Wondering what the process of installing and maintaining an electric car charger looks like? Here’s what you need to know about charging safely at home.
These days, there seems to more and more electric vehicles on the road, and with major brands like Volkswagen estimating that 50% of their vehicles will be electric by 2030, the number is only expected to further increase. The price of electric vehicles coming down, EV batteries becoming more long-lasting, and the push for efforts towards more sustainable transportation also means that the amount of electric car chargers being installed will likely see a significant increase.
One of the benefits of getting an electric car is no longer having to wait at gas stations to re-fuel. However, unless you’re fine with lengthy sessions spent at public charging stations, having an electric car charger installed at home is a given and is an essential component of successful EV ownership.
How do I get started on installing an electric car charger?
With these new and innovative technologies, it’s important to ensure that everything is done as safely and as correctly as possible. Hiring a licensed electrical contractor will ensure that your installation will run smoothly while guaranteeing the safety of you, your vehicle, and your property. Having a professional do the job can also provide you help with project planning.
Ideally, you’ll want the electric car charger up and running before your vehicle arrives. This will allow you to use the vehicle uninterrupted by the time it gets to your home. Working with a licensed electrician will speed up the process, preventing you from having to worry about compatibility issues.
If you are looking to buy your vehicle online or anywhere that isn’t a car dealership, it’s important to confirm that the vehicle is approved for use in Canada. Electric vehicles that are not yet officially approved for use in Canada will need to be field-evaluated by an accreted agency in Ontario, which for most average homeowners is not worth the time or money.
This process could cost a few hundred to several thousands of dollars, and depending on where you’re located, could take weeks or even months, leaving you without a vehicle for a prolonged period of time. Therefore, having a vehicle that is already pre-approved for use in Canada can save a lot of time and effort in the long run.
A car that is approved for use in Canada will also qualify you for rebates and incentives. These are put out by the government to reach carbon-emission reduction goals, but also greatly benefit those looking to make the switch to electric vehicle ownership. This, however, only applies to registered electric vehicles of the right model and make — i.e. those that qualify for use in Canada. With these government incentives, you can expect to save thousands of dollars.
How can I ensure that my electric car charger will be installed safely?
So how can you know if the electric vehicle or the electric car charger you’re looking at is approved for use in Canada? There are certain approval/certification marks that you can look for that will indicate that the equipment has been thoroughly tested for safety and is legally permitted in Ontario. A licensed electrician will also be able to confirm this for sure.
After you’ve decided on a vehicle and an officially certified electric car charger, the licensed electrician will need to make sure that the electrical service size in your home is large enough to support the addition of an electric car charger. This is done by conducting a load calculation on your home’s major appliances to determine how much each takes up in your home’s total electrical capacity. This can also be done by the electrician requesting data from your utility company.
It’s important to ensure that your electrical service size is compatible with any major additions to the home. Whether that is a hot tub, a new washer or dryer, or an electric car charger, having a sufficient electrical service size is a prerequisite for safe installation. If your service is too small, it’s possible to get a service upgrade to increase its overall size. Without it, you risk going over capacity, putting strain on your electrical system, which can be dangerous as it greatly increases the risk for an electrical fire.
Another reason that it’s important to have a licensed electrical contractor do the work is due to the fact that they will be able to identify any weak spots that may be present in your home’s electrical system. Regular upkeep is important to maintain your home’s electrical system, but for those who have not had their homes checked in a while, there could be weak spots (such as loose connections) that complicate the possibility of an installation, create a false reading on your electrical load, or even worse: put your home in danger.
Loose connections can heat up slowly, which could over time accumulate and result in a fire. These can often be present without the homeowner even being aware of them, which is why it’s all the more important to have an expert go over your home’s system. These weak spots are even more prevalent in older homes, such as those that have not been renovated since the 70s or 80s.
If you are planning on buying a new home or having one built, significant consideration should go towards the home’s electrical service size. Initially having an larger service size allows more room for future additions and renovations, which will save you the money and hassle of having to upgrade later. This is especially important if you are hoping to one day own an electric vehicle.
Can my electric car charger be moved to a different home or place once it’s installed?
A licensed electrician will have to obtain a notification for inspection to remove the electric car charger and install it elsewhere. Some car chargers are much more portable, leading homeowners to believe that they can be plugged in anywhere; however, electric car chargers need to be plugged into the right receptacles to ensure that the circuit will not be overloaded. If you are looking to move the electric car charger elsewhere, it’s best to have a licensed electrician install the proper receptacle.
What should I be wary of concerning electric car charger installation?
When installing a new electric car charger, particular attention should be paid to where it will be placed, especially in smaller garages. One scenario you’ll want to avoid is backing up your car and hitting your charging equipment, potentially damaging or breaking it, so it should be placed at the right height and at a distance where it can reach the charging outlet of your vehicle. Proper planning can allow you to prevent costly mistakes, which is why working with a licensed electrician is all the more important.
Similar to a replacement job, a notification of work and then an inspection needs to be arranged for safe and proper installation. This is usually taken care of by a licensed electrical contractor, allowing you the peace of mind that the job will be done correctly and according to the law.
Now that you know what goes into installing and maintaining an electric car charger, you may feel ready to start the process of installation.
Contact MADE ELECTRIC today! We are a trusted electrical contractor that operates in Toronto and the GTA, with a professional and fully licensed team. Installing an electric car charger can be a big project, but for us, no project is too large or complex.
Our company can be reached at any time through our contact page, and are also happy to receive your calls at +1 (833) 623-3247, or e-mails at firstname.lastname@example.org.