Generator question

bogey123January 20, 2012

We have been losing power more often so I asked my electrician about installing a permanent generator. He quoted me $23,000 installed for a Koehler 20,000 watt generator to run the whole house. That seemed to me to be way on the high side.

The generator location would be about 20ft from our home, and thus 20 ft from our nat gas line. Electrical would run through the house basement to the panel in the garage on the other side of the home. In doing a little research, I can find generators this size for $10,000 or less, so $13,000 to install seemed to be out of line.

I am going to get another quote or 2, anyone have an idea about if I am out of line?

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Was that for just the gennie? Does it also include auto or manual transfer switch? Assuming you want it hooked to nat gas, is that hookup included? How about auto start for the gennie?

    Bookmark   January 20, 2012 at 9:38PM
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More info needed to answer your question. As mla asked is that a natural gas unit, auto start, exercise and transfer?

Also, do you need to run your entire house and need one that big? Go to Lowe's and check out their Generac and other units. They come with sub panels which mount beside your existing breaker box and you can select which critical loads you'll want.

The location of the gas line is irrelevant as you have to connect AFTER the gas meter which is (presumably) on the outside of your house. The trench from the genset to your basement would contain wiring and the natural gas piping.

IMHO consider how long your power outages last and is a whole house unit necessary or just critical things like kitchen, well pump, sump pump and things to enable you to survive a day or so. e.g. My brother put in a Generac from Lowes and "critical" to him was the well pump, kitchen, electric heat, and electric water heater and a couple of rooms including bath. He has a couple of teen aged daughters and if they can't shower and do their hair....:-)

Not shilling for Generac or Lowes BTW, it's just that he went there and got one and it's been working fine for a couple years now. I have one of their smaller units which also works for me.

Also, look into zoning as we've read some real horror stories here about what the local "Authority having jurisdiction" put folks through. Obviously, knowing the rules will enable you to better understand and evaluate bids for your project.

I recall someone who wanted an installation similar to yours who was also in NJ, due to "setback" considerations and other nonsense he ended up getting a portable wheeled unit which was put in use as needed to get around the bureaucracy.

Good Luck,


    Bookmark   January 21, 2012 at 8:33AM
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Also, and probably before you go any further:
Check with your natural gas supplier on how big
of a unit your service will be able to supply,
(along with all in-house gas appliances).

    Bookmark   January 21, 2012 at 12:04PM
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Price is a little high, but not out of line.

If you can buy the genset for $10K he'll charge $12K for a reasonable markup. Even though your genset is only capable of about 90amps, I assume you have either a 200amp or 400amp service, and electrician would have to install a similar sized auto transfer switch (switch has to handle genset's 90a as well as utilities 200a or 400a). Then he's got to trench and lay gas lines and electrical from the genset to entry point on the house (or two is gas and electrical differ). Next he needs to install a pad for genset. Finally you've got a series of permits to pull (and pay for).

$23K might be high, but I can get to $20K easily in this scenario.

As Exmar says, you need to evaluate whether you really need all of this.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2012 at 12:20PM
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It was all in, transfer switch, panel, wiring, trenching, pad etc. I checked with zoning and there are no "rules" other than the thing can't be within 20 ft of a window.

In terms of whether or not I need something that large it didn't look like I was going to save a whole lot by going half size so the thinking was if you are going to do it, do it right. I will have to ask to see if we went with only critical stuff what the savings would be.

The point on the nat gas service was a very good one, will def. look into that.

Thank you for all of your input.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2012 at 3:25PM
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