Although most Australian homes have single phase power, if you have a larger home, you might actually have 3 phase power. If you’re not an electrician, it’s understandable that you may never have heard of this before and be wondering what on earth it at all means. Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place.
Our team at Espire Electrical Solutions has ample experience with both 3-phase and single-phase power. We can advise the most appropriate solution for your property, as well as get it all installed and connected for you.
Give us a call today to get the ball rolling.
What’s the Difference Between Single Phase and 3 Phase Power?
When we’re talking about electricity, the ‘phase’ refers to how a load is distributed.
Single-phase power comprises a two-wire alternating current power circuit. In most cases, there’s a power wire and a neutral wire – current flows between the two and power is supplied at 240V.
3 phase power, on the other hand, comprises a four-wire alternating current power circuit. There are three power wires and one neutral wire – current flows between all four, which allows the system to supply power at both 240V and 415V. You’re also provided with three times the power, as it’s like having three single-phase supplies connected.
Whilst most modern appliances are designed to run on 240V, some electrical installations (such as swimming pool systems and car chargers) won’t run correctly. 3 phase supply is able to provide sufficient voltage to run these sorts of installations, as well as large-scale industrial ones.
How Can I Tell What Type of Power I Have?
Most homes in Australia have single-phase power by default. However, if you have a larger home and suspect that you may have 3 phase power connected, there are a few ways to check:
- Take a look at your electricity meter, as it actually may be written on there.
- Take a look at the fuse located between the metre and the main power cable into your property. If you have single-phase power, there will be a single fuse; if you have three-phase, there will usually be three 100 amp fuses.
- Ask for assistance from an electrician. They should be able to tell you from a photo of your metre and circuit board.
Why Might I Need to Install 3 Phase Power?
There are actually a few scenarios in which 3 phase power would be preferable for your home. These include:
- Owning an electric vehicle, as single-phase power won’t be able to support a home charging point.
- A larger property that needs to run multiple appliances, even if they’re all 240V.
- Certain air conditioning systems, as some are designed only for 3 phase power supply.
- Intending to run industrial machinery, large-scale kilns, refrigerators, and so on.
What are the Benefits of Upgrading to 3 Phase Power?
You can actually receive a number of benefits from taking the plunge and upgrading your single-phase power supply to 3 phase:
- It will future-proof your property, as an increasing number of newer technologies are requiring 3 phase power to operate. If you don’t upgrade now, you’ll likely have to in the future.
- It will allow you to use powerful appliances without interrupting your electricity supply. Have you noticed that your lights flicker or dim when you switch your pool heater on, for example?
- It will allow you to continue using your existing appliances. Many homeowners fear that switching to 3 phase power will make them obsolete, but this is simply not the case.
- It can save you money on future appliance purchases. Did you know that machines or systems with powerful motors are usually cheaper to manufacture when geared to 3 phase power?
How do I Upgrade to 3 Phase Power?
If you’ve decided that 3 phase power is the way to go for your home, whether you’re in the process of building it or it’s an existing structure, the first thing you need to do is contact your electrician. They will be able to handle the installation for you.
This will involve the existing supply cables to your property being replaced, as well as installing a new circuit board. In most cases, the wiring inside your home will not need to be replaced.
Is 3 Phase Power Expensive?
The cost to install 3 phase power will depend on whether it’s a new build or an existing property. It’s always cheaper in a new build, as there are no existing cables or circuit boards to be removed – all the 3 phase infrastructure is going in fresh.
It is more expensive to run 3 phase power than single phase; however, maintenance costs are usually lower, and there will also be savings in the technology you’re able to invest in.
Live in Melbourne’s Northern Suburbs and Interested in 3 Phase Power?
Espire Electrical Solutions provides 3 phase power installations across Melbourne’s Northern Suburbs such as Eltham, Eltham North, Greensborough, Heidelberg, Hurstbridge, Macleod, Mernda, Mill Park and more.
If 3 phase is an upgrade you are interested in making for your home or business, get in touch with our helpful team today. Our electricians will provide expert advice and recommendations, as well as complete any work to the highest possible standard.