Exploring Types of Electrical Installations for Home EV Chargers

Exploring Types of Electrical Installations for Home EV Chargers

Tesla charger install

Tesla charger install with DSS 12

As the demand for electric vehicles (EVs) continues to rise, many homeowners are considering the installation of electric vehicle chargers at their residences. This necessitates a careful examination of the types of electrical installations available to ensure a safe and efficient charging experience. Here, we’ll delve into various options for home EV charger installations.

Standard 120-Volt Outlets

   One of the simplest and most cost-effective options for home EV charging is using a standard 120-volt household outlet. This level 1 charging method is convenient for overnight charging, typically delivering around 4-6 miles of range per hour. Typically this type of installation will require a dedicated 20 amp circuit.  While accessible, it may not be the ideal choice for those seeking faster charging speeds.

Level 2 Charging Stations

   Level 2 charging stations operate at 240 volts, providing a significantly faster charging rate compared to standard outlets. These installations require a dedicated circuit and are typically done by a certified electrician. Level 2 chargers can deliver 15 to 80 miles of range per hour, making them a popular choice for homeowners seeking a balance between cost and efficiency.
Plug in Ford EV Charger

Plug in level 2 Ford EV Charger

Hardwired vs. Plug-In Stations

   Level 2 charging stations come in two main forms: hardwired and plug-in. Hardwired stations are directly connected to the electrical panel, offering a sleek and permanent solution. On the other hand, plug-in stations allow for portability and can be easily unplugged and relocated. The choice between hardwired and plug-in depends on individual preferences and the intended location of the charger.

Amperage Considerations

   When installing a Level 2 charging station, the amperage of the circuit should be carefully considered. Common amperage options include 16, 32, and 40 amps. Higher amperage generally means faster charging, but it’s crucial to ensure that the existing electrical panel and wiring can support the chosen amperage.

Smart Charging Features

   Many modern EV chargers come equipped with smart features, allowing users to schedule charging times, monitor energy usage, and remotely control the charger through a mobile app. Integrating smart charging technology adds convenience and efficiency to the charging process.

Upgrade of Electrical Panel

   In some cases, homeowners may need to upgrade their electrical panel to accommodate the increased demand of an EV charger. Another option is to install a load shedding device to balance the demands in your panel. This is especially relevant when opting for higher-amperage Level 2 chargers. Consulting with a licensed electrician is crucial to assess the current electrical infrastructure and make any necessary upgrades.

Solar-Powered Charging

   For environmentally conscious homeowners, integrating solar panels with an EV charging system is an attractive option. This setup allows users to harness clean energy to power their electric vehicles, reducing their carbon footprint.

Backup Power Solutions

   Considering backup power solutions, such as a generator or a home battery system, can ensure uninterrupted charging during power outages. This is particularly important for homeowners who heavily rely on their EVs for daily transportation.
In conclusion, the type of electrical installation for a home EV charger depends on various factors, including the desired charging speed, existing electrical infrastructure, and personal preferences. Seeking the guidance of a qualified electrician is essential to ensure a safe and effective installation that meets both the homeowner’s needs and local electrical codes. As technology continues to advance, the landscape of home EV charging installations will likely evolve, providing even more options for homeowners in the future.  If you are in need of an electric vehicle charger installation in the Tacoma, Puyallup, Bonney Lake, Lakewood, Gig Harbor, or surrounding areas please reach out to us!

Connecting your Portable Generator to your Home During a Power Outage

Portable generator to home

How to Connect Your Portable Generator to Your Home

The power is out, what should we do?

 

You’ve had your electrical panel made ready for a portable back up generator.  Your generator is gassed up and ready.  A storm hits and the power goes out.  Now what?  You can be back up and running by following these few easy steps.  This can only by done if your home’s electrical panel has a generator interlock kit installed or a separate generator transfer panel.  Failure to have the proper connections installed in your home can be very dangerous. Electricity can be fed back onto the utilities power grid possibly harming those working to restore the power.  Lets walk through this process!

  1. First you will want to go to your electrical panel and turn off all of the circuit breakers including the main circuit breaker.
  2. Next you want to make sure your generator is gassed up, oil checked and it is in a well ventilated outdoor area.  Once here, lets connect the cord to the generator outlet as well as the inlet plug located on your home.
  3. Start up the generator.  Let it run for a few minutes to get warmed up, then check to make sure the switch to turn the power on to the outlets of your generator is on. (If it is equipped with this)
  4. Back inside at the electrical panel, double check to make sure the main circuit breaker is in the off position. At this time, move the interlock kit over and turn on the generator breaker.
  5. Looking at the branch circuit breakers of your electrical panel, turn on the essential circuits that you would want to use during this outage.  As things turn on, you will hear the sound of the generator change sounding like it is working harder to carry the load.  If the load becomes too great for the generator to handle, the circuit breaker on the generator will trip.  If this happens, turn off some of the non-essential circuits of your panel to reduce the load placed on the generator.
  6. Your generator and your home should be able to operate for hours or even days in this configuration provided you fuel up the generator every few hours as needed following the instructions provided with your portable generator.

Operating your home on a portable generator is as simple as that!

 

Generator power to your home

 

Once the utility has power restored to your home, what do you do?  Here are the steps to disconnect your electrical system from the generator and switch back to utility power.

 

  1. Turn off all of the branch circuit breakers, taking the load off of your system.  You will never want to switch the generator or main circuit breakers on or off with a load on them.
  2. Once the load has been removed from the electrical panel, turn the generator breaker off.  This will allow you to move the generator interlock over and allow the main circuit breaker to be turned on.  This breaker can be very stiff on some panel, so two hands may be needed to switch this on.  Never force the breaker on or use tools to switch it, damage the the panel or harm to the operator can occur.
  3. Once the main circuit breaker has been moved to the on position, turn on all of the branch circuit breakers.  You will want to do this one at a time, until full power has been restored to your home.
  4. Going out to the generator, turn the generator off.  At this point you can disconnect the cord and put things away so they are ready for the next outage.

 

 

The Marriage of Function and Style: Exploring the World of Recessed LED Lighting

Recessed LED lighting has revolutionized interior illumination, combining efficient functionality with sleek style. These unobtrusive light fixtures, embedded into ceilings or walls, have become increasingly popular in modern architecture and interior design. In this article, we delve into the world of recessed LED lighting, exploring its functional benefits and its potential to enhance the aesthetic appeal of any space.

Functionality:

1. Energy Efficiency: LED technology is renowned for its energy efficiency, consuming significantly less power than traditional incandescent or fluorescent bulbs. This translates into lower energy bills and reduced environmental impact, making recessed LED lighting an eco-friendly choice.

2. Uniform and Directional Lighting: Recessed LED fixtures distribute light evenly across a room, eliminating shadows and dark spots. Additionally, the directional nature of LEDs allows precise control of the light beam, making them ideal for task lighting or accentuating specific areas.

3. Space-Saving Solution: By integrating the light source into the ceiling or wall, recessed LED lighting eliminates the need for bulky light fixtures, thereby saving valuable space and creating a clutter-free environment.

4. Long Lifespan: LED bulbs have an extended lifespan compared to traditional lighting options, reducing maintenance and replacement costs. With an average lifespan of up to 50,000 hours, they outlast incandescent bulbs by many times over.

5. Dimmable Capabilities: Most recessed LED fixtures are dimmable, allowing users to adjust the brightness according to their preferences and creating the desired ambiance for different occasions.

Style:

1. Minimalistic Design: Recessed LED lighting epitomizes modern minimalism. The fixtures are concealed within the architectural elements of the space, providing a clean and unobtrusive appearance that complements contemporary interior designs.

2. Versatility in Application: Recessed LED lighting can adapt to various styles and spaces, seamlessly integrating into residential, commercial, or hospitality settings. Their versatility extends from residential living rooms, kitchens, and bathrooms to commercial offices, retail stores and hotels.

3. Enhanced Visual Appeal: By illuminating a room from within, recessed LED lighting creates an inviting atmosphere and adds a touch of sophistication. This method of lighting eliminates unsightly cords and visible light fixtures, allowing the focus to remain on the design elements and decor.

4. Accentuating Architectural Features: Recessed LED lights serve as an excellent tool for accentuating architectural features such as beams, niches, or alcoves, adding depth and dimension to the space.

5. Personalization with Color Temperature: LED lights offer various color temperatures, ranging from warm to cool white. Designers and homeowners can choose the appropriate color temperature to suit the ambiance they wish to create in a particular area.

Conclusion:

Recessed LED lighting stands as a testament to the successful union of functionality and style. Its energy-efficient nature, uniform lighting distribution, and space-saving design make it a practical choice for contemporary spaces. Simultaneously, its minimalistic appearance, versatility, and ability to enhance the overall aesthetic appeal of any room make it a favorite among interior designers and architects alike. Whether it’s for residential or commercial applications, recessed LED lighting continues to illuminate the way forward in modern lighting solutions.

 

Elevate Your Home With 5 Quick and Easy Electrical Upgrades

Enhancing your home’s electrical system doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With a few quick and easy electrical upgrades, you can improve safety, efficiency, and overall comfort without breaking the bank. In this article, we will explore five simple electrical upgrades that any homeowner can make to elevate their living space and embrace the modern era of electrical convenience.

Install LED Lighting:

One of the simplest yet most impactful upgrades you can make is replacing traditional incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient LED lighting. LED bulbs consume significantly less energy, last much longer, and produce less heat. Not only will this save you money on your energy bills, but it will also reduce the frequency of bulb replacements. LED lighting comes in various color temperatures, allowing you to create the desired ambiance in each room of your home.

Upgrade to Smart Switches and Dimmers:

Embrace the convenience of smart technology by replacing standard switches and dimmers with their intelligent counterparts. Smart switches can be controlled remotely through smartphone apps or voice-activated assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. Dimmers allow you to adjust the brightness of your lights, setting the perfect mood for any occasion. Additionally, some smart switches offer scheduling options, allowing you to automate lighting patterns for enhanced security and energy efficiency.

Install USB Outlets:

In the age of electronic devices, USB outlets have become indispensable. Upgrading standard electrical outlets to ones with built-in USB ports ensures easy charging for smartphones, tablets, and other USB-powered gadgets. This eliminates the need for bulky adapters and maximizes the functionality of your wall outlets.

Add GFCI Outlets in Wet Areas:

If your home lacks Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets in wet areas like bathrooms, kitchens, or outdoor spaces, it’s time to invest in these safety devices. GFCI outlets protect against electrical shock by quickly cutting off power when they detect an imbalance in the electric current. Their installation is vital for ensuring the safety of your family and guests.

Consider Whole-House Surge Protection:

Electrical surges caused by lightning strikes or power grid fluctuations can damage sensitive electronics and appliances. To safeguard your valuable devices, consider installing whole-house surge protection. This upgrade involves adding surge protectors to your electrical panel, providing comprehensive protection to all outlets and appliances throughout your home.

Making quick and easy electrical upgrades can significantly enhance your home’s safety, convenience, and energy efficiency. Whether it’s installing LED lighting for energy savings, upgrading to smart switches for added control, or adding GFCI outlets for enhanced safety, these improvements can make a substantial difference in your daily living experience. With these electrical upgrades, you can transform your home into a modern, efficient, and comfortable sanctuary that meets the demands of today’s tech-savvy world. Remember, for any electrical work beyond your comfort level, always consult a qualified electrician to ensure a safe and professional installation.

Why do I need GFCI receptacles in my home?

Do I need GFCI outlets in my house?

The short answer is yes!  Ground fault circuit interrupter devices are required to by code to be installed to protect outlets in kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, garages, basements, and exterior locations.  Basically anywhere there is a chance that an electrical device could come in contact with water you would want those outlets to be protected with ground fault protection.  Water and electricity don’t mix!

 

What does a GFCI outlet do?

 

Good question!  Ground fault circuit interrupter receptacle monitors the flow of current to your device and back to the electrical panel.  When it detects this flow becoming out of balance it shuts the electricity off.  This is to protect this current from going to ground elsewhere other than back to the panel.  It could mean that the current if flowing through someone’s body and going to ground through them.  The GFCI protects us from hazardous shock that could result in serious injury or death.  How much electrical current does it take to kill us?  Studies have shown that as little as 10 milliamps can stop a human heart.  A GFCI is set to trip at 5 milliamps to keep this from happening.

 

How do I know if I have GFCI protection?

 

GFCI protection can be tested using a receptacle tester with ground fault circuit interrupter testing capabilities.  A tester can be found in most hardware stores and are used by plugging them into an outlet and pushing the button.  If the power shuts off you have successfully tripped the GFCI and that outlet is indeed GFCI protected.  Find the receptacle with two buttons on the front of it and one should say test and the other reset.  Push the reset button in until it clicks and the power should be back on again.  The test button is used to ensure the receptacle is still working properly and should be pressed on a monthly basis to test the outlet.  If it fails the outlet needs to be replaced.

 

I have a GFCI outlet in one bathroom but not the others, why?

 

One GFCI outlet can protect other outlets given that they are wired correctly connecting them to a single ground fault circuit interrupter device.  A common example is a GFCI outlet in the bathroom closest to the electrical panel that is wired to serve the receptacle in another bathroom within the home.  It is also common for a garage outlet to protect an outside receptacle.  Not every outlet in an area has to be a GFCI receptacle but it needs to be protected by a ground fault circuit interrupter outlet or circuit breaker.

 

How much does it cost to have GFCI receptacles installed?

 

Our current cost to install GFCI protection on an existing circuit would run between $200-$300 per device.  HB Electric Solutions would be glad to help any homeowner out with upgrading the safety of their home.  Feel free to reach out via email or phone anytime!

How to keep the lights on during a power outage using a generator

One of the biggest problems we here in Washington can encounter during the fall and winter months is having the power go out. Whether it’s a windstorm where a tree falls on the power lines or an ice storm where lines are down all over the place and power is out for days or weeks, these events can cost us down time at work if we work from home, loss of perishable food from our refrigerator and freezer, or even make us go someplace for warmth since our homes have no heat. At HB Electric Solutions we have a solution for these issues. We can install the needed parts for you to easily connect a portable generator to your home to keep things up and running.

Truly Expert Commercial Electrical Contractor

A little about portable generators Portable generators come from many different manufacturers, with different sizes, fuel usages, and the list goes on and on. There are many good brands out there, just be sure to do a little research and check the reviews before choosing which one you like best. As far as sizes go, as small as 5000 watts or 5Kw is sufficient to keep the lights, freezer and refrigerator running in your home. If you have gas heat, they will power the blower in the furnace to keep things nice and toasty inside when the power is out. From 5Kw up to 7.5Kw typically will have a 240 volt 30 amp receptacle on them allowing you to connect to your homes electrical system. Stepping up in size allows you to operate more items within your home. Once the 8000 watt or 8Kw mark is passed, most generators will come with one 240 volt 30 amp receptacle as well as a 240 volt 50 amp receptacle. This will power more and larger items such as a small heat pump or air conditioning unit, and electric water heater, or other larger draws of electrical power. Make sure to look at whether the generator you choose has manual start or an electric start option as well.

Connecting to your home

We like to use an item called a generator interlock kit to connect the power from the generator to your homes electrical panel. This is a device that installs in your panel to separate the utility power from the generator power. The last thing anyone wants to do is to feed your generator power back on to the electrical grid potentially causing harm to the ones trying to restore power to your home. This interlock kit along with a new breaker in your panel for the generator power and a generator inlet plug located on the exterior of your home will complete the items HB Electric can install to allow you to connect your generator to your home. You will need to supply the generator and appropriate size and length of cord to attach the generator to your house and allow the power to be restored while on generator power.

Cost

Installation of a generator interlock kit and generator inlet plug typically run between $800 to $1500 for most homes. Prices may vary depending on the type of construction of your home, the location where the generator inlet plug would be best suited for your needs, and the location of your property. An electrical permit will also need to be purchased at an additional cost.

Comfort and peace of mind all winter long

Having a professionally installed generator connection for your home will give you peace of mind and allow you to live comfortably through even the worst weather the Puget sound has to offer. Give HB Electric Solutions a call today at 253-256-7861 and we can assist you with your project or any questions you might have regarding getting your home set up for a portable generator connection.

Experienced Commercial Electrical Contractor in Pierce County and the Surrounding Area

 

Serving University Place, North Tacoma, Fircrest, Puyallup, Fife, Graham, Bonney Lake, Tacoma & all Pierce County