What Does It Cost To Run A Home-Generators

Cost To Run A Home

What Does It Cost To Run A Home-Generators


A generator is a motor driven machine that uses a fossil fuel powered motor to drive a coil that produces electricity.  Generators come in all different sizes, from small units, that are inverters (they convert low voltage electricity to high voltage) all the way to huge units that power towns.  The most common ones that most people know about and see in the stores and at people’s homes are inverters, portable generators (typically heavy and on wheels), and whole house generators.

When you consider adding a generator to your home you need to review all the options.  Most importantly is HOW MUCH POWER do you need to run the home with a generator.  This is not a difficult answer, just look at your electricity bill.  You should see how many kW per month you are using.  As we discussed in the previous BLOG called Electricity, we reviewed the different appliances, and other items in the home that use electricity.  The BIG items that burn the most amount of power are Well Pumps, AC units, Stoves/Oven, and old appliances.  Just a well pump can require 1,400 watts, but they do not run long, but they must have the power to get started.

Generators come in many sizes and options.  If you are going to purchase a generator for your home but you also want to use it for other things, then a portable unit is best.  Gas is your WORST ENEMY for generators, as it is for many items that use GASOLINE but are not used very often.  Today most fuel stations sell gas with Ethanol in the gas, Ethanol tends to gum up if it sits for long periods of time.  So purchasing a portable generator that uses Gasoline could be a problem.  The manufactures tell you to drain the gasoline from the unit when not using it. – seriously?  Have you ever tried to do this?  I have and believe me it SUCKS!  Then when you want to use it, you can not find any gas….LOL. Or even more frustrating then this, is when you need it, you have the gas, and you start it, but it does not run property and keep stopping.  Then when the storm is over, and your $1500 portable generator needs to be serviced, and the service person tells you that the unit is not worth fixing because I left the gas in it for a few years and it is dead.  OUCH!!!

So when looking at a portable generator buy the one that runs on Propane.  Propane NEVER GOES BAD!  Plus if you have a few tanks around, you can also use them for the BBQ and other devices.

If you want a small unit that you can use at camp sites, or on small job sites, look into a Honda Invertor as they are very reliable and start every time.  They only produce about 1500 watts max.

All generators have a rating of constant watts and PEEK watts.  The constant watts is what the unit will give you every minute it is running.  The PEEK watts is what I can give you when something like a well motor kicks on for a second or two, but will not run at this PEEK watts for much more than a few seconds.

Most generators under 5000 watts are way too small to run a home.  Most of the time for the average home you need 7500 or more.  If your home has gas heat, town water, and gas stove, then you can use a smaller generator than a home that has all these devices running off electricity.

Whole Home Generators that are wired right into your home, are the ideal way to protect your home from power outages.  These units run on Natural Gas or Propane.  Should you not have natural gas, then make sure you have a large propane tank.  The average whole home generator run at 1400-2600 watts per hour and burns 1.5 to 2.5 gallons per hour.  So if you have a 250 gallon propane tank, that only hold about 210 gallons, this tank, assuming it is full when you lose power, will run for a max time of 5.5 days.  The larger generators will run for only about 2.5 days on one full tank of propane.  So if you have a large home, and most things in the home are run on electricity, then you should consider getting a 500 gallon propane tank if you do not have natural gas available.

Generator costs

Small 5000 watt propane powered generators cost around $2200.  Keep in mind you need to have an electrician hook up a disconnect on your power panel in the home, and an external power plug for the generator to connect to.  Plus you must do this manually, meaning you must wheel the generator out of the garage, connect the power cable to the house and the generator and go down to the power panel and switch over the power to the generator, all this in the dark!  You can expect the disconnect and external box for the generator to cost between $500 and $1000.

If you want to consider a whole house generator, then this is a much larger expense, but a fully automatic power system that will turn on the second the power is lost to the home.  You do not have to do anything, they even test the system every week to make sure it is ready for the failure!  Now for the cost:  The generator cost for just the unit range from $4000 to over $12000, the average home has a 24 kw unit at $6000.  Now this is just the generator cost, the connection to the home, the propane tank or gas connection, this can take you to $12,000.  This is a serious decision for the home, and not one that most DIY people can or should do.

Back up power generators are fantastic, but some devices in your home do not do well with power interruptions (just .1 of a second can cause a router or cable box to go crazy).  Example are cable boxes, routers, and some smart TV’s.  If you own these devices, consider purchasing a UPS Power Supply (uninterruptable power supply).  I have a few of these in my home for all the devices that go crazy when the power does something unexpected.  These devices are not expensive, and over time you need to replace the batteries inside of them, so make sure when you buy them, get the ones you can replace the battery!  APC is one of the most popular manufacture of UPS Power Supplies.  The larger the unit the larger the battery, the longer it will last and the more devices you can attach to it.  In my office I have the larger one, and I can run for about 10 hours.

We hope you have enjoyed this BLOG, please keep coming back for more helpful information.

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