Like any investors, those investing in real estate want to maximize the return on their investment. Real estate can be a great avenue for producing income, but maintaining rental properties to protect that income and to keep quality tenants requires minimizing repairs and replacement, particularly of major systems like the HVAC.
Don’t assume tenants will perform HVAC maintenance tasks. Property owners should take responsibility for making sure the equipment is maintained.
A dirty air filter is the cause of many HVAC problems. Making sure the air filter is changed regularly goes a long way to keeping the system operating efficiently. When the air filter gets clogged, the restricted air flow causes dirt to collect and the system has to work much harder than normal. Keep a new air filter on hand in every rental property and change them out during regular check ins.
Make sure the location around the air conditioner condenser (the outdoor unit) is clear of dirt and debris. Keep plants and shrubs that can drop leaves at least two feet away all the way around and don’t set anything on top of the unit.
To properly clean the condenser, turn off the power to the unit by disconnecting it from your electrical system. Test the unit to make sure the power is off. Wear gloves to remove any large pieces of debris. Remove the outer cover. Vacuum the fins with a soft bristle brush attachment, taking care not to bend the fins. If possible, carefully remove the top grille and fan. Wipe the unit with water and dish soap or condenser coil cleaner using a sponge or soft brush to clean the condenser coil fins. Use a garden hose to rinse the unit, spraying straight down from the top so the fins don’t bend. Let the unit dry completely and put the top grille and heat pump cover back on. Turn the power back on.
If any of the fins inadvertently get bent, straighten them with a fin comb, available in hardware stores.
Surrounding the condenser with landscaping rocks can prevent plants from growing near it. Instruct tenants not to plant anything in that area.
Regular service is important for maintaining your HVAC’s performance and efficiency, preventing breakdowns, and extending the life of the system. Before purchasing a property, have the system inspected.
A new system will save money on energy costs and repair bills, as well as eliminating the hassle of dealing with an aging system that breaks down often.