Adding a Level 2 Charger at Home: A Step-by-Step Guide for Electric Vehicle Owners

May 17th, 2023 by

As the owner of an electric vehicle (EV), the convenience and speed of charging at home are benefits that can’t be overstated. Charging your EV overnight while you sleep is a game-changer, turning “refueling” from a chore into a simple routine. Level 1 chargers, which plug into a standard 120-volt outlet, come with most EVs, but they offer slow charging speeds. For faster, more efficient charging, you might consider installing a Level 2 charger at home.

A Level 2 charger operates at 240 volts and can provide about 10 to 60 miles of range per hour of charging, depending on the model of the vehicle and the charger. This guide will walk you through the steps to install a Level 2 charger in your home.

Step 1: Evaluate Your Electric Vehicle Charging Needs

Consider how much you drive each day and what your charging time constraints might be. Do you often take long trips, or is your daily commute relatively short? Understanding your driving habits and charging needs will help you choose the right Level 2 charger. Also, check your vehicle’s manual to see what type of charger is compatible with your EV.

Step 2: Choose Your Level 2 Charger

There’s a broad range of Level 2 chargers available, varying in price, features, and power. Some have smart capabilities, such as Wi-Fi connectivity, allowing you to monitor and schedule charging sessions remotely. Consider the charger’s power rating ( IEC 61851-1 Mode 3 offers up to 19.2 kW), compatibility with your EV, and any additional features you may find useful.

Step 3: Check Your Home’s Electrical Capacity

Before installation, ensure that your home’s electrical system can handle the added load of a Level 2 charger. An electrician can help determine if your electrical panel has enough capacity. If not, you may need to upgrade your panel. Consider future electrical needs too – if you’re planning to buy another EV or add more large electrical appliances to your home, plan for that now.

Step 4: Hire a Certified Electrician

It’s essential to hire a certified electrician for the installation. While it might seem cost-effective to try a DIY installation, incorrect installation can lead to serious safety risks. In most jurisdictions, electrical work must be permitted and inspected, which a certified electrician can handle.

Step 5: Obtain Necessary Permits

Your electrician should know what permits are required in your local area. Many jurisdictions require an several types of permits for charger installation. Make sure to follow all local codes and regulations during the installation process.

Step 6: Install the Charger

The electrician will install a 240-volt outlet or hardwire the charging station, depending on the model you’ve chosen. The charger should be installed close to where you’ll park your EV but consider potential tripping hazards and accessibility. Once the installation is complete, it will likely need to be inspected by a city or county official to ensure it meets local code requirements.

Step 7: Test Your Charger

After installation, it’s time to test your new Level 2 charger. Plug in your EV and monitor the charging process to ensure everything works as expected.

Step 8: Register Your Charger (if applicable)

Some Level 2 chargers come with manufacturer instructions to register the product for warranty purposes or to enable smart features. Make sure to complete this step if required by your charger manufacturer.

Step 9: Plan Your Charging Schedule

Depending on your electricity rate plan, it may be more cost-effective to charge your EV during off-peak hours.

Check with your local utility company about time-of-use rate plans. Also, take advantage of any smart features your charger may have to plan your charging and, very importantly, is the fact that your charger is set in a place where it can be in a safe location.

Step 10: Enjoy!

Now, enjoy the convenience of charging your EV at home, knowing you’re contributing to a cleaner environment and possibly saving on fuel costs.

Adding a Level 2 charger at home requires an upfront investment, but it pays off in terms of convenience, charging speed, and overall EV ownership experience. Always consult with a professional to ensure safe and correct installation, and remember to follow all local codes and regulations. At Mercedes Benz of Fresno, we’re committed to supporting our customers throughout their EV ownership journey. Contact us today for more information about EVs and EV charging solutions.