Quiz: Can you Keep your Cool by Maintaining your Air Conditioner?
Image: iStockphoto.com/Janice Richard
About This Quiz
You're all hot and bothered because your air conditioner isn't cooling as well as it should. Don't despair -- there is plenty you can do to keep it running smoothly. Take this quiz to see what all you can do to stay cool.
What are the two components of a central air-conditioning system?
central pipe and evaporator
The two components are a condenser, usually located outside, and an evaporator, usually in the main duct.
central pipe and condenser
What does the distribution system do?
It distributes cooled air across the motor and up through the piping.
It distributes cooled air through ductwork once it has moved across the evaporator coil.
It's essential for a well-functioning air conditioner: It distributes cooled air through ducts after passing over the evaporator coil.
How do the motor, blower and ductwork differ between the heating and cooling units?
The motor, blower and ductwork in the air-conditioning unit are identical for the heating unit, too.
The ductwork and blower are the same, but there are two motors: one for heating and one for cooling.
The motor and ductwork are the same, but depending on the thermostat, the blower sucks air in or blows air out.
How often should the evaporator be cleaned?
For optimum air-conditioner functioning, you should clean the evaporator annually.
Which of the following tools do you need to clean your evaporator?
degreaser cleanser and pipe cleaners
In addition to some wire and a screwdriver, you also need a stiff brush, a large hand-held mirror and bit of bleach.
What two types of plenum could there be?
foil-wrapped insulation or sealed metal box
The plenum, an air-filled space above the evaporator, could be either comprised of foil-wrapped insulation or a sealed metal box. If yours is the metal box, you can't clean the evaporator yourself.
paper-wrapped insulation or sealed metal box
foil-wrapped insulation or open metal box
After you remove the plenum, tape and screws, how should you clean the evaporator?
Clean all sides with a stiff brush, wash the tray and clear the weep hole with abrasive scouring powder.
Clean the underneath with a stiff brush and wipe out the tray. Pour bleach into the weep hole and then unclog it with wire if necessary.
Simply use a stiff brush for the underside, clean the tray and clear the weep hole with bleach or a wire if necessary. Don't use much water, if any.
Thoroughly wash all accessible parts and clean the weep hole with a pipe cleaner. Then allow air to blow through the evaporator for a few minutes.
Why is there a tray underneath the evaporator unit?
to collect and remove condensation
The tray is vital for carrying away condensation.
Before you clean the condenser coils, why do you need to know which direction the air blows?
You don't need to know. It makes no difference which way the air blows.
You have to clean them on the output side.
You have to clean them on the intake side.
The condenser has a fan that blows air across the coils, but in which direction? You have to know so you can clean the coils on the intake side.
What damage could overgrown weeds and vines do to the condenser?
Overgrown vines and weeds can prove to be a real problem by blocking airflow.
They can cause the condenser to rust.
They can attract bugs to the condenser.
What are the fins of the condenser made of?
They're made of thin-gauge aluminum, which explains why they get damaged easily.
How do you clean the fins of the condenser?
Soak them in soapy water, then wipe with a cloth.
Soak them, then scrub them with steel wool pads.
Clean them carefully with a soft brush without any water.
The fins are rather delicate, so be gentle with just a soft brush and no water.
What should you look for when checking the concrete slab the condenser rests on?
that there are no cracks in it
The concrete slab must be level for effective functioning of the unit.
What is the name of the refrigerant used in air conditioners?
Freon gas is the refrigerant used in air conditioners, as well as refrigerators.
If your air conditioner is cooling poorly or not at all, what could be the problem?
The condenser needs more insulation.
There's not enough Freon.
There's probably not enough Freon, and the system most likely needs recharging.
What can you do if the insulation of the coolant lines is damaged?
Replace it with new insulation.
You can replace the insulation yourself -- just make sure you follow the manufacturer's instructions.
Call a professional to have the coolant lines replaced.
Call a professional because the entire cooling system might be in jeopardy.
What's another name for a room air conditioner?
It's often referred to as a window unit -- because it sits in the window.
Which of these options is the easiest way to save on repair costs if your window unit needs professional help?
Remove it from the window and take it in for repair.
One advantage of a window unit is that it's portable. If it needs professional servicing, you can save a few bucks by taking it to the shop.
Beg the repair company for a discount.
What can you do if the fan malfunctions?
Clean the fan blades and loosen screws as necessary.
Replace the blades immediately.
Clean the fan blades and tighten screws as necessary.
Either the fan blades are dirty or loose -- or both. Fix this situation by cleaning the blades and tightening all screws.
Do you really need a professional to inspect and adjust your central air conditioner?
Yes. You should only do routine cleaning and minor repairs.
A professional is essential for some tasks because many components are sealed and should only be serviced by qualified personnel.
Not at all. With instructions, anyone can handle an air conditioner.
It depends. If you're confident you can make the repairs, go for it!
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