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Electrical Glossary O - Z

Outlet: This is just another name for a receptacle.

Overload: A demand for more current that the circuit wires or electric device was designed to carry. An overload is what causes a fuse to blow or a circuit breaker to trip.

Pigtail: A short wire used to connect two or more circuit wires to a single screw terminal.

Polarized Receptacle: A receptacle designed to keep hot current flowing along black or red wires, and neutral current flowing along gray or white wires. Most receptacles are polarized.

Receptacle: A device that provides plug in access to electrical power.

Romex: A brand name of plastic sheathed electrical cable that is commonly used for indoor wiring.

Screw Terminal: A place where a wire connects to a receptacle, switch, or fixture. The bare wire (minus the insulator) is simply wrapped around the screw and the screw is gently tightened.

Service Panel: This is the metal box where all your current is divided into electric circuits. The circuit breakers or fuses are located in this box to protect each circuit. This panel is located near where the electrical power enters the house.

Short Circuit: An accidental and improper contact between current carrying wires, or between a current carrying wire and a grounding conductor. A short circuit may be caused by using too many appliances on one circuit.

Switch: A device that controls electrical current passing through hot circuit wires. In other words, this is the on-off switch for your lights or appliances.

UL: An abbreviation for Underwriters Laboratories, an organization that tests electrical devices and manufactured products for safety. You will see UL approved on the label.

Voltage: (Volts) A measurement of electricity in terms of pressure. This determines the power of your appliance, etc.

Wattage: (Watts) A measurement of electrical power in terms of total energy consumed. Watts can be calculated by multiplying the voltage times the amps.

Wire Connector: A device used to connect two or more wires together. This piece is also called a wire nut.



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Electrical Basics
Replace an Outlet

Replace A Light Switch


Electrical Glossary
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