Three-phase power is a common solution for a wide range of commercial electrical applications. Its presence in buildings and throughout properties is one of the main reasons that you'll need to establish a good relationship with a commercial electrician services provider. Folks who own or operate businesses need to know the basics about three-phase power.
What Is the Point of Three-Phase Electricity?
Engineers design systems with three-phase power to increase the overall delivery of electricity. Foremost, this allows them to deliver more power to a system. Secondly, it allows them to provide more consistent power.
This is a big deal in commercial and industrial applications. If you have something like a large printing press to produce mailers, you need the machine to run as smoothly as possible. Setting it up with three-phase power allows it to activate many components repeatedly during the course of any given minute. This happens without power fluctuations, so you can trust that the results will be consistent.
Are There Other Phases?
Three-phase power is an alternative to one-phase power. You likely deal with one-phase systems from the time you wake up because this is the standard power-delivery method for residential use and even most commercial applications. One-phase electricity more than gets the job done for powering your night lamp and charging your phone.
Two-phase power also exists, and it once was fairly popular. However, the addition of a third phase to the power cycle proved to be so beneficial that a commercial electrician only installs two-phase systems for niche cases or borderline archaic systems.
Separating Residential and Commercial Electrical Services
Notably, the existence of three-phase power separates residential and commercial electrical work. A contractor in the residential field could go an entire career without encountering a three-phase system. That isn't to say there aren't residential use cases, but they tend to involve either multi-unit housing or luxury features like adding a vehicle elevator to a car garage.
Conversely, commercial operations are sometimes littered with three-phase setups. The HVAC units on top of practically every retail and grocery store employ three-phase electricity, for example. Many businesses that use plasma cutters, lasers, and welders also employ three-phase power to ensure greater electrical stability and operating precision.
Efficiency at Scale
At a certain scale, three-phase power becomes the more efficient option. While the equipment may incur costs on startup, it achieves excellent efficiency at scale. Suppose you need to provide backup power to a hospital. Using three-phase electricity allows the generator to power more distant parts of the building with a single unit.
Contact a commercial electrician to find out more.