If you own a rental property in Texas, then you likely provide your tenants with air conditioning. While Texas state law does not stipulate that landlords must supply air conditioning to tenants, the often brutal Texas summers mean that many renters seek out this luxury. Offering rentals with the modern convenience of central AC can be a strong selling point, but it also means extra maintenance.
Maintaining air conditioning systems for large apartment complexes can be complicated, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t challenges for small rental units such as single-family homes or duplexes. These four tips will help you to keep your rental property AC systems running flawlessly, ensuring that your tenants remain happy and you save money.
1. Schedule Routine Service Visits
You should service any central air conditioning system annually, but these routine maintenance visits are particularly crucial for rental units. Since you won’t monitor the system’s usage through most of the year, an annual checkup can help to warn you of potential problems. Regular maintenance visits can also help you to understand if your tenants need help using the system in any way.
More importantly, a properly maintained air conditioner will operate more effectively and efficiently. Keeping your property’s HVAC components well maintained will help to reduce energy and prolong the life of the system. When your equipment works correctly, your tenants won’t accidently stress the system to keep their home comfortable, ultimately reducing wear and tear on critical components.
2. Add an AC Filter Clause to Your Lease
Filter changes are one of the most critical maintenance items for any central air conditioning system. Failing to change your filter regularly can reduce system cooling power, stress both the compressor and the air handler, and lead to unpleasant smells and even mold buildup. Depending on the style of filter on your properties, you may need to replace them at least once every three months.
Since replacing a filter is not a difficult job, many landlords choose to add filter replacement to their lease. In these cases, landlords provide tenants with a supply of filters, and the tenants are responsible for replacing them regularly. If you do not want your tenants performing this job, then hire an HVAC tech to change your filters at least 3–4 times per year or perform this work yourself.
3. Upgrade Your Thermostats
Unfortunately, many people may be unfamiliar with the proper usage of a central air conditioner or may attempt to use set points that are too low. Tenants may turn their thermostats down too far, thinking this will cool the house more quickly. Instead, the system will run for too long, potentially wearing out components or even causing the compressor to freeze up.
Upgrading to smart thermostats can allow you to put restrictions in place that limit the allowable temperature range. When choosing a temperature range, avoid setting a cutoff that is too high. Although you want to prevent potential damage to the system, a setting that is too restrictive may lead to tenant complaints.
4. Respond Quickly to Complaints
Remember that your tenants live on your property and use your AC system every day. When something goes wrong, they’re likely to be the first to notice. Many HVAC problems can become more severe over time, so responding quickly to tenant complaints is the best way to ensure that you catch issues quickly.
Texas law generally requires landlords to respond to problems with their properties and fix them promptly. Ignoring an issue with the AC on one of your properties for too long may allow your tenants to deduct the cost of a repair from their rent, ultimately costing you more money. Dealing with issues promptly often means less expense and less hassle.
Jeb Air Solutions can be the perfect partner to help maintain your small rental properties. Our quick response time means that you won’t need to wait when one of your tenants is suffering from an HVAC problem. Give us a call today to schedule your maintenance or service appointment.