Your rental property’s air conditioning is one of its most important (and expensive) systems. This is especially true in Texas, where tenants expect a high-functioning AC system in the midst of summer and the triple-digit temperatures it can bring.
Properly maintaining an AC system should be a partnership between the landlord and the tenants. Together, if you follow the right maintenance schedule, you’ll be able to keep the unit operating at its peak potential through the hottest months of the year.
You and your tenants will have to determine who takes care of what maintenance tasks. But here’s a look at 6 essential AC maintenance duties that must be addressed to ensure the unit’s ongoing operation.
1. Change Filters
Everyone knows to change AC filters on a regular basis — but it’s still a task that goes overlooked. Set expectations with your tenants around what types of filters should be used and how often they need to be changed.
Different filters have different lifespans. Choose a cheaper filter, and it may only last a month. High-end filters may last up to 6 months or more. On average, an AC filter will last about 90 days. The best rule of thumb when evaluating a filter is this: If it’s dirty, swap it out for a new one.
2. Clear Drainage Holes
An air conditioning unit includes a condenser that leaks water. Each unit should include a drainage hole that channels water in the right direction — but this hole can become blocked by minerals and other debris over time. If the drainage hole becomes blocked, it could create a system backup that greatly impacts efficiency.
Clearing this hole is relatively simple. If cleared on a regular basis, it’s easy to prevent backups and the resulting drag on unit efficiency.
3. Clean Condenser Coils
For an air conditioning system to operate properly, the coils on the outdoor unit must be clear of debris like dirt, grass clippings, weeds and other intruders. The dirtier a condenser’s exterior fins, the less efficiently an AC system will perform. Over time, dirty fins can prevent the unit from transferring heat to the outside air — which makes it more difficult to circulate cold air inside.
Turn off the system before cleaning exterior coils and fins. Brush or vacuum away any visible dirt or debris, and then spray the condenser coils with a hose (while being careful not to soak the electrical box). Let your condenser dry before turning the system back on.
4. Recharge Refrigerant Levels
Aging air conditioning units can start to experience leaks in the copper lines that move refrigerant around the system. If this happens, the compressor will begin to break down and lose cooling power due to a drop in pressure.
If your unit’s copper lines are leaking, it’s important to seal those leaks and recharge refrigerant levels. Signs that your lines are leaking include:
- Hissing noises in outdoor or indoor cabinets
- Ice forming on evaporator coils
- Noticeable warm areas in parts of the home
Sealing leaks and recharging refrigerant levels aren’t do-it-yourself projects. If your copper lines are leaking, call a professional to provide service.
5. Eliminate ‘Return’ Blockages
AC units pull cold air from the home back into the system for reconditioning. To do this, they use what’s called a “cold air return,” which is a vent that sucks in air rather than channeling it out. Homes include at least one cold air return, and larger or multi-story homes may have two or more.
It’s important that these cold air return vents remain unblocked. Tenants may be tempted to place a bed or other furniture in front of a cold air return, but doing so could lead to a decline in AC efficiency and an increase in operating costs. Over time, blocking cold air returns could lead to premature system failure.
6. Schedule Maintenance and Inspections
The best way to take care of an AC system is to schedule regular maintenance and seasonal inspections. You could spend time worrying about the maintenance tasks listed above, or you could ask your tenants to take care of them. But regular visits from an air conditioning professional are the most effective solution.
At HUNTAHOME, we provide ongoing AC maintenance and inspections for our clients. These maintenance and inspection visits include everything listed above and more. Best of all, a professional can identify emerging areas of concern and make proactive repairs before they become inconvenient and costly emergency situations.
As the leading provider of property management in Dallas and Fort Worth, we offer a range of management services that are designed to bring peace of mind to our property-owning clients. If you’re in the market for DFW property management services, our team can provide turnkey management or complement the resources and capabilities of your in-house team.
Contact us today to learn more about our property management in Fort Worth and Dallas.