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Home Charging SafetyUpdated 8 months ago

Content:

  • Commercial Grade 240V Outlets - The best safety upgrade for home charging
  • Why basic Y splitters are unsafe
  • Inspecting an older 240V outlet
  • Is the NEMA 10-30 Outlet Safe for EV Charging?

Commercial Grade 240V Outlets - The best safety upgrade for home charging

If you are looking for the best possible setup for home charging, it is strongly recommended that you install a commercial/industrial-grade 240V outlet. These outlets have a clamping mechanism that is vastly superior to a standard outlet that you might buy from your local hardware store.


Industrial-grade outlets are built to withstand heavy use, providing increased safety and reliability, ensuring that your electric vehicle charges quickly and without interruptions, ultimately saving you time and ensuring a more consistent and dependable charging experience.

Let your electrician know that you would like to install an industrial outlet. The installation of the outlet will need to be performed by an electrician.

Two of the best brands for industrial outlets are Hubbell and Bryant. Shop now on the NeoCharge website.


Why basic Y splitters are unsafe

When it comes to a basic Y splitter cable, the biggest challenge is safety! Since both outputs of the cable are considered active at all times, there is a strong chance you will overload the circuit if both devices plugged in are running simultaneously. Overloading the circuit can cause the wiring in your home to overheat which is a significant fire hazard. Even if it is a simple mistake such as starting a load of laundry in the dryer while the EV is already charging, using a basic Y splitter can be very dangerous and is universally discouraged by electricians due to the safety concerns. NeoCharge's founders discovered this to be a major problem for homeowners and wanted to provide an alternate solution for EV drivers to still utilize their existing 240v sockets in their homes. 



Inspecting an Older 240V Outlet

Before you plug in your Smart Splitter or EV charger to your NEMA 14-50 outlet for the first time, we strongly recommend a quick visual inspection.

Background:

Take a look at your outlet and you will see brass clamps on the inside of each of the holes. With a cord plugged in, the pins from the plug head will force open these clamps and create a mechanical connection which will allow electricity to flow through the circuit. Over time, these brass pads will slowly lose their clamping force due to a combination of retaining their stretched shape and thermal expansion during use. A loose clamp will lead to increased resistance at the point of contact and eventually lead to higher temperatures within the outlet.

What to look for:

Examine the two hot/live slots in the outlet and look at the distance between the brass clamps. Reference the attached picture for a visual guide.

A new outlet's clamps will be practically touching one another as the clamp has not lost any of its spring force. This outlet is good to go and will be several years before you might give it another visual inspection.

An older outlet that is worn from use will have a large gap between the clamps. This loose outlet could potentially cause issues if it does not maintain a secure connection with the plug.


If your outlet is loose:

If you have identified that your outlet is loose and may cause increased resistance, we recommend replacing the receptacle. This is a pretty simple task that can be completed in about 10 minutes by an electrician. You can choose to use a standard or a commercial-grade outlet:

  • Commercial Grade Outlets (Recommended) - Commercial grade 240V outlets are heavy-duty outlets with superior clamping mechanisms and are identifiable by a larger outlet diameter. These outlets are a bit more expensive but strongly recommended for increased safety when EV charging in your home. Common commercial-grade outlets include the Hubbell #HBL9450A and Bryant #9450FR. These are not normally carried in retail stores but can be found online.
  • Standard Outlet - Installing a new standard 240V outlet will work fine and is less expensive than the commercial-grade option. This can be found at your local hardware store like Home Depot. If using a standard outlet for EV charging, we recommend performing a visual inspection every 1-2 years to ensure the clamps are not becoming loose.

Is the NEMA 10-30 Outlet Safe for EV Charging?

In short - yes, but there are alternatives for even safer outlets.

The NEMA 14-30 outlet is an upgraded 30A breaker model that replaced the 10-30 back in 1996 for all new home installations as required by the NEC. Both function the same, but the NEMA 14-30 has a built-in ground while the 10-30 only consists of a neutral pin, so this was effectively a safety upgrade.

We have several thousand Smart Splitter users using a 10-30 outlet to share power with their EV and haven't had any issues that can be traced back to the outlet. If you are comfortable using this outlet you should be fine, but if you would like the ease of mind to install a NEMA 14-30 outlet instead, we recommend contacting your local electrician and asking for a quote to get an outlet swap. For the best possible safety upgrade, we strongly recommend a commercial grade outlet from either Hubbell or Bryant Electric.

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