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Buying a standby generator carries a hefty price tag on its own—no one wants to pay for extra expenses to install it. Unfortunately, unless you buy a portable machine, you’re going to have to pony up a little extra to get it up and running.


You should follow these tips to ensure that installation costs are kept to a minimum:


  • Don’t pay for an estimate: Ask your installer before their consultation if they charge for an estimate. Some will tell you do, but they can put the charge toward the final installation cost. Don’t fall for this—it’ll make you feel obligated to hire the installer so the fee won’t go to waste. There are plenty of installers out there who will provide you a free, no-obligation estimate.


  • Don’t settle for the first installer: We recommend seeking multiple consultations before choosing an installer. If you don’t, you run the risk of paying an inflated rate, even if it sounds fair to you. Receiving multiple bids will give you a better idea of which installers are being fair and who’s being greedy. Once you choose one, you should ask for references and inquire about warranties.


  • Carefully consider placement: Where you install your generator matters arguably more than any other factor. Your first instinct may be to stash it beneath a deck, but the machine needs to be in an open space to maximize airflow, and at least three to six feet away from any structures or objects, including landscaping. Make sure you place it on flat land so the installer won’t charge you to flatten the ground themselves. And, if your electric and gas meters are next to each other, installation costs will drop.


  • Think about wiring and fuel lines: This tip is closely related to placement. The further your generator is from your house, more wiring will be required, and fuel lines will have to be piped out over a longer distance. Both of these factors will increase the cost. Fuel can also run up the price for larger generators, which require bigger pipes and more gas. And electricity can increase costs too, depending on which transfer switch you have on your machine. You should discuss these factors in your consultation with the installer.


The cost of installing your generator varies greatly depending on its size, how much of your house you want to power, and how much extra equipment you want set up. Following our tips won’t get you a free installation, but at least you’ll end up paying less than your neighbor did!