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Will I Need a Service Panel Upgrade for My EV Charger?

Learn more about when a service upgrade is required for your EV charger

Home EV chargers are a popular green-minded upgrade that lets drivers of electric vehicles enjoy much more freedom and convenience. Installing these devices is often straightforward for a professional electrician. But whether you have a 100-amp or 200-amp panel in your home, you may be wondering: Will I need to upgrade my electrical panel for an EV charger? 

TCA Electric is Vancouver’s leading team of EV charging experts. Our skilled electricians have installed many EV chargers throughout the Vancouver area, and we’ve learned quite a bit about how to make these devices work with homes both old and new. So today, we’re taking a look at service upgrades and alternate options for adding an EV charger to your home.

First things first: What size is your electrical panel?

Most new homes these days will come standard with a 200-amp electrical panel. These panels are designed to handle the electrical demands of the modern age, with many more appliances and devices demanding energy than ever before. 

If your home has a 200-amp panel, you likely won’t need to upgrade it before installing a home EV charger. The main exception to this is if your 200-amp panel is already operating at or near its capacity. However, this would likely only be the case if your home has a higher power demand than most.

For homes with 100-amp panels, however, an electrical panel upgrade may be required. Electrical panels with a 100-amp capacity were standard for many decades, as this was sufficient for electrical demands years ago. However, a 100-amp panel is generally unable to handle the demands of most modern lifestyles along with an EV charger.

Have a 100-amp panel? You may be able to avoid a service upgrade

There are a couple of alternative options that may enable homes with a 100-amp panel to have an EV charging station installed. These options come in the form of two devices: a Load Management Unit (typically a DCC-10) or a Transfer Switch.

Each of these devices gives your home greater flexibility in how power is used. Load management units measure the amount of power used by your home and cut power to connected devices if energy usage reaches 80%. Transfer switches, on the other hand, enable two appliances with high electricity demands to alternate when they use power. Both of these devices enable homeowners to get more from 100-amp panels alone, and they cost less than an electrical panel upgrade.

Related post: How Much Does a Tesla Charging Station Cost?

An electrical panel upgrade is often a good investment!

While both load management units and transfer switches can allow for installation of an EV charger with a 100-amp panel, these are short-term solutions. Older 100-amp panels still aren’t designed for modern energy demands. These panels often will struggle as additional appliances and devices are added.

An electrical panel upgrade to 200 amps is a good long-term investment for a variety of reasons. Some of the benefits of upgrading your panel include:

  • Increased safety, as your electrical panel is the first line of defense against overloads and hazards such as electrical fires, and new models are more effective
  • More circuits, which allows for more demanding appliances to be split off to avoid frequent breaker trips
  • Future-proofing, as upgrading your electrical panel means your home’s electrical systems will be able to handle even more appliances and devices that you may want to add to your home down the line
  • Increase home value, by upgrading your panel you will enjoy all of the benefits listed above, making your home more attractive to potential buyers and increasing its overall value.

TCA Electric Is Your Partner for Residential Electrical Services

No matter what panel your home has, and no matter what EV charger you’d like to install, it’s important to have experienced and qualified electricians on your side to carry out the installation. The skilled professionals at TCA Electric provide expert EV charger installations, electrical panel upgrades, and many more residential electrical services to meet the needs of homeowners throughout Vancouver.

If you’re looking to add an EV charging station to your home, contact TCA today! We’ll work with you to plan out the installation and determine the best options for your home and current electrical system.

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