Honored Contributor
Posts: 15,575
Registered: ‎09-01-2010

Re: Whole Home Generators

[ Edited ]


We've had a Generac whole house generator for 9 years.  We live rural, so propane is our power source, with a 500 gallon tank.   Our generator does a test run every Wednesday at noon.  


The generator was purchased thru the company that installed and maintains our heat pump.  We have dealt with them for over 25 years.   Our generator is big enough to handle electrical needs for this house, but in an outage, we cut back and don't try to have every TV and light on, use the oven, or do laundry.   We have the power to do it, but focus only on keeping the 3 refrigerators and freezer running, lights on, and heat or a/c, depending on the weather.  When the generator runs, anything plugged into an outlet is pulling more propane from the tank, so we unplug, or flip the breaker, on everything electrical we are not using.   


The first lesson we learned is that when the heat is on, and we turn the hot water on and activate the water heater, it pulls so many amps at once, the generator will shut down.   So, if it's cold outside and the heat is on, we must lower the thermostat long enough to take a shower, then turn it back up once the shower is over.   


3 days is the longest our generator has run in 9 years; never needed more than 120 gallons of propane since the fill up.   I have the propane topped off every 2 1/2 years.  Our furnace and generator get serviced every October.


Our initial expense was $17,000 for the generator, concrete pad, cable, transfer switch and hook up.  Best money we ever spent.


Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 6,602
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

We had a generac installed when we were building our home. It only came on three times and each time it was absolutely priceless. It's five years old now and we had to get the oil changed and a new battery for it. It comes on every Saturday at noon for a test run. They are definitely worth it. IMHO 

Respected Contributor
Posts: 3,013
Registered: ‎03-16-2010

Thanks to all!

Respected Contributor
Posts: 4,206
Registered: ‎08-08-2011

We don’t have one but I have three friends who all had Generac installed.  One friend lives in an area with frequent electrical failures so it’s been good for them. The other two haven’t had the electricity go out yet since having it installed. One friend mentioned it cycles on once a week for a few minutes during its downtime. 

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 5,524
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Just a word on Generac, if you don't use an authorized installer Generac will not honor the warranty.


Kohler will come in a close second.


Longest I've been without power is 3 days. DS just had a 5 day power outtage. He was out of town and he only lost the contents of his fridge/freezer.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 4,781
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Generac and you do need to place the order, pay the half down and wait.  It's been about a year in October since it was installed.  My wait time last year was 4 months.


Cost was about $8,000,



Best bet is to not go through your electrician but if you can, find an authorized dealer/distributor for Generac since those people have "clout" to getting product faster.


Best investment ever made.  

Honored Contributor
Posts: 23,835
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

@Kachina624 wrote:

@Lilysmom1     @SeaMaiden has mentioned having bought one. 

@Lilysmom1  Yes. We had one installed in 2019. We bought a Generac brand. Ours runs on propane( we installed two huge tanks)  as our home is all electric. If you have gas, you could hook up to your gas line (probably a better choice if you have it gas).


if the power goes off for any reason, the generator automatically kicks on and all power is restored. When the power comes back on, the generator automatically shuts off. 

There  are several models of Generac generator  to decide on.  You decide what fits your need, and what you want to $pend💰.


ours  with Install  cost about $15,000 plus or minus... the two tanks of propane FILLED and with install was another $2000. 

Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,515
Registered: ‎06-26-2011

I live in Texas and seriously considered getting a whole house generator to at least power the heat or A/C with a few other things. Did a lot of research, contacted a reputable local Generac authorized dealer and they were very helpful. They weren't taking any orders for the remainder of the year and have people on a waitlist for next year because they can't get product. I decided against it due to the high cost (at least $14-17K) and the fact that I may not recoup the investment during the time I will be living in this house. Wish I could do it but just can't afford it.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 3,989
Registered: ‎03-19-2010

Re: Whole Home Generators

[ Edited ]

Last year we had a Kohler whole house generator installed.  Our installer is an authorized dealer.  He worked with his father for years who is a dealer for Generac.  Of the two systems his preference was Kohler.  


With his guidance we selected a model which could provide enough power to run everything in the house.  The install was simple since we already have natural gas. 


Our system plus install was around $7600.  Annual service maintenance is recommended which costs about $200 (depending upon dealer).


One of our best home improvements; should have done it years ago.   Being on a well water system makes losing power even more challenging.


I just spoke with our dealer last week.  He said we are lucky we got our system last year.  This year he is having trouble getting units and there is quite a wait.


Two months ago our electric was down for 30 hours. 

Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,537
Registered: ‎11-08-2020

@SeaMaiden We are rural sort of...about 15 minutes from city centre.  We do not have gas here.  Our heat is heat pump and oil.  We have a propane stove in the kitchen and a propane fireplace and have two of those huge propane tanks already installed.  Hopefully we can hook into that supply.


it certainly sounds like General is the top choice.


I appreciate all the feedback!  LM