Glossary of Construction Terms

Do you ever feel as if your contractor is selling you polyisocyanurate foam when what you really needed was a setback thermostat? Here is a handy guide to common (and not so common) construction terms. Scroll through the glossary below or sort by the letter that starts the word you're looking for. For example, to find polyisocyanurate foam, select P and click Submit.

A (7) | B (6) | C (18) | D (8) | E (9) | F (8) | G (2) | H (4) | I (1) | J (1) | L (4) | M (3) | O (2) | P (11) | R (10) | S (19) | T (7) | U (1) | V (1) | W (4) | Z (2)
Titlesort icon Definition
Voltage

A measure of electrical potential. If we think of electrical measurements in terms of waterfalls then - Multnoma Fall has high voltage and low amperage (very fast water and low volume). The Columbia River would have low voltage and very high amperage (low speed and very high volume).

Most homes are wired with '110' and '220' volt lines. The '110' volt power is used for lighting and most of the other circuits. The '220' volt power is usually used for the kitchen stove, water heater and dryer. (The terms '110' and '220' volts are a short hand, e.g. a '110' volt line is usually rated at 117 volts plus or minus 10%).

See also: Topics: Electrical Systems, Q&A: Electrical, Q&A: Amps, Volts, and Watts