Electric vehicles (EVs) are all the rage right now, but there are some people who still aren’t sure they want to get one. One of the major hurdles to wide-scale electric car adoption may be a fear of inconvenience. You may worry that there’s not a public charging station near you. And even if there are public charging stations around, do you always want to park at a public charging station every time you need to refuel?
Home EV charging stations are one solution to the problem of potential inconvenience. However, are home EV charging stations safe? The answer is a resounding yes – provided that they’re properly installed. This blog post will look at two popular types of home EV charging stations and delve into some of the safety concerns you might find with each. If you’re as charged up as we are, let’s get started.
The Levels of EV Charging
There are three levels of EV charging available: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 chargers. Level 1 chargers are the slowest, while Level 3 chargers are the fastest. All EV manufacturers, besides Tesla, have the same standard plug. Tesla owners can get the same plug, but they also have access to public superchargers, similar to level 3 chargers.
Level 1 chargers are the easiest to install, as you can simply plug them into your garage or outside power outlet, but they typically take 17 to 20 hours before they’ll charge a 100-mile battery. For this reason, most homeowners opt for Level 2 chargers. Level 2 chargers typically power up a 100-mile EV battery in 4 to 5 hours – perfect for fueling your vehicle overnight. Level 3 chargers take 20-40 minutes on average to add around 50-100 miles of travel.
Level 3 chargers aren’t generally available for home use; you’ll only find them at certain commercial charging stations. This is because unlike Level 1 and 2 chargers that use alternating current (AC), they use direct current (DC) and require a very high voltage. That means you’ll have to choose between Level 1 and Level 2.
What You Need to Charge an Electric Vehicle At Home
The first step is to buy the at-home charging system. Level 1 chargers can be plugged into standard 120-volt (V) outlets. These are the outlets that you can generally find around your home, which means you probably won’t have to do any electrical work.
Level 2 chargers, on the other hand, can only be plugged into 240 V outlets, and those can be harder to find in your home. You probably have at least two that are used for your dryer and washer. New homes built typically plan for at least one 240 V in a garage or outdoor port to accommodate a Level 2 charger. This is good news because it will increase the accessibility to automatically have these outlets in a home for a possible EV charger installation.
If you do not have those outlets currently at your desired charging location, you’ll need to either:
- Install a new 240 V outlet, or
- Purchase a splitter for your outlet
Both of these options present potential safety hazards if done without a licensed contractor or electrician. A poorly-built splitter can lead to fire hazards or overwhelm your home electrical system. And when it comes to installing new outlets it is important to do it safely and correctly. The best way to do this is to get a professional electrician or electrical team, like RevoluSun, to handle this for you.
While there are safety hazards associated with at-home charging, they can all be eliminated by purchasing the right equipment. How do you know if your charging system, extension cord, or splitter are safe?
Purchasing the Right EV Charging Equipment
There are some steps you can take to ensure the safety of everything you choose to purchase with your in-home charging stations. Check that whatever equipment you’re purchasing has been certified by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL). Products that meet the stringent safety standards set by OSHA will have a watermark from one of these companies. Here’s a list of NRTL watermarks to check against any product you’re thinking about purchasing.
When it comes to an EV charger installation, the only time you will need installation work is when you want to upgrade to a Level 2 charger. Your EV will come with a Level 1 charger that is compatible with a 120 V outlet. But if you find yourself wanting a faster charge, you’ll need a qualified electrician to upgrade your outlet to 240 V. Then, you can purchase and use the Level 2 charger itself.
You might also need an extension cable to bridge the gap between your 240 V outlet and your EV if you choose to go with a Level 2 charger, depending on the distance between where the outlet is and where your vehicle will be when you charge it. This cable should be high-quality, and will generally cost about $100.
It is important to note that all installations must comply with the electrical regulations in your area. Looking into Massachusetts’ electrical code and EV charging information guide are great places to start. A licensed electrician will be familiar with such protocols.
Understanding Your Electricity Demand From EV Charging
One final concern with in-home EV charging is to recognize your home electricity bill will increase. While you don’t have to worry about fueling up at the gas station every week, you do have to think about how your electrical consumption is going to change.
One possible solution to this is installing solar panels. At RevoluSun, we offer only the best products for you and can personalize a solar system that accommodates all of your charging needs. There is value in having both an EV and a solar system that can help offset energy costs.
You would be doing your part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by having a renewable energy source charge your vehicle that also typically has better emissions than a regular combustion engine.
Final Thoughts On EV Charging Safety
EVs are the future, and we expect to see more EV charging stations as time goes on. When put together properly, they’re perfectly safe for your home.
In rare circumstances, you may need to upgrade your electrical panel to allow for a Level 2 240 V outlet, if you choose that option. The EV might be just enough to put your home over your old panel’s capacity. However, your current setup should allow for either a Level 1 or Level 2 EV charger.
If you find yourself with any additional questions or want to inquire about solar panels to go along with your home charging station, don’t hesitate to contact us.
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