An electric vehicle (EV) is a significant investment, and you’ll need to make space for it. You’re no longer managing a conventional gas-powered vehicle but a battery-driven car that requires regular charging. Naturally, installing a charging station in your garage is a smart home improvement move for a few great reasons – keep reading to learn why.
With that in mind, here are a few tips for setting up your own charging station.
Here at GreatBuildz, a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura or San Diego with reliable general contractors, we frequently assist homeowners in making improvements to their homes. With the rise of electric vehicles, many homeowners are looking to install an electric vehicle charging station in their garages, a job that should be done by a pre-vetted and reliable contractor to ensure efficiency and safety.
Considerations for Your EV Charging Station
Consider these factors before picking up your power drill when planning your garage’s EV charging station.
- Utility company: First, contact your utility company to ensure it lets customers install electric charging stations on their property. Utilities may be unable to support the chargers if they’re outdated. They’ll help you decide if your electrical equipment needs upgrading before installation.
- Local regulations: Besides your utility company, you should also check local laws concerning charging stations. For example, your city may have a specific code the charger must follow during installation.
- Charger location: Your charger requires a safe and reliable area within the garage for easy charging. Ideally, you’ll have outlets away from the garage door so the station doesn’t block access.
- Charger type: Current chargers on the market vary by wattage and will determine how quickly your EV will charge. Standard ones begin at 120 volts for level 1 and 240 volts for level 2. Advanced chargers may exceed 480 volts and charge your car quickly, requiring a more powerful electrical system with your home.
- EV model: Check your EV model to see what type of charging station you need. Some vehicles may require a specific type of charger, depending on the make and model. For example, Nissan Leaf owners must use a CHAdeMO or SAE J1772 connector for fast charging. Tesla owners must use Tesla chargers — otherwise, they’ll need an adapter at regular stations.
- Multiple EVs: Your EV might be one of many in the garage. If someone else at home has an EV, examine your charging station options closely. For example, look at how many ports you have and the charging speed. Multiple EVs are another reason to check your home’s electrical capacity to ensure you don’t overload the system.
- Budget: Installing an at-home charging station requires setting a budget based on your expectations. You’ll need about $500 for a level 2 charger and $1,000 for labor and materials.
- Rebates: California residents should take advantage of the state’s incentives for charging stations. Utility companies offer $150-$3,000 in incentives for purchasing a residential charging station.
- Hiring a professional: Your garage may need complicated electrical services, such as installing breakers and circuits, so it’s best to hire a licensed professional to install the charging station. You can handle it yourself if you’re comfortable with electrical work, especially if the charging station requires minimal setup. However, an electrician ensures everything is up to code and safe to use.
Installing the EV Charging Station
Once you confirm your plans, you’re ready to set up your EV charging station. Here’s an overview of installing your charger inside your garage.
- Obtain permits: Ensure you follow regulations because your charging station may require a contractor for installation. California law says you must hire a licensed contractor to perform the job if you receive state funding for the charging station. Additionally, at least one contractor must have certification from the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program.
- Prepare the garage: After getting your permit, you must prepare the garage. Cleaning the space is vital. Create a section large enough to fit your charger and mark it if needed so you or the electrician know where to perform the electrical work.
- Place the charger: You’ll need a sizable spot in the garage for the charger. Ensure you have enough room between your vehicle and the wall so the quarters aren’t too close. Protect your charger and help your car by placing it at least two feet off the ground.
- Install breakers: After placing the charger, it’s time to install your breakers. Remember to turn the power off to ensure everyone’s safety. Connect your EV charger’s wires to the new circuit breaker and turn the power back on. It should now be ready to use.
- Connect the Wi-Fi: Another essential part of the charger setup is connecting the Wi-Fi. You might not need the internet to charge your car, but a Wi-Fi connection lets you remotely monitor the station and update software. The station also uses the internet to monitor how much energy you use and accurately determine your utility bill.
- Test the charger: You’re ready to charge your vehicle. Plug in the charger to ensure everything runs as planned. If it’s not working, troubleshoot by inspecting your car because there may be a necessary setting change or software update waiting for you. Next, inspect the electrical system by checking the breakers, power supply, wiring and outlets. You may need to call an electrician if you’ve exhausted your options.
- Maintain the charger: You must inspect your system to ensure everything runs smoothly. The charging speed could decline if you don’t maintain your charger. Inspect the cables for wear and tear and regularly update your firmware and software when prompted.
Installing an EV charging station in your garage can be challenging, so covering your bases is vital. Here are a few other considerations to make when planning this project.
- Weatherproof the garage: Severe weather events can come anytime, with summer and winter often bringing extreme temperatures. Check and update your weatherproofing seals to ensure they’re strong enough to withstand the elements. If not, your charging station could succumb to humidity and other unwanted moisture buildup.
- Check the ventilation: EVs are famous for not emitting much heat, but the stations can make your garage hot if you don’t have proper ventilation. Ensure the area stays cool year-round because excess heat can overheat and damage your charging station.
- Manage cables: Your charging station may have numerous cables around the garage. Be careful with these cords, especially with pets and small children. Put them back when not in use and monitor your young ones to ensure they don’t harm themselves.
Benefits of Garage Charging Stations
You may be on the fence about installing an EV charging station in your garage. Here are some benefits of having this device in your house.
- Avoiding public charging stations: The Biden administration has pledged to create over 500,000 public charging stations by 2030. Still, these chargers could be far from your home or always have a long line. An at-home charging station increases convenience for you.
- Saving money: Putting a charging station in your garage saves money because you’ll typically pay a higher electricity rate at a public one, especially during peak hours.
- Selling your home: An at-home charging station could be beneficial if you plan to sell your home soon. A 2022 Zillow study finds houses with EV charging stations sell nearly 10 days faster than comparable houses.
- Security: Charging your car in a locked garage provides heightened security compared to public charging stations. These centers typically have security features like locks and cameras, but your vehicle is better off in your secure garage and out of sight from thieves.
Get Started on Your Home EV Charging Station
EV charging stations are an excellent addition to any family with EVs in the garage. These systems are convenient, especially if you live in a more rural area with limited options.
There are factors you must consider before installing your charging station, such as permits, space, the type of charger and your home’s power supply. Understanding these elements will keep your charging station project within your budget and timeline. Careful planning and execution can turn your garage into a one-stop shop for charging needs.
For help finding a reliable contractor for your home electric vehicle charging station installation, reach out to GreatBuildz today. We’ll help match you with trusted, pre-vetted contractors in the Los Angeles area. Contact GreatBuildz today at (818.317.3567) or visit our website for more information.