You don't have to be an electrical expert to understand some of the more common terms that electricians use during the course of fixing normal problems around your house. But knowing some of the terminology can reduce your confusion when an electrician comes to your house to make repairs:
Ground Fault Interrupter -- A ground fault interrupter (GFI) is a special outlet that protects you from electrocution if there's an abrupt shift in the current flowing through an outlet. If the GFI senses that the flow has changed, and that the return current may hurt you, it shuts down the current.
GFIs are distinct from standard outlets because they feature a test and reset button. If the GFI is tripped and shuts down the current in an outlet, you can press the reset button to restore the flow of electricity to your outlet. Electricians often use the test button to determine when your GFI stops working, or won't reset. Older homes that were wired using out-of-date methods are often rewired with GFIs.
Circuit Breaker -- A circuit breaker is a panel of switches that is mounted outdoors by an electrician that stops the flow of current in your outlets if there is too much electricity surging through your home or business. Some circuit breakers are set up so that one breaker controls every outlet in your home, while others may have multiple breakers for one area of your house, for example, your kitchen.
Circuit breakers prevent the electrical wiring in your house from burning out during a sudden surge in electricity, which can save you a costly repair. When your circuit breaker malfunctions, your electrical wiring is vulnerable to shorts and burnouts.
Fuse Boxes -- Some homes have fuse boxes, which operate the same way as breakers, except that a fuse blows to shut down the flow of electricity, and must be replaced. Fuse boxes don't have switches, but feature a number of fuses that are either blown or operating. Blown fuses have to be replaced immediately to ensure that a power surge doesn't cause a wiring problem in your home.
Electricians are often called when fuses blow all the time, which could indicate that the wiring in your home has a short, or needs to be rewired because it can't contain the amount of electricity that's flowing through. Fuses shut down power faster during electrical surges, but because they can't be reset like breakers, they are less efficient.
Contact a company like A.J.C. Electrical Service Pty Ltd to learn more.