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Can I Charge My Electric Vehicle At Home? FAQs about Preparing Your Home for an EV


The popularity of electric vehicles (EVs) in Calgary isn’t just a trend; it’s a sign that our city is moving towards a more sustainable future. But owning an electric vehicle can require some changes at home, so our team at 4-Star Electric is here to answer your questions about how to make the switch.

Use the FAQ below to learn more about preparing your home for an electric vehicle. Below, we’ll teach you about upgrading your electrical panel to accommodate an EV charging station, the costs involved, and more. Let’s get started!

Homeowner charging EV in front of garage

Why Is It Better to Charge EVs at Home?

Having your own charging station is preferable to relying on public chargers for several reasons:

  • It’s more convenient: No more stopping at stations. Imagine waking up every morning with a fully charged vehicle that’s ready for your day.
  • It’s more cost-effective: Over time, using your home’s electricity can be more affordable than paying for gasoline, especially if you charge during off-peak hours.
  • It’s more eco-friendly: Reduce your carbon footprint by charging with potentially greener electricity, especially if your home uses power from renewable sources.

What Are the Different Types of Home EV Chargers?

Homeowner in Calgary using Level 1 EV charger

Level 1 (Standard 120V Outlet)

This is essentially equivalent to plugging your EV into a regular home outlet. It’s not dangerous, but it’s also not ideal for most electric vehicle owners.

  • Pros: No special equipment is required.
  • Cons: Slower charging speeds, often best for overnight charging or vehicles with smaller batteries.
Level 2 EV charger mounted on wall in home

Level 2 (240V Charging Station)

A more powerful home charging solution. This is beneficial if you use your EV as your daily driver.

  • Pros: Faster charging times, potentially getting your vehicle ready in just a few hours.
  • Cons: Requires professional installation and might necessitate an upgrade to your home’s electrical system.

Can My Home’s Electrical System Handle EV Charging?

Most modern homes can support Level 1 charging without any issues. However, Level 2 charging might require some inspection and possible upgrades. Here’s how you can find out:

  • Calculate your home’s current electrical demands. If your system is already close to its capacity, an upgrade might be necessary.
  • Consider the charger’s voltage and the vehicle’s max charging rate. Some EVs come with onboard chargers that restrict the charging speed, even if the wall unit can deliver more power.
  • When in doubt, consult with a professional. 4-Star Electric can provide an assessment to ensure your system is ready or guide you through necessary upgrades.
Electrician running diagnostic on home EV charger after installation

How Do I Install an EV Charger at Home?

Once you’ve chosen the type of charger best suited for your needs, the next step is to set it up at home. If you’re using a Level 1 charger like the ones supplied with most EVs, this is as simple as plugging it into the wall—but if you’ve decided to add a charging station, you’ll need to have it installed by professionals.

Before you call our team for help, follow these steps to plan a smooth installation for your home EV charger:

  • Select an optimal location, ideally close to where you park your EV.
  • Clean the area and make sure that it’s accessible by our electricians when we arrive.
  • Ensure that our team can also access your electrical panel for the best results.

Remember: Safety first! Always opt for licensed electricians like our team at 4-Star Electric to ensure your EV charger is installed safely and correctly.

What are the Costs of Home EV Charging?

The total costs of adding an EV charger to your home vary, but here are the major expenses you’ll want to consider while you’re budgeting:

  • Equipment: Depending on the type and brand, chargers can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
  • Labor: Professional installation costs can vary based on the complexity of the job and any necessary electrical upgrades. Contact our team for an estimate.
  • Upgrades: If your electrical panel requires an upgrade, this will add to the initial cost. However, it’s typically a worthwhile investment since it supports not only your EV but also your future electrical demands.

What Incentives or Rebates Are Available for EVs?

Federal and Alberta-specific incentives are available for homeowners who are interested in purchasing EVs. Here’s a quick overview of some current programs:

Federal Electric Vehicle Incentive

In 2019, the Federal Government initiated a reward program for qualifying electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. This program does not directly fund the installation of EV charging stations, but is a great way to save money so that you can put it towards installing a Level 2 charger. The program is planned to receive funding through 2025.

For a car to qualify:

  • The base model should have a suggested retail price below $55,000 (although higher priced versions of these models up to $65,000 remain eligible).
  • For larger zero-emission vehicles like SUVs, minivans, and trucks, the base model should be priced below $60,000. Variants of these models priced up to $70,000 are also considered.
  • Vehicles with larger batteries will be granted a $5,000 incentive, while those with smaller batteries will qualify for $2,500.

Dealers will deduct the incentive amount directly from the vehicle’s price. This means consumers benefit instantly without the hassle of extra paperwork.

Utility Provider Rewards

FortisAlberta customers can join the EV Smart Charging Pilot via Optiwatt and receive up to $150 in rewards. Learn more about this program here.

Mother and son walking out of garage with home EV charger plugged into electric vehicle nearby

How Can I Make Sure My Home EV Charger Is Safe?

  • Always ensure your charger is properly grounded. Our team can help with this during your installation.
  • Avoid using extension cords for charging, as they are not typically designed to handle the continuous flow of current charging stations produce. As a result, they can lead to voltage drops that slow down your charge time and create potential hazards like overheating.
  • Schedule routine maintenance checks for your charging equipment. We can perform electrical inspections to assess any potential hazards in your home, including your EV charging station.

Have Your EV Charging Station Installed by Experts

Switching to EVs is not just about purchasing new vehicles—it’s also about making your home ready to support them. At 4-Star Electric, our team is trained and equipped to guide you through this journey while ensuring that your EV charging station is reliable and safe. Contact us to learn more from an experienced electrician who can answer specific questions related to your home and provide an estimate for any work you need.

Written by Denny Vannus

Denny is a seasoned professional with an impressive 25-year career at 4 Star Electric, a family-owned electrical company with a strong commitment to serving the community. Armed with both a master's and journeyman's license, he is not only an expert in his field but also a proud PEC (Professional Electrical Contractor). Denny's journey in the electrical industry began with a desire to make a substantial impact in his community and provide top-notch services to clients. He's not just about fixing circuits; he's about lighting up lives. Beyond his professional dedication, Denny is a devoted family man. Celebrating 20 years of marriage, he and his wife have an 11-year-old son who keeps them on their toes. When he's not immersed in the world of electrical systems, Denny enjoys kicking back and coaching his son’s soccer games. His unwavering commitment to customer satisfaction and his vision of 4 Star Electric as an extended family for both clients and staff exemplify his passion for creating a harmonious, electrifying world.
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