Electrical Glossary of Terms
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Ampere – This is a unit of measurement for electrical current – it’s equal to the flow of one coulomb per second.
Central storage – Usually made up of batteries, this is electricity storage located on the domestic network, often near the Consumer Unit with other such equipment, such as a photovoltaic inverter (PV inverter).
Circuit breaker – A safety switch that automatically turns off the electricity supply in the event of a fault.
Consumer Unit – This piece of equipment takes the incoming mains supply and feeds it to individual domestic circuits.
Current – The flow of electricity through a conductor. This is measured in Amperes.
Distributed storage – Like, central storage, this usually consists of batteries, but it is distributed across the network – in phones, laptops and tablets, for example.
Efficacy – This is light output, measured in Lumens per watt (lm/W).
Electrical Installation Certificate – This denotes the person(s) who have designed and tested the electrical installation in question. Without a schedule of inspections, and the scheduling and record of any tests and results, the certificate is not complete.
Fuse – A specially-designed link that is designed to ‘blow’ under faulty conditions, preventing serious electrical faults, such as fires.
Kilowatt – One thousand watts of electricity.
Load – This is a generalised term that means anything that consumes electricity.
On-grid – Refers to a property – a domestic dwelling – that is connected to the national 230 V AC grid electricity supply.
Partial rewire – Where some wiring is replaced, whilst other sections of wire are kept.
PAT – Portable Appliance Testing: the regular testing of portable appliances to check that they are safe to use.
Protected circuit – Any electrical circuit that is protected from fire.
Unit of electricity – How electricity consumption is measured, typically in kilowatts per hour (kWh) or multiples of that measurement. This unit of measurement is often used for domestic electricity costing.
Voltage – An electromotive force that is measured in Volts.
Watt – A measure of power that is equivalent to one Joule per second. Used in correspondence with a circuit where the potential difference in the rate of consumption is one Volt and one current of one Ampere.