As a rental property owner, your properties will be more competitive if you can advertise that they include air conditioning. This competitiveness can lead to increased revenue. The increased revenue will go down the drain, though, if you have to keep replacing the AC unit.
Below are some important maintenance tips for AC units attached to rental properties.
Require Tenants to Replace the Air Filter
The air filter needs replacing every three months or so. You can include an addendum on your lease that states the tenants must buy a replacement filter and install it in the unit. You’ll need to provide the manual to ensure they do so properly.
To be honest, it’s not a bad idea to provide the filters yourself and offer to help your tenants the first few times. They’ll be more likely to get in the habit, especially if they don’t have to shell out the money themselves. Ultimately, the cost of an AC air filter is much lower than that of repair or replacement of the unit because the tenants neglected it.
Check the Components of the AC Unit
About once a year you should give your AC unit a once-over to ensure it’s in good working order. To do so, you’ll want to let your tenants know you’ll be turning off the power to the unit at some point that day. Once you’ve turned off the power, remove the access panel on the unit and look for any loose electrical connections or burned wires.
Look at the other components as well. See if any of the belts are misaligned. Likewise, their edges should be straight. Also get a good look at the cooling fins, and look for any misaligned or crushed fins.
If your AC unit needs repairs, you may be able to complete them yourself. However, laws in some states require that you hire professionals for to repair anything on rental properties, so be sure to know if this is the case where you are.
Clean the AC Unit
While you conveniently have the power shut off, clean the unit. You’ll probably have to take it apart anyway to check all the relevant parts. So while you’re at it, vacuum out any dust or debris that have accumulated inside the cage.
Next, remove the covers on the unit, and wash them. If you have a shop vacuum, you can use this. Or you can use soapy water and a brush. Use a garden hose to spray the fins from the inside. However, make sure you don’t let any water accumulate at the bottom. Since you’re working around the unit anyway, make sure no foliage is touching it. You may need to scale shrubs or tall grasses back.
Level the Unit
The AC unit sits on a pad of concrete. While the concrete pad itself should be stable for years, the ground underneath might not be. Over time, the pad may begin to sink into the soil.
First, use the eye test to see if the unit is level. Look to see if any of the electrical wires or copper coolant tubes are being strained. Next, use a level to check it. You want the condenser to be level because being out-of-level can cause it to fail.
If the concrete pad is making the unit noticeably out-of-level, you may need to work a weatherproofed board under the sinking side.
Schedule Professional Maintenance Inspections
If you’re not a licensed HVAC technician, you can only do so much yourself. Licensed HVAC technicians can certainly perform all the relevant tasks, so consider scheduling a yearly inspection. The techs can perform some of the above maintenance tasks and also do more in-depth inspections. They can also perform repairs on the spot that you can’t.
Such professional maintenance will significantly extend the life of your AC unit, which will save you money in repairs and replacement in the long run.
Make sure that the AC units on your rental properties function well so that you can keep relations good with your tenants and decrease the likelihood of replacement. If you do need new units for any of your properties, contact Lakeside Heating & Air Conditioning.