A guideline to some of the costs and processes involved for installing your own home generator

Home generators from honda

Being without power in your home for any length of time is a serious nuisance. Extended power outages can become a safety or even a health hazard. It’s one reason why a growing number of homeowners consider the option of installing a home generator. Understanding some of the costs and processes involved with installing a generator in your home will better prepare you for the decision you will have to make.

Some of the leading brands of home generators available include:

  • All Power America
  • Amico
  • Briggs & Stratton
  • Champion Power Equipment
  • Generac
  • Honda
  • Kohler
  • Powerland
  • Steele
  • Winco


Home generator types tend to break down into two categories: portable and whole home generators.

Whole home generators are the units with the most variation from the initial unit price to the final total, including installation. The variation in costs stems from the variety of accessories that may or may not be necessary and the complexity of installation. Typically, the installation process for a whole home generator entails:

A home estimate in which the electrical capacity of the home is determined and based on that, an electrical contractor or inspector will determine the best generator unit size for your home’s needs.

Electrician's report used to narrow down the types of generators that your home can handle along with an understanding of the planned uses for the generator.

Architect/Engineer’s drawings drafting plans for placing the whole home generator, including the wiring and/or fuel component placement.

Upgrades (if necessary) to your home's electrical system are discussed to accommodate a whole home generator.

Installation by a licensed/certified electrical contractor (along with any necessary upgrades).

Estimating costs

The wide disparity in costs from region to region and from product to product associated with installing a whole home generator makes it impossible to generalize. The fees for an electrician’s report, architect’s services, and engineer or inspection reports as well as the labor costs for installation can vary widely.

Whole home generator manufacturer rarely list prices for retail comparisons, but they routinely offer better, wholesale prices directly to contractors. (In some cases where a contractor is a certified installer of a select brand, additional savings may be available.)

It is recommended that for something as complex as a whole home generator purchase and installation, homeowners should get 3-4 estimates and request that those estimates be itemized and clearly indicate a breakdown of materials, labor costs and any fees associated with warranties or post-installation service or maintenance.

Portable generators

Portable generators

As with whole home generators, there is a wide variety of portable generators with an equally wide variety of applications and features. When considering and comparing portable generators, be sure to research and compare the following features:

  • Power/fuel source Portable generators
  • Load capacity (how much power will you need?)
  • Performance duration (how long will you need it?)
  • Durability
  • Ease of installation
  • Compatibility with home electrical systems (take into consideration all power needs)
  • Safety ratings
  • Warranties

For ease of mind as well as security, consider purchasing a home generator. QualitySmith can assist you by putting you in contact with local professionals who can help you with your purchase and its installation.