A chill is in the air, the leaves are falling, and your HVAC system is probably the last thing on your mind. As a rental property owner, Fall brings with it many maintenance tasks like cleaning gutters and checking for leaks. However, to keep tenants comfortable all year long, it is essential to service the HVAC system seasonally. So, why is your property’s HVAC maintenance so important? Join us below as we discuss the top reasons to care for your system and tips for getting your HVAC ready for Fall.
Why HVAC Maintenance is Important for Your Rental
For rental owners, maintenance is an inevitable part of your seasonal checklist. That said, regular check-ups on the property’s HVAC system are essential to maintain energy efficiency and a comfortable environment. Read on for the top reasons to make HVAC maintenance a priority in your rental this Fall.
- Extend the Life of the Unit – Over time, HVAC units can become riddled with dust, debris, and dirt which build up in coils and restrict airflow. Furthermore, improper care creates stress on the unit leading to more significant wear and tear.
- Reduce Breakdowns – In addition to being an inconvenience for tenants, HVAC breakdowns can cost landlords big! Therefore, completing regular HVAC maintenance can identify issues before they become more significant problems.
- Maintain Energy Efficiency and Lower Utility Bills – Seasonal HVAC maintenance is critical to maintaining energy efficiency. Preventative service visits from a licensed HVAC technician keep units operating at peak performance. After all, a poorly maintained unit can use up to 20% more energy as it struggles to keep up.
- Improve Air Quality – Dirty filters and dust-covered components contribute to poor air quality and poor air circulation. That said, when a unit is clean and properly maintained, it is better equipped to control humidity, temperature, and allergen-free air quality.
Essential Fall HVAC Maintenance for Your Rental Property
When it comes to HVAC maintenance, Autumn is the perfect time for a seasonal tune-up. The hot summer months are fading, and the transition to the bitter cold of winter has begun. While there are some tasks an owner or tenant can complete, consider hiring a licensed technician for at least one tune-up per year. However, to help get you started, check out this list of essential Fall HVAC maintenance tasks.
- Change or Clean the Air Filter
- Clean Air Vents and Ducts
- Inspect Furnace Burners and Blowers
- Check for and Seal Air Leaks
- Remove Outdoor Debris
- Test Safety Equipment
- Hire an HVAC Professional
- Invest in a Programmable Thermostat
- Upgrade Your Old System
Change or Clean the Air Filter
Depending on the type of system, it is necessary to either replace or clean the air filters regularly. In general, these should be changed every three months. That said, it may need to be done more frequently if the rental has several occupants or pets in the home. Again, this is typically the tenant’s responsibility, but landlords should follow up and ensure it is complete to protect the system. After all, regular cleaning improves air quality and overall efficiency.
Clean Air Vents and Ducts
Dust can collect in and around air ducts causing blockages that decrease efficiency and airflow. Therefore, it is essential to keep air vents clean by periodically vacuuming or wiping away dust in a rental unit. Additionally, ensure tenants avoid covering vents with furnishings or stored items that can further inhibit airflow.
Inspect Furnace Burners and Blowers
The changing seasons mean switching from cool air to heat, and before doing so, HVAC maintenance is needed. Keep in mind that it is essential to test that all components are working correctly to remain safe. Furthermore, start setting the temperature to heat before the temperatures drop too low. Thus, allowing the unit to adjust to the demand slowly. Finally, if the landlord or tenant notices any unusual noises or smells, turn off the unit and reach out to a qualified professional.
Check for and Seal Air Leaks
Energy efficiency has a lot to do with the unit itself but also the condition of the property itself. For example, any drafty areas or cracks around windows or doors can cause the system to work harder. So, take time to seal cracks or install weatherstripping around drafty doorways.
Remove Outdoor Debris
Between summer storms and falling leaves, lots of debris can collect around an outside HVAC unit. Not only can this impede efficiency, but debris can also hide potential damage to the HVAC system. So, remove any organic matter that has collected around the unit and carefully inspect it.
Test Safety Equipment
Fire safety is a massive concern for both tenants and landlords. That said, Fall is the perfect time to complete annual safety tests on emergency alert equipment. Generally, tenants can test the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on their own without the landlord. However, the landlord should follow up to ensure this is complete, and tenants should reach out if they encounter any malfunctioning alarms.
Hire an HVAC Professional
While it is possible to complete many HVAC maintenance tasks independently, there is no substitute for a professional technician. As a landlord, it is a good idea to set up a maintenance contract with a local and reputable HVAC company. That way, a licensed technician can assess the condition, complete preventative maintenance, perform a seasonal tune-up, and ensure the system is operating at peak efficiency.
Invest in a Programmable Thermostat
Investing in technology can significantly improve your HVAC system’s overall efficiency and performance. For example, it may be difficult for an outdated thermostat to keep up as the weather fluctuates. Although a new thermostat is an investment, it allows for complete control over the comfort level in the home at the touch of a button. Also, this is an upgrade appreciated by tenants as it can further improve energy efficiency.
Upgrade Your Old System
Eventually, poor maintenance or simply wear and tear will catch up to your tired HVAC system. When that happens, constant breakdowns and excessive repairs can chip away at a landlord’s profits. Not to mention, faulty systems create a burdensome inconvenience for tenants and landlords. So, if your unit is costing more than it is worth fixing, consider a replacement. Not sure how to tell when it is time to upgrade? Check out this easy rule of thumb below –
- The $5,000 Rule – Multiply the age of the unit by the cost of the potential repair. If the total exceeds $5,000, it is likely worth replacing the unit. While this is not a hard and fast rule, it is an excellent guideline to assist owners in making the most advantageous decision.
Maintenance Made Easy with Professional Management
Whether landlords are tackling HVAC maintenance this Fall or their many other day-to-day responsibilities, professional property management can help. For property owners, the to-do list is never-ending! Unfortunately, coordinating preventative maintenance tasks, responding to repairs, completing inspections, and cultivating vendor relationships takes a significant amount of time.
At Bay Property Management Group, our team of property managers handles all maintenance tasks on behalf of the owners. Thus, rental owners can spend their valuable time doing what they want without the stress of dealing with their property. As a full-service company, we also handle leasing, marketing, accounting, and customer service while seamlessly bridging the gap between landlords and tenants. To find out more about how third-party rental management can benefit your business, give us a call today.