Every home has an electrical panel. It can be found inside a metal box usually in the basement or a tucked-away corner, often inside a little closet. Within the box are several switches, each switch controlling the power of different spaces within your home. These are called breaker switches. If there’s too strong of an electrical current running through one of the breaker lines, it will automatically shut off for your safety.
Electric panels use breakers, which are the switches you see, to power different areas of your home. To update them in order to support more power flow to a specific area of your home, your electrician will have to add breakers to the panel. This involves turning off the electricity in your home, removing the old panel, and installing a new one. While this sounds simple, it is dangerous and meticulous work if you do not know what you are doing. Never handle your home’s electrical panel on your own, as it is not safe. Electrical panels should be inspected periodically to make sure your home’s electrical system is healthy and working as it should.
Electrical Vehicles at Home
Yes! You can power your electric vehicle at home, usually with a few changes to your home’s electrical system. You may need an updated electrical panel to support the electricity required to power your car. You may also want a 240-volt circuit installed that is dedicated to charging your car for the most efficient way to charge.
Powering your electric vehicle at home is easy with the right electrical set-up. The simplest way is to just plug your car into a regular three-pronged outlet. Your car should have the capability to automatically convert your home’s AC electricity into the required DC electricity. This method is called Level 1 charging and it is inexpensive but also takes a long time–up to 24 hours! The quickest way to charge your electric car is using a dedicated 240-volt circuit that your electrician can install. This method, known as Level 2 charging, will help your car charge in around four hours.
For Level 1 charging, all you need is a three-pronged outlet close to where you will be parking your car. You may also need an updated electrical panel to support electricity in your garage or in whichever space your car will be charging. If you use Level 2 charging, you will need a 240-volt circuit installed as well as a Level 2 charging unit, otherwise known as electric vehicle service equipment (EVSE).
It depends what kind of charger you have for your EV. Level 1 charging, which uses a standard three-prong outlet, can take up to 24 hours for a full charge. Level 2 charging is much faster and more practical–taking only about 8 hours for a full charge, so you can charge your electric car completely overnight. Level 2 charging uses the same kind of outlet as your clothes dryer or range.
It is unnecessary to charge your electric vehicle nightly, and can actually cause the battery to degrade quicker. Unless you drive great distances every day, you will likely be able to drive for a week or more on a single charge. Additionally, don’t worry about keeping your car’s battery at 100% charge; doing so is not actually best for the life of the battery. Anywhere between 80% and 30% charged is the safest range for your battery to sit in.
Yes, it’s perfectly safe to turn on your electric car while it’s charging! It may lengthen the amount of time it takes to charge your EV, but you can fully use the radio, air conditioning, heat, infotainment center, and any other accessories your car may offer, all while it is plugged in.
The short answer is yes, charging your electric vehicle will increase your electric bill. However, the extra amount you pay in electricity may still be less than the amount you would have paid in gas using a gas-powered car, making an electric vehicle still worth it. Additionally, you can seek out low-cost public charging stations to save on your home electric bill.
There’s no hard and fast rule on how often you should charge your electric vehicle. So much depends on the size of the car, the size of the battery, how often you drive your car, and more. That said, when your car’s battery gets to about 20%, it’s a good time to plug in. For many, this will be about once a week, but it could be more frequent if you drive a lot. When the weather is cold, it’s a good idea to stay plugged in more often in order to keep the battery warm.