Your electrical system is having problems, and it’s time to repair or replace the electrical system in your home. Unfortunately, you have no knowledge of an electrical system whatsoever. You know what’s wrong, but you can’t communicate it to your electrician. All it takes is learning terminology to help repairmen diagnose your problem. Here’s a list of common electrical terms you should familiarize yourself with.
Alligator – a specialized tool that can tie a wire or cable into an insulator.
Amperage – measurement of the strength of an electric current in amperes.
Ballast – A device that limits the current of a high-intensity lamp, especially fluorescent lighting.
Bandwidth – The measurement of a rate of frequencies, usually in hertz.
Breaker – A switch that protects a circuit from damage, especially by overloading or short-circuiting.
Conductor – The interior of a cord that conducts electricity. Copper is used often for electrical wiring. Silver is the best, but is expensive. Gold is used for high-quality connections because it does not corrode.
Daisychaining – connecting multiple devices or appliances through multiple outlets, especially through surge protectors or extension cords.
Gangbox – a metal box that can host electrical components depending on its number (ex: one-gang can hold a single component, two-gang can hold two components side-by-side, etc).
Ground – a connection between an electrical device and the Earth or at the voltage defined as zero.
Lumen – unit of measurement for light energy.
Pigtailing – a circuit connection to a fixture or device by means of a single wire getting its own connection out of a connector that contains other wires.
Receptacle – A fitting that is connected to a power source and can receive an insert. Commonly referred to as a “plug-in.”
Terminal – a point of connection for closing an electric circuit.
Terminator – a device used to transition between contrasting conductors.
Transducer – Converts electricity into a usable current or volt for measurement purposes.
Voltage – Intensity that electricity flows through.
Not all common electrical terminology is found by Google searching these words, however. Like football or other similar concepts, there are visual symbols that indicate certain terms or objects in the electrical world.
While these terms are important to know if you’re experiencing electrical problems – or planning to become an electrician or electrical engineering – it’s important to leave the handy work to electricians and other professionals. Knowing terms is important to diagnose the problem, but it does not necessarily help you fix the problem itself.