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Appliance Parts Glossary

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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

Absolute

The micron rating of a filter. It indicates that any particle larger than a specific size will be trapped within the filter.

Adaptive Defrost Control

This defrost control uses a microprocessor on a small circuit board to control how often a frost-free refrigerator goes into its defrost cycle. Adjusts defrost frequency over time, based on several factors: time since last defrost, door openings,  etc. There are Matag adaptive defrost timers. General Electric adaptive defrost timers, Whirlpool adaptive defrost timers, and Frigidaire adaptive defrost timers on the market today.

Adhesion

The molecular attraction exerted between the surfaces of materials in contact, (see cohesion).

Aerator

A device used to infuse air into a liquid. An example is the aerator on the tip of a water faucet. This feature may also be found on some dishwasher faucet adaptors.

Agitator

An agitator is a mechanism to put something into motion by shaking or stirring.

In a top load washing machine the agitator projects from the bottom of the wash basket and creates the wash action by rotating back and forth, rolling garments from the top of the load, down to the bottom, then back up again.

There are several types of agitator with the most common are the "straight-vain" and "dual-action." The "straight-vain" is a one-part agitator with bottom and side fins that usually turns back and forth. The Dual-action is a two-part agitator that has bottom washer fins that moves back and forth and a spiral top that rotates clockwise to help guide the clothes to the bottom washer fins.

Agitator dogs

Several manufacturers use a ‘dual action’ washer agitator, with a top ‘auger’ section that rotates independently from the bottom. The top section is ratcheted in continually one direction as the bottom portion oscillates back and forth. The small pawls that engage the ratchet teeth are called ‘dogs’. The most popular system uses a set of four of these, made of soft plastic. 

Agitator post

In top load washers the post is what the agitator is mounted on and through which the drive shaft passes.

Agitator Vane

One of the blades of an agitator, primarily on the bottom section, that acts as a paddle to provide the necessary water turbulence. 

Air Damper

Used in refrigerators, to control the amount of airflow, usually between freezer and refrigerator compartments

Air Filter

The filter used in range hoods, down draft cooktops, air condisioners and furnaces.

Their are grease filters, carbon filters, charcoal filters, electrostatic filters and aluminum filters.

Air Gap

1) A device in the water fill line that prevents backflow of soiled dishwasher water into the supply line.

 2) A device used in dishwasher drain lines, mounted to and protruding above the sink, to prevent sink gray water from migrating back into the dishwasher

Auger

1) Upper portion of a top-load washer’s dual action agitator 

2) The large ‘screw’ that forces ice to the front of a refrigerator’s ice dispenser bin and out the dispenser door.

Auto Dry

Clothes dryer cycle that responds to moisture left in laundry, as opposed to the timed cycle, which runs for x minutes regardless of moisture level or laundry load.

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B

Back Pressure

Pressure that can cause water to backflow into the water supply when a user’s waste water system is at a higher pressure than the public system.

Bake Element

The lower heating element that supplies the heat in an electric oven. Usually operates on 240 volts, and glows red hot when cycled on in normal use. The oven controls cycle the element on and off to maintain proper oven temperature.

Bake Valve

An electrically operated valve, that open and closes by means of a bimetal, to control the flow of gas to a gas oven burner. Sometimes referred to as a oven safety valve.

Bimetal

Two dissimilar metals, bonded together, that, when heated, expand at different rates, causing the bimetal strip to bend and thus break contact. Widely used in thermostats of all types of appliances including refrigerators, dryers, ranges and other low-torque applications where response to temperature change is needed.

Blower wheel

Basically a fan blade, but this term usually refers to the ‘squirrel cage’, or radial designs commonly used in clothes dryers, the evaporator (indoor) side of room air conditioners, and older refrigerators. Quieter than axial fan blades, and very efficient.

Boot

The rubber seal that fits around an opening and is highly flexible, reminiscent of an accordion's bellows, allowing movement of the device to which it's attached. Front-load washers typically have a boot around their door opening. This allows the tub to move freely on its mounts, while preventing water leaks.

Briquettes

Used in gas barbecues in place of lava rock. Controls flare-ups better than lava rock, self-cleaning, and provides faster, even heat.

Broil Element

The upper element located in electric ovens. Mounted to the oven’s ceiling, it provides top browning during bake, and  broils meat and other foods by direct radiant heating.

Broil Valve

An electrically operated valve, that open and closes by means of a bimetal, to control the flow of gas to a gas oven burner. Sometimes referred to as a oven safety valve.

BTU

British Thermal Unit – a standard unit of measurement of heat transfer; the amount of heat required to raise 1 pound of water 1 degree Fahrenheit.

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C

Calibration

 In reference to an oven range Calibration is the process of establishing the relationship between an oven thermostat and the units of measure or temperature.

Calrod

Trade name for the material used in bake and broil elements, to distinguish them from earlier Nichrome wire coil type elements.

Capacitor

Energy storage device, used widely in motor starting applications, microwave oven voltage doubling circuits, power supply filtering, and more.

Capillary or ‘Cap' Tube

A tiny tube, usually of copper, that provides an engineered amount of resistance to fluid passing through it. Used as a restriction device in smaller home refrigeration systems – refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, dehumidifiers, etc

Clutch

Some brands of clothes washers still use one of these.This is usually a slip clutch, which is just a drum with shoes inside that are designed to slip while the tub comes up to speed in spin.

Cohesion

The molecular attraction by which the particles of a body are united throughout the mass, whether like or unlike, (see adhesion).

Cold Control

Another name for a refrigerator thermostat. Responsible for sensing inside temperature and cycling the cooling system on and off as needed.

Compactor Bag

The bag used in compactors to collect the waste material. Most compactors use their own style bags.

Condenser

The part of a refrigeration system where high pressure, heat latent gas, is condensed into a liquid by means of heat transfer to the surrounding air.

Condenser Fan Motor

Traditionally mounted next to the compressor, this is the fan motor that forces air over the condenser coils. It also provides compressor cooling.

Control Thermostat

The ‘cycling’ thermostat that regulates the temperature inside a dryer drum.

Coupler

Whirlpool-made top load washers use a ‘direct drive’ coupler to transfer motor power to the gearcase.

Crisper Cover

 Refrigerator cover or shelf  located over the crisper drawer. 

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D

Defrost Drain Pan

A trough or pan under a refrigerator’s evaporator coil. A tube connected to the refrigerator carrys the coil’s melted frost to the drain pan where condenser and compressor heat evaporates it.

Defrost Heater

An electric heater in or under the freezer evaporator coil that is cycled on regularly to melt off accumulated frost or ice

 

Defrost Limit Thermostat

A small bimetal thermostat (‘thermodisc’) that’s usually electrically in series with the defrost heater. Calibrated to turn on or off the heater to ensure the coil is clear of frost. 

Defrost Timer

A clock-driven switch or ADC circuit boards that is responsible for turning a refrigerator’s compressor off and its defrost heater on after a set amount of time. Usually wired to run along with the compressor and initiate a defrost after x amount of hours of accumulated compressor run time.

Dehumidification

Removal of moisture or humidity from room air.

Dehumidifier rating

These machines are rated in pints/24 hours, or how many pints of water they’ll remove from the air in one 24 hour period.

Detergent Dispenser

Dishwasher or clothes washer mechanism that releases detergent into the wash load at the proper time(s). Operated by bimetal, wax motor, solenoid or timer mechanical linkages.

Door Bar End Cap

This is the plastic piece that latches into a refrigerator or freezer door liner holding the shelf rail in place.

Door Gasket or Seal

Rubber or vinyl strips are used to seal the door openings on refrigerators, dryers, and dishwashers. Fiberglass, silicone and metal mesh material is used on oven doors. Refrigerator gaskets have flexible magnetic strips inside that ‘stick’ to steel cabinets and hold doors closed.

Door Hinge

The hinge allows a door to swing open and closed. Many refrigerator door hinge assemblies have built in ‘automatic’ closers, usually simple cam systems, that ensure closure to keep warm air entry to a minimum.

Door Latch

A device that holds the door closed. Various styles are used on dryers, microwave ovens, dishwashers and front load washers. Those on a front load washer lock the door preventing the door opening while there’s water in the machine.

Door Liner

The inner panel of an appliance door. Referring mainly to refrigerators, upright freezers, and dishwashers.

Door Lock

Latch or lock mechanism that prevents the door opening. Commonly used in food freezers, front load washers (and some top loaders lock during spin) and self cleaning ovens.

Door Shelf Bar

The bar that prevents items on refrigerator and freezer door liner shelves from falling off.

Door Spring

Used to counterbalance a door to keep it from falling heavily. Most doors use a pair of springs and it’s best to replace both of them when either breaks. Ovens, dishwashers, and drop-down dryer doors all use these.

Door Switch

‘Makes’ or breaks a circuit when a door’s open or closed. Used on dryers to turn the motor and heating source off when door is open. Turns refrigerator or freezer interior light(s) and fans on and off and on newer ADC systems, tells the computer how often the door is opened. Prevents your dishwasher from spraying you with hot water when its door’s opened. The oven door hits this switch and turns on interior light and lets the EOC (electronic oven control) know whether it can latch the door to clean or heat the oven.

Drain Check Valve

Dishwashers use one of these to help prevent drain ‘gray or dirty water ’ from finding its way back into the machine. Most are just a simple rubber flapper valve. You still need a high loop or air gap in the line.

Drain Hose

Connects an appliance to the house drain. Used in clothes washers, dishwashers, and dehumidifiers to get rid of ‘gray or dirty water’.

 

 

Drain impeller

Usually refers to a dishwasher’s pump impeller, responsible for pumping water out of the machine.

Drain Loop

The detail most commonly left out of dishwasher installations. A machine’s drain line should be tied up as high as possible under the kitchen cabinets before connecting to the house drain or connected to an air gap. This prevents sink gray or dirty water from migrating into the dishwasher. Also, if the drain runs down through the floor before connecting to the house drain, the washer water’s siphoning out is a sure thing unless a loop or air gap is used.

Drain Pan

Most commonly referring to the pan underneath refrigerators. This pan collects defrost water from collecting on the floor.

Drain Pump

Some washering machines and dishwashers use a separate pump and motor assembly to drain their water.

Drain trap

A loop in a drain line, designed to hold a small amount of liquid, to prevent the movement of unwanted gases through the drain. Refrigerator drain traps keep warm air out of the food compartment while house drain traps keep sewer gases out of the living area.

Drain Trough

A funnel shaped trough located in the back of the refrigerator under the evaporator coil of self-defrosting refrigeration systems. It catches defrost water from the coil and directs it through a connected tube and into the drain pan, where it evaporates.

Drain Tube

The small hose that connects the drain trough to the drain pan. 

Drip Pan

Usually refers to the pans, or bowls, located under range surface units and under some gas range burners. They catch the spills when cooking. 

Drive Block

The drive block mounts the tub to the spin shaft.

Drive Coupler

The coupler that hooks the motor and transmission together. This system is used instead of a belt drive. Whirlpool uses these on there washing machines. They are made of two plastic pieces with a rubber cushion between them.

Drum Belt

Multi-grooved or flat belt that drives a dryer drum. The belt circulates the drum and winds around an idler pulley and motor pulley. 

Drum Seal

Clothes dryers use seals, usually made of felt, to seal the gaps where the rotating drum mates to the rear bulkhead and cabinet front. Some seals are attached to the drum, others to the cabinet, but all service the same purpose which is to prevent air from traveling through the gap. Air leakage here causes air to bypass around the heating element or gas burner. In electric dryers this causes the thermal fuse and/or heating element to fail. In gas dryers it causes thermal fuse problems. Air circulation is the most important thing with a dryer.

 

Drum Support

This is a bearing surface that supports the weight of a dryer drum. Drum rollers are used in the back of most dryers. Various types of plastic slides are used in the front of most dryers.

Drum Vane

The Vanes or ‘paddles’ mounted to the inside of the drum of dryers and front-load washers. These do the work of moving the laundry through a dryer’s airflow or a washer’s water/detergent solution.

Dual-Action Agitator

The term used for top load washer agitators with a top half that moves somewhat independently of the bottom half. Most of these incorporate a ratcheting auger that rotates in only one direction that is driven by the agitator’s oscillating bottom half.

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E

EER

EER stands for Energy Efficiency Ratio primarily used in air conditioning. It means the btu/watt rating. The higher the number, the more efficient the unit.

Energy Saver Switch

 In the case of refrigerators, this switch turns a tiny condensate heater on/off.

When they appear on air conditioners, most cycle the fan off when the thermostat no longer ‘calls for’ cooling.

ERC or EOC

Electronic Range Control’ or ‘Electronic Oven Control’; these two acronyms refer to the same thing. Many modern ranges and ovens use microprocessors to control oven operation and some newer ones even use control electric surface units. 

Euro-burner

Solid cast iron electric range surface units.

Evaporator

The ‘low (pressure) side’, cold portion of a refrigeration system, usually in the form of a coil, in which the refrigerant is boiled, or evaporated, from a liquid into a gas, absorbing ‘latent’ heat in the process, and providing refrigeration.

Evaporator Fan Motor

Fan motor located in the refrigerator or freezer that forces air through the evaporator coil.

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F

Fabric Softener

Any one of several chemicals used to essentially 'dry lubricate' fabric fibers, making them feel soft, and reducing static charge. Perfumes are also added to some laundry fabric softener formulations. Liquids are one common form of softener used in washing machines. For use in clothes dryers the chemical is embedded in sheets of paper-like fabric called dryer sheets.

Fabric Softener Dispenser

Introduces fabric softening chemical into a wash load at the disignated time. Usually in the rinse cycle’s clear water.

Fill Hose

The hose that connects a washer to the fresh water supply. There are commonly two used and connected from the water valve on the washer to both the hot and cold water  shut-off valves.

Fill Level

The height, or depth, of the water when a washer, dishwasher or icemaker fills.

Fill Valve

The water valve that turns the water on/off to washers and icemakers. Electrically controlled, this valve uses a solenoid that opens a small internal port, allowing house water pressure to operate the actual valve and turn water on or off.

Filter

A device containing a porous material or a material itself, through which a liquid or gas is passed in order to separate suspended particulate matter. Common filter materials are activated charcoal, polypropylene and HEPA (high efficiency particulate air [filter]).

Flame Sensor

Gas dryer component, mounted to the side of the burner ‘can’, that senses radiant heat from the igniter and/or gas flame. The flame sensor is made from a strip of bimetal painted black on one side and operats a set of switch contacts. The switch is normally closed and opens when heated.

Float

A dishwasher component that prevents overflow by switching off the fill valve or telling the electronic control there’s an overfill condition and that it should shut the unit off. Basically just a small float attached to a microswitch in series with the fill valve.

Foot Pad

The rubber piece on the bottom of the legs of appliances. Also used on the bottom of grates of gas rranges.

Front Loader

Clothes washer that is loaded from the front rather than the more common top-loader. Also called ‘horizontal axis’ machines.

Frost Free

This is what we’ve called self-defrosting refrigerators since they were invented in the late 1950’s. A defrost timer and heater system is employed to defrost the evaporator at timed cycles.

FSP

An abbreviation for Factory Specification Parts. Used by Whirlpool to differentiate genuine factory replacement parts from those of after market or universal replacement parts.

Fuse

A link made of ‘meltable’ metal, calibrated to melt open within a specific current or heat range to protect an electrical circuit.

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G

Gas Valve

Combination pressure regulator and valve used in gas dryers that are electrically controlled by a set of solenoid coils. Used in gas ranges to regulate surface burners. Also an inline shutoff valve inserted in a gas appliance's supply line.

Gasket

A resilient or flexible material used between mating surfaces to provide a leak-proof seal. May also be called a SEAL.

Gearcase

Also called a transmission. Contains a washer’s drive system, including its drive gears and input and output shafts.  They are filled with heavy oil or grease to keep the gears lubricated.

Glide

A piece of plastic, usually made of some version of Teflon®, used to support the front of the drum.

Also used on range broiler drawers in place of a roller.

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H

HE Detergent

Recommended for use in newer high efficiency washers, especially front-loaders, this is a more concentrated, low sudsing form of detergent.

Heat Exchanger

The suction/capillary line assembly that carries refrigerant to/from a refrigeration system’s evaporator coil.

Heating Element

the coil or cal-rod used to provide the heating in range surface units, bake and broil elements, dryer elements, heaters, bbq's, etc.

High Limit Thermostat

A safety device that ‘backs up’ the control thermostat in dryers. Also used in ranges and built in ovens 

High Voltage Capacitor

Used in a microwave oven it is the voltage doubling circuit of the high voltage section that fires the magnetron.

High Voltage Diode or Rectifier

Used in a microwave oven’s voltage doubler to efficiently provide sufficient voltage to the magetron.

High Voltage Transformer

The high voltage transformer raises 120 volts AC to 1000 volts or more before sending it on to the doubler which doubles it.

Horizontal Axis

The shaft that a frontload clothes washer drum or basket that spins on.

Hose Washer

The rubber washer seal in the end of a washer fill hose that is compressed against the faucet rim and hose connecter to prevent water leaks.

Humidistat

Similar to a thermostat, except this switch cycles based on humidity rather than temperature. Used in humidifiers and dehumidifiers to turn them on or off.

Hydrator (Crisper)

A drawer or compartment, usually located in the bottom of a refrigerator. Its designed to help keep fruit and veggies fresh for as long as possible.

Hydrator Cover

Commonly called the ‘crisper cover’, it is the shelf that covers the vegetable drawers in refrigerators.

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I

Ice Dispenser

Refrigerator mechanism that dispenses ice. Usually located in the freezer door.  Pushing on the cradle with a glass dispenses either ice or chilled water.

Icemaker

Mechanism that makes ice cubes and drops them in a bin.

Icemaker Bail

Usually a piece of stainless steel wire that senses the level of ice cubes in the storage bin, turning the unit off when the bin gets full. The icemaker raises this bail during every cycle, then lowers it again, and if it contacts ice, turns off a switch that shuts the icemaker off until it is lowered by ice usage.

Icemaker Fill Level

Most overlooked cause of icemaker problems. Whenever any change is made to an icemaking system – new unit installed, fill valve replaced, etc, this must be checked and adjusted. The icemaker should fill with water around 140 cc’s per cycle. This amount varies a little bit between icemaker styles, but not by much.

Icemaker Fill Tube

This little plastic tube angles down through the back of a refrigerator’s cabinet into the icemaker. Water enters through this tube and fills the icemaker’s cube mould.

Icemaker Module

The mechanism assembly located in front part of newer icemakers.

Icemaker Mold

The actual ‘cube tray’ that the water fills up to form the cubes into their shape.

Idler Pulley

A roller and spring assembly that supplies tension to a belt. Used in dryers and some belt-drive washers.

Igniter

A gas appliance component that ignites the gas flame. They’re made of a carborundum compound that glows when voltage is applied. Some are an electrode that generates a spark.

Impeller

A fan blade that moves liquid. You'll find these in dishwasher pumps and washer pumps.

Infinite Heat Switch

A switch that controls the amount of heat generated by an electric range surface burner. It accomplishes this by quickly cycling the voltage on and off to achieve an intermediate range. Eg. At medium it may supply 100% voltage for only 50% of the time it is switched on. It does not act like a rheostat and reduce the voltage, to lessen the heat generated, as sometime mistakenly thought.

Interlock Switch

Attached to door and lid mechanisms to prevent them from being opened during some cycles. These are used in microwave ovens, some locking washers (all front-loaders), trash compactors, and some self cleaning ovens.

Inverter

 Electronic circuitry commonly used to convert DC voltage to a form of AC. Limited use in microwave ovens to replace the high voltage transformer, which is much heavier. Now used in newer washer and dryers.

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J

Jet Dry

Rinse agent for automatic dishwashers. Keeps glasses spotless.

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K

Keypad

Two membranes of conductive material separated by a non-conductive layer, making a ‘sandwich’ of individual switches that are connected to a microprocessor to control it. They are located on the front panel of appliances that use an ERC.  

Knockout, Disposal

Disposals are shipped with the dishwasher drain hole plugged with a plastic piece that needs to be punched out to connect the dishwasher drain hose.

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L

Lid Bumper

Small piece of rubber that prevents a washer lid from contacting the cabinet top directly.

Lid Lock

Mechanism used on some top-load washers to latch the lid closed during spin for safety purposes.

Lid Switch

Top-load washers use a switch that prevents operation with their lid open. Many will fill and agitate, but not spin, with an open lid.

Lid Switch Actuator

The mechanical link that operates a top load washer’s lid switch. Often a strike pokes through a hole in the cabinet top and pushes the actuator.

Limit Switch

A bimetal switch used to open the electric circuit once a set temperature is reached. This thermostat will usually reset to a closed position once a set colder temperature is again reached.

Liner

The interior walls of refrigerators and freezers, and the inside panels of their doors, are referred to as liners.

Lint Filter

Lint screen that collects the lint during the drying cycle in dryers.

Lithium Grease

Multipurpose, high-temperature lubricant containing Teflon. Ideal for metal to metal and plastic to metal applications, Excellent rust and corrosion inhibiter.

Low Side

A refrigeration system’s lower pressure ‘half’, consisting of the evaporator and suction line.

Low Voltage Transformer

 Electronic controls operate on low voltages DC and this transformer ‘steps’ the ordinary 120 volt household down to the 2 or 3 low voltages commonly used on a pc board.

Low-suds (HE) Detergent

Recommended for use in newer high efficiency washers, especially front-loaders, this is a more concentrated, low sudsing form of detergent.

LP

Liquid Petroleum, or 'bottled gas', the most commonly used form of fuel used  to operate gas ranges, dryers, bbq's and water heaters.

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M

Magnetron

The vacuum tube that generates microwave energy at 2450 Mhz to cook our fast food. The name comes from the field created by two huge ceramic magnets used to ‘bend’ electron flow into a resonant cavity to ‘tune’ it to the proper frequency.

Manual Defrost Refrigerator

A type of refrigerator that does not have a mechanical defrosting system and must be defrosted manually. This type of appliance usually has one main outer door with a small door inside, covering the evaporator box.

Megahertz, 2450

The output frequency of today’s microwave ovens

Mg/L, Milligrams per litre

A concentration unit of chemical constituents in solution, the weight of solute per unit volume of solvent, usually water, this measure is equivalent to parts per million or ppm.

Micrograms per litre, µ/L

A concentration unit of chemical constituents in solution; the weight of solute per unit volume of solvent, usually water, one thousand micrograms per liter is equivalent to 1 milligram per litre, this measure is equivalent to parts per billion or ppb.

Microwave

A high-frequency electromagnetic radio wave, in the spectrum between infrared light and short-wave radio wavelengths.

Monitor Switch

This one ‘backs up’ a microwave’s interlock switches, blowing a microwave’s fuse if either of the interlock switches should fail. Also used on some washer lid switches, especially newer Maytags.

Motor and Pump Assembly

Many clothes washers use a small, separate motor that drives its own pump, independently from the drive motor. Many newer dishwashers also use one of these for drain. Also refers to a dishwasher’s main ‘wash’ motor & pump assembly, which can be replaced as a unit in many machines.

Motor Controller

Most front load washer motors – and some high-end top loaders - are 3-phase, and this circuit board is responsible for converting our single phase house current into 3-phase that the motor can use. Also handles speed control requirements.

Motor Start Switch

Used on a single-phase motor to switch from the start winding over to the run, or main, winding, once the motor has come up to the proper speed.

Motor, Drive

The main motor in an appliance.

Moulding

A piece of plastic used to cover the joint between the inner and outer cabinet of a refrigerator or freezer. May also be called a BREAKER STRIP.

Mullion

The front surface of a refrigerator’s ‘divider’ between the fresh food and freezer compartments. The only surface shared by both door seals.

Mullion Heater

A small electric resistance heater mounted behind the center mullion of refrigerators.

Multi-V Belt

 A ‘grooved’ belt used in applications where two pulleys are of very different sizes. Commonly used in dryers and front load washers.

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N

Natural Gas

Natural gas is a gaseous fossil fuel consisting primarily of methane but including significant quantities of ethane, propane, butane, and pentane—heavier hydrocarbons removed prior to use as a consumer fuel —as well as carbon dioxide, nitrogen, helium and hydrogen sulfide. This is what most gas appliances are set up to use from the factory, as opposed to ‘bottled’, or ‘LP’, manufactured gas.

Neutral Drain

Early Whirlpool direct-drive washers went directly into spin with a full load of water and laundry. This proved hard on clutches and other drive components, so the gearcase design was changed to incorporate the ND mechanism inside. The idea is to drain most of the water out before spin occurs.

Nutation

Whirlpool coined this term for the unique ‘wobbling’ agitation action used in their ‘Calypso’ top-load washers.

Nutator

A perforated plate in the bottom of the tub, that ‘wobbles’ to provide wash action with very little water, in Whirlpool ‘Calypso’ top load washers.

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O

OEM Parts

Original equipment manufacturer, or OEM, is an ambiguous and abstruse phrase that refers to containment-based re-branding, where a company uses a component of another company in its product, or sells the product of another company under its own brand. OEM refers to the company that originally manufactured the product.

Orifice

A small hole of a specific calibrated size to provide proper BTU output to a particular burner in a gas appliance.

Oven Element

Refered to the bake or broil element inside your oven.

Oven Sensor

Used in electronically controlled ovens, this little probe contains a thermistor. This is a solid state device whose electrical resistance varies with temperature. Its resistance is measured by the microprocessor, which then cycles the oven heat on or off as necessary to maintain the selected temperature. 

Overload Protector

A device that protects against both overheating and over-current protection, opening a circuit whenever either happens. Most motors and refrigeration compressors have these.

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P

Power Relay

Relay that functions at a predetermined value of power; may be an overpower relay, an underpower relay, or a combination of both.

Pressure Switch

An electrical switch that is operated by pressure, usually air pressure, acting on a diaphragm. Used mainly in clothes washers to determine water fill level by switching off the water fill valve and turning on the timer or 'telling' the electronic control it's time to start the agitation process.

PTC (positive temperature coefficient) Relay

A solid-state device whose electrical resistance increases as its temperature increases. Widely used for starting refrigerator and freezer compressors.

Pump

Device used to move liquids, usually by means of a centrifugal impeller.

Push to Start Switch

Switch used to initiate the start of a cycle in an appliance. It starts the motor. Used on dryers and trash compactors.

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Q

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R

Rack Roller

The small wheels, usually made of plastic, that support the a dishwasher’s dish racks, allowing them to be rolled out to be loaded and unloaded.

Rear Bearing

The bearing located on the rear drum shaft in the back of the dryer.

Receptacle, Dryer

The Receptacle that the 220V dryer cord plugs into, located on the wall

Receptacle, Range

The terminal blocks that the electrical cord hooks up to one on electrical ranges. One is on the back of the range and the other in the wall.   

Relay

a set of electrical contacts that is opened and closed by a magnetic coil or other actuator device, such as a bimetal.

Remote Pump

In newer clothes washers and some dishwashers, the remote pump is a separate component from the main drive motor, and can operate independently from it.

Rinse Aid

A chemical wetting agent added to a dishwasher’s rinse water to prevent spotting, especially on glassware. A small quantity is automatically admitted into the dishwasher by the rinse agent dispenser.

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S

Saddle Valve

A small valve commonly used to connect refrigerator icemaker water supplies. Clamps onto, or ‘saddles’ a water line, from which it obtains its water supply. There are basically two types: those that pierce the water line, and those that require drilling a hole into the line.

Saddle Valve

A small valve commonly used to connect refrigerator icemaker water supplies. Clamps onto, or ‘saddles’ a water line, from which it obtains its water supply. There are basically two types: those that pierce the water line, and those that require drilling a hole into the line.

Sealed System

An entire refrigeration system, consisting of compressor, evaporator, condenser, drier-filter, connecting tubing, and the captive oil and refrigerant charge.

Selector Switch

A multi-position electrical switch that routes current flow to different circuits depending on the user’s choice. There are two main types, rotary or pushbutton switches.

Self-leveler

Usually seen on the rear legs of automatic top-load washers, these devices simplify the leveling process during installation. The front feet are leveled side to side, then the machine is tipped forward a bit and dropped down onto the rear feet. This mechanism is designed to cause the rear feet to conform to the floor and level the washer.

Shelf Support

 A short plastic support post that anchors to a refrigerator or freezer liner and upon which the shelves rest.

Side by Side

Refrigerator with the fresh food and freezer sections next to each other. The freezer section is usually on the left side.

Silverware Basket

In dishwashers, a container, usually made of plastic, that holds silverware and other small items, keeping them from falling into the bottom of the dishwasher.

Siphon Break

A small check valve that allows air into a drain system to prevent a siphon from becoming established. Used mainly in clothes washer drains.

Smooth Top

In reference to electric ranges with some version of glass over the surface burners.

Snubber

A device that adds some friction to a suspension system to dampen vibration. Most often used on washers.

Soil Sensor

Used mainly in high-end dishwashers to ‘read’ suspended dirt in wash water.

Solenoid

An electro-mechanical device that produces a magnetic field, to move an internal metallic plunger, when power is supplied. When power to the electromagnet is discontinued, the plunger is free again to move by other forces. This plunger can be attached to other devices (levers, seals, etc.) to do mechanical work. This arrangement is commonly used in water fill valves, dishwasher drain valves, range door lock mechanisms and dryer gas valves.

Solid State Relay

An electronic switch that diverts the current when the flow is changed or when an external current is applied. Sometimes called a TRIAC.

Spark Module

Electronic circuit module that provides the high voltage to the spark igniter to light gas burners.

Spin Seal

A large rotary seal in a clothes washer that protects the main shaft and bearings.

 

Spray Arm

In dishwashers, this is a rotating, perforated tube, usually flattened, through which the wash water recirculates during the wash cycle to distribute it over the dishes.

Suction Line

The ‘low side’ tube that connects a refrigeration system’s compressor to the evaporator. The larger of the two tubes that make this connection, and the biggest tube seen connected to the compressor.

Sump

The lowest point in a water-handling system, where liquids collect and are moved upward.

Surface Element

See "Surface Unit"

Surface Unit

Electric range top burner.

Surface Unit Receptacle

Bakelite (porcelain) or plastic block into which a conventional surface unit plugs or wires into.

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T

Tall Tub

Refers to the newer style of dishwashers with large tanks that extend nearly to the floor.

Temperature Differential

Degrees of difference between the ‘cut-in’ and ‘cut-out’ of a temperature control system. For example, in an oven, when set for 350F, the actual temperature may cycle from 325F to 375F. The temperature differencial in that case would be 50F.

Thermal Fuse

Any of the ‘one-time’ (non-resettable) temperature-sensitive devices used mainly in heating applications as protection against overheating when other components fail. Commonly used in clothes dryers and microwave ovens, they’re designed to open within a precisely defined temperature rating to help prevent fires.

Thermal Limiter

This is very similar to a thermal fuse, but in some cases can be resettable. 

Thermistor

The combination of the two words ‘thermo’ and 'resistor’, this is a resistor whose electrical resistance varies with temperature change.

Thermodisc

A mechanical electric switch that is responsive to changing temperature by means of a bimetal actuator.

Thermostat

A switch that opens and closes based on heat rise or fall. Most are  operated either by a piece of bimetal or small hydraulic systems charged with a chemical whose expansion and contraction operates the switch contacts.

Timed Dry

In a clothes dryer, this refers to the cycle that runs for x amount of minutes, then turns off, whether the laundry’s dry or not, with no actual moisture sensing involved.

Timer

In appliances, these are the ’mechanical brains’ that determine what the appliance does, and how long it does it before doing something else.

Top Freezer or Top Mount

Refrigerator design with the freezer on top and fresh food section on the bottom.

Top Loader

A washer that’s loaded with laundry from above. Some portable dishwashers also loaded this way.

Transmission

Also called a gearcase. Contains a washer’s drive system, including its drive gears and input and output shafts.  They are filled with heavy oil or grease to keep the gears lubricated.

Triac

A solid-state relay that can be turned on and off many times per second

Trim Ring

A circle of chrome or porcelain around conventional range surface burners.

Tub Ring

A top load washer tub’s top cover. Basically a large donut-shaped cap that seals the top of the tub. Also closes down the gap between the top of the basket and the tub, to help prevent small articles of laundry from escaping into the tub.

Turntable

Also called a carousel. The tray inside a microwave oven that is square, rectangular, or round, made of a special high iron content glass.

Turntable

Also called the carousel. The tray inside a microwave oven that is square, rectangular, or round and made of a special high iron content glass.

Turntable Motor

The small electrical motor that rotates a microwave ‘carousel’ to help provide even cooking.

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U

Unicouple

Device used to attach the fill and drain hose of a portable dishwasher or washing machine to a faucet (tap) adaptor mounted on a sink faucet.

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V

Valve Coil

the electromagnetic coil of wire used in appliance water fill valves, drain valves, gas control vales, and others.

Vent Fan Motors

The Fan Motor that pushes the air through the vent pipe.

Vent Hood

The opening in the outside house wall through which a dryer vents. These are equipped with either a flapper or louvers that are opened by the dryer's outlet air pressure.

Also called a 'range hood'.  The large 'funnel' installed over a stove to catch and divert cooking heat and vapors outside the house. Usually fan-forced. Some 'recycle' air through a filter and back into the house.

Voltage

Voltage (sometimes also called electric or electrical tension) is the difference of electrical potential between two points of an electrical or electronic circuit, expressed in volts.[1] It measures the potential energy of an electric field to cause an electric current in an electrical conductor. Depending on the difference of electrical potential it is called extra low voltage, low voltage, high voltage or extra high voltage.

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W

Wash Impeller

In dishwashers, this rotating 'fan blade' recirculates the tankful of water and detergent solution back over dishes after passing it through a filter.

Wash Pump

The section of a dishwasher pump assembly, including the wash impeller, that is responsible for rotating the water to spray the dishes.

Water Dispenser

The refrigerator system that stores a quantity of chilled water, and delivers, it on demand, to an outlet outside the refrigerator, and directly into a glass or other container. Uses the same water supply as the icemaker.

Water Filter

A refrigerator water filter is a devise located in the water line designed to absorb impurities in the water. 

Water Level Switch

Also called a pressure switch. In a clothes washer the water level switch is activated by the water level in the tank, and turns the fill valve off and the timer motor on, starting the agitate cycle.

Water Valve

Also called a fill valve. A commonly used device in appliances, these valves use house supply water pressure to open and close. This is done by energizing a valve coil that opens a small hole, allowing water pressure to lift the valve's diaphragm off the valve seat, allowing water to flow into the appliance.

Wattage

The unit of power measurement; 1 joule of energy per second; the power dissipated by a current of 1 ampere flowing across a resistance of 1 ohm; in Ohm's law, watts = volts x amps

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X

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Y

Yoder Loop

A length of a refrigeration system's warm condenser tubing that is routed inside a refrigerator or freezer cabinet to warm its surface, preventing condensation.

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Z

 

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