Is a Whole House Generator Worth it?

By Tool Scout | Generator Advice

Is a Whole House Generator Worth it

If you are wondering whether a whole home generator will increase the value of your home, the answer is a resounding yes.

Does a Whole Home Generator Add Value to Your Home?

For those of you who don’t know, whole home generators are also known as standby generators, and they can be very useful, not just for providing your home with electricity when the power grid fails, but also for increasing the value of your home.

There are consumer reports which confirm that the installation of a whole home generator can increase the value of your home by 3% to 5%. So, if your home is worth a cool $1,000,000 before a generator is installed, after you install it, the home may be worth up to $1,050,000. That’s a big difference.

Moreover, it has been shown that whole home generators do make for good investments, as they can pay off up to 150% from the original investment. So, if you pay $12,000 to have it installed, it can increase your home’s value by up to $18,000. This is not a negligible difference!

What is the Average Cost to Have a Whole House Generator Installed?

Something which you may not be too happy about is that installing a whole home generator can cost a good chunk of change. Here we want to focus on both the cost of the initial purchase as well as the installation cost.  

You can expect to spend anywhere from $1,440 to $7,240 to set up a whole home generator, with the average cost being roughly $4,275, both for the unit and the installation.

First let’s take a look at the average cost of the generator to begin with, which is generally based on the specific type of whole home generator.

  • Gas - $500 to $3,000
  • Natural gas - $1,999 to $5,000
  • Diesel - $3,000 to $15,000
  • Liquid propane - $500 to $6,000
  • Solar - $300 to $5,000

Now that we have considered the initial cost of the unit, the other consideration is how much the installation itself will cost. On average, you can expect to spend between $500 and $3,000 for the installation process. So, what factors affect this installation cost?

  • Site preparation and concrete pad installation - $50 to $75 per square foot
  • Adding a fuel tank or connecting to existing fuel lines - $50 to $100 per hour
  • Dealing with the electrical components - $65 to $85 per hour
  • Permits - $50 to $200 per permit
  • Materials - $300 to $2,000
Is a Whole House Generator Worth it

Is a Home Generator a Good Investment?

Most people would agree that even though the initial cost of the whole home generator and the installation can be quite high, these generators tend to be worth the money and the trouble. Why is this the case?

As we discussed in the first section, whole home generators can increase your home’s value by up to 5% and provide a return on your investment of up to 150%. For this reason alone, whole home generators are good investments.

Something else to consider is whether or not you live in an area where the power goes out a lot. If you rarely or never suffer from power outages, then getting a whole home generator may not make much sense.

However, if you suffer from frequent power outages, then it can be worthwhile. Imagine that the power goes out 3 times a year, and every time it does, you have hundreds of dollars’ worth of food that spoils in your fridge or freezer. Food costs are a big factor to consider.

Moreover, if you happen to work from home, you need your internet and electricity to make money. If the power is out for a couple of days, those are 2 good working days where you didn’t make money. This is not a problem that you will have if you have a whole home generator.

How Long do Whole House Generators Last?

Yes, a whole home generator is usually considered a worthwhile investment, but with all of this money you are spending, how long can you expect these units to last?

On average, you can expect a whole home generator to last anywhere from 20 to 40 years, with the median “shelf life” being somewhere around 30 years.

In the grand scheme of things, if it costs you around $5,000 to purchase and install the generator, that’s not a whole lot considering that it can last for up to 40 years. Of course, how long the generator lasts will depend on a variety of factors including the following.

How Often it Runs

To make sure that your generator has a long lifespan, it should be used for at least half an hour per week. They need to be “exercised.”

How Many Appliances the Generator Has to Power Will Make a Difference Too

If the generator is under a lot of stress (trying to power too much at once), it won’t last as long as if it is only used for the most pressing lights/appliances.

Maintenance is Key 

If you maintain your whole home generator properly, it will go a long way in increasing its overall lifespan.