Electrical signs and symbols

Written by veronica romualdez
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Electrical signs and symbols
Electrical symbols are usually found on building plans. (Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images)

Electrical signs and symbols are used in plans to show the different kind of electrical elements used. Primarily used by architects and interior designers in blueprints for homes and commercial settings, electrical signs and symbols also show where these electrical elements are located. General electrical elements include wall receptacles, light switches, ceiling fans and light fixtures.

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Light switches

The two main symbols for light switches are the single light switch and the three-way light switch. The symbol for the light switch is the letter "S" with a single line that runs vertically through the middle, much like the dollar sign ($). The symbol for the three-way light switch is the same as the single light switch except for the number three that follows the letter "S" positioned slightly lower than the "S."


Receptacles show where receptacle plugs are located and include the 230 volt receptacle, duplex receptacle, and weatherproof duplex receptacle. The symbol for the 230 volt receptacle is a small circle with three vertical lines that run down that start from the top of the circle and extending past the bottom of the circle. The duplex receptacle is similar to the 230 volt receptacle except it only has two lines. The weatherproof duplex receptacle is similar to the duplex receptacle except it is followed by the letters "WP" positioned slightly lower than the symbol.

Light fixtures

Symbols for light fixtures include the regular lighting fixtures, pull-chain lighting fixture and recessed lighting. The symbol for regular lighting fixtures is a small circle with four short lines protruding from the top and bottom and on each side of the circle. The symbol for pull-chain lighting fixtures is the same as the regular lighting fixture but followed with the letters "PC" positioned slightly lower than the symbol. The symbol for recessed light is a small circle.

Telephone socket and smoke alarm

The symbol for a telephone is a circle with a triangle found inside the circle. The base of the triangle, however, starts at the middle of the circle so that the triangle is not directly at the centre of the circle but rather on the top half of the circle. The symbol for a smoke alarm is a small circle with the letters "SA" inside it.

Circuit breaker and ceiling fan

The symbol for a circuit breaker is a short horizontal line followed by a small arc and then another small horizontal line. This symbol resembles that of a sign for speed bumps. The symbol for a ceiling fan is a small circle with four shapes similar to the blades of a fan protruding from the top and bottom, and both sides of the circle.

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