, and local codes will determine how close the unit can sit to your home.
The further away the generator, the higher the installation costs since you’ll need more pipe or line to connect it to your home. You’ll also want your generator installed as close to the electricity control as possible to help cut the cost of wiring your backup system into your home grid.
Not every generator installation is straightforward. If you need to upgrade or modify your electrical system, it can dramatically increase the cost of whole-home generator installation.
The electrician installing your generator may:
- Need to upgrade your entire electrical panel
- Perform an inspection and replace any old or faulty wiring
- Upgrade —or install if you don’t already have one— a transfer switch
The transfer switch is the control device that seamlessly switches from your normal grid-powered electricity to your generator when the power goes out. If you need a transfer switch installed, it will require its sub-panel and circuit breaker to prevent any risks of overload. Both automatic and manual transfer switches are available, giving you more control over the source of your electricity.
Permits, if required, can also up the generator installation cost. Many regions also require inspections and safety features designed to prevent electricity from backflowing when using your generator.
Installation and Labor
The cost of the generator is only the beginning when it comes to whole-home backup power. Installation and labor costs to use your new purchase can start at a few hundred dollars or run into the tens of thousands, depending on the job’s complexity, the size of your home, and the type of generator being installed.
For backup power, you want an experienced technician licensed to perform electrical work. That doesn’t come cheap and often means a high hourly rate.
When shopping for the right team to handle your generator installation, look for a company with:
- Current proof of licensing and insurance is clearly posted
- At least 10 years of experience in electrical work
- Free in-home estimates and a price guarantee
- Contract details and scope of work delivered in writing
- An excellent online reputation with many 4 and 5‑star reviews
Ready to Talk to an Electrician About Emergency Power During Blackouts?
Contact Cooper Heating & Cooling today for a free estimate on whole-home generator installation. Our team of licensed electricians can help you make the right choice when buying a new system, and we guarantee our work with a 1‑year labor warranty, so you know the job is done right.