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Experts In Your Home Blog

17 Common Terms You'll Hear When Talking to Local Electricians

[fa icon="calendar"] March 21, 2014 at 11:09 AM / by Home Services Expert

open bookIf you've ever had local electricians do repair work at your home, then you might recall getting a shock of a different variety: a shock to your system as you realize that electricians really do have a language all their own.

Yes, certain terms might sound familiar, and you might even be able to easily define others, such as power, volt and watts. But what about those words that you've heard before but don't quite understand, such as, perhaps, busbar, GFCI and series splice?

Naturally, there's no harm in asking local electricians to explain what he's talking about; in fact, an electrician who is vested in educating his customers will be happy to (pardon the pun) enlighten you.

Still, if you're facing an electrical repair, now might be the perfect time to run through some common terms that you might hear while he's on the job. After all, the more you know about electrical terminology, the better you will understand how your home's electrical system functions. You might even be better equipped to troubleshoot some routine electrical repairs on your own. And perhaps the best news? Compared to terms in other specialties, electrical terms are surprisingly straightforward:

  1. Amperage (also abbreviated as amps): How the flow rate of electricity is measured.
  2. Amp-hour: One amp of current that flows for one hour, which is the unit of measurement for the capacity of a battery.
  3. Breaker: A switching device that cuts off power to a circuit when current or heat exceeds a certain level.
  4. BTU: The British Thermal Unit is the amount of heat required to increase the temperature of 1 pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit.
  5. Busbar: A piece of metal within a fuse box that distributes electricity to various circuits.
  6. Circuit: The actual or intended path of current between points of differing voltage.
  7. Current: The flow of electricity through a conductor, usually measured in amps
  8. GFCI: A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter is a safety device used to reduce the risk of electric shock. It automatically shuts off electric current when it detects that it is flowing along a dangerous path, such as people or water.
  9. Jumper: A short piece of wire within a box that goes between two wirenuts or between two devices' terminals.
  10. Kilowatt hour: A unit of measurement for energy, the equivalent of using 1,000 watts (1 kilowatt) for one hour.
  11. Parallel connections: Electrical connections made with the same polarity (for example, positive to positive or negative to negative).
  12. Polarized: When a plug has two different-sized blades or connectors that allow you to insert the plug one way only.
  13. Receptacle: A device that serves as the outlet for lights or appliances to connect to a circuit by means of a cord with a plug on the end.
  14. Splice: An unanchored electrical connector that joins two or more wires directly.
  15. Terminal: The point at which a wire or other electrical component comes to an end and provides a point of connection to external circuits.
  16. Volts: The force that drives electrical energy through a conductor.
  17. Watt: The rate of electric energy used by lights or appliances.

At Experts In Your Home, we take pride in educating our customers. So in addition to helping our customers learn new terms, we know that nothing beats getting a visual demonstration of what the terms mean and how electricity works. That's the difference between just any local electrician and one that truly wants to empower people with knowledge and confidence.

Experts In Your Home has provided expert electrical services to Northern California residents since 1948—and we'd be delighted to do the same for you. We serve Chico, Paradise & surrounding areas, and our electricians are here to help you out.

Stay safe in your home - download our FREE guide below:

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Experts In Your Home has been serving the North State’s construction, remodeling and maintenance needs for over 30 years and provides home painting, heating & air conditioning, plumbing, electrical services & more for your home or business in the communities of Chico, Paradise, Magalia, Durham, Oroville, Red Bluff, Corning & Orland, California.


Topics: Electrical, HOA Maintenance