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Electric Vocabulary

Ampere (Amp.)


The measure of current flowing through a wire.

Circuit Breaker


These protect against power surges or power drains caused by malfunctioning equipment. Circuit breakers and fuses are comparable except that circuit breakers can be reset instead of replaced.

Extension Cord


This extended wiring should be used only temporarily and for only one appliance at a time. The rating on the cord should be of equal or greater wattage than the appliance.



These protect against power surges or power drains caused by malfunctioning equipment. Fuses and circuit breakers are comparable except that fuses must be replaced instead of reset.



Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. Used to prevent electrocutions when electricity is being used near water. Detects when significantly more electricity is going out than is coming back in and cuts off power as a result. Can be bought for panel boxes, individual outlets or switch/outlet combinations.

Horsepower (h.p.)


A unit equal to 746 watts. Usually used to measure the power of motors.

Kilowatt (kW)


1,000 watts

Kilowatt Hour (kWh)


A unit of work or energy equal to using 1,000 watts for one hour. Your bill is computed according to the number of kWhs that you use.

Megawatt (MW)


1,000 kilowatts or 1 million watts



Individual places to plug in appliances. Beware of overloading outlets and extension cords.

Plug, Polarized


A plug with one prong that is larger than the other. This means you will be forced to insert it the right way, which prevents shocks.

Plug, Three-Prong


A plug that has three prongs; two normal ones and one for the ground. A ground keeps you and your appliance safe from electricity that is leaking.

Voltage (Volt)


The force which moves electric current through a conductor from the origin to the point of use.

Watt (W)


A basic unit of electrical power used for measuring the rate of work done.


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