Tenant says AC not working AC Contractor says otherwise
We have a single floor 1300 sqft house with 6 year old Trane hvac system. Yesterday, Tenant messaged me and stated that the system was not working around 3AM, so we dispatched a AC contractor to check the system that same day, they found nothing. I was told the system is in good condition and functioning properly. Today tenant messaged again about the same problem, I asked AC contractor to take another look.
I know as Landlord we are required to make and pay for any repairs to make the unit livable that are not caused by the tenant. If ac contractor finds no issue with the system again, who would be responsible for the payment? Landlord or Tenant?
Quote from @Dave Mills:
He said it is set to 74 degrees.
if set to 74 degrees and tstat says its 74. I would say its working. Also if tenant complains again ask them specifically why they think that? Ask them what does the tstat say? Now some rooms may be warmer than others based on many factors, but that is the first question I always ask. Also depending on where they are located, make sure its set to cooling and not heating...
You can easily find a battery operated data logger for as little as $25 that will record and chart the temperature over a period of time. Typically you connect to your phone or a computer to read the charts. You will then be able to see the cooling cycle and actual temps. These work great to validate or dispel tenant complaints for cooling and for heating in the winter. Just be sure to place it in a fairly central location, away from direct draft from either vents or windows, and out of reach of kids and dogs.
Try AC company should state in their inspection invoice the temperature coming out of the vents. You could also buy an infrared thermometer for less than $20. But you might as well have an official reading from an “expert”
A quick google say the vent air should be 15-w0 degrees cooler than the room air to indicate a working ac unit.
So have the technician note the room temp and the vent temp. They SHOULD want to charge you for fixing something. So it should be obvious there we no problems if they don’t.
Thank you guys for great tips.
They charge more after hours and weekends visits, service call fee about $100 just for showing up, plus diagnostics fee. They are going to waive the service call fee this time, but I still have cover another diagnostic fee.
Quote from @Dave Mills:
I also thought about short cycle but it keeps happening early mornings when temperatures are not as bad as day time.
We are going to set realistic expectations, and get the tools to track temperatures.
Thank you for your feedback.
My guess is they set the tstat on some programming schedule and did not even know it. You could get a wifi based system that you also can monitor.
There is definitely a problem here, but I wouldn't immediately jump to finding a way to charge the tenant for another visit from the contractor. I've had many, many issues like this where the simple answer was that the tenant didn't know how to operate the system. Can you ask the contractor to call the tenant and walk them through basic operations? Most contractors would do this after a service call without charge.
Quote from @Richard F.:You would need to access the tenants WiFi in order to do this. Personally, we would never ask or if I was a tenant expect to be asked
"Monitoring" only provides the current setting and possibly temperature, however using a logger to record the actual temperature over time provides you a graphical chart to see the cooling or heating cycles, which is substantially more useful, and reliant, when trying to address subjective complaints about operation. Saving the charts also provides you with actual evidence if a tenant drags you into court over it.
Quote from @Dave Mills:Just a thought, but maybe they have the setting on 'cool' and not 'heat' amd they want the heat to come on but it doesn't?
this is their 3rd year tenancy, so I think they know how to operate the thermostat, interestingly, it does not happen during day time when its 95 degrees outside.
We've also seen situations where a home has central ac but one room get much colder than others, just the way the air flows through the vents. So had to make some small adjustments to the vents, not perfect but helped a little.
Quote from @Dave Mills:
hope I am not infringing privacy by wireless thermostat?
No. It's your house. You can even put a limiting T-Stat on a set the temp ranges so they can't run the system too high or low.
If the HVAC Tech said it's working ok and they still complain, just ask them if they are willing to pay the bill if the results are the same this time...