How to Tell if Your Electrical Panel is Overloaded When Charging Your EV?

Electrical vehicle (EV) chargers need power from the grid to be able to charge EVs. Whether you are planning a commercial or residential EV charging installation, you don’t want to overload your electrical system or the power grid. Read on as we share our tips for how to tell if your electrical panel is overloaded when charging an electric vehicle.

Do I need to upgrade my electrical panel for an EV charger?

Your EV charging installer or electrical contractor will ensure you have the electrical capacity to accommodate EV charger(s) prior to installation. If they determine you don’t have enough power to support the extra load, they will suggest panel or meter upgrades. 

There are some obvious signs you need an electrical panel upgrade even before you add EV charging to your home or business. This would include frequent tripping of circuit breakers, strange noises from your breaker box, flickering lights, or a burning smell from your breaker box. 

If you’re a commercial facility, you may want to consider a power monitoring system. Power monitoring uses wireless sensors to track your real-time energy use at the device or circuit level. Access to this granular intelligence helps you know exactly how much energy each device or circuit is consuming, improve energy efficiency, and prevent costly equipment failures. With a power monitoring system, you’ll be able to pinpoint how much energy you need to accommodate EV chargers and if your current electrical system will be able to handle it. 

Once your EV charger(s) are installed, there are ways to ensure you’re not putting too much pressure on your panel or the grid. 

How to avoid an electrical overload when charging your EV

Whether you have residential or commercial EV chargers, you won’t have to stress about electrical overload if your chargers are equipped with Smart Charging and demand-side management (DSM) features.

Smart Charging allows residents or business owners control over how much energy each plugged-in EV can use. This amount will depend on how many other EVs are being charged in a commercial setting or how many other devices are being run in a house in a residential situation.

Smart Charging also helps EV charging station operators to practice demand-side management. DSM refers to actions that help decrease and optimize electricity use from the grid by controlling the load on the user side rather than from the power grid itself. Through DSM, companies save money and are more energy-efficient but also help with the energy crisis by not overloading the grid with their energy consumption. 

When it comes to EV charging, EV charging station operators can use Smart Charging features to control how power is distributed between different EVs plugged into chargers. EV charging stations on your system will have a maximum output of power. Depending on how many EV chargers you have and how many EVs are charging at a time you can control how the power is distributed to prevent overloading the panel or grid. For example, let’s say you have five chargers. Two EVs may be able to charge at maximum output, but once a third EV enters the picture the power may have to be distributed so all three vehicles charge at a lower power output. Then, the system will adjust to an even lower power output when another EV comes to charge or back to a higher output when some EVs are done charging. 

How does Smart Charging work?

A Smart Charger allows you to remotely check on the energy consumption of each plugged-in EV and how much energy is being used overall at a charging site. Smart chargers are equipped with Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth and send information to a cloud-based management platform. The platform’s software collects the data, which EV charging station operators can use to run their charger(s) efficiently.

EV charging station operators can use the smart charging control system to distribute power evenly between other chargers in a commercial situation or energy-draining devices in a residential setting. Some smart charging systems will automatically adjust how much power EVs are using if they detect a house or commercial facility’s maximum energy capacity is close to being reached.

Most power control options can be programmed to be automatic and the smart charging system can take over adjustments so the EV charger operator doesn’t have to constantly monitor how EVs are charging.

How to get a Smart EV charger for your home or business

WattLogic’s turnkey smart EV charging solutions are the ideal way to add an EV charger to your home or EV charging stations to your business. Instead of worrying about which electrical contractor to call or how to choose the right EV chargers for your electrification vision, WattLogic can take care of it all for you and so much more including rebates management, permitting, and installation. We will make sure you don’t overload your electrical panel or put too much pressure on the grid with your new EV chargers. Get the smart EV chargers your home or business needs by learning more here.