Common Electrical Terms

Receptacle is an electrical device used to furnish a electrical source for electrical tools or appliances. Receptacles can provide either 110 volt or 220 volt supply. Receptacles can also be switched from a light switch to operate a light.

Connector can refer to either a romex connector or an EMT conduit connector. A romex connector is used to connect romex cable to electrical boxes. EMT connectors are used to connect EMT conduit to electrical boxes.

Two Gang is a term used to refer to a particular type of electrical box. A two gang box will hold two switches, two receptacles, or one switch and one receptacle. Residential Electrical Term Ground Rod is a copper or aluminum rod which is 1/2 inch in diameter and normally eight feet long. It is driven in the ground near the outside electrical service and is used as an electrical ground for the house electrical service.

Switch is an electrical device which is used to other devices on and off. It does this by opening the electrical connection to the device.

Home Run refers to the main line that runs from the electrical service panel to the first device in the electrical circuit.

Switch Leg is the wire in the connected to the switch which controls the on and off of the device.

Breaker Panel is the electrical service panel which contains your house breakers. Most homes have an electrical panel outside which holds the main breakers and all of the 220 volt breakers. There will also be another panel inside the house which will contain all the 110 volt breakers.

Fuse is a protective electrical device. A fuse is rated for a maximum amount of current flow which is measured in amps. Electrical current is measured in amperes also called amps. When the current flow exceeds the amperage rating on the fuse, the fuse link in the fuse will open and stop the flow of current. Years ago everything, both AC and DC current, were protected with fuses. Today most have been replaced with electrical breakers

Romex is a particular type of electrical wiring used mainly in new home construction. Romex consists of a certain size wires wrapped in a plastic sheath. A particular type of romex might be marked as 10/3 with ground. This romex cable will consist of 3 runs of colored coded 10 gauge wire and one run of bare copper wire which will be the ground. The colored coded wires should be red, black, and white. The red and black wires will be hot wires and the white wire will be the common wire. This type wire would be used in a 220 volt circuit.

EMT is a thin walled metal electrical conduit. In the past before flexible PVC conduit was accepted for commercial use, Emt was the main conduit product used in commercial construction. Emt conduit did not need to be threaded and was bent to meet the requirements of the job. Emt has fittings such as connectors and couplings in order to connect the individual pieces and connect to metal boxes

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