The 'D' page
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– With the advent of Permanent Press fabrics, this is a term not seen
much any more. This was a dryer setting that left some moisture in the
laundry, allowing for ironing (shudder!)
– a trough under a refrigerator’s evaporator coil, with a tube
connected to carry the coil’s melted frost to the drain pan under the
refrigerator, where condenser and compressor heat evaporates it.
– An electric heater in or under the freezer evaporator coil. This
heater is turned on regularly to melt off accumulated frost so air can
pass freely though the coil, giving up heat.
– a small bimetal thermostat (‘thermodisc’) that’s usually
electrically in series with the defrost heater. Calibrated to open and
turn off the heater when the coil temperature has been raised enough to
ensure the coil is clear of frost. Several common temperature ratings are
45, 50, 60, and even 70 degrees F. Newer ones are rated in Celcius –
you’ll usually find this rating stamped on the device. Inexpensive
generic versions are readily available, and can be ‘bugged’ to the
many different original harness plugs used. Wire nuts with a bit of
silicone added for waterproofing work well for this.
– a very reliable, clock-driven switch (commonly being replaced with
less reliable ADC circuit boards today) 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 hours of accumulated compressor run time. A
common timer ‘trips’ into defrost after 8 hours, and has a defrost
cycle of around 20 minutes (note, though, that the heater probably won’t
be on for the full 21 minutes. In most cases, the defrost limiter will
turn the heater off before the timer does.
– removal of moisture, humidity, primarily from room air in our usage
– 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.
any one of several chemicals, usually in crystal form, that are used to
absorb and hold unwanted moisture. Most commonly found in refrigeration
system drier filters to absorb moisture that would cause problems if
allowed to circulate.
– Dishwasher or clothes washer mechanism that releases detergent into
the wash load at the proper time(s). Operated by bimetal, wax motor,
solenoid, and timer mechanical linkages.
gasket, or seal
– Rubber or vinyl strips are used to seal the door openings on
refrigerators, dryers, and dishwashers. Fiberglass 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, while
allowing them to be opened easily, preventing child entrapment.
– Probably needs no explanation, there are many types of these, but all
support and allow 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.
– By US law, these can no longer used on refrigerators due to the child
entrapment danger. Various styles are used on dryers, microwave ovens,
dishwashers, and front load washers, which include a lock that prevents
door opening while there’s water in the machine.
– The inner panel of an appliance door, referring mainly to
refrigerators, upright freezers, and dishwashers.
– Latch or lock mechanism that prevents door opening. Commonly used in
food freezers (keyed, manual), front load washers (and some top loaders
lock during spin) and ovens (electrical, lock in 900F clean cycle).
– This used to refer only to refrigerator doors, but these days many
front load washer and dryer doors can be reversed too (a great idea!).
Most refrigerator doors can be switched to swing in the opposite
direction, and this has been a really great idea. Extra hardware is rarely
needed for this job – existing hinges, screws, and handles are made so
they can easily be moved over and used on the cabinet’s opposite side.
(see door gasket)
shelf end cap
– This is the little plastic piece that latches into a refrigerator or
freezer door liner, and to which the shelf rails attach.
– the rail, usually metal, that prevents items on refrigerator and
freezer door liner shelves from falling off.
– Used to counterbalance a door to keep it from falling heavily, these
springs do a lot of work, and breakage is pretty common. Most doors use a
pair of these, and it’s best to replace both of them when either breaks.
But when it’s really hard to locate a replacement, a new hook can, in
most cases, be bent back onto the broken one (that’s what usually
breaks). Ovens, dishwashers, and drop-down dryer doors all use these.
(also see lid switch) – ‘Makes’ or breaks a circuit when a door’s
open or closed. Used on dryers to prevent running with the door open and
burning out an element, or worse. Turns refrigerator 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. Opening and closing the oven door hits
this switch, turns on interior lights and lets the EOC (electronic oven
control) know whether it can latch the door to clean, and whether it
should allow a broil cycle, etc.
(see also drain loop)– Dishwashers use one of these to help prevent
drain ‘gray water’ from finding its way back into the machine. Most
are just a simple rubber flapper valve, but they do their job effectively.
Still need a high loop or air gap in the line, though.
– This is what I call the 6” hooked piece of 12 gauge copper wire that
I hang over defrost heaters. This wire extends down a refrigerator’s
drain and transfers some of the heat from the defrost heater, preventing
drain freeze up.
– Connects an appliance to the house drain. Used in clothes washers,
dishwashers, and dehumidifiers, to get rid of ‘gray water’.
(see impeller) – Usually refers to a dishwasher’s pump impeller,
responsible for pumping water out of the machine (as opposed to its wash
impeller, which recirculates wash water and does most of the actual
– 1) 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’ (which see). This prevents sink gray water from migrating
into the dishwasher. Also, if the drain runs down through the floor before
connecting to the house drain, the wash water’s siphoning out is a sure
thing unless a loop or air gap is used. 2) Refrigerator defrost drains
often use a loop too. This loop, or trap, keeps warm air from entering the
– Most commonly referring to the pan underneath refrigerators, this pan
collects defrost water. The water evaporates from this pan, which needs
occasional cleaning, but not emptying in normal use.
– Newer clothes washers and dishwashers use a separate pump/motor
assembly to drain their water.
– 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; house drain traps
keep sewer gases out of the living area).
– A funnel shaped trough located under the evaporator coil of
self-defrosting refrigeration systems. Catches defrost water from the
coil, and directs it through a connected tube and into the drain pan,
where it evaporates.
– The small hose that connects the drain trough to the drain pan. Often
runs through Styrofoam dividers, where its drain water can freeze and clog
with ice, causing problems.
– a small torpedo-shaped refrigeration system component, usually located
between the condenser coil outlet and the capillary tube. Filled with desiccant,
often silica gel, this very important device also has a fine screen in its
outlet. Responsible for catching impurities and moisture, keeping the
system clean and dry. Should be replaced whenever a system is opened for
– usually refers to the pans, or bowls, under range surface units and
under some gas burners. Catches spills.
– Washer component, usually aluminum, that mounts the tub to the spin
(also see 'coupler')
– Newer washers made by Whirlpool no longer use a drive belt, but a
‘direct drive’ coupler between the motor and transmission, to transfer
power. Made of two plastic pieces with a rubber drive cushion between
– 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 – prevention of air intake through this gap. Air leakage here
causes air bypass around the heating element or gas burner. In electric
dryers, this causes premature thermal fuse and/or heating element failure.
In gas machines, thermal fuse problems as well as fires can result.
– as the name suggests, this is a bearing surface that supports the
weight of a dryer drum and its load of laundry. Rollers and various types
of plastic slides are used to do this. Years ago, these were rollers using
ball bearings and lasted for many, many years.
– the ‘paddle(s)’ 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.
– the term coined 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, driven by the
agitator’s oscillating bottom half. This system provides excellent
laundry ‘turnover’ in large loads. The upper half does very little work
in small loads.
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