March 15, 2024

Do I Need a Permit to Install an EV Charger in My Home?


9 Min. Read

This article was originally published September 29, 2022 and was updated March 15, 2024

As the rate of electric vehicle (EV) adoption continues to rise and millions of EVs begin to hit the roads, more drivers are opting for the convenience of at-home EV charging. Thanks to Level 2 EV charging technology, charging an EV overnight at home is affordable, practical, and convenient.

However, the installation process entails some research and preparation, starting with permit considerations.

Do I need a permit to install an EV charger and how much does pulling a permit typically cost? Read on to learn more about upgrading your home with an EV charger and what you need to know to safely install an EV charger at home.

Do I Need a Permit to Install an EV Charger?

With the cost of the EV charging station, its installation, and any other additional electrical work you may need to support EV charging at home, you might find yourself asking “Do I need a permit to install an EV charger at home?” In most cases, the answer is yes. A new EV charging circuit generally requires an electrical permit in most cities.

The permitting process ensures that your installation project follows all the safety requirements outlined in the National Electrical Code and your local building code and is often required by your homeowner’s insurance, local municipality, homeowner’s association, or utility. In short, permitting is an additional layer of security and safety when having electrical updates in your home.

Projects that involve plugging an EV charging station into an existing 240V receptacle are an exception. Note that the existing receptacle must be a NEMA 14-50 outlet with proper grounding and that while electric dryers may use this same type of outlet, EV charging will require a higher quality outlet to ensure the outlet does not melt due to the extended use and high-voltage used to charge an electric vehicle 4 to 10 hours every night.

If your installation project involves hardwiring the EV charging station to your electrical panel or installing a new circuit and outlet for a plug-in Level 2 EV charger installation, you will need to pull a permit.

You might also need a building permit if you plan to modify your garage or parking structure to facilitate access to EV charging.

How Do I Apply for an Electrical Permit?

Typically, your first step should be to fill out a permit application form with your local building department. The purpose of this form is to outline the technical details of the electrical work.

While this is something you can personally complete, a licensed electrician can also complete and submit this application on your behalf, which ensures that they are also responsible for guaranteeing that everything is filed and installed correctly.

Your local building department will then review your application and double-check that the materials and installation methods proposed comply with the NEC and any local codes.

The work can begin once your permit is approved. Once the installation is complete, you must schedule an inspection with your local building department to confirm your project meets all the applicable electrical and building requirements.

Since requirements vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, contacting your local building department is the best way to learn more about permitting fees and the application process.

Additional Considerations Regarding Permits

Poor electrical work is a safety risk for you and your family, which is why the NEC and local jurisdictions have strict rules. Following proper installation methods also ensures your charging station will perform as expected.

Pulling the necessary permits will facilitate reporting the electrical upgrades to your homeowner’s insurance company. In fact, failing to meet the NEC or local requirements for your EV charging station installation project can void your insurance policy and make you liable for any damages or losses incurred from faulty electrical work.

Your permit application also acts as a document that establishes who is responsible for the work. If you hire a contractor for this project, which is highly recommended, the permit will establish their liability.

Lastly, obtaining the proper permits will help prove that your EV charging station was correctly installed if you ever decide to sell your home and can increase the value of your home.

Why Should I Hire a Licensed Electrician?

While not illegal, performing electrical work on your own is highly unsafe and can even be deadly. Besides putting yourself and your family in danger, a poorly installed EV charger station will likely fail to meet your expectations in terms of performance and could require expensive repairs in the future.

A licensed electrician with experience with EV charging can recommend the best approach and materials for your electrification project. They will also know which permits to pull and can apply for them on your behalf.

Applying for an electrical work permit requires a thorough understanding of technical details such as labeling requirements, wiring methods, breakaway requirements, overcurrent protection, and more. It’s best to have an expert fill out these details to save time and ensure that your permit application gets approved without any additional delays.

Why Should I Upgrade My Home With an EV Charger?

Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) could represent more than 13% of new vehicle sales in 2024, and over 1 million new EVs were sold in the U.S. in 2023. EV adoption is well on its way to revolutionizing mobility, but high levels of adoption require access to EV charging on a massive scale.

Governments at the state and federal levels are actively developing the public charging infrastructure, but for most EV owners, at-home charging remains the most convenient option by far.

Accessibility is a key advantage of charging at home. Charging at a Level 2 station can take up to ten hours, which makes using a public station to get a full charge impractical compared to overnight charging at home. Plus, even though the number of public charging ports is quickly increasing, distribution remains unequal, and access to charging is limited in some areas that are far from large cities, such as more rural communities.

Another benefit to charging at home is the cost savings available from utilities. The average U.S. charging cost is $0.17 per kWh for residential service, making “fueling up” at home more cost-effective than public charging.

At-home charging is also more reliable. As many as 20% of users run into difficulties when attempting to charge on the road. Installing and maintaining a private EV charging station is the best way to guarantee around-the-clock access to charging.

Lastly, at-home charging is more accessible than ever. Costs are down, manufacturers offer a wide range of residential EV charger options, and it’s easier than ever to find a licensed electrician who is knowledgeable about EV charging. Even renters have more options than ever, thanks to Right to Charge laws.

What Does It Take to Install a Level 2 EV Charger At Home?

With around 80% of EV charging taking place at home, Level 2 chargers have quickly been established as the go-to solution for EV owners.

These chargers use a dedicated 240V circuit to deliver up to 19.2kW. Depending on the make and model of EV you own and the charging equipment used, a Level 2 charger can add 12 to 80 miles of range per hour of charging.

You might need a few electrical upgrades to install your Level 2 charger:

  • A licensed professional will need to run a circuit from your breaker panel to a new 240V outlet.
  • Adding a new 240V circuit to your electrical panel can require an upgrade if your panel does not have enough ampacity or room for a double pole 240V breaker.
  • A 40A charger or smaller can be a plug-in installation using a commercial-grade NEMA 14-50 outlet, but a 50A charger or above will require a hardwired installation.
  • Some utility companies also require you to install a dedicated meter for your EV charger.

How Much Does Installing an At-Home EV Charging Station Cost?

The total cost of installing an at-home EV charging station varies based on your charging needs and your home’s electrical infrastructure.

You’ll have to purchase the charging hardware, which typically costs less than $1,000, with prices starting at around $500 for safety-certified Level 2 EV charging stations. Remember that quality, performance, and connected features can impact the price and that the cheapest hardware isn’t necessarily the best long-term investment.

If the capacity of your EV charger exceeds 60A, the National Electrical Code dictates that you should install an emergency shut-off switch. For safety reasons, you can also consider this upgrade even if your charger has a lower amperage rating. Installing this switch should cost under $200.

If you need a panel upgrade, you should plan on spending between $550 to $3,000, with a standard electrical panel typically costing around $250 to $450.

However, costs can be higher if you opt for a smart electrical panel, which can cost between $2,000 to over $5,000, but comes with additional cost-saving features in long-term energy use and increased energy efficiency. Additionally, if you need other upgrades, such as rewiring your home or replacing outdated or unsafe equipment, this will also increase your upfront costs but can help avoid electrical fires and other hazards.

The cost of labor will vary depending on how much work is required, but installation costs can range from $1,000 to over $3,000. Installing a dedicated receptacle for a plug-in Level 2 EV charging station can be cheaper than hardwiring the station to the panel, but keep in mind that trenching work can drive the cost of labor up if the charging location isn’t close to the panel. Trenching can also cost more if you’re installing a station outdoors and the distance from the electrical panel to your intended charging location will also impact the cost of your EV charger installation.

Additional costs include permitting fees and potential upgrades to your garage or parking spot to facilitate access to charging. Since every project is unique, it’s essential to work with a licensed electrician early in your planning process and to review your options with them.

Homeowners typically spend between $800 and $2,000 to install an at-home EV charging station, so long as they don’t need any other additional electrical work to support at-home EV charging and the installation is relatively uncomplicated. However, you can partially offset this cost by taking advantage of the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property Credit along with other incentives offered through your state or utility provider. You also have to consider the long-term savings associated with driving an EV and having the convenience of charging at home.

Take the Next Step in Your Level 2 At-Home EV Charger Installation Project with Qmerit

Do I need a permit to install an EV charger? The answer is yes. Unless you have an existing commercial-grade NEMA 14-50 outlet you can use for a plug-in EV charger installation, upgrading your home with an EV charging station through an outlet or a hardwired connection will require an electrical permit.

Applying for a permit shouldn’t be an obstacle to your electrification project. A licensed electrician can help you plan your EV charging project, fill out the permit application forms on your behalf, and perform the installation project according to NEC and local codes.

Graphic with EV and charging station, sign up for free quote with Qmerit

As the largest network of certified EV charger installers in North America, Qmerit is the most trusted EV charger installation partner recommended by automakers, EV charger manufacturers, utilities, businesses, and homeowners alike.

But don’t just take our word for it. Rated #1 in customer satisfaction, Qmerit’s experienced network of certified electricians has installed more than 450,000 EV charging stations in homes and businesses across the U.S. and Canada!

Complete our online EV assessment today to find out why we’re North America’s most trusted EV charger installation service provider!

Author: Greg Sowder

Greg Sowder

President, Qmerit Network