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24 Acronyms Home DIYers Really Need to Know

Acronyms: You know what they are, but do you know what they mean? Learn the DIY acronyms you need to know and impress some people along the way.

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GFCI

GFCI is an important acronym to know when doing electrical work. It stands for ground fault circuit interrupter. It shuts 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. Find out the home improvement projects you should never DIY.

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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.

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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. Check out more home improvement projects you can totally do by yourself.

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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.

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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.

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PCV

Not to be confused with the PVC, 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. Check out these simple maintenance tips to extend the life of your car.

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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.

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WD-40

You know it as the cure-all for all things immoveable or getting rid of pests, plus all sorts of other amazing uses. 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. Find out some more common acronyms you’d never guess.

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HVAC

The shorthand has overtaken the longer version of heating, ventilation and air conditioning—and for good reason. That’s a mouthful.

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Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi isn’t necessarily an acronym, but it 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.

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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. Find out these helpful tips for avoiding home improvement scams.

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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.

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PSI

PSI or pounds per square inch measure measures things like tire pressure and water pressure. However, fixing low water pressure can be dangerous on your own. Check out these photos of home improvement fails that will make you cringe.

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EMT Conduit

Electrical metallic tubing (EMT) is a great choice for electrical work because it’s strong and cheap.

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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. Watch out for these things you should never, ever say while DIYing.

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SAE

Someone who knows their way around a car is certainly familiar with SAE or the 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.

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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. If you want to sound smart, avoid saying these 15 acronyms that are actually redundant.

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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.

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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.

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ASTM International

ASTM International (American Society for Testing and Materials) is making sure everyday items from toys to aircraft are safe for use by developing standards through its base of volunteers. It has committees on 3D printing and nanotechnology. Check out these DIY projects that can increase the value of your home.

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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. Check out these clever home improvement ideas for under $200.

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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. Read on to learn about 40 simple home repairs anyone can do.

Originally Published on The Family Handyman