Some Vancouver Homeowners Need a Panel Upgrade Before EV Charger Installation—but You May Have Other Options
While EV chargers are a popular home upgrade, especially for those who have recently purchased an electric vehicle, an installation may not always be simple. Some Vancouver homeowners may not have the available power to support a new EV charger installation, in which case a panel upgrade may first be needed. This adds to the overall cost of installation.
However, panel upgrades aren’t always the only option, and not all homes will need this upgrade before installing an EV charger. So how can you determine if you need one? The key is to work with an EV charging expert like the team at TCA Electric. Here’s how we evaluate available power for Vancouver homes before determining the best path for an EV charger installation.
First Things First: Load Calculation
While it is true that homes with a 100-amp panel will often need to upgrade before adding an EV charger, this is not universally true. What’s more, some homes with larger panels may need additional services before an EV charger installation will be possible as well.
To determine the capacity a home has for an EV charger, the only sure way is to conduct a load calculation. This is a common calculation that electricians perform on a home to determine current power usage.
Depending on the current usage, your electrician will be able to predict whether an EV charger installation will put your electrical panel over or under certain thresholds. They can then use this information to determine whether a service upgrade is necessary.
How Much Power Does an EV Charger Use?
EV chargers may use anywhere from 16 to 80 amps of power while charging. The exact amount of power an EV charger will use depends on a variety of factors, most notably the type of charger you install and the limits of your EV. For Level 2 chargers, which are most common for home use, power demands typically fall within the 30- to 50-amp range.
Of course, the total capacity of your electrical panel is shared by appliances and other devices used throughout your home. What’s more, for safety reasons, it’s usually advised not to surpass 80% usage—80 amps for a 100-amp panel, or 160 amps for a 200-amp panel.
My Panel Doesn’t Have Enough Space. Do I Need to Upgrade?
If your panel doesn’t have enough power to support an EV charger, a service upgrade may be needed. However, Vancouver homeowners do have alternative options to make an EV charger installation possible.
For example, for those closer to their electrical panel’s safe limits, load management devices are an excellent device to optimize usage and ensure your charger can be used safely. These devices monitor the power usage of your electrical panel and cut power to devices when the panel reaches or surpasses a certain threshold. When your charger is installed, it will be routed through the load management device, which will only allow your EV to charge at lower-usage times when charging is safe.
Another common device we use is a load miser. This enables two high-demand devices to share power, switching between the two so that both cannot be used at the same time. In other words, your EV charger may alternate power usage with your dryer to avoid overloads.
TCA Electric: Expert EV Charger Installation in Vancouver
As leading EV charging experts in Vancouver, our team here at TCA specializes in delivering solutions tailored to your home and your needs—both future and current. We’ll work with you to assess your current power situation and outline your potential options for installing an EV charger if your electrical panel can’t handle it alone. We’ll also take your future plans into consideration when helping you decide between a service upgrade and other potential solutions.
If you’re interested in adding EV charging to your home, TCA can get you there. Contact us today to learn more!