Most Common Air Conditioning Problem.
Of all the appliances in your rental investment property, the air conditioning is among the most expensive to replace or repair. You should know that a monthly 15-20 min job and around $10 in materials can increase your chances of uninterrupted air conditioning operation.
The inside unit of a central air conditioning system (HVAC) takes humidity from the air inside the property to condense water into a drain pan which then flows through a pipe outside the property and into the ground.
In this humid environment grows a slimy substance made of algae, mold, mildew and other organic particles. This slime can grow quickly to block the flow of water.
When the pipe clogs the water can overflow and it will cause water damage to flooring and walls. Additionally If the problem is not identified or notified by tenant in time your chances of having a toxic mold problem in the property are pretty good.
Some air conditioning units have overflow safety switches. These switches turn off the air conditioning at the first sign of an overflow, but they are not 100% reliable. Remediation for water damage can get very expensive. Your best bet is to perform regular and proper maintenance. Here is a list of the items you will need, and instructions of what I recommend you should do every month:
Tools and supplies
- Small plastic funnel
- Disposable AC filters (buy in bulk or packs)
- Paper towel
- Trash bags (recycled plastic grocery bags)
- Drain Pan tablets
- Chlorine bleach.
- Duster or similar.
- Replace the AC filter, because an AC with a dirty filter,
- Runs at lower efficiency
- Uses more electricity
- Runs longer "on" cycles
- Has shorter life expectancy
- Releases particles that clog the coil
- Releases allergens
- Coils freezes up
- Pour 1 cup of chlorine bleach in drain line
- Use paper towel to prevent and clean any spillage.
- Remember chlorine bleach will discolor carpeting, and fabrics and oxidize some metals.
- Always use a funnel to pour 1 cup of chlorine inside the drain line.
- Place 1 pan tablet in drain pan:
- The pan tablets prevent the formation of slime in the AC drain pan.
- They also keep the water in drain pan cleaner.
- Clean dust in AC closet:
- Dust the surface of the AC, closet floor/walls and closet door.
- This prevents unnecessary dust from going into the filter.
What else do you gain?
- Assurance that the scheduled maintenance is being performed.
- Monthly inside access to property without scheduling an inside inspection with tenant. A free AC filter change is less intrusive than a property inspection.
- Improved air quality for the tenant.
- Property has an added value over comparables - complimentary AC maintenance.
- Significantly reduced frequency between coil cleanings. I manage properties that have gone 5+ years without requiring a coil cleaning or having to unclog the drain line.
- Reduced tenant service inquiries. This method reduces operating expenses while increasing tenant satisfaction. Two items that are usually inversely proportional.
Should you DIY or hire a Pro?
If you are a hands on landlord and self manage your properties then this service is so fast and easy that you might want to do yourself or in-house.
But if you usually outsource maintenance and repairs, then you should hire a professional to do it. You will find that your local air conditioning companies often offer affordable monthly service plans and most guarantee their services for added peace of mind. If you live in Fort Lauderdale, Weston, Plantation, Sunrise or surrounding areas send me a message and I can point you in the right direction.
Ultimately there is a third option, but I'd use it as a last resort. You may provide the tenant with the materials and instructions to perform the service. This is less desirable because you can't be certain the tenant is actually doing it.
Don't let the lack of planned maintenance be the cause of tenant service calls and expensive repair bills.