Do You Need an Electrician to Install an EV Charger?

That’s the question asked in a recent consumer magazine. Their answer was maybe.

Our answer is probably. Here’s why.

It’s a Matter of Level

There are three levels of chargers for electric vehicles (EVs), two of which are commonly used for home charging.

Level 1 uses standard 120-volt household current to “trickle charge” your car’s battery, similar to charging a cordless vacuum, power tool, or lawnmower. You’ll still need a charging adapter to fit your vehicle, but the cord fits into a standard household outlet.

Of course if you don’t have an outlet handy, you’ll need to have one installed and that should be done by a licensed electrical who can determine which circuit to put it on (lor maybe a new one) to avoid overloads, eliminating the  possibility of you waking up to learn your car didn’t charge overnight after all.

A Level 1 charge gives about 5 miles of range per hour of charge, but that depends on your charger, your vehicle, and several other factors. Assess your driving needs to see if a Level 1 charger will meet your needs. And remember that commercial charging stations don’t offer Level 1 charging.

If you’ll drive the vehicle more that a few miles a day, you’ll want a Level 2 charger.

Level 2 charging runs on a dedicated 240-volt circuit, the same as a furnace, range, or water heater. It’s wired directly to your home’s electrical panel, a job that should only be done by a licensed electrician.

A Level 2 charger is much faster than a Level 1 connection, giving about 25 miles of charge per hour…five times faster than Level 1. That means you can usually charge a vehicle to 100% overnight. Plus, Level 2 charging is available at commercial charging stations, in case you’re running low on kilowatts.

Installation costs can vary widely depending on how your home is wired. If your home is relatively new, you may be in luck. Denver, Boulder, and other Colorado jurisdictions have required new home construction to include provisions for EV charging since 2013. Older homes and homes in other locations will require more work. Wiring must be run from the panel to the charging point, sometimes involving removing and replacing drywall or other surfaces.  The panel (and the home’s total electrical service) must be able to carry the increased electrical load. Otherwise, one or both may need to be upgraded.

Only a qualified electrician can assess your situation accurately and perform the work safely and up to code.

Have Questions? Call a Pro

For details on how home charging stations work and save you money, see this article on the Allstar Electric website. And if you need a home charging station or any other electrical work, Allstar Electrical Services is just a call or click away. So call us at 303.399.7420 or visit our website. We’re top-rated by the Better Business Bureau and a preferred contractor by Angi’s Home Advisor®.