electrical terms for householders

Glossary for Electrical Terms

Here’s a list of basic electrical terms for householders

An electric current which reverses direction periodically, in contrast to direct current (DC) which only flows in a single direction. This is the way electricity is distributed in the UK.
An ampere is the unit used to measure electric current (current is a count of the number of electrons flowing through an electric circuit).

An electrical component consisting of a set of conductive wires surrounded by a protective, insulating outer covering.

A basic electrical component that stores electric charge.

A circuit is a path around which electric current flows from a source through various electronic components.

A device with a switch which cuts off the flow of electric current to certain destinations for safety.

This term refers to any material which allows for the free flow of electric current, such as the copper and aluminium most commonly used in electrical wiring.

Also known as a fuseboard or fuse box, this is the housing from which all the electrical circuits in a property emanate, and where protective devices are located.

Providing a path by means of a low resistance conductor for a fault electrical current to flow to the earth, thereby protecting you from electric shock.

A circuit interrupting safety device consisting of a strip of wire that melts and breaks an electric circuit if the current exceeds a safe level. To restore service the fuse must be replaced.

A device that converts direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC).

This is the unit in which electricity is sold. A kilowatt is equal to 1000 watts.

The switch on a consumer unit in a typical property that can be used to disconnect the supply of electricity to the property.

A device used to automatically disconnect the electrical supply to a circuit – or bank of circuits – in the event of a fault or overload being detected.

This is measured in ohms and refers to the opposition to the passage of an electric current – a bit like how friction impacts water flowing through a pipe.

When a part of an electric circuit makes contact with another part of the same circuit the flow of current is diverted from its path.

A passive component that transfers electrical energy from one electrical circuit to another, or to multiple circuits.

A measurement of the amount of electrical pressure pushing currents through electrical circuits.

A watt is an electrical measurement unit for the rate at which energy is generated or consumed. For example, a 100-watt light bulb draws 100 watts of electricity for every hour that it is lit.

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