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Dave Harnish
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Dave's Repair Service
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Dave's Dictionary of Appliance Terms
The 'P' page

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Pressure switch (also see 'water level 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.

Product temperature - I refer here to measuring temperature in refrigerators and freezers. Its generally better to use 'product', or the stored food, temperature, rather than air temperature, because PT is more stable. As soon as a refrigerator is opened, for example, air temperature climbs, but product, or food temperature, doesn't change nearly as fast. (I always look for a pickle jar when taking a refrigerator's PT, because chances are it hasn't been out lately, warming on a counter, and will probably return an accurate reading from inside the refrig.) 

PTC (positive temperature coefficient) relay – a solid-state device whose electrical resistance increases as its temperature increases. Widely used for starting household refrigerator and freezer compressors. Replaces earlier-style, inductive contactor type relays. Was supposed to be more reliable, but has not proven to be (is cheaper to manufacture, though).

Pulsator (1-18) – Frigidaire’s early term for their ‘up and down’ washer agitator – the most efficient top load agitation system ever designed, IMO.

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

Push to start switch – Describes the simple switch used to initiate the start of a cycle in an appliance. We think mainly of dryers and trash compactors when we hear this.

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