Don’t worry, electricity it’s nothing to be “Phased” about. In this post, we’ll shed some light on the difference between Single-Phase and Triple-Phase Electric and how to determine what type your property has (or needs).

What’s the difference between single-phase and three-phase electric and why is this important?

Single-phase electric is a two-wire alternating current power circuit with one wire being the phase or power wire and the other wire being a neutral wire. Generally speaking, low density residential subdivisions will be using single phase power.

Three-phase power is a three wire alternating current power circuit with each phase AC signal being roughly 120 degrees, electrical degrees, apart. Now, that’s a little technical, but it’s important to know the difference. Generally speaking, when you have higher load demand for commercial or industrial buildings, that’s when you’ll need to use three-phase. And, even in some high density residential subdivisions, you’ll need to use three-phase electric.

If you have overhead electrical poles, the easiest way to tell which type of power system you have, whether it’s single-phase or three-phase, is just by looking at the top of the telephone poles. If at the top of the telephone pole you see a “T” with three wires, well then, that’s three-phase electric. If it’s just a regular telephone pole without a “T” at the top and it has one to two wires coming off of it connecting to the next pole, well then, that’s single-phase.

Tip: If you’re looking at a piece of land in a very rural area and it’s not feasible to drive to it right away, the easiest way to determine if it’s three-phase or single-phase is actually just by getting on Google street view and then zooming into the top of the telephone pole. Again, if it has the “T,” more than likely it’s three-phase electric. If it’s just a single pole without the “T” at top, it’s probably going to be single-phase.

Feel free to reach out to us with questions or other topics you’d like to see covered.

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