An electric car charger station is quickly becoming a must-have for new home builders as construction and design companies get ahead of the curve and include this feature in modern developments. What to do, then, if you live in an older home that wasn’t originally intended to make use of this type of eco-friendly technology?
Not to worry — it’s not that difficult to install a charging station should you buy an electric car that needs to be plugged in on a regular basis. Whether you go with a pro or tackle the job yourself, it may be easier than you think. Check out these tips and you’ll be able to decide how best to go gas-free in no time.
Consult an Electrician
An electric car charging station doesn’t need any more power than a clothes dryer. That is to say, the vast majority (common Level Two designs) require a 240-volt source to operate properly. It shouldn’t be an issue for you to find a spot in your garage where you can tap into this level of power but you should still double-check with a professional electrician to make sure your home’s wiring can support 240-volts in the garage area. Follow this step even if you decide to do the work on your own. And don’t be afraid to call on an electrician to do the job if you aren’t comfortable working with electrical wiring.
Find a Safe Spot
If your electrical entry or fuse panel is located in the garage itself, then it’s relatively simple to dedicate a circuit to your electric car charging station. If your power point is not quite as accessible, then you might have to get creative when it comes to choosing a spot to locate the unit. You will need to consider traffic — will it get bumped by kids, passengers or people moving in and out of the garage? Also, take into consideration the length of the charging cable when connecting the car.
Pro Tip: Put the charger as close to your garage door as possible to allow you to top up your vehicle in the driveway if necessary. Plan for at least 18 feet of cable for maximum flexibility.
Get the Right Permits
Some cities and counties require you to apply for a permit prior to installing your electric car charging station. Typically, you’ll be asked to certify that your home is capable of dealing with the electrical load of the charger, as well as outline where the vehicle to be charged will be parked and the exact location of the unit itself. Again, this is an area where hiring an electrician may be the wiser choice.
Once you’ve gone through these steps, purchase the charging station and get started on the installation. If you’ve ever done electrical work in your own home before, you shouldn’t have any trouble adding the 240-volt access that the charger needs. If you’re more comfortable letting a pro handle the work, they’ll be grateful to you for having laid the foundation for the job at hand.
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Photo courtesy of Morguefile.
Having been bitten by the car bug at a young age, I spent my formative years surrounded by Studebakers at car shows across Quebec and the northeastern United States. Over ten years of racing, restoring, and obsessing over automobiles lead me to balance science writing and automotive journalism full time. I currently contribute as an editor to several online and print automotive publications, and I also write and consult for the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.