Quiz: Can you Keep your Cool by Maintaining your Air Conditioner?

Staff

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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?

The two components are a condenser, usually located outside, and an evaporator, usually in the main duct.

What does the distribution system do?

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.

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?

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?

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.

After you remove the plenum, tape and screws, how should you clean the evaporator?

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.

Why is there a tray underneath the evaporator unit?

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?

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.

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?

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?

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?

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?

You can replace the insulation yourself -- just make sure you follow the manufacturer's instructions.

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?

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.

What can you do if the fan malfunctions?

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?

A professional is essential for some tasks because many components are sealed and should only be serviced by qualified personnel.

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