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How many amps does my panel need for an EV charger?

An electrical panel, also known as a breaker box or distribution board, is a metal box that contains circuit breakers, which distribute electricity to different areas of a house. The panel is usually located in a utility room, garage or basement, and connected to the main power supply of the home.

Inside of an electric panel

What are amps short for and what do amps measure?

Amps, short for amperes, are a measure of the amount of electrical current flowing through a circuit. The more amps a circuit has, the more or larger electrical devices it can power. The amperage rating of an electrical panel determines how much power can be safely distributed to the various circuits in a building.

How many amps does the average home have?

In most residential homes, the electrical panel is typically rated at either 100, 200, or 400 amps. The amperage rating refers to the maximum amount of electrical current that the panel can safely distribute to the various circuits in the house.

Homes with 100-amp electrical panels are common in older homes or smaller residences. These panels are suitable for powering basic electrical needs such as lighting, small appliances, and a few larger appliances such as air conditioning units or electric water heaters, or an EV charger that has lower amperage.

Homes with 200-amp electrical panels are more common in newer or larger homes. These panels can handle larger electrical loads and can power more appliances, including electric ranges, electric dryers, and larger EV chargers.

Homes with 400-amp electrical panels are less common and are typically found in larger homes or homes with advanced electrical needs. These panels are capable of powering large homes with multiple HVAC systems, electric vehicles, and home automation systems.

It's important to note that just because a home has a 200-amp or 400-amp panel doesn't necessarily mean that it's using that much power all the time. The amperage rating simply refers to the maximum capacity of the panel, and the actual power usage will depend on the electrical needs of the home.

Can EV chargers be adjusted to have lower amperage settings?

Yes, many EV chargers come with Dip switches which can be manually configured to the right amperage setting by a licensed electrician. More advanced OCPP compliant chargers have software which can allow a homeowner to use an app or dashboard to set the number of amps the charger should pull.

Taking this a step further, in the future, EV chargers should be equipped with smart software which can intelligently limit the number of amps based on the price of electricity, and a host of other factors.

How can an EV charger save me money with Time of Use (TOU) electricity rates?

Currently, many electric utilities are offering incentives for charging during off-peak hours. In the future, many chargers will allow users to set a price per kWh threshold to ensure they only charge when electricity is cheapest. Spikes in electricity prices can cause significantly higher prices for homeowners, and features like this will play an important role in affordability and resiliency.

By taking advantage of TOU rates and incentives, EV owners can not only save money on their electricity bills but also help reduce strain on the electrical grid during peak hours, which can help promote a more sustainable and reliable energy system.

Ready to get your EV charger installed?

Get a certified electrician to do a virtual site inspection of your home by filling out the Lectrium survey here: https://www.lectrium.com/

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