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Refrigerator Glossary Of Common Terms.


Refrigeration Glossary.

Have you heard a phrase about a refrigerator you own or are interested in purchasing but don’t know what it means?

This guide and glossary will help you figure out what manufacturers, technicians and sales people have been trying to tell you.

Use "Ctrl F" to quickly find the term you're interested in.

Air Filter

A carbon filter that goes either in the crispers or near the damper to clean air passing through the refrigerator to reduce smells.

Automatic Defrost

Refers to a freezer compartment that automatically removes ice off of the evaporator so the unit continuously operates as the manufacturer intended it to.

Bi Metal

A device that turns off the defrost heater when the evaporator has been thoroughly defrosted.

Bottom Mount

A freezer on the bottom with either a pull out or swinging door with a single door on top for the refrigerator. Can have an ice maker in the freezer and in some cases a water dispenser on the interior refrigerator wall.

Cabinet Icemaker

An ice maker that stores and or produces ice in the freezer compartment itself. Can be dispensing or not.


The part that compresses and moves the freon through the system.


The part of the refrigeration system that cools the hot freon. This item is usually located below the refrigerator and from time to time needs to be inspected for lint or hair build up. Can be referred to as the "coil".

Crisper Drawer

A bucket used to store fruits or vegetables.


The insulation and blowing agent manufacturers use to insulate the sides of your unit so you don’t lose your cool air through the sides.


A door that opens and closes to allow more or less air into a compartment to change the temperature.


The act of melting ice off of the evaporator to keep the unit working efficiently and as the manufacturer intended.

Defrost Drain

A hole and tube that takes the ice water melted off of the evaporator in defrost. The water is then stored in a pan below the unit where the water is evaporated by the heat from the condenser.  

Defrost Heater

A metal device that heats up to melt ice off of the evaporator.

Deli Drawer

A bucket that is used to store meats and cheeses.

Door Bins

An indoor bin used to store various items like condiments, sauces and other small items.

Door Gasket

The seal around the door that contains small magnets to close and seal the doors.

Dual Control

When a refrigerator has a thermostat or thermistor in both the freezer and fresh food compartment.

Dual Evaporator

A style of refrigerator that has 2 evaporators in each compartment to allow individual cooling of each compartment. Sounds like a great idea, but it would be more effective if the evaporators weren't connected and has their own compressors.

Electronic Control Board

A computer that controls all the functions on a refrigerator like running the compressor, fans and ice maker.


The specific part inside a refrigeration system that gets cold. This piece contains freon.


There are traditionally 2 fans in a refrigerator. One that circulates cold air from the freezer evaporator to the refrigeration compartment, and a fan used to cool the compressor and condensor.

Finger Print Resistant Stainless

A stainless steel that has a lacquer finish over it so the pores of the stainless do not soak up and show finger print oils.


A stand alone freezer with no refrigerator. Can come as a standup or chest.

Freezer Compartment

The section that stays well below freezing (below 10 degrees).

French Door

A freezer on the bottom usually with a pull out door and a set of 2 doors on top for the refrigerator. Can have either an ice and water dispenser on the door or no. Can also have an ice maker in the freezer and in some cases a water dispenser on the interior refrigerator wall.


The chemical that runs through a sealed system that creates the cooling effect. Freons are specifically formulated to boil at low temperatures, like -32 degrees F. Boiling by design, is a cooling process

Fresh Food Compartment

Another term for the refrigerator section. Keeps the temperature above freezing (32 degrees) and an unsafe high temperature (about 41 degrees).

Gallon Sized Door Bins

An indoor bin that is wide enough to hold a gallon container, like milk. Usually, they can accommodate 2 gallon jugs.

Humidity Controlled Crisper

A crisper that is sealed to only allow air flow into the bucket that the customer sets, creating a controlled humidity area.

Ice Maker

A module used to create ice that turns itself on and off when ice is needed or the storing bucket is full.

In door dispenser

Refers to a water and ice maker that dispenses through the door.

In door ice maker

An ice maker that stores and or produces ice in the actual door, instead of inside the freezer compartment itself.

In Line Water Filter

A water filter usually located behind the refrigerator that filters the water. These are used when your refrigerator doesn't have a built in filter.

In Setting Door Hinges

Hinges designed to allow the door to move slightly inwards when opened, so the doors don't make the unit wider when they're opened.

Manual Defrost

Refers to a freezer compartment that does not automatically melt the ice off of the evaporator. The consumer is responsible for removing the ice to ensure proper function.

Monochromatic Stainless Steel

Refers to when the colors on the doors match the sides of the refrigerator. Monochromatic stainless steel has stainless doors and grey sides instead of black.


The freon used from the early 1900's to 1994.


The freon in use from 1994-2020.


Also known as butane. The new freon being used in refrigerators being manufactured in 2020 to present.

Refrigerator Section

The section that keeps the temperature between a range above freezing (32 degrees) and an unsafe high temperature (about 41 degrees).


An electrical device that starts and stops the compressor when the refrigerator is looking to cool.

Side By Side

A freezer section on the left hand side and the refrigerator section on the right side. Can have either an ice and water dispenser on the door or no.

Side Kick

Traditionally a Whirlpool made unit that is all refrigerator but has no freezer.

Single Control

When a refrigerator only has 1 temperature thermostat or thermistor to regulate temperature. Usually this thermostat or thermistor is located in the fresh food section making it to where the freezer isn't regulated. This is a problem in the winter time if your unit is in an extremely cold area, like your garage.

Slide Out Shelves

Shelves that slide out forward without having to be removed for easier loading of groceries.

Spill Proof Shelves

A glass shelf that does not allow liquids to spill past the shelf itself. They are sealed to keep liquid contained on the shelf.

Start Relay

What starts the compressor. Contains a relay and capacitor.

Sump Tray

The tray that goes below the water dispenser to collect residual water that drips out.


An electrical device that relays the temperature to an electronic control board to turn the unit on and off when the temperature is too high or low


A mechanical temperature control device that turns the refrigerator on and off when the temperature is too high or low

Toe Kick

The bottom grill the hides the condenser and water filter. Also known as a kick plate.

Top Mount

A freezer on the top with a swinging door and a single bottom door for the refrigerator. This is your "standard" unit that has been around for most of our lives. Can have an ice maker in the freezer compartment or not.

Twin Cooling

Another term for a dual evaporator.

Water Filter

A cylinder filled with carbon, located in the fresh food compartment or below the doors that filters most contaminants out of your water.


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