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Common electrical terms that can help you understand your electrician

Does your electrician sometimes use electrical terms you find difficult to understand? In this blog, we are going to “translate” some of the most important keywords in the electrical industry. Luckily at Jaric, we speak your language!

Knowledge is power! And what’s more, knowledge about power – or electricity – is essential when you look for an electrical appliance. Understanding electrical terms will also give you a clear idea every time you call in an electrician to install, service or test electrical devices at your home or office.

In this article you’ll find definitions and explanations of the most common words used in the electrical field.

Important electrical terms to know

  • ACNo matter how tempted you are to say “Air Conditioning”, you should know that your electrician refers to something else. AC stands for Alternating Current and it’s the standard type of electricity you find in your home or office. Moreover, this electrical current reverses many times a second at regular intervals.

In Australia, the frequency of commercially generated AC power is 50 Hz, which means that the current changes direction 100 times per second (twice for each cycle).

  • Amp, Ampere, AmperageAmperage is the volume or quantity of electrical current flowing through a circuit. This volume is measured in Amperes, commonly known as Amps. The number of amps required by an electrical device to operate is typically listed on the equipment electrical label.
  • Circuit, Short circuitThis is an electrical term to describe a network consisting of a closed loop, where electrons flow. Circuits can be in series, parallel, or in any combination of the two.

A short circuit is when electricity has not completed the normal full circuit. For instance, two bare wires touching each other when they actually shouldn’t, or water between two wires are amongst the common causes of a short circuit.

  • Circuit BreakerA circuit breaker is a safety device that automatically stops the flow of electricity whenever a circuit becomes overloaded. In order to restore service, you must reset the circuit breaker after correcting the cause of the overload. Typically, circuit breakers are used in conjunction with protective relays to protect circuits from faults.
  • ConduitA conduit is a metal or non-metal tube designed to protect and route electrical wiring in a building. When electrical wires need to be at the surface in your home or office, a conduit is a great solution. It also provides additional protection against damage to the wires or shock to people near them.
  • FuseSimilarly to a circuit breaker, a fuse provides protection in case of a circuit overload. Its main component is a metal wire that melts when too much current flows through it, thereby interrupting the current. Compared to a circuit breaker that just needs to be switched back on, a fuse must be replaced or rewired.
  • Safety switch/RCD A safety switch is a device that instantly breaks an electric circuit to prevent serious harm from an ongoing electric shock. Also known as a Residual Current Device, it mainly provides a high level of personal protection against electrocution. Generally, it takes 10 to 50 milliseconds to operate, which means not only preventing expensive damages to your property but also saving your life!
  • Switchboard – Technically, a switchboard is an electrical device that distributes electricity from one electrical source of supply to other areas of usage. In other words, it acts as the operational heart of the building, that’s why you should always keep it functional.
  • UPS – An Uninterruptible Power Supply is an electrical device that supplies separate or supplemental power to equipment in case of a power outage. It uses a battery and electronic voltage-generating circuits to supply power during brief interruptions, usually up to 10 minutes.
  • Volt – This electrical term is the derived unit for electric potential, electric potential difference (voltage), and electromotive force. Different countries have different voltage, so it’s imperative to check the force before charging your phone, for example.

Which other electrical terms would you like to learn?

We hope that this little glossary has not only refreshed your knowledge but also removed major confusions regarding electricity. If there are still some terms you don’t understand when talking to your electrician, feel free to ask us or leave a reply below.

If you’d like to know more about electrical services, just visit us online or call Jaric Electrical on 1300 452 742 today.