The terms and definitions below are some used by local commercial electrical contractors and commercial electricians. They pertain to services and products delivered by commercial and industrial electricians, as well as some general electrical terms that all business owners should be familiar with.
Of course, this list will not include all terms or definitions you may want to know regarding commercial electrical work. As with any construction project, ask your commercial electrical services for clarification if there are any terms, materials, line item entries or other information you don’t understand about your project.
As the customer, it is your right to completely understand the commercial electrical repairs, installations or services your office or commercial building needs.
Accent lighting is decorative lighting that provides variable degrees of brightness and may distribute light in multiple directions to emphasize building aspects or illuminate dark areas of offices and commercial buildings. Common accent lighting methods include recessed lighting, track lighting and other aimed accent lighting sources that can be changed to suit employee or customer needs.
Also known as: interior lighting, highlight lighting, uplighting, downlighting, wall-mounted lighting, specialty lighting
Alternating current changes direction with regular frequency is known as alternating current, or AC power. Most industrial lighting, commercial lighting and business power is in the form of AC or alternating current.
Also known as: AC, ac
A term used to describe the reduction in power or voltage when the demand for electricity exceeds the amount of electricity available or being generated. Brownouts are usually minor reductions in power that customers and employees don’t notice; however, some brownouts may affect sensitive electronics.
Blackouts are caused by a lack of power, usually when demand exceeds available power to the point where the power is completely sapped. Blackouts, including rolling blackouts, may occur in summer when temperatures are high and the power drain on the power grid is too high for the electrical system to sustain power.
Also known as: rolling blackout, power loss, power outage, power blackout
Cables, wires and conductors used in commercial building construction to provide electrical power to the entire building.
Also known as: commercial electrical wiring, commercial electrical system installation
Circuit breakers are panels built into offices and public buildings that allow for the opening and closing of a circuit. These may be used to turn off sections of power or turn on areas that have been overloaded and tripped by too-high energy usage.
Commercial lighting services include repair, installation and rewiring for commercial buildings such as businesses, industrial buildings, restaurants, stores, public buildings, schools and other business buildings. Commercial lighting may be present inside the building (in the form of ceiling lights, work lights, office space lighting, decorative lighting, storefront lighting and display lighting) and outside the building (outdoor lighting, walkway lighting, decorative landscape lighting, and parking lot lighting).
Also known as: business lighting, restaurant lighting, store lighting, commercial building lighting
compact fluorescent light bulbs
A type of fluorescent light bulb used in commercial buildings, industrial buildings and businesses. CFLs are energy efficient bulbs that fit most existing light fixtures created for traditional incandescent light bulbs. Commercial buildings, stores, businesses and office buildings often make the transition to compact fluorescent light bulbs in order to lower lighting costs.
Also known as: CFL, CFLs, compact fluorescent lamps, compact fluorescents, Energy Star lightbulbs, energy efficient light bulbs, low-energy light bulbs, fluorescent lighting, energy saving lights
Direct current is an electric charge that flows in one direction only.
Also known as: DC, dc
Electrical generators convert mechanical energy into electrical energy. Electrical generators are typically used as secondary power supplies and emergency power sources in the event of power failures. Some businesses and public buildings have secondary power in the form of electrical generators to allow employees to keep working and public use of their building in the event of an power outage.
Also known as: electrical generators, power generators, emergency power supplies, emergency power supply, electrical generators for businesses
Problem-solving and troubleshooting services to find and identify problems within a commercial electrical system.
Industrial electricians serve non-residential buildings such as factories, power plants, chemical plants, production facilities, mines and manufacturing facilities. They are usually skilled with high voltage power systems, machinery repair, circuits and electrical instrumentation, along with electrical wiring, electrical installation and repairs for industrial buildings.
Also known as: industrial electrical contractors
An inverter is a device designed to convert direct current into alternating current of any required voltage and frequency. Inverters are commonly used to take power from fuel cells, solar panels and batteries and turn it into usable AC electricity for businesses, schools, stores and public buildings.
Also known as: electrical inverters, inverter, power inverters
A unit of electricity that equals 1,000 volts.
Also known as: kV, KV
A kilowatt equals 1,000 watts.
Also known as: kW
The term kilowatt hour refers to the amount of energy equal to the use of one thousand watts for one hour. Kilowatt hours are the most common billing unit for home electric usage.
Also known as: kilowatt-hour, kWh, kW-h, kWh, kwh
An electrical system that provides power to electronic devices that operate on a voltage level lower than the standard 110 volts. Low voltage devices include doorbells, low-voltage lighting and thermostats.
Also known as: low-electric devices
A unit of electrical force.
Also known as: V, voltage
A watt is a measurement of power equal to one joule per second. Watts are broken into submultiples and multiples, including fetowatt, picowatt, nanowatt, microwatt, nilliwatt, kilowatt, megawatt, gigawatt, terawatt and petawatt.
Also known as: W
Power equal to one watt operating for one hour.
A network of wire, conductors and devices that conduct electricity throughout buildings, schools, public offices and stores.
Also known as: home wiring, electrical wiring, residential wiring, electric wiring, commercial wiring, house wires, electrical wires, rewiring, building wiring
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