Can I Plug My Car Into a Regular Outlet

People across the globe are quickly catching up to the electric vehicle movement, and if you’re also considering buying an electric car, you may wonder where you’ll be charging. It’s natural to ask whether you can plug it into a regular outlet at your home or not.

In this article, we’ll learn how you can charge your car at home and in other places. 

Electric cars can be plugged into your home’s regular 110V and 240V outlets. Level 1 charging is done on 110V outlets, and Level 2 charging is done with 240V outlets. Charging your EV at home is convenient when charging stations are far away and not in your direct route. 

The best part of having an electric vehicle is not feeling anxious when the fuel light comes on. You don’t have to run to the gas station; you can use the Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment charging cable that comes with most EVs, plug it into a power outlet in your home at night, and wake up to a fully or nearly fully charged car in the morning. 

Charging Your EV With A Regular Outlet 

There are two types of electrical sockets in homes – 110V and 240V. Let’s look at what entails charging from each of these outlets: 

Charging Your EV With A 110V Outlet 

The most common kind of power outlet in homes is the 110V. It is the same outlet you plug your microwave, refrigerator, TV, etc. It is a Level 1 charger and is typically slow regarding charging time. 

It can provide 3-6 miles of range per charging hour. The charging time and range also vary for different brands of electric vehicles. For example – A Tesla Model S only gets a 3-mile range per charging hour on this outlet, while a Chevy Volt can get fully charged on a 110V outlet within 10-16 hours

You need to ensure that the 110V isn’t old or damaged and that the same circuitry isn’t being used on heavy-duty appliances. An electric car charger adds load to the circuitry, which can trip the circuit breaker – which means your car won’t be charged. 

The circuit should be dedicated to charging your car and be in top condition. Otherwise, charging on a damaged circuit can easily cause a fire. 

If you need a minimal amount of charge and have a short commute, you can use this outlet, but if you want a longer range of charging – it is best you consider getting a 240V charging station for your home. 

Charging Your EV With A 240V Outlet 

Almost all houses have 240V outlets in the garage for water heaters, dryers, and central air conditioning. These are faster than a 110V outlet and provide more charging range too. These add about 10-60 miles of range per charging range, a huge upgrade from a 110V outlet

The circuitry needs to be rated for 20-100 amps and dedicated to just charging your EV. 

The charging rate doesn’t only depend on the outlet. It also depends on the size of your battery and how empty it is. A slow outlet and a larger battery also mean it will take longer to recharge. 

Should You Install A Dedicated Level 2 Charging Station?

New houses almost always come with a 240V service where you can install an Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment for $500 to $2000. You can also look into any EVSE incentives in your state or area. 

Older homes may need an electrical service upgrade because they mostly have 100 amps of service, and if the same circuit supports the dryer and the air conditioning – you cannot add a load of an electric car on the same circuit.

This is one of those cases where you can consider adding a dedicated level 2 charging station

This service upgrade will be expensive and require a permit from a local building permit issuing department. It looks pretty hectic, but it will benefit you in the long run if you travel a good amount of distance daily and also if you own a Tesla.

Tesla cars need particular outlets for their costly batteries. 

Tips For Charging Your EV Safely At Home 

If you decide to charge your electric vehicle at home, have a trained electrician look at your circuitry and install a dedicated circuit for you to charge your car. Follow the following safety tips while charging your EV at home:

  • Always follow the guide your manufacturer provides when you are charging your vehicle. Check at your local dealership if you need more information. 
  • Use the Level 1 charger without any extension cord or multiplug extender. Directly plug the charging device into the outlet. 
  • Add a residual current device with your charging unit to ensure it turns off when a problem is detected. This can prevent fires and damage. 
  • Keep the charging unit and devices out of your children’s reach when not in use. 
  • Keep your charging equipment in top condition based on the maintenance guidelines issued by your car’s manufacturer. If you see the charger has damage – do not use it. Wear can cause issues like electrical shocks.
  • Make sure it is safe to charge your vehicle in wet conditions, and always cover the charging outlet, so no water gets inside. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. Should I Fully Charge My EV Every Night? 

You don’t need to charge your EV every night. Frequent charging can shorten the lifespan of your car’s battery pack. 

    2. What Is The Best Time To Charge My EV At Home?

The best time to charge your car at home is between midnight and 3 pm to ensure the most efficient energy use. You can use a timer, and your vehicle will automatically begin charging after midnight, leaving you with enough range for the next day. 

    3. Can I Sit In My EV While It Is Charging? 

It is safe to sit in an EV while it is charging. Some car models say unlocking the doors can interrupt the charge by a few seconds. 

Final Thoughts 

Although charging stations are becoming more common in public places, there are still times when you may need a quick charge or want the convenience of charging at your own place. You can use the outlets in your home to do this, provided you follow the protocols and safety tips we’ve mentioned above. 

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