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24 Acronyms and Abbreviations DIYers Need to Know

Do you know what these common acronyms and abbreviations mean? If not, study up before your next home improvement project!

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GFCI outletFamily Handyman

GFCI

GFCI is an important acronym to know when doing electrical work. It stands for ground fault circuit interrupter. What it does is shut off a circuit when it detects current is flowing through an unintended path. A GFCI plug receptacle will reduce the danger of deadly shock from faulty plug-in cords. See how to install a GFCI outlet and how to test a GFCI outlet.

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Btu

British thermal unit is a measuring tool of temperature. It is defined as the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. Why is Btu important? Because the number of Btus needed for your home corresponds to the square footage you’re trying to heat and cool. The larger your home, the more Btus you want. Here’s how to cut down on home heating costs.

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medium density fiberboardFamily Handyman

MDF

 

Medium-density fiberboard or MDF is an inexpensive option for woodworking and carpentry projects. MDF is basically sawdust and glue fused together under pressure. It works well for shelving and storage projects because it cuts well. Try using MDF for a flooring project.

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NEC

National Electrical Code or NEC is the Bible for electrical work around the house and will help guide safe installation of electrical wiring. Consult the NEC before doing any electrical work. Find out how to run power anywhere in the home.

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PVC pipeFamily Handyman

PVC

Polyvinyl chloride is the actual name of one of the most versatile items in any shop, PVC piping. PVC was first synthesized in 1872 by a German chemist. Later Waldo Semon and B.F. Goodrich later made it more flexible and its use expanded. Find out the DIY projects you can do without hiring a professional.

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PCV valveFamily Handyman

PCV

The positive crankcase ventilation valve in your vehicle is a one-way valve that recycles the crankcase gases back to the engine to burn. If you have a plugged PCV valve, you’ll notice a rough idle and poor mileage. It can also create oil leaks. See why checking your PCV valve is the world’s easiest diagnostic test.

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Family Handyman

UL

You see it on light bulbs and plenty of other items but what’s that UL stand for? It stands for Underwriters Laboratories based out of Northbrook, Illinois. UL certifies, validates, tests, inspects, audits, advises and educates and has done so since 1894. Find out why you should check to see if that UL label is on a home security system and why it’s especially important to see on a surge protector.

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WD-40Family Handyman

WD-40

You know it as the cure-all for all things immoveable or getting rid of pests. But do you know what the acronym means? The WD part means water displacement and 40 comes from the number of attempts it took to get the formula worked out back in 1953. Here are some of the many uses of WD-40 you should know.

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HVACDavid Spates/Shutterstock

HVAC

The shorthand has overtaken the longer version of heating, ventilation and air conditioning and for good reason, that’s a mouthful. Check these things before calling an HVAC technician to avoid looking foolish and figure out just which kind of furnace filter is the best.

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wi fiFamily Handyman

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi is an abbreviation of sorts. Technically, it stands for wireless fidelity and the name intended to be a play upon hi-fi or high fidelity. The Wi-Fi Alliance, which holds the Wi-Fi trademark, has referred to Wi-Fi as standing for wireless fidelity in the past. Here’s how to fix the slow Wi-Fi spots at home.

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PEXFamily Handyman

PEX

PEX takes its name because it is a form of polyethylene with cross-links, hence the X in PEX. The plumbing material has become en vogue because it doesn’t require glue and it’s less likely to burst if it freezes.

 

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GPF

GPF stands for gallons per flush, which means how much water you’re using and how it will flush. When toilets started going to 1.6 gallons per flush it meant a lighter flush but that problem has since been solved. Find out how to get the toilet you’ll love and learn how to save on water in the bathroom.

 

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image_25797 Airbrush and Compressor Kit

PSI

PSI or pounds per square inch measure measures things like tire pressure and water pressure.

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electrical metal conduitFamily Handyman

EMT Conduit

Electrical metallic tubing (EMT) is a great choice for electrical work because it’s strong and cheap. Check out how easy EMT conduit is to use and see how to install surface-mounted wiring and conduit.

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KISS

An oldie but a goodie, keep it simple, stupid. Sometimes overthinking something does more harm than good, so remember to keep it simple to save yourself some stress.

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SAE

Someone who knows their way around a car is certainly familiar with SAE or Society of Automotive Engineers. SAE tools are the ones that are measured in fractions of inches. SAE will also be found on oil and horsepower ratings. Pick out the best socket set for your shop and see how you should store tools.

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Family Handyman

AC/DC

Yes AC/DC is one of the greatest rock bands to ever play but it also stands for alternating current and direct current. Alternating current changes direction periodically while direct current moves in a straight line. Most electronics use direct current. AC delivers power to houses and office buildings because it travels over distances better.

 

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Family Handyman

NPT

NPT or National Pipe Thread, is a U.S. standard for tapered threads on threaded pipes and fittings. NPT goes back to 1864 when William Sellers created a standard for nuts, bolts, and screws. Solve some plumbing problems by learning how to join dissimilar pipes or why you would wrap threaded pipes.

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TPI

TPI stands for teeth per inch and no, that’s not how they measure a shark’s danger level. Teeth per inch indicate types of saw blades. Higher TPI blades leave a smoother surface but cut slower than lower TPI blades. Learn the home repairs anyone can do.

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ASTM

ASTM (formerly American Society for Testing and Materials, now ASTM International) is making sure everyday items are safe for use—from toys to aircraft by developing standards through its base of volunteers. It has committees on 3D printing and nanotechnology.

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UF

UF or underground feeder cable runs electricity wires underground that are incased in plastic. UF is a type of NM cable.

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NM cable

Non-metallic cable (NM) is flexible electrical cable with a plastic covering. It’s cheap and easy to work with and safe.

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AFCI

An arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) is located in the main electrical panel or a subpanel in a home. It can be reset like a standard circuit breaker.

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ASME

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers sets standards for ratchet strength so it’s a good organization to familiarize yourself with for the future. Now that you know these DIY terms, know the DIY projects that maybe you should just leave to the pros.

Originally Published on The Family Handyman