Whole House Generator

What is a whole house generator?

A whole house generator or standby generator is a natural gas powered system that generates power for your home or office building. The home generator takes the place of electricity from the San Antonio power company (or your local power company) grid when there’s a power outage. There are two parts to the system: the generator and the automatic transfer switch (ATS).  Whole house generators work off fuels such as natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Your fixed standby generator is connected to your home’s electrical wiring (usually indoors) and the fuel source.  Your new home emergency generator can connect to your natural gas meter or you can have a propane tank installed on your property. 

Power outages cause all kinds of problems with your home during the winter AND summer.  Burst pipes, freezing or super hot temperatures, loss of lighting, spoiled food – all puts family members at risk as does loss of safety alarm systems/cameras. If you work or office from home, no power for internet/computers for a few days can lead to loss of income if you can’t work.

Whole house generators turn on automatically in the event your home loses power for any reason. They supply the energy your family needs to keep operating normally until the power is restored. Home generators can also add value to your home.  Standby generators weren’t given much of a thought here in San Antonio, Texas until February 2021 when we had a wicked snow storm that knocked out everyone’s power for a week.  The only homes not affected were ones that shared a power grid with a hospital, fire station or police station.

How much does a whole house or standby generator cost?

Whole home generators are either portable or standby models. Portable whole home generators can be moved on wheels, while standbys are permanently installed in one place. Whole house generator costs range from $1,000 to $15,000 on average, depending on supply/demand and the amount of watts you are wanting.  A general rule of thumb is the higher the wattage for the generator, the more you will pay for the equipment.

A typical home in San Antonio requires a 5,000-watt generator to power the basics. Not all portable generators are powerful enough to handle that electrical load, so keep this in mind when shopping for a new standby generator. Portable generators typically range from 3,000 to 8,500 watts and cost $700-$1,500.

What can a whole home generator power in my home?

You can run the most critical household equipment with a generator rated at 5,000 to 7,500 watts. These include things like a well pump, refrigerator/freezer, and lighting circuits. A generator with around 7500 running watts can run all these appliances at once.  If you have a gas furnace for heat, you should have a 110v plug that can run off the generator for your home as well.  All gas appliances, gas fireplaces and gas water heaters will continue to run if  your power goes out without having to use a generator.