A Glossary of Common Electrical Terms
A Glossary of Common Electrical Terms
August 16, 2019
Electrical issues happen suddenly. Thanks to a sudden storm, an overload, or a burnout, one minute your electricity was functioning perfectly, and the next minute you are rummaging for flashlights and candles.
Most people have only limited understanding of the complex electrical systems in their house. So, when technicians arrive, the jargon used often only adds anxiety and confusion. But never fear, the Buzz Electrical team is here with a helpful glossary of common electrical terms so you are more prepared to tackle an electrical emergency.
Common Electrical Terms A – Z
We broke down some common electrical terms you might hear when an electrician visits your home and listed them here in alphabetical order. If you have questions about a term, you can call our team any time!
- AWG – American Wire Gauge (AWG) is the system of measurement used in North America to identify different diameters of electrically conducting wire. Each gauge is associated with a different ability to carry amps.
- Ampere – Ampere (amp) is the unit of measurement for electric current. It is defined as the amount of electrical charge that flows past a point, per unit of time.
- Arcing – Arcing happens when electricity passes through the air, using the air itself like a wire. Arcing is a serious fire hazard.
- Cable – A cable is a group of wires, bounded together by a protective plastic jacket. Cables are different from cords in that cords are flexible and have plugs, while cables are stationary.
- Circuit – A circuit is simply the path on which electricity flows.
- Circuit Breaker – A circuit breaker is a device installed in homes and buildings that manages the amount of electricity flowing through a circuit.
- Conductor – Material that allows electric current to pass through it.
- Current – The rate of the flow of electricity, measured in amps.
- Fuse – A fuse is a safety device consisting of a strip of wire that melts and stops the flow of electricity if the current exceeds a certain level. Today, fuses are being phased out and replaced by circuit breakers.
- Generator – Generators transform mechanical energy into electrical energy. Generators push electrons through wires by the motion of a magnet.
- GFCI – Ground Fault Circuit-Interrupter (GFCI) is a type of outlet that can be tripped independent of the circuit breaker. GFCI outlets are meant to protect individuals from electrical shock in environments where water is commonly present, like in kitchens and bathrooms.
- Grounded – Anything touching an electrical current and the ground at the same time is ‘grounded.’
- Insulator – An insulator is any material that prevents the flow of electricity through it.
- Jacket – A jacket is the covering for a bundle of wires. Jackets are typically composed of plastic.
- Junction Box – Junction boxes are meant to hold and protect electrical connections.
- Receptacle – Receptacle is another word for ‘plug,’ ‘outlet,’ or ‘plug-in.’
- Stripping – Stripping is the removal of the insulation or jacket from a group of wires.
- Surge Protector – A surge protector, also called a power strip, is designed to protect your electronic devices from surges in electricity.
- Terminal – A terminal is a screw that connects wires for passing current along. Terminals are anchored to a larger structure.
- Transformer – A transformer is a device that transfers electrical energy between circuits. Transformers can change the voltage of electricity.
- Voltage – Voltage is the force with which electricity is ready to flow.
- Watt – A watt is a unit of power. In other words, a watt is a way of measuring how fast energy is transferred into an appliance.
If this glossary of common electrical terms doesn’t answer your question, Buzz Electrical will!
The Buzz Electrical team is happy to answer any and all electricity-related questions you have. Whether you are curious about a term and can’t find it on the list, or you just want someone to elaborate on this brief description, our electricians are here to help! Give us a call today at (479) 267-2899 for prompt and friendly service!
If you are looking for more helpful electrical guides, check out a few of our latest blogs! Our team explains how to read your electrical meter, how to clean your electronics correctly, and so much more.