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Question DetailsAsked on 6/5/2013

How much should one expect to pay for installation of a natural gas backup generator, 14 - 20kw + corresponding circuit box?

Live in an area of frequent electrical power outages and want to have a natural gas standby generator that automatically kicks in when main electricy supply is cut off. Think a 14-to-20KW generator is needed. Home has a gas service/meter now and will need modification to existing meter (power company has assesed the changes needed). Concrete surface (patio/drive way type) on which to place the generator is already in place. Would need gas hookup to incoming line, ciruit box for circuits to be backed up and corresponding wiring. Gas meter and existing circuit box are positioned next to each other along the wall were generator would rest.

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Depends a lot on your current configuration. Rough numbers, $4-7,000 for the generator including autostart and automatic load transfer circuit box and master breakers (usually all come on the generator).

Installation (with pad already inplace and gas hookup - about $500-1000.

Electrical about $800 minimum, to maybe $2500. The $800 will get you a simple transfer switch installation but if you want some household circuits to run on the generator but others not, depending on how your current wiring is run, can run to $2000 to pull existing circuits to a new panel.

The problem is that all circuits that are going to be on the generator, unless you are planning to carry the entire household load, have to go to a separate circuit breaker panel which is fed off the automatic transfer switch, so they get power from either the power company or the generator, depending on which is providing power at the moment. That means the circuits running off either source have to be disconnected from your current breaker box, extended (commonly) over to the new box, and hooked up. All other circuits stay on your current breaker box, to run only off the public power when it is on. If the generator is large enough capactiy for your entire house load of course it costs more, but this circuit termination point moving is not needed, so electrical work drops way off to basically a connection box with the transfer switch.

A couple of words of advice - pay attention to weather protection, fire barrier between the unit and the house (including issues of overhead decks that can catch fire), automatic fire shutoff/suppression, and trickle charging from house power to generator battery. Also read CAREFULLY your power comopany rules on generator installation (commonly requires their signoff), any code restrictions on generators and noise in your area, and if your insurance rate will go up. (It definitely does if you have a fuel tank, I don't know if it does with natural gas-fired generators.)

Answered 6 years ago by LCD




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