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We thought it would be helpful to provide a list of common terms used when discussing your homes electrical appliances and your homes power sources.

Amperage: The amount of current flow.


Amp: a unit of electric current used to measure the rate of flow.


Capacitor: an electric circuit element used to store charge temporarily.


Circuit: A path of conductors that an electric current follows.


Conductor: A material through which electric current flows easily.


Current electricity: Electricity that flows through a circuit, or a continuous unbroken path.


Direct current (DC): Electric current that flows in one direction only.


Electricity: a form of energy produced by the flow or accumulation of electrons.


Electromagnet: A temporary magnet formed when electric current flows through a wire or other conductor


Electron: a subatomic particle with a negative electrical change.


Flourescence: A process by which substances give off light or another form of electromagnetic radiation when they absorb energy.


GFI: Ground fault interruptor: A special electrical receptacle or outlet that is installed near water sources (ie: bathrooms, kitchen and outdoor applications) as a safety precaution that can stop electrical power within milliseconds.


Incandescence: The effect by which an object begins to glow when heated.


Insulator: A material that opposes the flow of electric current.


Ion: An atom or group of atoms that has either gained or lost electrons and has an electric current.


Low voltage: Lamps that operate at a lower voltage than line voltage are termed low voltage lamps. These lamps require a transformer to reduce line voltage to usually 12 or 24 volts.


Ohm: Unit of electrical resistance used to measure a material’s resistance to the flow of electric current.


Parallel circuit: a circuit that splits into branches. A break in one branch will not stop current in the other branches.


Receptacle: A device installed on a wall or floor to connect power supply to appliances that are equipped with plugs.


Resistance: The degree to which a substance resists electric current.


Resistor: A device used to control current by providing resistance.


Series circuit: A circuit that connects a source, load, and conductors in a single loop. Any break in the circuit will stop the flow of current.


Switch: A device installed on a wall that controls power sources such as receptacles.


Superconductors: Materials that lose all resistance to the flow of current at low temperatures. They operate extremely fast and produce almost no heat.


Transfer switch: A switch designed to transfer electricity being supplied to loads from one source of power to another (commonly used on generators).


Transformation: The change in energy from one type to another as in a battery, which changes chemical energy to electricity.


Volt: Unit of potential difference similar to pressure.


Voltage: A type of pressure that drives electrical charges through a circuit.


Watt: Unit of power equal to volts times amps.