Installing a Home EV Charger | Washington & Oregon | Dick Hannah

Installing a Home EV Charger: A Complete Guide for Washington and Oregon Drivers

With the increasing popularity of electric vehicles, having a dedicated EV Charger at home is becoming a must. Not only does it provide convenient and hassle-free charging, but it also saves you time and money by avoiding public charging stations or relying on slow trickle charging options. So why not bring the convenience and cost-effectiveness of charging right to your doorstep?

What It Takes to Charge at Home – transcript

Understanding Your EV Charging Options

There are three different types of home EV chargers: Level 1, Level 2, and DC fast charging. Level 1 chargers are the most basic option and can be plugged into a standard 120-volt wall outlet. They typically provide around 2-5 miles of range per hour of charging. Level 2 chargers, on the other hand, require a 240-volt outlet and offer higher charging speeds, providing around 10-30 miles of range per hour of charging. Lastly, DC fast chargers utilize direct current and can charge an EV significantly faster, delivering 60-80 miles of range in just 20 minutes. It’s essential to choose the right EV charger based on your driving needs and your home’s electrical infrastructure. 

Assessing Your Home’s Electrical Infrastructure

The first step in getting your charger set up at home is looking at the capabilities of your home.  

  • Determine the electrical capacity: Find out the total electrical capacity of your home by looking at your main electrical panel or consulting with a licensed electrician. This information will help you understand if your panel has enough capacity to handle the additional load of the charger. 
  • Assess the panel’s age and condition: Older panels may not have the capacity or necessary features for EV charging. Determine whether your panel is in good condition or if it requires an upgrade or replacement. 
  • Check for available circuits: Determine if any available circuits can accommodate the charger. Level 2 chargers usually require a dedicated 240-volt circuit, so check for available double-pole breaker slots. 
  • Identify the panel’s amperage: Determine the amperage rating of your panel. EV chargers typically require a dedicated circuit with a specific amperage capacity to operate reliably. Ensure that the panel can support the required amperage. 
  • Consider potential upgrades: If your panel lacks the capacity to support an EV charger, consider upgrading the panel or adding subpanels to accommodate the increased electrical load. Consult with a licensed electrician to determine the feasibility and cost of such upgrades. 
  • Verify local code requirements: Check the local electrical code requirements and permit regulations for installing an EV charger. Ensure that the planned installation aligns with these regulations. 
  • Consider future electrical needs: Factor in any potential future electrical needs, such as home renovations or additional appliances. It’s important to ensure that your electrical panel can handle the overall increased demand. 
  • Consult with a licensed electrician: To accurately assess your home’s electrical capacity and panel capability, consult with a licensed electrician who can conduct a thorough inspection and provide professional guidance. 

Hiring a qualified electrician for the inspection and installation of your EV home charger is of utmost importance. Electricians possess the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to ensure that electrical work is performed safely and according to industry standards. They can accurately assess your home’s electrical capacity, panel capability, and wiring infrastructure, identifying any potential issues or necessary upgrades.

With their expertise, electricians can effectively handle the installation process, including proper wiring, grounding, and compliance with local electrical codes. They also help navigate any necessary permits and certifications, ensuring that your installation meets all legal requirements. By hiring a qualified electrician, you can have peace of mind knowing that your EV charger installation is safe, efficient, and reliable. 

Selecting the Right EV Charger for Your Home

When choosing an EV charger for your home, there are several key factors to consider

  • Power Output: Consider the charging speed you need. Level 2 chargers offer faster charging than Level 1 chargers, providing more miles of range per hour. Determine if you require a higher power output for efficient charging. 
  • Compatibility: Ensure that the charger you choose is compatible with your specific electric vehicle model. Check for compatibility with the connector type (J1772 for most EVs) and any additional requirements. 
  • Connectivity Options: Look for chargers that offer connectivity options like Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. This allows you to monitor and manage charging remotely from your smartphone or through smart home systems. 
  • Smart Features: Consider chargers with smart features such as scheduling, energy tracking, and integration with energy management systems. These features can help optimize charging efficiency and provide cost savings. 
  • Durability and Weatherproofing: Since EV chargers will be installed outdoors, select one that is durable and weatherproof, capable of withstanding harsh weather conditions prevalent in the Pacific Northwest. 
  • Brand and Warranty: Research reputable brands known for quality and customer support. Look for chargers that come with a warranty to protect your investment. 
  • Cost: Consider your budget and compare the prices of different chargers. While cost is an important factor, prioritize quality, reliability, and necessary features over the cheapest option. 
  • Installation Requirements: Assess the installation requirements, such as the need for a 240-volt outlet or additional electrical panel upgrades. Ensure you have the necessary electrical infrastructure for the chosen charger. 

By considering these factors, you can select an EV charger that meets your charging needs, offers convenience, and provides a reliable and efficient charging experience at home. 

Navigating Incentives and Rebates

PGE offers a Smart Charging program with rebates for installing a Level 2 charger at home. These chargers are much faster than standard outlets, so you’ll be back on the road in no time. Participating in the program, PGE will shift your charging to times when energy demand is lower, saving you money and helping the environment. You could receive up to $1,000 in rebates; income-qualified customers may qualify for even more savings. 

Pacific Power also offers rebates for installing Level 2 chargers. They cover up to 75% of the total costs, with rebates of up to $500 for hardwired chargers and up to $250 for 240-volt home EV chargers. Income-qualified customers can receive up to $1,500 for hardwired chargers and up to $500 for 240-volt chargers. To be eligible, you must be a Pacific Power residential customer and own or lease an electric vehicle or plug-in hybrid. 

Clark Public Utilities has a rebate program as well. They offer a $400 rebate for the purchase and installation of a qualified Level 2 charger, and if the charger costs less than $400, they’ll cover the entire cost. You can claim up to two rebates per household. They also offer a $100 rebate for non-connected chargers or mobile connectors. There’s no need for the charger to be Energy Star certified but check with your local jurisdiction for any electrical permit requirements. 

These rebate programs are a great way to save money on installing a home EV charger, so make sure to take advantage of them! 

Wrap Up

In conclusion, installing a home EV charger in Washington and Oregon comes with a plethora of benefits. Not only does it provide the convenience of charging at your doorstep, saving you time and eliminating the need for public charging stations, but it also offers significant cost savings in the long run. With the available resources and incentives, there has never been a better time to make the switch to electric mobility and take advantage of the benefits of home charging.

A woman charging her EV with her EV Home Charger

So, don’t miss out on the opportunity to join the electric vehicle revolution. Check out the resources and incentive programs available in your area, such as tax credits and utility rebates, to make the installation of a home EV charger more affordable. It’s time to take the plunge and start embracing the future of transportation. Begin the installation process today and experience the ease and cost-effectiveness of charging your electric vehicle right in your own garage. The road to sustainable, convenient travel starts with your home EV charger.

If you have any additional questions that we didn’t cover here, or you need a little extra information on please contact our amazing EV specialists at any of our Dealership locations in Portland, Gladstone, Sandy, Kelso, and Vancouver!

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