Are Generac Standby Generators Worth the Cost?

January 20, 2023
Generator in Orchard Park, NY

A Generac standby generator, also known as a whole-house generator, is a great way to ensure that you’re protected against blackouts and power outages. Unlike a portable unit, a standby generator can provide power to your entire house so that you’ll still have heating, air conditioning, hot water, and anything else you could need. The one question most people have when considering a standby generator is whether they are actually worth the cost, and that really depends on what you’re willing to pay to ensure you always have electricity in case of an emergency. To help you decide whether a Generac standby generator is worth it, here is a quick overview of how these units work and what they typically cost to install.

How Standby Generators Work

Generac standby generators are mounted somewhere outside a building and then wired directly into the main electrical panel via something known as an automatic transfer switch (ATS). The way these units work is that the ATS constantly monitors the electricity coming into the building. If it detects that the local electrical grid has a power outage, the ATS will send a signal to the generator for it to start up. As soon as the generator turns on, the ATS will activate and switch so that the electrical system is now powered by the generator and also isolate the building so that no power can flow back out into the grid.

The generator will then continue to run and power the building until the ATS detects that the local electrical grid is back up. Once this happens, it will then signal the generator to shut down and switch the building back to normal power.

A Generac generator can easily power your home for more than a week if necessary before it needs to be shut down for maintenance. This is because you will need to have the oil changed and the oil filter replaced after every 2,000 hours. If your generator runs off of propane instead of being connected directly to your natural gas supply, it will usually be able to run for at least three days or potentially much longer before you need to have your propane tank refilled.

What Does It Cost to Install a Generac Standby Generator?

Generac is the most trusted name in standby generators and produces some of the best units found anywhere in the world. Compared to other brands, Generac generators typically have a longer lifespan and are rated to run for far more total hours before needing to be replaced. This means that Generac generators are sometimes a bit more expensive than other brands, but like with anything else, you get what you pay for.

The average cost to purchase a Generac standby generator and have it installed is around $8,500. However, the total cost can easily range anywhere from $5,500 to $15,000 or more. The total cost will mostly depend on what size of generator you need for your home. Which generator contractor you choose for the installation is also an important factor since some companies charge far higher rates for labor.

How an Electrician Can Calculate What Size of Generator You Need

Since the size of the generator you choose is such an important factor in its cost, it is essential that you hire an experienced electrician to calculate what size is best. If the generator is too small, it won’t be able to power your entire home and could easily become overloaded and stop working when you need it most. Going with a much larger generator than you need also doesn’t make sense since you’ll end up paying far more than necessary.

In order to know what size of generator is needed, an electrician will perform a load calculation to determine exactly how much electricity you need to run your HVAC system, refrigerator, and everything else in your home. The HVAC system is generally the biggest factor as it usually uses much more electricity than anything else in the home.

When choosing a generator, it is important to note that you don’t always need one that is big enough to run every single thing in your home. This is because most units can be programmed so that they only power the most important things you need, which is another reason why it is essential that you hire a reputable, experienced electrical contractor to ensure you get the best unit for your specific needs.

At Vastola Heating & Cooling, we have years of experience installing, servicing, and repairing Generac generators. When you choose our company, you can be assured that we will take the time to explain your options and help you choose the right unit. We can also take care of any of your heating and cooling repair, maintenance, and installation. We also provide indoor air quality services. Give us a call today for more information or if you need to schedule an HVAC service call in Orchard Park or the Erie County area.