Safety tips for charging your EV at home
By Jennah Denney, Contributing Writer
Charging is a crucial concern among new electric vehicle owners, whether plug-in hybrid or full electric. Fear of inconvenience is one of the biggest barriers to widespread adoption of electric vehicles. You might be concerned that there aren’t enough public charging stations in the area — and even if there are public charging stations nearby, do you really want to rely on them any time you need to refuel?
An EV charging station at home can solve this challenge of inconvenience. But are EV charging systems at home safe? Absolutely — as long as they’re installed correctly.
The first thing EV owners should consider is how they will charge their vehicles. A licensed electrician can evaluate your home’s EV charging situation.
There are two common types of home-charging options. Level 1 charging is a straightforward plug-in of the EV into any standard 120-volt electrical outlet. This requires no electrical modification, and it normally takes around 14 to 20 hours to fully charge the EV.
Some EV manufacturers and sellers provide inaccurate information on charging, and some will suggest that a standard 120-volt outlet is all you need. Unfortunately, this degree of charging may not always match the driver’s daily travel needs.
Level 2 charging units are sold separately from the vehicle. These units must be installed by a licensed electrician because they plug into a 240-volt outlet and charge much more quickly, typically four to eight hours.
Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind when charging your EV at home:
• Select charging equipment that is certified to meet safety standards. Plug Level 1 EV chargers directly into an outlet designed to handle the amperage of the charging device. Never use a multi-plug adapter or extension cord. Charging cables are a tripping hazard, so be aware of the cable’s location. Purchase a Level 2 charging • Check with your electric co-op and a licensed electrician before modifying your electrical system or installing a charging station. An electrician will need to make sure your home’s wiring complies with local, state and national codes, and may need to obtain a permit before installation.
• Place all charging components out of reach of children when not in use.
• Maintain the components of your charging station according to the manufacturer’s maintenance guidelines.
• Cover the EV charging station outlet to prevent water exposure. Check the manufacturer’s guidelines to make sure it is safe to charge your EV in wet conditions.
• Most charging stations are equipped with safety devices such as GFCIs, which will identify electrical shorts and stop power to the charger to minimize risks. There is a low risk of electric shock, but safeguards are automatically built into the equipment.
Always remember to contact your electric co-op before considering installation. They can likely answer any questions you have and provide additional information on EV programs and rates. device that is certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory. This means the device has gone through rigorous testing and certification by a third-party company with extensive knowledge and pedigree in certifying EV technologies.
Jennah Denney writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.