How to prepare your home for an electric car

13 minute read Published on Nov 23, 2023 by BrokerLink Communications

Closeup of white electric vehicle plugged-in with charging cable

In a world where sustainability and environmental consciousness are becoming increasingly important, the shift towards electric vehicles (EVs) is gaining momentum. Electric cars not only reduce our carbon footprint but also offer numerous benefits, from lower maintenance costs to a smoother, quieter ride. As more automakers introduce an array of appealing electric models, the prospect of owning an EV is more enticing than ever.

However, embracing the electric vehicle revolution involves more than just choosing the right car; it necessitates a holistic approach to transportation and energy consumption. One crucial aspect often overlooked is preparing your home to accommodate an electric car. This blog will serve as your comprehensive guide to ensuring your home is EV-ready. We’ll explore the essential steps, upgrades, and considerations that will make your transition to electric driving seamless, efficient, and environmentally responsible.

Whether you’re already an EV owner looking to optimize your charging setup or simply curious about the steps involved in making your home EV-friendly, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s embark on this journey to prepare your home for the electric car of the future.

What do you need to outfit your home for an electric car?

Integrating an electric car into your lifestyle is a forward-thinking choice, aligning with the global push towards sustainability and reduced carbon emissions. Yet, making this transition successfully goes beyond selecting the ideal electric vehicle—it necessitates preparing your home to meet the unique energy demands of EV ownership. This preparation involves several key considerations and components to ensure efficient and safe charging. Here’s a list of what you need or may need to outfit your home for an electric car:

Electrical panel upgrades

Older homes or those with limited electrical capacity may require panel upgrades to support the additional power demand of an EV charger. This upgrade ensures that your electrical system can handle the increased load without causing a circuit overload. Most residential EV chargers operate at 240 volts and 16 or 32 amperes, providing faster charging compared to standard 120-volt outlets. That’s why understanding your EV’s voltage and amperage requirements is essential. An electrician can assess this and make necessary upgrades.

An electric vehicle (EV) charging station

The most crucial element is an EV charging station, also known as an Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) or charging point. There are different types of EVSEs, including Level 1, Level 2, and DC fast EV chargers, each with varying charging speeds.

The heart of your EV charging setup is the charging station itself. When choosing one, consider factors like charging speed, brand reputation, compatibility with your vehicle, and any additional features, such as Wi-Fi connectivity and smartphone apps for monitoring and scheduling. A charging station with smart features can allow you to not only schedule charging and monitor energy usage but also remotely control the charging process through the app.

It’s highly recommended to hire a qualified electrician for the installation of your charging station. Hiring a licensed electrician is crucial to ensure the safety and reliability of your charging station. They will assess your home’s electrical system capacity, recommend any necessary upgrades, and handle the installation process according to local codes and regulations.

A dedicated circuit

Your EV home charger should have a dedicated electrical circuit breaker to prevent overload and ensure consistent charging. Sharing a circuit with high-power appliances like an electric oven or water heater can lead to tripped breakers or slower charging.

Extra charging cables

Your EV may come with a charging cable, but having an extra one is a good idea. A spare charging cable is especially useful if you frequently charge your EV away from home. This backup cable can come in handy in emergencies or while travelling.


If you plan to install your charging station outdoors, ensure it’s designed to withstand harsh weather conditions, including rain, snow, and extreme temperatures. Weatherproof housing and cables are essential for durability.

Something to keep in mind about your charging station. Like any electrical equipment, it may require routine maintenance. Make sure you consult the manufacturer’s guidelines and schedule periodic check-ups to ensure optimal performance.

I don’t have a garage; what charging options do I have?

Not having a garage doesn’t mean you can’t own an electric car or charge it conveniently at home. In fact, as the popularity of electric cars continues to rise, more charging options are likely to become accessible for individuals without garages, making EV ownership increasingly convenient and accessible for all. If you find yourself without a garage, here are several other charging options to consider:

An outdoor charging station

If you have a parking space or a driveway, installing an outdoor charging station is a viable option. These charging stations are designed to withstand various weather conditions and can be professionally installed by an electrician. They provide a convenient and reliable way to charge your EV at home.

Wall-mounted EV chargers are another option for homeowners. They are compact and can be affixed to the exterior wall of your home. This solution is suitable and common for homes without garages as it offers a space-saving way to charge your electric vehicle at home.

Apartment or condo charging

If you live in an apartment or condominium complex, inquire about the possibility of installing shared charging stations in the parking area. Some properties are recognizing the demand for EV charging and are accommodating their residents accordingly.

Public charging stations

Depending on your location, you may have access to public charging stations. These stations are often found in commercial areas, parking lots, and along highways. Smartphone apps and websites dedicated to electric vehicle charging, such as PlugShare and ChargePoint, can also help you locate these stations conveniently.

When you’re unable to charge at home, fast-charging stations can be your go-to option. These stations provide a significant charge in a short amount of time, making them ideal for occasional or emergency charging when you’re on the go. Look for these fast-charging stations near local amenities such as grocery stores, restaurants, and shopping centres. Charging while running errands or dining out can be a practical way to keep your EV charged.

Charging at work

Check with your employer to see if they provide EV charging stations at your workplace. Many companies are investing in workplace charging to promote sustainable commuting among their employees.

Flexible charging solutions and subscriptions

Some EV manufacturers and charging infrastructure providers also offer flexible solutions that allow for innovative installation. This might include curbside chargers or communal charging areas within your neighbourhood. This can be extremely beneficial if you live in a home without a driveway and use street parking or if you park in a community parking lot.

You can also look into subscribing to services that provide access to a network of charging stations, including residential options. These services are designed to cater to individuals without dedicated parking spaces and offer flexibility in terms of charging locations.

Furthermore, many regions have begun adding public charging networks that offer membership plans. Joining one of these networks can provide you with convenient access to a broad range of charging stations and often comes with benefits such as simplified payment and station location services.

Can I plug my electric vehicle into a regular outlet?

It’s a question that often arises as more individuals consider making the switch to electric vehicles (EVs). As the world embraces sustainable transportation, the convenience and accessibility of charging while visiting a friend or family member’s home become paramount.

Most EVs come with a Level 1 charging cable that can be plugged into a standard 120-volt household outlet. This means you can plug your EV into a regular household outlet found in your garage, carport, or near your parking space. The Level 1 charging cable is designed to work with common NEMA 5-15 or 5-20 outlets, which are standard in North American households.

So, while the short answer is yes, you can plug your EV into a standard household outlet, there are vital nuances and considerations that electric vehicle owners should be aware of:

The charging speed and charge time

Charging your electric vehicle from a standard outlet is the slowest charging method available. The charging rate is typically between 2 to 5 miles of range per hour of charging, depending on several factors, including:

  • Battery Capacity: The size of your EV battery will determine how long it takes to charge. A larger battery will take longer to charge fully.
  • Current Output: Standard household outlets provide a maximum amp rating of 15 or 20 amps, which limits the charging speed.
  • Voltage: These outlets deliver 120 volts, whereas Level 2 chargers use 240 volts, allowing for faster charging.

Depending on your vehicle’s battery size and the available electrical current, a full charge can take anywhere from 8 to 20 hours or more. This makes Level 1 charging most suitable for overnight charging if you’re aiming for a full charge.

So, while charging from a standard outlet is a convenient option for occasional or emergency charging, it may not be practical for daily use, especially if you have a long commute or need to recharge frequently. Therefore, if you need to charge your vehicle at a friend’s house, make sure you factor in the extra time it will take when using a standard outlet. Otherwise, consider finding a public Level 2 charging station nearby.

Using a dedicated circuit

To ensure safety and optimal charging, it’s essential to use a dedicated circuit for your EV charging. A dedicated circuit means that the electrical outlet is not shared with other high-power appliances, as doing so could lead to overloading the circuit and potentially cause electrical problems or slower charging speeds. If you plan to charge your vehicle while visiting a friend, first make sure they have a dedicated circuit you can use.

Don’t forget your extension cord

If your desired charging location is not close to the outlet, you might consider using an extension cord. However, it’s crucial to use a heavy-duty extension cord rated for outdoor use and capable of handling the current required for EV charging. Using an inadequate or damaged extension cord can pose safety hazards. As such, consider keeping a spare extension cord in your car at all times because you never know when you may need it.

What does it cost to wire your house for an electric vehicle?

While the prospect of clean and convenient EV charging at home is enticing, it’s essential to understand the costs involved in wiring your house for an electric car. The cost of wiring your house for an electric car in Canada can vary significantly depending on several factors. These factors include the type of electrical service you currently have, your home’s layout, the distance between your electrical panel and the proposed charging location, and whether you choose to install a Level 1 or Level 2 charging station. Whether you’re considering Level 1 or Level 2 charging, exploring potential incentives, or simply curious about the financial aspects of this eco-friendly endeavour, we break down the key factors that influence the cost of preparing your home for the electric future. These key factors include the following:

Electrical panel upgrade

If your home’s electrical panel is not already equipped to handle the additional power demand of an electric vehicle charging station, you may need an upgrade. This cost can vary widely depending on your existing panel’s capacity and the complexity of the upgrade. Electrical upgrades can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.

Charging station installation

The cost of installing a Level 1 or Level 2 charging station can vary based on the unit’s brand, features, and installation complexity. Level 1 chargers are typically less expensive and simpler to install compared to Level 2 chargers. Installation costs may include electrical labour, conduit and wiring, circuit breakers, permits, and any additional materials required. For example, as of 2021, the installation cost for a Level 2 charger in Ontario often ranged from $500 to $2,500 or more, depending on the specifics of the installation.

Permits and inspection

Depending on your local municipality’s regulations, you may need permits for the installation of an EV charging station. Permit fees can vary, and you may also need to pay for inspections to ensure compliance with electrical codes.

Experienced electrician labour costs

Hiring a licensed electrician is essential for a safe and compliant installation. Labour costs for an electrician’s services can vary, so it’s a good idea to obtain quotes from multiple contractors to compare pricing.

Other labour costs

The distance between your electrical panel and the proposed charging location can impact the cost. Longer distances may require more materials and labour. Also, the complexity of your home’s layout can affect installation costs. For example, running electrical wiring through finished walls or underground may be more expensive than a straightforward installation.

Additional material costs

In addition to the charging station itself, you may need materials such as conduits, wiring, circuit breakers, and electrical boxes. The cost of these materials can vary based on the specifics of your installation.

To get an accurate estimate for wiring your house for an electric car in Canada, consult with licensed electricians or electrical contractors in your area. They can assess your specific needs, provide a detailed quote, and ensure that the installation meets local electrical codes and safety standards. Additionally, inquire about any local or government incentives or programs that may help reduce your overall costs.

What are the benefits of upgrading to an electric vehicle?

Switching to an electric vehicle (EV) offers numerous benefits, making it an attractive choice for many consumers. Here are just some of the key advantages of driving an electric vehicle:

1. Environmental benefits

The most significant environmental advantage of EVs is their reduced carbon footprint. Unlike internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, which emit greenhouse gases and contribute to climate change, EVs produce zero tailpipe emissions. By transitioning to electric vehicles, we can significantly decrease our carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, helping combat global warming.

Also, EVs do not emit harmful pollutants such as nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter. As a result, they contribute to better air quality, especially in urban areas where traffic congestion and air pollution are major concerns. Reduced emissions lead to lower health risks and improved respiratory health for communities.

2. Energy efficiency

Electric motors are inherently more efficient than internal combustion engines. They can convert a higher percentage of the energy from the electricity into vehicle movement. This means less energy is wasted as heat, making EVs more energy-efficient.

In addition, many EVs utilize regenerative braking systems, which capture and store energy during braking. This recovered energy is then used to recharge the battery, further enhancing overall energy efficiency.

3. Lower operating costs

Electricity is typically cheaper than gasoline or diesel fuel on a per-mile basis. EV owners benefit from lower fuel costs, resulting in significant savings over the life of the vehicle.

Electric vehicles also have fewer moving parts than traditional ICE vehicles, reducing the need for maintenance. There are no oil changes, fewer brake repairs due to regenerative braking, and generally fewer mechanical issues. This translates into lower long-term maintenance expenses.

4. Convenience and home charging

One of the most convenient aspects of owning an EV is the ability to charge at home. EV owners can use standard electrical outlets or install Level 2 home charging stations, allowing them to start each day with a fully charged vehicle without the need to visit a gas station.

Moreover, a growing network of public charging stations provides flexibility for EV owners who need to charge on the go or during long-distance trips. Many of these stations offer fast-charging options for rapid replenishment of the battery.

5. Incentives and Tax Benefits

Governments at various levels often provide incentives, rebates, and tax credits to promote EV adoption. These financial incentives can significantly reduce the upfront cost of purchasing an EV, making them more accessible to consumers. Depending on where you live, this can also include exclusive EV discounts on your car insurance. Some regions even offer reduced registration fees and road taxes for EVs, further contributing to cost savings.

How does owning an electric vehicle impact my car insurance premiums?

If you’re considering purchasing an EV, you may be considering not only the environmental and cost-saving benefits but also the potential impact on your electric car insurance premiums. Owning an EV introduces a unique set of factors that insurance companies consider when determining coverage costs. From the vehicle’s price tag and repair costs to safety features and charging habits, we’ve broken down the nuanced ways in which embracing electric mobility can affect your insurance rates.

In general, EVs tend to be more expensive think Tesla than their gasoline or diesel counterparts. Since the cost of the vehicle is one of the factors insurers consider when determining premiums, a more expensive car can result in higher insurance premiums. Also, EVs often have unique and costly components, including the electric car’s battery. In the event of an accident or damage, repairing or replacing these components can be more expensive than conventional vehicle parts. This can lead to higher insurance premiums to account for potential increased repair or replacement costs.

However, many other features of EVs can help balance out the potential increase with potential savings. For example, many electric vehicles come equipped with advanced safety features and technologies, such as collision avoidance systems and autonomous driving capabilities. These safety features can reduce the likelihood of accidents, which may lead to lower car insurance premiums or discounts from some insurers.

Some EV models have lower theft rates compared to traditional vehicles, which can positively affect car insurance premium calculations, potentially leading to lower costs. Furthermore, many insurance companies in provinces like Ontario offer car insurance discounts or incentives for driving eco-friendly vehicles like EVs. These can include reduced rates for home charging equipment, usage-based insurance programs, or bundling home and auto insurance policies.

Contact BrokerLink to find out if you’re eligible for an EV discount today!

Embracing an electric vehicle isn’t just about the car itself; it’s a comprehensive lifestyle change. From installing the right charging equipment to considering the potential impacts on your insurance premiums, these steps ensure a smooth and sustainable transition to electric driving.

If you’re eager to explore potential insurance discounts or have any questions about insuring your electric vehicle, such as whether there are any hidden costs to owning an EV, don’t hesitate to contact BrokerLink. We can provide expert guidance and help you discover if you’re eligible for an EV discount today. Join the growing community of eco-conscious drivers and let us help you take the first step toward a greener, more efficient future on the road.

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