Five Commercial Electrical Terms You Need To Know

Working with an electrician can feel like working with a rocket scientist. Most head electricians are engineers by trade, and the technicians they work with have years of training in technical school and as apprentices, making their technical knowledge incredibly expansive. They need this technical knowledge due to the dangerous nature of electrical work, but it can make communicating to them as non-expert very difficult. 


If you want to make communicating with your electrician easier, it can be useful to learn some of their terminologies. Below are some of the most common terms used in commercial electrical repair, and how they apply to your business:


AC vs. DC Current

You may have heard of the band, but do you know where these acronyms come from? AC (or alternate current) refers to currents that reverse their direction several times per second in regular intervals. DC current, conversely, only flows in one direction. 


Electrical box vs. circuit breaker

Some people mistakenly call their circuit breaker the electrical box, but these are not the same. The circuit breaker is a protective measure to ensure overloaded circuits do not cause electrical fires, but rather shut off when power is overcapacity. The electrical box, on the other hand, is the box behind the wall where every fixture or outlet collects to the electrical circuit.


Ground Fault 

Ground faults are unintentionally electrically conductive connections between underground conductors and a typically non-conductive surface such as metal. These can disrupt the electrical flow and are common causes for electrical issues in a building. 



If you’ve called out for electrical repairs, chances are your electrician is bringing their multimeter with them. This device is similar to the diagnostic tools used for cars. The multimeter measures voltage, current, and resistance to determine the root cause of common electrical problems. 



If your building is “up to code,” that means it is following the National Electric Code established by the National Fire Protection Association. This code was established in 1897 but is continually updated every three years to provide electricians with all of the information they need for safety and compliance. 


With these terms in your arsenal of maintenance knowledge, you can begin to have more productive conversations with your electrician. To learn more about electrical care and maintenance for your facility, give your local MaintenX a call today!

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