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Dave's Repair Service
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Dave's Dictionary of Appliance Terms
The 'I' page

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Ice dispenser – Refrigerator mechanism that, well, dispenses ice. Most can provide whole cubes or crush it on the way through. Also dispenses chilled water.

Icemaker – Here’s a device that has spoiled me rotten! Before we had ours, we juggled 5 ice trays and a storage bin and always seemed to be running out of ice cubes. No more! And the good news is, most modern units are very reliable. Don’t be without one! In case you live in Alaska (just kidding!), these little machines make ice cubes and drop them into a bin, 24/7.

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 ‘harvest’ cycle, the lowers it again, and if it contacts ice, turns off a switch that shuts down ice production 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. I use a baby bottle to check fill level, since we measure cc’s of water and baby bottles happen to be graduated in cc’s. I covered this procedure in a newsletter back-issue, and there’s an article on the website covering it. But basically you want to adjust the icemaker to fill with 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, sometimes with an aluminum extension attached, angles down through the back of a refrigerator’s cabinet, into the back of an icemaker. Water enters through this tube and fills the icemaker’s cube mould.

Icemaker module – Newer icemaker ‘brains’ can be replaced as an assembly, making repair quick and easy. Compared to older icemakers, whose switches, gears, and cams were replaced individually, this does save time. These are les reliable, however – that’s the trade-off.

Icemaker mold – The actual ‘cube tray’ that forms the ‘cubes’ into their shape (not actual cubes, but now I’m sounding like a geek!)

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

Igniter – A gas appliance component that, well, ignites the gas flame. These days they’re made of a carborundum compound that glows when voltage is applied.

Impeller – We can call this a fan blade that moves liquid, usually water in our applications.

Insulation, fiberglass – Used in your attic, and also in old refrigerators and freezers. Susceptible to moisture absorption, which is not a good characteristic for refrigerator insulation. Was often packaged in large plastic bags before being assembled into refrigerator or freezer walls, to help keep it dry.

Insulation, urethane – A very efficient, widely used foam insulation that is injected into a cabinet in two chemical parts, expanding to fill voids very well. A closed-cell foam, which means it’s waterproof – a huge advantage over earlier insulation types.

Interlock switch – Attached to door and lid mechanisms to prevent us from hurting ourselves, these are used in microwave ovens, some locking washers (all front-loaders), trash compactors, and some newer appliance access panels.

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. (When you pick up an inverter microwave oven, you’ll think you’re lifting a toaster oven!) More expensive to produce – at least at this writing, so not yet widely used. In my experience, not nearly as long-lasting and reliable as a transformer system, either.

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