Author Topic: Not making recommended improvements  (Read 1622 times)

Stachetastic

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Not making recommended improvements
« on: July 28, 2016, 07:13:34 AM »
We have tenants who are spending their first (very hot) summer in one of our rentals. They reported the central air does not seem to be cooling the upstairs well, and they installed window units on that level. We had our HVAC people scheduled for this morning to take a look at the aging unit to make sure it was functioning properly, as I'm certain our tenants will not be thrilled when they get their electric bill for running their units all month. My husband intended to be there for the appt to discuss in lieu of the technicians telling our tenants directly what was wrong (so we can make an informed decision about what--if any--changes we would need to make). Husband was on his way there when he got a text from tenant saying the HVAC company is done and surmised that the upstairs rooms each need an additional vent installed to increased flow. We have no intentions of tearing up the 100 year old house to add vents. We lived in the home for 9 years, and have had several tenants live there, and none of us ever had issues. Do we simply tell the tenants this won't be happening? Husband is calling the HVAC company right now to get the info directly.

MrMoogle

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Re: Not making recommended improvements
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2016, 07:28:32 AM »
I wouldn't go off of what the tenant said.  It could be, "it's functioning properly, but if you want it cooler, then you need an extra vent in each room."  They only heard, "you need an extra vent in each room." 

Wait for all the information.  Then give the tenant all the information, and what is getting changed (if anything), and what they can do instead, aka close off vents on the first floor.

KMB

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Re: Not making recommended improvements
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2016, 07:34:54 AM »
Your contractor really threw you under the bus. Adding more duct is not going to increase the CFM from your blower significantly unless your system was very poorly designed in the first place. You may be able to add an additional register in the floor by tapping into the existing duct, but again, this isn't going to magically produce a bunch more CFM in your system.

The contractor (or tenant or yourself) should have attempted to rebalance the system by closing the dampers on the downstairs registers. Has this been done already?

Not sure what you should say to your tenant. I'm looking forward to what some of our more experienced landlords advise.

Stachetastic

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Re: Not making recommended improvements
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2016, 05:48:02 AM »
Thank you both for your replies! My husband was able to speak to the owner of the company (his primary contact), who confirmed what you both suggested. He stated the tech sort of mentioned to the tenant that the best way to increase air flow would be to add vents, but the owner explained to my husband that this alone would not do much, as the output would need to be increased, etc. Our primary concern was that the very old unit was functioning properly and also to address a "chlorine" smell coming from the inside unit when it was running. The tech confirmed everything is working as it should, so we are pleased with the result. At this point, I do not plan to address any changes with the tenant, only confirm that everything is in working order.

Kroaler

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Re: Not making recommended improvements
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2016, 07:53:16 AM »
Everything is working, and it only gets above their comfort temperature for probably 2 hours a day, 3 months a year.     If the temp is staying 77 degrees or lower I think window units are the cost effective solution until the main unit actually needs to be replaced. 

I think new window units are required to be 11 eer which is close to 13 seer. 


This is what I have done at my house.  There is nothing wrong with the central unit, it is just too small to get my desired level of cooling during peak heat loads, so I have a 1 ton window unit that gets the job done when the central AC needs a little boost at peak heat loads.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2016, 12:07:02 PM by Kroaler »

alme

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Re: Not making recommended improvements
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2016, 12:22:26 PM »
I would only add that, if these are good tenants, you could make some adjustments that might keep the unit cooler during the day--upgrade the window coverings or add insulation or close up any leaky window frames. We live in a very warm, southern city, but during one unusually chilly winter, we made minor repairs/improvements to help keep the heat in (and bought a space heater). It was cheaper and easier than upgrading the heating system, which was working fine anyways. We've had no complaints since, and the tenant has never been late with rent.

Stachetastic

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Re: Not making recommended improvements
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2016, 01:03:00 PM »
I would only add that, if these are good tenants, you could make some adjustments that might keep the unit cooler during the day--upgrade the window coverings or add insulation or close up any leaky window frames. We live in a very warm, southern city, but during one unusually chilly winter, we made minor repairs/improvements to help keep the heat in (and bought a space heater). It was cheaper and easier than upgrading the heating system, which was working fine anyways. We've had no complaints since, and the tenant has never been late with rent.

Good suggestions. They are great tenants, so we do want to keep them happy. The home already has blown in insulation added, and we replaced all the windows in 2014. It is pretty energy efficient for an older home. In fact, when we lived there, we rarely even turned the A/C on. The ceiling fans in all the bedrooms were sufficient for us.

clarkfan1979

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Re: Not making recommended improvements
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2016, 10:41:07 PM »
For one of my rentals, the lease specifically says that A/C is a bonus and not a requirement. If it fails, I am not required to fix it. Most of the rentals in the neighborhood don't have A/C.

One of my friends has a very new home with a great A/C/. However, his bedroom is on the second floor and for a couple months during the summer, the A/C does not keep it cool enough. Solution? He sleeps in the basement.

Stachetastic

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Re: Not making recommended improvements
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2016, 09:14:11 AM »
One of my friends has a very new home with a great A/C/. However, his bedroom is on the second floor and for a couple months during the summer, the A/C does not keep it cool enough. Solution? He sleeps in the basement.

When my tenants first mentioned the issue, they stated they had slept downstairs for the week before putting the window units in. Interesting to note that the week prior was July 4 weekend, which was unseasonably cool here. I spent the weekend in a hoodie and jeans. That told me a lot right there.