Thinking of putting in a backup generator for your home? Do it for the peace of mind, but don’t tell yourself it’s an “investment.” In reality, putting in a backup generator has one of the lowest returns on investment of any improvement you can make to your home. According to home improvement cost data from Remodeling magazine, adding a backup generator to your home costs an average of $11,410, but when you sell your home you’ll only be able to recoup an average of $6,014.

The 53 percent return on a backup generator is among the lowest-performing home improvements with respect to return on investment. Of course, not all cities are equal when it comes to return on investment of various home improvement projects. In Seattle, where few storms knock out power for more than a day and mild weather rarely requires air conditioning, backup generators return just 46 percent. But in Miami, where hurricanes are a common concern and summer temperatures are sweltering, installing a backup generator returns an average of 96 percent.

Even if it’s not a good financial investment, installing a backup generator can be a great functional upgrade for your home. In many parts of the country the severe storms that frequently knock out power happen during the coldest months of the year. If your home has electric heat, installing a backup generator will allow you to stay warm until the utility company gets things back in order. Adding an automatic backup generator to your home is no walk in the park. High-current electrical connections, an automatic transfer switch, and proper placement of the generator are just a few of the things that come into play. Experienced professionals know how to upgrade your home safely and in compliance with all of the local codes.

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Top image credit: Witt Construction