Benefits of an Electric Car Charger for Your Home

Electric Car Charger For Your Home in front of house with homeowner walking into front door from parked electric vehicle at home

Owning an electric vehicle grants you access to an elite club of motorists participating in a revolution toward a better world. In addition to doing your part to protect the environment, your EV helps you save money, lowers your dependence on oil, and raises the demand for more renewable energy.

By now, you’ve realized the perks of driving an EV and know how society is making strides in supporting electric car drivers by incentivizing them with tax breaks, creating toll discount programs, and providing more than 21,000 charging stations nationwide.

While it’s nice that numerous charging stations are popping up at offices and stores across the country, the convenience of having the ability to charge your EV at home adds even more incentive to jump on the EV train.

This article will explore what a “home charger” is and the benefits of installing a dedicated electric car charger for your home. Here are the main points we will dissect about using a home charger:

  • What a home charger is, and how to use one
  • Home charger safety
  • Speed of a home charging system
  • Flexibility of a home charger
  • How to choose a charger for your home

If you live in an apartment complex or somewhere within a city, you may not have a dedicated parking spot or the option to install an EV charger. In these cases, public charging stations will be your play for now. However, there are many advantages for those who live at a property that can charge an EV. These homeowners can benefit from a home charger’s safety, convenience, and speed.

What is an electric car charger for your home?

An electric car charger for your home is a charging station for your home that requires the help of a qualified electrician to install. A home charger has a dedicated connection to your meter box, so it can draw higher loads without crashing your home circuit or tripping any breakers.

You can still plug your EV into a standard outlet to charge your car without a home charger. However, since charging requires a lot of energy, it can compromise your home’s electrical system and take a painstakingly long time.

A dedicated home charger installed at your property solves the problems of long charge times and vulnerable power circuits. Since home chargers are connected to a residential power grid, they won’t be as powerful as commercial chargers on highways. However, they will still be at least three times faster than the charging capacity of a standard outlet.

Home chargers are available in various sizes and offer varying levels of functionality, so it’s important to determine which options are most valuable in your situation.

Do you have solar power? If you do, it will serve you to investigate options that integrate with your panels to make the most of your setup and save even more money in the long run.

Do you want the ability to control your charging station remotely? If so, a charging station with connectivity options will be a great option and will give you the flexibility to control the power of your EV charger with your smartphone.

No matter what model you choose, a home charger will deliver more charging power than a standard outlet, which is what makes it so appealing and advantageous.

Home charger safety

Charging your EV at home is a convenient way to skip a trip to a station, but proper precautions should be taken to avoid any safety hazards. The three different levels of EV charging available right now are worth mentioning. Level 1 and Level 2 are accessible to the public. Level 3 is currently reserved for commercial use only since residential areas lack the proper output required to power them.

A standard Level 1 charging cable is typically included when purchasing an EV. This cable allows the driver to charge their EV at home with a standard outlet since the plugs use a simple nozzle cord with a 120-volt plug. These Level 1 charging systems are sufficient for PHEVs (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) that take less charge than battery electric vehicles (BEVs), and are also appropriate for low-mileage drivers.

Level 1 charging systems are convenient because most homes have 120-volt outlets accessible in their garages, but oftentimes, they are a bit too far to reach a car that needs to be parked outside on the driveway. People are tempted to use extension cords to reach their EVs, which poses a safety hazard since sometimes people don’t use proper weather-resistant extension cords.

Due to the nature of Level 1’s trickle charge, they tend to charge very slowly and can strain your home’s electrical circuit, thus posing another safety hazard. Residential electrical setups can struggle to handle the high loads of powering your home and an EV, so using a Level 2 system is safer.

Level 2 chargers operate on 240-volt power, the same type of plug required to power your electric clothes dryer, and can be installed by a licensed electrician. Level 2 charging systems offer much faster charging times. They can charge your EV up to eight times faster than a Level 1 system and can fully charge your EV within three to eight hours.

Charging an EV consumes a lot of energy and can put a lot of pressure on your home’s electrical system. A home charger is a great solution to this issue since it draws energy directly from your meter box and relieves unnecessary strain on your breakers and circuit. Home chargers are also designed to withstand the elements, so you can charge your EV outdoors in any weather with less stress.

Speed of a home charging system

While you can certainly plug your EV into a standard outlet to charge, you may want to grab a book or sleep in late because obtaining a full charge will take quite a while. A home charger using a Level 2 system will deliver much more power to charge your EV, so you’ll get a much faster charge. A regular home outlet offers 2.3 kilowatts (kW), while EV home chargers can produce 7.4 to 22 kW.

The type of EV you have, your electrical circuit, and the functionality you want will all determine the type and capacity of the home charger you’ll need to install. Depending on the home charger you opt for, you’re looking at speeds that are at least three to 15 times faster than charging with a standard outlet.

To put that into perspective, think of it like this. A small EV with an average battery size of 25 kilowatt-hour (kWh) would take over 10 hours to charge with a standard outlet. That same small EV could charge in under four hours with a 7.4-kWh home charger or in as little as one hour with a high-powered EV home charger that uses 22 kWh.

A medium-size EV with a 50-kWh battery would take 24+ hours to charge on a standard plug. It can charge in under eight hours using a 7.4-kWh home charger, about five hours using an 11-kWh home charger, or even three hours with a 22-kWh home charger.

Looking at the big picture, even the slowest home charger, using 7.4 kW, can charge your EV in a much shorter time span than a standard outlet.

Flexibility of a home charger

An EV home charger offers flexibility and options for those who want convenience and who want to control their charging remotely. Many home charging units offer connectivity, allowing users to tap into their settings with an app to view energy usage and cost statistics.

One of the greatest advantages of having a home charger with connectivity features is the ability to get software updates without skipping a beat. Your system can automatically download fixes to bugs, add new features, and let you manage your system settings remotely. 

Plus, you can monitor dynamic load balancing, letting you play with the energy capacity being fed to your EV or home appliances. This is even more exciting when you integrate your system with your solar panels, which can even help you save on “fueling” your EV with natural energy.

How to choose a charger for your home

There are many options for home EV chargers on the market. The model EV you own, the functions you need, your budget, your home’s electric capacity, and the battery size of your EV all play a part in choosing an EV charger for your home.

Generally speaking, the more bells and whistles it has, and the higher power a home EV charger can generate, the more costly it will be to purchase and install. It’s imperative to consult an electrical professional before purchasing a home EV charger to ensure you are ticking all the right boxes.

The type of EV you own also affects what kind of home charger you should get. If you fall in love with a Tesla home charger but don’t own one, don’t worry; you can get a converter to let you use their system.

No matter which home charger you go with, you will benefit from a safer user experience, faster charging times, and more convenience than you’ll have with a standard outlet.

Ongaro & Sons — your EV experts

Ongaro & Sons is a family-owned business in its fourth generation of operation. We consistently deliver the highest level of service and value in our industry, ensuring stability for our valued customers. Our friendly team offers heating, cooling, plumbing, electrical, and solar installation services for the North Bay area.

Our technicians stay current with advancing technologies through ongoing training and education opportunities. As EV technologies evolve, we are committed to ensuring our customers receive the best electrical services and solutions.

Our electricians can help you find the best charging option for your home. Contact Ongaro & Sons here or call us at 707-419-3135 today to schedule a free estimate.