Electrical Term Glossary

As a homeowner, there are times when you will need some professional assistance with your Anoka home’s electrical system. But it can be very challenging to express your needs and concerns or ask questions when you are not familiar with electrical terminology. But with a few key terms and definitions under your belt, you will be able to understand the information provided by your Lumberjack Electric pro.

AC- This is Alternating Current or, to the general population, what we call an electric current.

DC- Direct Current is what most people are referring to when discussing battery power.

Fuse- This is a circuit interrupting device. These are what was in place before breakers were installed in electrical panels. The old-style fuse would melt or break when exposed to excessive power to open the circuit.

Ground Or Earth- A direct physical connection to Earth.

Ground Fault- An unintentional conductive connection to Earth.

Load- Anything that consumes electric power like lights, heaters, or an electric motor.

Overload- The operation of equipment above its standard capacity. Too much power on a wire or circuit is an overload.

Circuit- A closed path for electrical power flow.

Circuit Breaker- A device that automatically stops the flow of current on a circuit that is overloaded. The circuit breaker must be reset to restore the current flow on the circuit when the overload has been corrected, unlike a fuse which must be replaced.

Conductor- Any material that allows electric current to flow freely. Copper and aluminum are the two most common electrical conductors used in wiring.

GFCI- Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters- A GFCI outlet offers added safety with a built-in function to interrupt the flow of electricity in the event of an overload or fault.

Applying These Terms

When you discuss an older electrical panel issue, your Lumberjack electrician will refer to the potential for an overload of the circuit when too much demand is present. The scenario could be an older home with few outlets. To compensate for the lack of outlets, you used power strips and have exceeded the safe operating capacity of the circuit, breaker, or wiring for your home. This is a common concern in older homes and can be remedied with an electrical panel upgrade, updated wiring, and the addition of upgraded wiring.

Another common situation that can cause concern is a lack of GFCI outlets in your home. These devices use an internal safety feature to protect you and your loved ones in moist conditions that can lead to an overload or fault. Most building codes require the GFCI outlets in bathrooms, kitchens, outdoors, and anywhere there could be excessive moisture that could result in a life-threatening shock to a user.

When you have questions or concerns about any of the electrical system in your St. Paul home, call 612-236-9052 to speak to a licensed Lumberjack Electrician. Our experts are here to ensure your safety and help you understand how to maintain your home’s electrical system in a safe and functional manner.