In this video, This Old House master electrician Heath Eastman teaches host Kevin O’Connor everything he (or anyone else) needs to know about choosing an electric vehicle charger for their home.
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Master electrician Heath Eastman teaches host Kevin O’Connor all about the different types of electric vehicle chargers. Heath explains Level 1, 2, and 3 chargers, how they work, and who they’re suited for. He even goes over some of the installation requirements for each type of charger, and how many miles of charging the owner can expect. He even puts to rest some safety concerns on the topic.
Electric Vehicles Need Chargers
Electric vehicles run on power stored in their batteries. As they drive the power depletes, and most vehicle owners use overnight charging to boost their stores. To do so, they use an electric vehicle charger which plugs into the vehicle and transfers power from the energy grid to the vehicle. By morning, the owner unplugs the vehicle, wraps the cord, and goes about their day.
There are Different Types of Chargers
There are three types of vehicle chargers; Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3. Level 1 and Level 2 are the most common for homeowners, while Level 3 are the rapid charging models found at gas stations, shopping centers, and other public places.
Level 1 Chargers
Level 1 electrical vehicle chargers plug into a standard 120-volt outlet in a home or garage, and then stretch to the vehicle’s charging port. These chargers typically come with the vehicle and can boost the battery life up to 2 to 3 miles per hour of charge.
For folks who only drive locally, this may be all they need, as overnight charging could yield around 20 to 30 miles of charging. For folks who have longer commutes, these chargers are insufficient, though they should keep one in their vehicle at all times.
Level 2 Chargers
Level 2 chargers are much heavier duty. These chargers require 240-volt electricity on a 50-amp circuit, similar to an electric stove or dryer. An electrician will have to come to the home, assess whether the panel needs to be upgraded or not, and install the wall-mounted charger.
Level 2 chargers are capable of charging a vehicle around 25 to 30 miles per hour of charging time. These chargers are the most common home-based charging stations as they can typically fill an electric vehicle’s battery stores completely overnight.
Most Level 2 Installations Require a Panel Upgrade
Before bringing an electric vehicle home, have an electrician assess the home’s panel to determine whether it can handle a Level 2 charger. One-hundred-amp panels with all gas appliances may be okay, but in most cases, anything less than a 200-amp panel requires a service upgrade—an additional cost the homeowners need to consider.
Where to find it?
Heath and Kevin breakdown the basics of EV Chargers and the different levels of chargers available to electric car owners.
Heath explains that there are 3 levels of chargers available, however level 1 and level 2 are the main options available to the average homeowner. Heath then breaks down each levels necessity and benefits. Then Heath explains where these EV Chargers should be located and how they work. He explains the common locations such as inside garages, but outdoor locations can be just as safe. He also explains the proper installation and requirements for an EV Charger port. Kevin gets clarifications on how often one should charge their car, and when it’s necessary to upgrade ones service from 100 to 200 amps.
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From the makers of This Old House, America’s first and most trusted home improvement show, Ask This Old House answers the steady stream of home improvement questions asked by viewers across the United States. Covering topics from landscaping to electrical to HVAC and plumbing to painting and more. Ask This Old House features the experts from This Old House, including general contractor Tom Silva, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, landscape contractor Jenn Nawada, master carpenter Norm Abram, and host Kevin O’Connor. ASK This Old House helps you protect and preserve your greatest investment—your home.
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Electrical Vehicle Chargers Explained | Ask This Old House