Common Electrical Terms Defined


Ever try to have a conversation with somebody who doesn’t speak your language? It’s quite difficult, right? Well, that’s what it can feel like to your average homeowner when an electrician comes in to check out a problem. Since we realize it’s extremely uncomfortable for anyone in this situation, we’ve decided to compile a quick list of common electrical terms every homeowner and renter should know:


Adapter: a cord or block-style device with a number of different ends that allows different devices to connect.

Alternating Current (AC): a type of electrical current which repeatedly reverses direction in an electrical circuit. It results from the rotating magnetic fields in alternators and is the type of current provided by utility companies.

Amperage/Amps: the measurement of the flow rate of electricity. You can think of it like the amount of water flowing through a hose or faucet.

Direct Current (DC): the one-way flow of electrical current produced by PV modules that is oftentimes found in batteries.

Energy: the amount of power consumed or produced over any given period of time. Energy is often measured in kilowatt-hour (kWh).

Kilowatt-hour (kWh): a unit used to measure energy. One kWh is equivalent to using 1,000 watts of power or 1 kilowatt for 1 hour.

Jacket: the outer layer of an electrical cord.

Receptacle: a female flange mounted wiring device with the conducting elements recessed behind the mating surface, otherwise referred to as an outlet.

Voltage: the force that drives electrical energy through a conductor or wire. Think about it like the pressure of water inside a pipe.

GEN3 Electric is your friendly neighborhood home expert. We perform electrical installations and repairs for residential, commercial and institutional clients. Give us a call today at 215-512-4102 to learn more about our electrical services.

About The Author

Bill earned a degree in Electrical Engineering and Architecture, then founded Generation 3 Electric in 2000. His father, an electrician, was his inspiration. These days, Bill actively manages his company and enjoys focusing on new technology and marketing.