All electric vehicles come with branded EV charging cords. These simple devices plug directly into standard 120-V outlets. Homeowners can use them in existing garage outlets to power their autos up while they sleep. Also known as Level 1 charging cords, they take between 40 and 50 hours to bring EV batteries to 80% capacity. They work well for motorists with quick, short-distance commutes who do little recreational driving in between.

To recharge your EV battery to full capacity within just 8 to 10 hours and from the comforts of home, you’ll need a Level 2 EV charging station installed. For some Raleigh, NC homes, installing Level 2 EV chargers requires several important electrical system modifications.

What to Know About Your Home’s Electrical Capacity

The electrical capacity of your home determines how many electricity-reliant devices and appliances it can support without experiencing frequent circuit breaker trips or other issues. When calculating the required capacity for your home, you’ll have to account for your water heater, HVAC system, overhead lights, ceiling fans, and more.

Many small, older properties operate on a single 100-A electrical panel. A capacity of 100 amps is sufficient for powering a central HVAC system and other essential home appliances while still providing enough power for everyone’s gadgets. Larger, modern homes operate on 200-A electrical panels. Homes with exceedingly high electrical demand might have two, 200-A panels or one 200-A panel with between one and three sub-panels for additional support.

It’s vital to note that what worked well for older properties several years ago may not be sufficient now. As residents plug in more computers, gaming consoles, and other electronics, their requirements for electrical capacity increase. Thus, even before adding a Level 2 EV charging station, your home could be in desperate need of an electrical panel update.

The Pitfalls of DIY EV Charger Installation

You can install some Level 2 EV charging stations by simply plugging them into 240-V outlets. If you have an unused 240-V outlet in your garage that was originally intended for a washing machine or dryer, this might do the trick. However, there’s a very high likelihood of experiencing problems when taking this route.

For instance, despite having an available 240-V outlet, your home could have an electrical panel with just a 100-A capacity. A Level 2 EV charger can easily use the majority of this capacity during operation. Many popular EV batteries require between 24 and 42 amps during use. This leaves very little power for essential, constantly running appliances like refrigerators and water heaters. It also means that there won’t be enough power to run your heater, heat pump, or air conditioner simultaneously.

Installing a Level 2 EV charger on a 100-A electrical panel can lead to flickering lights, frustrating breaker trips, and appliance malfunction. The resulting electrical problems can also shorten your charger’s lifespan and create the risk of electric shock, electrocution, and electrical fires.

What Level 2 EV Chargers Need

Your EV charging station will need a 200-A panel and a dedicated 240-V outlet. Given their exceedingly high power demands, Level 2 EV home chargers also require dedicated electrical circuits.

Having an electrician install your home EV charging equipment is the best way to ensure safe, reliable operation. Our electricians can accurately calculate your current electrical demands, the required electrical capacity for your charging equipment, and your home’s current capacity. Based on this info, we can upgrade your electrical panel, replace it, or add sub-panels as needed.

Electricians can additionally bypass the need for dedicated 240-V outlets by hardwiring home charging equipment directly into electrical systems. For many homes, this approach proves cheaper. It can also save space and make it easier to integrate a charger’s smart features into an existing smart home system.

Surge Protection

Another major benefit of having a professional handle your EV charger installation is being able to incorporate whole-house surge protection. Whether your current electrical panel can support the addition of a Level 2 EV charger or a panel upgrade is required, this is an excellent time to make sure that all of your major appliances are protected. Adding surge protection when installing your EV charger will extend its life span, protect your EV battery’s health, and keep you warranty-compliant.

We help residents of Raleigh, NC get the most from their EV home charging equipment, and we offer exceptional EV charging station installation services. Our team also provides electrical panel upgrades, GFCI outlets, standby generators, and whole-home surge protection. To find out more or schedule an appointment, get in touch with us at Dawson's Electric today.

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