How Much Does A Standby Generator Cost to Install?

How Much Does A Standby Generator Cost To Install?

Standby generators come in a wide variety of sizes, varying in cost from just under $2,000.00 to $20,000.00 and more.  Installation costs can also vary widely.  It is best to consult a qualified installer to determine the proper size generator for your home and your needs.

First things first

Generators are sized in kW or kilowatts, so a 10kW generator will produce 10 kilowatts or 10,000 watts of power.  A qualified generator installer can help you determine the proper generator size after calculating the anticipated electrical loads.

Keep in mind, a standby generator can be connected to all of your home’s electrical circuits or just a few “essential circuits”.  Examples of the more common essential circuits include the refrigerator/freezer, kitchen receptacles, a few light and receptacle circuits, the fan blower motor for your gas furnace, the security system, garage door opener and, if you have them, water well pumps and sump pumps.  Most of these circuits do not require a large amount of power to keep them operational but it’s important to consider the sum total of each of these loads when sizing a standby system.

A very popular and “easy on the budget” generator is a “20kW” (20,000 Watts) air-cooled generator.  It’s easy on the budget because most 20kW generators are air-cooled (as compared to “liquid-cooled”) and cost around $4,500.00 – $5,000.00 including a 200-Amp Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS).  If the generator will power installed circuits on a 100-Amp or 150-Amp breaker panel, don’t buy the “kit” because the ATS should match the size of the main breaker on your load center.  If your home has two (2) 200-Amp panels, you’ll need two (2) 200-Amp transfer switches for a “whole house” configuration.

If your home is 2500 square feet or less, a 20kW generator should suit your needs well, particularly if you have gas heat and hot water.  If the range top is also gas, all the better because that means less electrical load on the generator.  The 20kW generator should run most house receptacles, lights, and a central air conditioner.  When a generator is connected to all house circuits, the installation is referred to as a “whole house generator installation.”  Connecting only a few essential circuits, or “partial house generator”, can be an effective means of providing power to electrical circuits important to you while saving on overall project costs.

Let’s say you are looking for a budget-friendly installation of a “partial house generator.”  You have one or two breaker panels, gas heat and a gas hot water heater, and you’ve identified the following electrical circuits as “essential” while operating under generator power:

  • kitchen receptacles and lights (including refrigerator/freezer)
  • the fan blower motor for your gas heat
  • the security system
  • garage door opener
  • downstairs lights and receptacles, and
  • the downstairs central air conditioning unit.

Note:  You have a second air conditioner and heating system for the upstairs, but this area of the home is not important to you while operating on generator power.

The “essential circuits” listed above can be connected to the generator in a number of ways.  Your installer could run each of these circuits to a separate breaker panel or transfer switch equipment with a built-in load center.  A less labor-intensive method of accomplishing the same result is to install load-shed devices on the upstairs air conditioner and, let’s say, a second electric hot water heater.  Even though the upstairs lights and receptacles are still “hot”, these circuits will not consume power from the generator unless a light is turned “on” or an appliance is operated from a receptacle.  What’s important is to disable non-essential heavier loads (such as a second air conditioning compressor, an electric oven, and your clothes dryer) with load-shed devices available from the generator manufacturer.

As a brief review of “heavy non-essential loads”, keep in mind that turning on your electric oven or the clothes dryer adds 5,000+ watts.  Turn both “on” and you’ve just added over 10,000 watts.  That’s more than half the output of a 20kW natural gas generator (or, 18,000 watts total).  If you plan to use your oven or clothes dryer frequently while on generator power, you should consider a larger liquid-cooled generator.  Most folks are willing to sacrifice these heavy loads while on generator power to keep project costs more affordable.  Project costs for liquid-cooled generators can easily be twice that (or more) of an air-cooled generator.

We’re in cost-saving mode and we’re willing to sacrifice extra air conditioners, the oven, and clothes dryer.  We want to be nice and comfy while on generator power and we can remain that way when we limit the air conditioning loads to one unit.

Now it’s time to determine the right generator for the job

Now that we’ve identified which electrical circuits are important, we can project the total electrical load from these same loads.  Here’s a sample scenario during the summer months where we are doing the laundry but we’re conserving power and not operating the washing machine and dryer at the same time.  We’re also not operating any cooking appliances.  Someone is watching TV and downstairs, one ceiling fan is “on” as well as the downstairs air conditioner.  Let’s look at the results:

Spreadsheet

We’re conserving power where possible because, for budgetary constraints, we decided to have a 20-22kW air-cooled generator installed.  The 20kW generator coupled with a 200-Amp Automatic Transfer Switch can be connected to all house circuits installed on a 200-Amp Load Center, making it a “whole house generator” for homes 2500 square feet and less.  Keep in mind that a 20kW generator is only rated at 20kW when using LP as the fuel source.  The same unit produces 18kW when the fuel source is natural gas.

Let’s talk about overall project costs

Costs for typical 20kW generators (with ATS) vary from around $4,500 for a Generac generator to around $5,400 or more for a Cummins or Kohler generator.  Most manufacturers now offer a 5-year limited warranty (generally, 5-years on parts and 2-years on labor) with an optional 5-year comprehensive warranty.

Installation costs can vary widely.  The lowest cost installation can be obtained if the electric meter and gas meter are located on the same side of the house.  Installation costs may range a bit higher when the generator is located away from either the electric or gas meters, especially in situations where the electric meter is on one side of the house while the gas meter is on the opposite side of the house.

When budgeting for a professionally installed standby generator for your home, it is best to assume installation costs will closely approximate the cost of the generator equipment.  This isn’t always true but, more often than not, the rule of thumb is fairly accurate.  So—if you spend, say, $5,000.00 for the generator equipment, expect the total project to be around $10,000.00.  Project costs for liquid-cooled generators begin in the mid-teens and can often range well in excess of $20,000.00.

The 20kW air-cooled generator is the generator of choice in close to 70% of installations.  Use it as a whole house generator for homes under 2,500 square feet (with gas heat and hot water), or as a partial house, essential circuits only generator for larger homes.  If your home exceeds 2,500 square or is an all-electric home and you’re looking for a whole house generator, you may need to focus on liquid-cooled generators.

The best advice we can offer anyone considering a standby generator is to consult an industry professional.  I’ve seen folks make the mistake of putting the cart before the horse and purchasing a generator without any thought of what they want to power with the generator.  I’ll never forget the gentleman who found a “great sale” on a standby generator for $1,900 at a big box store.  He bought the 7kW (that’s only 7,000 watts) generator, then called me for a quote to install it.  I asked him, “which circuits do you want to power with your new generator?”  He responded, “the entire house.”  The man lives in a 4,000 square foot home with three air conditioning compressors.  Needless to say, I had to explain to the gentleman why the installation scenario he described would not work.

Another family bought a “whole house generator” because it was advertised as a “whole house generator” and even said as much on the box it came in.  “Whole house” refers to the ATS, not the generator.  You can connect any generator to all house circuits found on a 200-Amp load center by connecting the load center to a 200-Amp ATS.  Unfortunately, the family purchased an 11kW “whole house generator” and, rightfully so (as advertised), expected the generator to run the entire house.  After calculating the anticipated electrical loads while on generator power, the minimum recommended generator came in at 30kW.

Let me repeat, do not purchase a standby generator without first calculating the anticipated electrical loads or consulting with an industry professional.

An “industry professional” is not necessarily any electrical contractor.  While there are many talented electricians out there who can quickly resolve just about any electrical problem you might experience, the truth of the matter is most electricians have little or no experience installing a standby generator.  The same holds true for so-called “Master Electricians”.  We’ve seen too many electricians, even those holding a master’s license, mangle up a standby generator installation.

The lesson to be learned here is: deal with experienced generator installers who are also an authorized dealer for the manufacturer.  An authorized dealer has factory-trained technicians that know how to properly install a standby generator.  That same dealer will become your best friend when your generator has a mechanical issue.  As an authorized dealer, they can also make warranty repairs.

If you are shopping for a talented generator installer, ask each this question:  “How many standby generators have you installed in the past 12 months?”  If any of them respond, “Oh, I think I can probably figure it out,” you would be well advised to take a pass on any quote they offer, even if it is your low quote.

Benchmark Electric prides itself at being a local dealer for not just one, but three U.S. manufacturers of standby generators:  Generac, Kohler Generators, and Cummins.  Each of our technicians are factory-trained by each manufacturer.  And, because we’re installing standby systems day in and day out, our technicians ought to be able to install a quality generator system in less time than someone with little or no experience.  That experience should also factor into a lower installed cost than most competitors, or so we would like to think.

You may have a few questions about project costs for a standby generator at your home or business and, if so, I invite you to call me, Steve Baker, at 901-481-7574 for a free, no-obligation consultation or estimate.  If you happen to live on the east or west coast, that will be out of our territory, but we do have an online store for you to browse for generator equipment.  Our online store is operated under the name Buckeye Power Systems and you can find us on the web at www.BuckeyePowerSystems.com.

Here’s my offer to those of you who live outside the service area of our local shop, Benchmark Electric:  Check out our generator offers at www.BuckeyePowerSystems.com, then call me at 901-481-7574 for a special rock-bottom price on the model you’ve selected.  We have a bit of wiggle room on air-cooled generators, but expect a better discount on any of our liquid-cooled generators.

Let me know if I can help you select the right generator and transfer switch, plus any optional accessories.

Thanks again for visiting this blog site!

BE Sig5

About Steve Baker

Steve Baker is a project manager at Benchmark Electric, LLC, a Cordova-based electrical contractor, where he specializes in standby generator installations. A native of Memphis, Steve graduated from the University of Memphis with a Bachelor of Business Administration with emphasis in Marketing. Feel free to contact Steve on his cell (901-481-7574) or write him at steve@benchmarkelectric.us.
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40 Responses to How Much Does A Standby Generator Cost to Install?

  1. Pingback: The Perfect Storm is Brewing … Are You Prepared? | Benchmark Electric, LLC Generators4Memphis.net

  2. Luann says:

    Thank you for all this information…it was very helpful.

  3. Stan Broadbent says:

    I called Steve Baker, after reading his very good article, with questions regarding a proposal I recently received to install a 48 kw Generac generator. I live many states from Steve and there was no business opportunity for him to spend time with me, but I wanted objective feedback about my situation and the proposal. He was very welcoming and generous with his time and the information he provided was most helpful to me. I encourage anyone seeking objective information about whole house generators to speak with Steve. He is a man with great integrity and honesty folks in and around Cordova, TN shouldn’t hesitate to contact him for the services his company provides.

  4. Blaine says:

    I blog quite often and I seriously thank you for your information. Your article
    has really peaked my interest. I’m going to book mark
    your website and keep checking for new information about once per week.
    I subscribed to your Feed as well.

  5. Jody says:

    This was really, really good information. I just about ‘stepped in it’ and bought a Honeywell natural gas whole-house generator at Costco (20 KW) for $3299…seemed reasonable; but thanks to you Steve, I now know I need to research a bit more. Thanks for the education…very kind of you to share this information 🙂

  6. TJ Chelak says:

    Hi Steve…looks like I made the mistake of thinking hooking up a generator was easy!! I bought a Onan QD12000 for a food truck I’m having built and I’m told he has no idea how to hook it up…I’m looking for somebody in the Houston Texas area who I can hire to install it in my truck…any suggestions??? Are you thinking it’s around $5000 to install??? That sounds like a crazy number??? Thank you for your input…TJ

    • Steve Baker says:

      You might try Cummins Southern Plains – 713-679-2220 (located on the north loop) and I wouldn’t think the installation would be anywhere near $5000.00 for a food truck unless there’s something unusual about the vehicle or the installation. Hope this helps!

  7. Nick Karnik says:

    Thanks Steve! Your article is very informative and engaging. I was about to settle for a 7kW generator to partially power the house, but I think it might be best to call an expert to evaluate our needs before purchasing. Unfortunately, we live in Seattle so we’re outside your area of service.

  8. Tom Hewitt says:

    I agree with everyone so far…. your advice sounds reasonable and honest. Here is my question after listening to CNN yesterday. They interviewed a top ex- NSA official who stated that certain countries like Iran, Russia & China have hacked into many of the countries electrical grids and have stolen detailed schematics of the Power grids. So them shutting down the grids and causing havoc is a real threat. He said it is not a question of “if” but one of “when”. And when it happens, grids could be down for a month or more. ISIS would love to sabotage the US. So would a natural gas whole house Generator provide full power needs for let’s say 30 to 50 straight days if such a scenario plays out?
    To me, it would be a $10,000 dollar investment well worth it.

    • Steve Baker says:

      Great question, Tom. Natural gas lines are not a part of the electric grid so, yes, a standby generator would run continuously 24/7. Keep in mind the generator will shut down automatically if the oil level is low. We recommend shutting down high-speed (3600 RPM) generators after 3-4 days of continuous operation, but only long enough to add oil to the engine and using extreme care in not overfilling. Check the oil level on low-speed (1800 RPM) generators after a week or so. We also recommend having the generator serviced (oil change, filters, spark plugs, etc.) after ANY prolonged power outage lasting 100-hours or longer. Weather and temperatures permitting, consider shutting down the generator during sleeping hours to save on fuel expenses. Thanks again for writing, Tom. Great comment and question!

      • Tom Hewitt says:

        So Steve, taking this to the next logical conclusion, what Brand, kw size & model, in your humble Ballpark opinion, would be serious contenders which could stand up to the task of being a 30-50 day workhorse for a 2,500 sq ft home, family of 5, with the typical central AC, multi room TV, computers, and appliances and with the ever important 3 girls running their hair dryers?

      • Steve Baker says:

        For a budget system, I’d recommend the Cummins RS20A – Cold Weather equipped for those north of the Mason Dixon line. You can view this model right here on our online store. Be sure to pick up an appropriately sized RSS Switch. Add an extra wired remote monitor for mounting in your garage or anywhere inside your home. After selecting, give us a call for a better deal than advertised online. Manufacturers limit our minimum advertised price but we can do a little better on air-cooled generators and a LOT BETTER on liquid-cooled generators. Installation of the above should meet your $10,000 total installation goal, particularly if the generator is placed at or near your gas meter and electric meter. If these meters are on opposite ends of the house or you want to physically place the generator somewhere else, expect your installation costs to go higher. This air-cooled generator will operate a 5-ton air conditioner plus house lights and receptacles. Even so, you will need to load shed the primary HVAC unit and a 2nd HVAC unit. If you want a true whole house, low-speed generator, take a look at the Cummins RS30. This one can run two air conditioners, electric hot water, ranges, ovens, clothes dryers, and other high energy consuming appliances without having to load shed. Cost of the generator + installation should start in the upper teens and could range to over $20K for more involved installations. For other readers, I’m suggesting this unit for a 2500 square foot home. The Cummins RS30 would be too small for a 5000+ square foot home. Hope this helps Tom.

  9. Dianne Massa says:

    Interesting article. We had a contractor come out about 2 years ago. They quoted a whole house generator, installation, and upgrade to electric panel for $10,000. Disappointed that they did not offer/suggest a partial house generator as an alternative.

    What would you recommend for a 1700 Sq ft tri-level? I am interested in partial generator that would operate:

    Refrigerator
    Gas Furnace
    Microwave
    Electrical outlets and lights in 3 bedrooms
    Family room with TV, Xbox
    Living room with TV, DVD, cable box
    Bathroom light and hairdryer
    Kitchen for lights, coffee maker, skillet

    I do not care about stove, dishwasher, washer, dryer, or central air. I can live without those for a few days. We lose a lot in the winter and for “no reason” sunny days the rest of the year. I would like to be able to have some conveniences without the worry.

    My gas meter is in the front of the house. Electric meter is on the side of the house.

    Thank you.

    • Steve Baker says:

      Thanks for writing! A 10-14kw air-cooled generator will serve your needs well. You will need a 100-amp sub-panel, 100-amp non-serviced rated ATS, and the generator. Your least expensive route to go would be Generac. But also checkout the Cummins RS13A, particularly if you want a reliable, quiet generator. A bit pricier, but more reliable. Check out offerings from each manufacturer at http://www.buckeyepowersystems.com.

  10. KayEhm says:

    Wow lots of info here I wasn’t aware of. This is why it’s important to always consult with a professional electrician who will give you unbiased information. For generators in Eugene, Oregon, go with a small business like Balanced Electric, Inc (www.balanced-electric.com) which is comprised of a handful of electricians with over 20 years in the electrical industry. They offer free quotes, inspection, design, construction, installation, maintenance, and work to build lasting relationships with their customers so – consult with someone like them before trusting your own knowledge/research.

  11. Mariam says:

    Very helpful. I am looking at an 8KW Generac for my home. I only want to cover my sump pump and gas heating system. I had also looked at a getting a portable system but not sure if this would cover my heating system but it’s much ore affordable to install. Can you comment on whether portable systems can cover a hot water heating system running on a mod/con boiler? I am most concerned about preventing flooding my new basement and keeping my heating on to prevent frozen pipes.

    • Steve Baker says:

      While I am not familiar with the required electrical load for boilers, you can check the nameplate on your boiler to check for required electrical loads. Let’s just say for discussion purposes that the 8kW Generac is large enough to power the sump pump and boiler. If so, Generac also has portable generators in the same range as an 8kW standby generator. And, while a portable generator might handle the load, I’d highly recommend going with an automatic standby generator in your situation because of the pressing need to prevent basement flooding, especially in situations when you might be away from the house or out-of-town. If budget constraints require you to only look at portable power then, yes, there are portables available in a wide variety of sizes. Generac has portables in sizes ranging up to 17500 watts.

      Here’s a tip I’ll always continue to repeat about portables … DO pull the portable out of your garage once a month and run the generator for 15-20 minutes. If you can’t start the generator for whatever reason, call your Generac dealer and have them troubleshoot and resolve the starting problem before the next power outage. Also, DD NOT leave fuel in the carburetor, if at all possible. This is best done by shutting down the generator with the fuel flow valve. Shutting down the generator at the fuel flow valve will keep fuel out of the carburetor and, thus, prevent the ethanol in the fuel from gumming up the carburetor. Shutting the engine down in this way might also cause the engine to backfire during shutdown but it keeps your carburetor clean. Or–only keep enough fuel in the tank to exercise the engine periodically and when you do exercise the engine, run the tank completely dry.

      Hope this helps! Thanks for writing!

  12. Rob says:

    We live in an area where electric goes off both summer and winter. We need couple tvs, Sattelite and internet box, 24 foot frig with small freezer and small upright freezer, three or four lights at a time and blower for gas fireplace and possible a couple baseboard heaters. Also an electric stove. In summer we have 10,000 BTU (110) window air. We would not use oven or washer and dryer. The monkey in the room is a hot tub. Don’t know the info its about 8′ x 8′. Of course would not be a problem in summer. We do have an electric Hot Water tank too.

    • Steve Baker says:

      Hi Rob:

      If you’re wondering what size generator for your home, I would need to know the square footage of your home and I’d like to see that 24-foot refrigerator! The hot tub is not a factor unless there is a pool pump type system connected to it, but I’m fairly sure it does not. For most smaller installations, you can’t beat a 20kW air-cooled Cummins RS20A which you’ll find when you click here.

  13. David Gordon says:

    Can you explain why the installation costs more when the gas and electric meters are located far from each other. My gas and electric meters are on opposite sides of the house.

    • Steve Baker says:

      Hi David and thanks for the inquiry. The ideal location for a standby generator is near the gas and electric meters. The generator transfer switch should be located near the electric meter and, if the generator is physically located close to the electric meter, the wire run from the generator to the transfer switch will be short, thus saving the consumer money. You will also need to run a gas line from the gas meter to the generator (natural gas is the fuel source) and, ideally, the generator should be close by to reduce installation costs. Thus, if the gas and electric meters are on the same side of the house, you have a short (economical) run for both electric and gas.

      If the gas meter is on the opposite end of the house, you will likely reduce overall project costs if you locate the generator next to the gas meter. In most areas of the country, the cost to run a gas line is more expensive than running electrical wiring/conduit, so the idea is to keep the gas line installation costs down and run the electric through the attic (if possible).

      I’m often asked if we can use an existing gas line to a furnace or water heater and the short answer is “no”. The gas line to the furnace is very likely too small to accommodate a standby generator. But, the more important reason you can’t use a shared gas line is the likelihood of fuel starvation when the 2nd appliance kicks on. The gas line needs to be a dedicated line from the gas meter to the generator and should not be shared with other appliances.

      To recap, if your meters are located on opposite ends of the house, locate your generator close to the gas meter and run the electric through the attic. If you prefer to have the generator behind a fence in the back yard, locate the generator on the side of the house closest to the gas meter. Strapping a gas pipe to the side of the house meets code requirements and is less expensive than trenching a gas line.

      Hope this helps!

  14. Sterling Phillips says:

    Thank you, Steve, for taking the time to write this and answer questions. We have a large house (6500 sq ft) two AC units and gas and electric on opposite sides of the house. I’m hitting all of the pitfalls. We will definitely start with a factory authorized and trained dealer. I’m really sorry it can’t be you here in Northern Virginia. Best wishes and thanks again.

    • Steve Baker says:

      So kind of you to write! Really glad you have gained some benefit from the blog. Good to hear that you will be working with an authorized dealer with your generator project. Thanks again for writing!

  15. Yrag Wahswem says:

    Steve,
    Doing some homework before I do this. Live in Baltimore, Maryland suburban area.
    Home 3,500 square feet
    Have a pellet Fireplace insert that can heat most of the house during a power outage.
    First Kohler vs Generac. I have read Kohler makes the best of the two.
    I only need the Pellet Insert, Well, Water Heater, Sump Pump 1/2 HP, Furnace (Oil Heat, Hot Air), Stove, Refrigerator and Freezer with a couple outlets in the kitchen as well as kitchen lights to run during an outage.
    For the 20KW Kohler RESAL, what size gas line?
    Being it puts out 83 amps for hot leg. what size cable for the two hots, neutral, and ground. It will be in conduit, so THHN wire for a distance of 165 foot from Generator to Transfer switch.
    Would the Generator have a built in battery charger and would it need a separate feed, say off a 15Amp 120V feed separate from the other cable?
    It would be a 200 Amp Transfer switch. Do you know which one I would need on the Kohler Site?
    I know RXT- but there are several. I would interested in Load Shedding which I believe is a separate unit.
    Next OnCue per Kohler needs a Cat 5 Ethernet to connect to our Router. Recommend?
    Who would you recommend in the Severna Park, Maryland area 21154 as a certified Kohler electrician to do the work?

    • Steve Baker says:

      I’d recommend the Kohler 20RESA to give you greater flexibility with the control. It’s slightly higher cost but worth it. The generator comes with a battery charger but your installer will need to bring in a charging circuit as part of his work. The transfer switch model number is RXT-JFNC-0200ASE-QS1 (ASE = Amp, Service Entrance rated). The load shed module is GM77177-KP1. Definitely get Kohler’s OnCue software for monitoring. If some service issue prevents the generator from operating, you’ll be notified via email immediately.

      Regret, I do not recommend wire sizes on this website blog and we would refer you to a licensed electrical contractor, preferably a Kohler authorized dealer. You want to build a relationship with a Kohler dealer because you will likely need them for servicing and warranty repairs (if any). All generator manufacturers have a dealer locator on their website.

      You might also consider the Cummins RS20A. This unit is the quietest 20kW air-cooled generator on the market and is very reliable. We sell Cummins and Generacs on our online store and when you click here, the link takes you to the information page for the RS20A. Call me at 901-481-7574 for slightly better pricing than advertised on our website. We can always help save a little on air-cooled generators and save big (several hundred dollars) on liquid-cooled generators.

      Thanks for writing and best wishes with your project!

      Steve

      • Yrag Wahswem says:

        Steve, interested in the Cummins. They have two RS20A. Cold Weather and not Cold Weather. In Suburban Baltimore what model should I get. What model Transfer switch for what I told you I needed to run? So I would need the power cable with 4 conductors. Also the control Circuit which would be what a 4 conductor off of a 15 amp double pole breaker in my load panel to sense when the commercial power is gone? How about reading from inside the home say on a laptop over my wireless router? Cat 5 ethernet cable? Anything else i would need out to the generator. It’s 165 feet as I said from load panel where the transfer swithc would be to the generator. Of course the gas line is already 1 inch at where the generator would be.

      • Steve Baker says:

        You will need the cold weather version and we have a kit that includes the ATS … just click here. Conductors include: (1) 4/3 with ground from genset – ATS, (2) a 4-conductor shielded and a 6-conductor shielded for the control wiring (to the ATS … we actually need 9-conductors so you’ll end up with an extra), and (3) 6-conductor shielded from genset to remote monitor. The remote can be connected to your router. Keep the low voltage conductors in a separate conduit from the high voltage wiring.

        The above link includes the generator and ATS. It comes with a remote but it is advisable to keep it at the unit for servicing the unit. The additional remote is 300-6576 and costs $395.00. If you order the generator and ATS only, I can fix you up at $100.00 off our Internet price. If you order the extra remote monitor, we’ll deduct $125.00.

        The RS20A has built-in load shedding capability for up to two loads. We recommend load-shedding an air conditioner. If you need to operate the oven or clothes dryer, the connected air conditioner will drop off automatically while operating either of those appliances (IF the genset is already operating at or near peak performance). If ordering through our website, you will need to call me for the special pricing (901-481-7574) deal.

      • Yrag Wahswem says:

        Steve, you were most helpful. The Mrs and I thank you so much. As Seniors, it’s getting hard to wheel out the 13KW portable in Ice/Snow, and Thunder storms. Then filling it every 8 hours with gasoline. Thanks again. Ordering our RS20A shortly and teaming up with an Authorized Dealer to install.

  16. Steve Baker says:

    Thank you very much for the kudos! Best wishes to you with your project! You’ll love having a standby generator!

  17. Yrag Wahswem says:

    Steve, one last thing. With the bundle for the RS20A Cold Weather, we have a question about which Transfer switch we would have installed. We need a 200 Amp. They have Service Entrance rated and Non Service entrance rated, RSS vs. RA Series. I see there are two that are for air cooled Generators which the RS20A is. Which one should we purchase the Model RSS200-6869 or RSS200-6635? Thanks.

    • Steve Baker says:

      If the breaker panel you are connecting to has a 200-Amp main breaker, you’ll need a service entrance rated ATS or RSS200-6869. The nonservice-rated ATS is used to connect to main lug panels without a main breaker.

      • Yrag Wahswem says:

        Great, now the $4,878 includes the RS20A GSBB with Transfer Switch RSS200-6869 and one Remote Monitor. You said $100 off that? Now the control cables. The A029U302 (not sure if that is your no.) however it is the control cable from the Generator to ATS. Can I get it in 50′, 100′ or 200′ lengths? It has a plug on the generator end and can be trimmed to length at the ATS end. The other control cable A029U308 from Remote Monitor to Generator I assume only comes at 50′ length. It looks like it has a plug on the Remote Monitor end. Does the other end have a plug that plugs into the Generator harness or is it trimmed to length and terminated? Would those two cables be included in the bundle? If not, the costs? Documentation says I can be sent an email. How does that work? Another cable? If so, Cat 5E? Solid, shielded?

      • Steve Baker says:

        When we install these in Memphis, we use the short cable and you connect between the two using the low voltage wiring we discussed earlier. Purchasing the low-voltage wiring is a lot less expensive than order 50- or 100-foot lengths. Yes, $4878.00 less $100.00 (free shipping). We highly recommend going with the extra remote because you will want one remote at the generator.

      • Yrag Wahswem says:

        I was with you until now. Little confused with this one. You say use the low voltage wire we discussed earlier which were a 4 conductor shielded solid cable and a 6 conductor shielded solid with no connectors on either end. So what about the connectors that the two cables I mentioned have. I am probably misunderstanding. So no harness comes with the bundle? One control cable with how many conductors 4 or 6 from the Generator to the ATS? The other control cable from the Generator to the Remote Monitor with 4 or 6 conductors? These are the two control cables you are talking about, correct? What about the connectors I spoke about. You are saying you can hard wire the generator ends of both control cables, no connectors needed. Also the Remote Monitor can be hard wired, no connectors? A little confusing without a little more detail. Sorry Steve.

      • Steve Baker says:

        You will receive two harnesses: (1) Genset-ATS, and (2) Genset-RemoteMonitor. Please communicate to me by writing steve@benchmarkelectric.us so we can keep all this off the blog. Thanks!

  18. Lance says:

    Steve, I have a 2600 square ft home with 2 ac units, a septic system gas w heaters and stove, electric oven. What size unit do you recommend and what are the major differences between brands, reliability, required maintenance, noise, etc… Also, how can I tell what size switch I require? Also, my power and gas are on opposite sides of the house. I am guessing it’s easier to place the unit near the gas. What would you expect my install cost to be.

    Great article..thanks

    • Steve Baker says:

      Thanks for writing, Lance. We would need to know the tonnage of your AC units but I’m guessing 5-6 tons based upon your square footage. To determine the switch size, look at the main breaker on your circuit breaker panel / load center. It’s probably a 200-Amp and, if so, you will need a 200-Amp switch that is SERVICE ENTRANCE RATED. The designation “Service Entrance Rated” provides a 200-Amp main breaker at the switch and a means of disconnect for the fire department. It would be less expensive to install the generator close to your gas meter. If you have attic access or crawl space under the house, your installer can run the electric through the attic or crawl space. Your home is right at the cusp of really needing a liquid-cooled generator to run the entire house (25-30kW) but Generac manufactures a 22kW air-cooled generator and that choice can save you thousands in project costs. You air conditioning tonnage will factor into whether the air-cooled Generac can run both air conditioners along with other house circuits. You should talk to your installer about “load shedding” the air conditioners to prevent generator overload. If both air conditioners are crucial during an outage, consider a 25-30kW liquid-cooled generator running at 1800 RPM. The less expensive version operates at 3600 RPM but you’ll realize better fuel economy and lower maintenance costs with a low-speed (1800 RPM) generator.

      We really like generators manufactured by Cummins because you’re getting a better quality machine and better quality equates to better “reliability”. You check out the Generac 22kW air-cooled generator and the Cummins liquid-cooled models at our online store. If you think you might be interested in purchasing from us, call me on my cell (901-481-7574) for better pricing than advertised on the site. We can save you a few bucks on any air-cooled generator and several hundred $$$ on any liquid-cooled generator.

      Thanks again for writing!

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