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Electrical Terms Every Homeowner Should Understand

As a homeowner, possessing a basic understanding of all the electrical components is helpful, especially when electrical system problems arise. Clear communication is key to troubleshooting the issues you're experiencing with the electrician.

If you aren't familiar, here are the names and terms associated with your home electrical system to help you get your language and terminology up to speed.


Voltage refers to the energy force that powers electricity throughout your home.

Standard outlets emit 120 volts of power and utilize one wire to transmit electricity. Outlets that run on 220 power feature two wires and provide twice as much electricity. Commonly, 220 outlets get used to power kitchen and other home appliances with higher energy output requirements.


Wattage is the measurement of the electrical energy used in one second. The lower you keep your demands for wattage, the less your monthly energy bill is likely to be.

Easy ways to reduce your energy demands is by replacing incandescent light bulbs with more energy-efficient LED lights, turning off lights when they aren't in use, and using Smart technology to gain greater control over your HVAC system.

Circuit Breaker

All circuits are housed in your electrical panel and operated by a switch. These switches connect incoming electric to a dedicated circuit that controls power to the areas they connect. Circuits play a critical role in keeping you safe by turning itself off if there's an excessive power surge or an unexpected draw on the circuit. This feature helps in fire prevention. Faulty or broken breakers must get replaced to keep your family and property safe from the threat of electrical fires.

Ground Wire

Your ground wire keeps your electrical system connected with the earth and provides a safe place to distribute excess electric energy. Some older homes may not have essential ground wires, so checking with an electrician in Rockwall to ensure your home has this type of crucial wiring installed protects you and your family from bodily injury and property damages.

GFCI Certified Outlets

To keep your home running efficiently, many outlets are required. In rooms prone to excessive amounts of moisture, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and utility rooms, GFCI outlets provide an extra layer of protection as a mini circuit breaker that guards against shock. This type of outlet prevents surges without triggering a full reset of the circuit breaker.

While you don't need to become a master electrician, having a command of standard terms when discussing a residential electrical system is always helpful. Should you need the help of a certified and experienced electrician in the Rockwall, Texas area, contact the professionals at Rockwall Electric. We're pleased to provide free estimates, and emergency services are always available.


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