Electric Charging Point Home Installations are typically something that you don’t want to do yourself unless you are a certified electrician. There’s probably a lot of DIY electricians who install electric charging points in their homes or rental properties, but hopefully those people at least have an electrical or mechanical engineering background.
Engineers tend to think they can do just about anything (and much of the time, they’re right), but if you are buying a home that has an electric car charging point, then you should either ask for it to be inspected thoroughly or ask for the installation documentation and research the company that installed it to make sure they perform quality work. You don’t necessarily need a Level 2 Charging point at home since it is not a trivial cost in EV ownership, but it does make owning an EV a heck of a lot more practical.
Issues From a Low Quality Electric Charging Point Home Installation
A low quality electric charging point home installation is likely to have issues like frequent breaker trips. Typically a level 2 charger requires at least a 50 amp circuit breaker even if the charger itself only draws 30 amps of electric current. For a typical Level 2 charger that provides up to 7.2 kWh to the car, the voltage is 240V and the current is 30A (the math here is pretty simple: 240V times 30A is 7200 watts per hour or 7.2 kilowatts per hour). So, if you’re electrician installed a 240V outlet on a circuit breaker that is only capable of 30 amps, it’s very likely that on start-up of the charger it will have a power spike and cause the circuit breaker to trip.
If you live in an older home, like I do, then it is possible that your circuit breaker box may need an upgrade for more circuit breaker slots. If there are not an empty slots in your box, then you will need to talk to your electrician about upgrading to a bigger box or creating a sub-panel that is connected to the main panel. Piggy backing (also called using tandem circuit breakers) of circuit breaker slots is also possible, but may not be recommended unless you are really trying to install it on the cheap.
Make Sure the Wire Gauge is Correct
A 6 gage copper wire or a 4 gage aluminum wire is required for an installation that requires less than 150 feet of wire from the circuit breaker to the electric car charging point. This is so there is less resistance for the electricity to pass through the wire (remember, a lower gauge wire is thicker than a higher gauge wire, so it has a higher conductivity and less resistance). Less resistance not only means less loss of electrical energy, but also less heat generated in the wire, so wire gauge is certainly a fire safety concern.
Electric Charging Point Positioning
You may be tempted to place the charger in front of your garage spot like you would see in a public electric vehicle charging station, but in your own garage, it is probably better to place the electric charging point on the side of your garage that corresponds to the charging point on your car. It your home, you can do whatever you want! (Unless it is unsafe and against regulations.) If you go for a brand name charger, it probably makes sense to get a 3rd party charger (i.e. not the brand of your EV (unless you are a die-hard fan of them), because you never know which companies are going to stick around.)
Electric Vehicle Chargers can weigh quite a bit (around 20lbs for a level 2 charger), so make sure to affix them to a sturdy wall or post.
Electric Charging Point Home Owner Insurance
If you’ve gone through all the steps to have your electric charging point installed in your home, then you’ll want to make sure that you notify your Home Owners insurance agency of your new charging point. It could be a pretty penny to replace a charger if it is damaged or broken – just like you would want to make sure that your insurance company knows you bought new kitchen appliances. If you’re installing it in a rental property, it might be a good idea to have a security camera pointed at the EV charger to make sure no one fiddles with it.