Tag Archives: Electric Vehicle

Electrical Installation Regulations

The current 18th Edition Regulations have taken Domestic home electrical installation design another step up in complexity. In some ways it is not so much the increases in safety in design that have been introduced, but instead more about ensuring safety of new technologies, appliances and devices that are available and in common us in homes.

Some of the new devices available for increased safety were created by manufacturers in response to Fire Brigades asking for them. An example of this is a new safety device that can detect electrical arcing (sparking) in damaged cables and connections. This being a very useful safety feature to reduce the risk of fire.

Many other regulations or modifications to regulations stem from new energy saving and convenience technologies. The most obvious example of this is Electric Vehicle (EV) Chargers. One of the recent changes that was welcomed was a change to try to make it easier to install EV chargers.

As an example our homes are increasing being filled with relatively expensive communications, computer, CCTV, home control and media equipment. Also energy generation and energy savings systems are now very common and these include computer controlled systems. As consequence of these changes the manufacturers and regulators have fortunately responded with cost effective options for over voltage surge protection devices that will prevent damage should the Energy Distribution network have a fault or lightning strike that could normal damage sensitive equipment in a home.

To add to this changing picture is a recent new BS standard for Fire detection and Alarms, which applies to domestic homes and larger premises.

The end result of all these changes is good for safety, low energy use and convenience for home. The downside for us electrical designers is life is somewhat more complicated than it used to be. In a typical low ish technology home, the impact of these changes on costs of electrical work is small, perhaps in some cases insignificant. But as homes become more modernised and more home convivence features are introduced, the costs of these recent regulations usually do start to have an impact on installation costs. The most obvious extra costs is the training we electrical designers require to keep abreast on the new techniques.

My first message here is that I recommend homes owners choose their electrical installation tradespersons carefully. The Nexelec Competent person scheme is operated by NICEIC and there are other scheme providors that are similar. The NICEIC do keep and eye on my training, installation and testing skills with annual checks. But they cannot keep an eye on every job a tradesperson does and is much easier now for an electrician to come across something a little different they have to work with.

My 2nd important point is I recommend home owners take the time to explore what the latest options that are available for energy saving, carbon foot print reduction, micro generation and heat generation schemes, Smart EV Chargers and home automation. I reckon they are all good in the right place and well worth considering.

EV (Electric Vehicle) Get Me Home Charging on 13A sockets

Owners of certain electric cars will likely to have a “Get Me Home” cable which can be plugged into a standard domestic 13A socket.  Useful if visiting friends or relatives and you have misjudged the power in the car batteries needed to get you home.

Take a little care with these charging cables because they often need a fairly continuous 10A of electricity while plugged in.  A 13A socket is designed to provide 10A of electricity but be aware this socket could be on the primary downstairs sockets circuits of a home which is designed for 32A maximum.  Where this same circuit could have high energy use tumble drier, washing machine, portable heaters or similar. Maybe in a busy home with guests present so more occupants than usual as well.  So suggest apply some common sense  to enquire as what you are planning to plug a Get Me Home Lead into.

Also if the property at which this lead is being plugged in happens to be an old small terraced house or flat that has not been renovated of late, be aware there are still quite proportion of old electrical services that are rated at 60A maximum for the whole house, and old Consumer Units (Fuse Boxes) with a maximum limit of 60A for the whole house. More modern installations will have 100A capacity for a whole house.

Electric Vehicle Charging Point

In Residential use if you want to avoid the ugliness and hassle of having that power lead trailing from your under the garage door or out of a window to your Electrical Vehicle, then how about installing a proper EV charging point.  If you are starting out and have a requirement for only a 16A (3.6Kw) powered point then I would seriously consider installing a 32A (7.2Kw) capable circuit. One reason being is the extra costs for a larger 32A cable and protection accessories are relatively small compared to the overall installation labour cost to run a cable from the home Consumer Unit (Fuse Box) through the house to a charging point.  Also your next vehicle or a change of use might benefit considerably with a 32A powered point so an upgrade would be less disruptive on the house and cheaper.

If you are thinking about the Tethered or Non Tethered choice, then certainly Tethered is convenient.  No wet grubby cable to tidy up and keep in the boot. But if you change vehicles often or have guests to stay with other types of vehicles to charge, then Un Tethered has its benefits.

Some designs of Charging Points have an outside grade 13A socket built in as well. Useful for vacuuming the car or powering that lawnmower.