How Much Does a Generator Cost?

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A standby generator is an excellent upgrade for your home. Being able to control your power allows your family to be comfortable in times of severe weather. But if you have ever looked in to having one installed, there is quite a bit to consider. When Hutton is hired to install a generator, we do it right or we don’t do it at all. In this post we are going to go in depth on everything we consider and how that factors into the cost.

Before we do, we want to caution you that there is no shortage of contractors that will improperly install generators. Always hire a Authorized Dealer. This will also provide the best long term experience as they will provide the proper maintenance.

Air Cooled or Liquid Cooled?

The difference between an air cooled generator and a liquid cooled generator is that the liquid cooled has radiator installed and actually uses liquid coolant to cool the engine, just like your car does. Because of this the engine operates at a lower speed (1800 rpm) and creates less wear and tear on the engine. 

Air cooled generators run at a higher rpm rate (3600 rpm) and use fans to circulate the air through the generator housing to cool the generator. 

What does this mean to you? If you want a generator that you are going to put some serious hours on, that is going to be able to get you through several weeks of power outages, then the liquid cooled is for you.

But, if you are looking to get through shorter outages lasting one to five days in length, then the air cooled is a great selection. Furthermore, the air cooled is a less expensive option vs the liquid cooled.

Natural Gas or Propane

The most common way to fuel a standby generator is Propane or Natural Gas. Propane has a more complete combustion to it and will generate the maximum performance from you generator. However, it has to be stored in a tank, the fuel level has to be closely monitored, and can present a risk of running out of fuel if the homeowner is not proactive with the level in the tank. 

Natural Gas can offer the convenience of not worrying about the level of the fuel, because there is no tank. The supply is endless…right? Well, not exactly. In the event that severe weather strikes, the decision to turn off natural gas pump stations may be made to protect the public from any gas leaks. For instance, when the tornados hit the Great Neck Area, the natural gas was shut off. The homeowners with generators quickly found out what the advantage to propane was. With that said, the majority of standby generators are installed to Natural Gas. So if you are planning on installing to natural gas, the upgraded meter from the gas company will run around $1100-$1400. 


Automatic Transfer Switches

There are several options for transfer switches, but we will be discussing two main types of automatic transfer switches. The service rated transfer switch and the selective circuit transfer switch. The service rated transfer switch will transfer the entire home electrical panel on to the generator during a power outage. This is the best scenario if you want a whole home type of installation. The transfer switch is installed in between the electric meter for your home and your electrical panel. The selective circuit transfer panel is used when you want to back up only the essentials in your home. The advantage to this method is cost. You can typically install a much smaller generator when you use this type of transfer switch. In all cases we recommend installing a whole home surge protector to, not only, protect your generator investment, but the rest of the appliances in your home as well.


When it comes to which brand of generator you should pick for your home, we recommend asking for the opinion of our generator technician while they are doing your on site consultation. Hutton is an authorized dealer for Generac, Honeywell, Briggs and Stratton, & Kohler Generators. Each brand has their own unique strengths and we recommend each brand based on the needs of our customers. For instance, if warranty is a big determining factor, Briggs and Stratton has one of the best warranties. 

When is comes to which size generator you need, a professional should size your equipment. However, here are some good rule of thumb size guides. 

Load Shedding & Power Management

Smart power management is a great way to save money on an installation, because it allows to keep the feel of a whole home generator while automatically turning off deprioritized circuits. Thus decreasing the demand placed on the generator. Smart Managed circuits will automatically turn off when the generator demand is high, and then when the generator is able to support the circuit, the circuit turns back on. All of this happens seamlessly and automatically. 

What is the average cost for Installation? 

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Call Hutton at 757-302-8770 or contact us online to schedule generator consultation.

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