What to expect when you install an electric car home charger

Domestic Zappi EV Charging station installation - Downtown Electrical

One reason you might be putting off getting a charge point installed at home for your electric vehicle is just because you don’t know what to expect on the day.

We hear it all the time, people concerned their driveway will be ruined. Installation takes ages. You have to do work before an engineer arrives.

Most of the things we hear simply aren’t true and the fact is getting a charge point installed at home is a pretty simple process.

And in the long run, having your own personal chargepoint is way more convenient and affordable than driving out to a public chargepoint.

We’ve put this article together to help you understand the process of having an EV charger installed from the point of purchase, to the installation date.

How to prepare for installing an EV charger at home

The process of getting an EV charger installed at your home goes like this:

You contact an installer → the installer surveys your property and provides a quote → you agree to the payment and set an installation date → the installer sets up your EV charger on that date → your charger is ready to use.

Simple.

If you’re applying for the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme discount, you must provide all the required documentation to your installer in advance for the installation to proceed.

Your OZEV-approved installer can’t submit your application to the Office for Zero-Emission Vehicles if it’s incomplete, so prepare your proof of address and vehicle ownership plus any written permissions beforehand.

The installer will arrange a remote site survey to assess the parking area and electrical access in line with legal requirements.

This stage is important for identifying any extra work that would need doing before the charger can be installed, which would raise the price of the installation.

If a remote survey isn’t enough you can arrange a site survey of the property where the charger will be installed for a small charge. Your installer will ask any specific questions that come up to get the information they need.

After this step, the installer can advise of you of any extra costs and provide a quote.

Then you’ll sort out your installation date.

Don’t worry about any prep work.

All you need to do is clear the area where the ChargePoint will be installed.

The distribution board or electricity supply meter needs to be accessible with a clear route to the installation spot for the cables to run.

Additionally, smart EV chargers need to connect to your home’s internet, so you must have your Wifi set up beforehand with your Wifi password ready.

Anything else you have to do will be discussed with the installing engineer in advance.

What’s included with EV charging point installation?

Unless extra work is required and you’ve approved it, an average basic installation usually includes these things:

  • Fitting the charging unit to a brick/plaster wall or another permanent structure
  • Running up to 10-15m of 6mm cable between the electricity supply and unit, clipped to the wall as discreetly as possible
  • Drilling a hole in a wall up to 500mm thick to route the cable through if needed
  • Concealing interior wires with up to 3-5m of plastic conduit or trunking
  • Installing a PME device or RCBO unit if your chosen charge point needs it.
  • Fitting and testing all required electrical connections and protections
  • Providing a certificate to show your installation meets the UK legal standards
  • Demonstrating how the ChargePoint works, including connecting to the mobile app

If you’ve purchased a separate freestanding mount for your unit, this will be installed in the agreed location.

Not all EV chargers require the installer to drive an earth rod, as some newer models have earthing protection built into the unit itself.

What happens on the day of your electric car charging point fitting?

Your specially trained installer will arrive at your property during the designated time slot on the installation date you arranged.

In all cases either the customer, property owner, or an adult at least 18 years old must be present for the duration.

Your installer will confirm the preferred position of the charging unit and cable routing with you according to your parking spot and electrical supply location.

Then they’ll do a quick final safety check of your home’s electrics before they proceed.

They’ll drill and clip cable to the wall as needed and fix the charging unit to its designated spot.

Before they can actually connect the charger to the electricity supply, they’ll have to switch off the mains for safety.

The installer will finish connecting the charger and turn the supply back on to test it.

Once it’s proven to be a safe connection, you can move on to setting up the charger’s smart capabilities.

If you don’t have a smart charger, the installer will skip this step, but all recipients of the EVHS grant must have a smart charger.

You’ll have to provide your Wifi password to connect the unit for over-the-air software updates and download the appropriate app onto your smartphone.

When everything is working correctly, the installer will demonstrate how to use the charger safely and explain what each piece does.

They’ll answer any questions you might have and explain how to contact them if you have any issues with the installation later on.

If you’re happy with the setup, your installer will check over the paperwork with you a final time then provide you with an electrical safety certificate.

After they leave, you can start using your new EV charger and get used to the app interface and functions on your phone.

If the installation requires minimising contact for health reasons, it might go a little differently.

Your installer may communicate over the phone instead of face to face while they’re on your property, and send you an email with instructions and further information afterwards instead of providing a demonstration in person.

How long does electric car charger home installation take?

The time it takes to install the charger depends on various factors, including: 

  • The installer’s allotted labour hours
  • The type of charging unit (model and tethered or untethered function)
  • The location of the unit in relation to the electricity supply
  • Whether the installation requires a PME device
  • Whether additional works need carrying out to complete the installation

Every installation is unique, but it can take 2-6 hours to install a home EV charging station.

A basic installation can be done in 2-3 hours if you avoid delays by providing all the necessary information in advance and preparing as advised.

More complicated installations can take 4-6 hours to complete to satisfactory safety standards.

Remember that a responsible adult must be in attendance throughout this time, and the property’s power supply will be turned off for at least some of it.

Will there be any issues with installing a home EV charger?

There are some limits to EV charger installation, which the installer should advise you about following their site survey:

  • The chargepoint can’t be installed where the cable runs beyond the property boundaries or causes a tripping hazard
  • The unit must be fixed at a height where it won’t be hit by vehicles, but mustn’t be installed higher than 1.8m
  • Cables can’t be suspended between buildings or structures
  • Cables can’t go under floorboards or through ducts/voids without a draw cord (the installer won’t take responsibility for lifting or reinstating carpet/floorboards)
  • Cables can’t be trenched underground without previous agreement for extra work costs
  • Installers can’t work in crawl spaces, lofts, or on roofs if they’re not safe
  • Installation can’t go ahead if the property’s electrical connections aren’t safe on the day
  • If more cabling or distribution/protective devices are needed it will cost extra
  • Installations that take longer than the allocated time slot for any of the above reasons will incur additional charges

If it turns out there’s a problem like one of these on the installation day, the installer will advise you of any extra work that would have to be done and offer a quote to return and complete the work on another date.

Nobody wants to waste time or money on a failed installation, which is why it’s so important for the installer to carry out a thorough survey and be transparent about the costs upfront.

As experienced electricians in electric vehicle charging point installation, Downtown Electrical always makes sure to provide the highest quality services.

Contact Downtown Electrical to get started with your home EV charger installation today.

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