Your home can be connected to the energy grid in two ways:
Both types of connection have their advantages:
In both cases, it will be up to your electrician to correctly distribute the power lines in your home according to the type of connection, in order to maintain the balance of the energy network.
In theory, the easiest way to answer this question would be to observe the number of wires coming from the meter on your electrical panel: 2 wires point to single phase, 3 or 4 wires point to three-phase.
In practice, it is not so simple, as the connection between the meter and the switchboard is not always visible. At the meter, you can't always see the wires either.
So what should you do? Look at your meter: a diagram or wording usually indicates the number of phases.
|Network||All||230 V||400 V|
|Number of wires from the meter||2||3||4|
|Available power for 16 A||3,7 kW||6,3 kW||11 kW|
A single-phase connection has 2 wires: a neutral wire (blue) and a phase conductor.
A three-phase connection has 3 to 4 wires:
In three-phase 230 V, there are 3 wires. In a 3x400 V three-phase system, the voltage difference between each phase wire and the neutral is always 230 V, while the voltage difference between two phase wires is 400 V. This makes it possible to supply both the house with 230 V and machines that require 400 V (some electric car chargers for example).
In a 3 x 230 V three-phase system, the voltage difference between each phase wire is 230 V and there is no neutral conductor.
Be careful not to confuse the neutral wire with the earth connection which is yellow and green. The latter allows electrical current leaking from a faulty appliance or cable to be grounded to earth. It protects you from electrocution.
If required, the power of your single-phase connection can be increased to a maximum of 63 A.
If you need more power, or if you have appliances that require a three-phase connection, there is no alternative to switching to a three-phase connection. For example, if you have an electric vehicle and a single-phase connection and you want to charge your vehicle more quickly, you will need to switch to a three-phase connection.
No, the ordinary 2-pin + earth model is perfectly suitable for domestic appliances.
A three-phase socket is only required for appliances that operate in three-phase, such as a professional oven or a lift. These are round 4-pin + earth sockets, connected to 5 wires: 3 phases + neutral + earth.
Note that since most three-phase appliances are fixed (lift, circulator, etc.), they are connected directly to the installation, without a plug.
Subscribe to our newsletter and stay informed about energyfacts.