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Electrical Glossary: A Detailed Glossary of All Electrical Terms

Choose a letter below to navigate to the definition you're looking for:








A group of two or more cells connected together to provide electrical current. Sometimes also used to describe a single cell which converts chemical energy to electrical current.




Blower Doors:

Energy contractors use blower doors to see how much air leaks through windows, doors, and other places in your house. The blower door is a large board that blocks the front door of your house. A powerful fan installed in the door draws the air out of your house and causes a strong draft inside where ever the air is leaking in. This can help the contractor locate the air leaks, and gives a good overall indication of how "leaky" your house is.




Branch Circuit:

The circuit conductors between the final overcurrent device protecting the circuit and the outlet(s).




Branch Circuit, Appliance:

A branch circuit that supplies energy to one or more outlets to which appliances are to be connected, and that has no permanently connected lightning fixtures that are not a part of an appliance.





A reduction in voltage and/or power when demand for electricity exceeds generating capacity. The term brownout is misleading because customers generally do not notice the reduction, except when it affects sensitive electronic equipment.




BTU (British Thermal Unit):

A BTU is the standard unit for measuring the quantity of heat energy such as the heat content of fuel. It is the amount of heat energy necessary to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit (3412 BTU's=1 kWh).





A structure that stands alone or that is cut off from adjoining structures by fire walls with all openings therein protected by approves fire doors.






An enclosure designed either for surface mounting or flush mounting and is provided with a frame, mat, or trim in which a swinging door or doors are or can be hung.





A device that stores electrical charge usually by means conducting plates or foil separated by a thin insulating layer of dielectric material. The effectiveness of the device, or its capacitance, is measured in Farads.





a single device which converts chemical energy into electrical current. Sometimes also referred to as a battery.




Circuit Breaker:

A device designed to open and close a circuit by non-automatic means and to open the circuit automatically on a pre-determined overcurrent without damage to itself when properly applied within its rating.




Circuit Extensions:

To extend or add-on to an existing circuit to provide an additional power source.




Code Corrections:

Procedure designed to eliminate wiring conditions that do not meet National Electrical Code requirements and safety conditions.




Cold-Weather Ballast:

Compact fluorescent light bulbs require a ballast to regulate the voltage of the electricity that is applied to the gas inside the lamp. Below-freezing weather can adversely affect the electronic components in these ballasts, causing most compact fluorescent bulbs to appear dim in cold weather. Cold-weather ballasts compensate for this problem and keep the bulb glowing brightly, even in weather as cold as -10F (-23C).





- A conductor having no covering or electrical insulation whatsoever.
Covered - A conductor encased within material of composition and thickness that is NOT recognized by this Code as electrical insulation.
Insulated - A conductor encased within material of composition and thickness that is recognized by this Code as electrical insulation.




Continuous Load:

A load where the maximum current is expected to continue for 3 hours or more.





A device or group of devices that serves to govern, in some predetermined manner, the electric power delivered to the apparatus to which it is connected.





The flow of electricity commonly measured in amperes.


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