Extreme heat

7 Replies

I recently bought a new duplex and it came with two new central air units. Yesterday it was a 115 degree heat index and the units were having trouble keeping up, it was about 83 degrees in the apartment. Should I be concerned about buying fans or a window unit to help them out or should I tell them to get there own fans? 

I have provided window units for tenants, but not in units with central air.  If it's 115 out, I don't know if anyone is getting better results than you, bringing it down to 83.

That said, if you spend a few hundred bucks on a couple window units, and that makes the unit more comfortable, then the tenants are happy, and in no rush to move out.  If the average tenant stays one extra month for each time you go above and beyond to provide exceptional service, you've doubled or tripled that few hundred dollar investment.

I don't think its necessary to provide anything more than the central air, but if they ask about it, I would make the investment in their satisfaction as customers. 

If they haven't mentioned anything to you yet, bring over a window unit and say you had an extra that you are letting them borrow during the heat wave. You'll be landlord of the year and they'll never want to leave, saving you money in the long run.  

All ac's are stressed with that kind of index. make sure the filters are cleaned out and the Freon is at the right levels. I do agree with the previous investor that a window unit will go a long way in tenant/landlord relations. good luck.

they are doing good getting 80's at that temp.  you might however look at some weatherproofing/insulating you can do.  most folks will tell you your money is best spent adding insulation to the attic.  It is very cheap to do and makes a huge difference.  I added to my 40 year old home and it has really kept down my bills.

Another thing to think about is possibly an attic fan if you don't already have them. They are fairly inexpensive (about $300 each installed by a contractor) and can make a huge difference in your house.

My wife and I just bought a new house here in VA and its been in the 90's most days here, my bedroom upstairs was roasting even though the downstairs was cooler. since we had an attic fan installed, the upstairs is noticeably cooler throughout the day and my AC doesn't seem to be running as much. As an added bonus we had to bring the temp we keep the house at night up because we were freezing.

My A/C guy tells me that it is industry standard that an AC unit is expected to reduce the inside temperature by approximately 30 degrees. Yours is doing that so I wouldn't worry about it. Welcome to summer heat. 

It doesn't sound like the units are doing what they should if they are properly sized. 115 heat index is not the same thing as 115 degree temperature outside. If it was 100 outside, the compressors should be able to put 70 degrees in the house; whether it can keep it (insulation, attic ventilation, etc) is another story.

At my house, on a 95 degree day with almost 100% humidity, my unit has no trouble keeping the temperature in the house 72 degrees or lower. So I would probably have someone take a look at the units to be sure they are charged properly, filters are clean, coils are not dust-covered, etc. 

A word of caution to attic fans. Most I have seen are over sized in relation to vent openings in the soffits. The fan will suck out your room air if it is over sized and the room will get replenished with the lovely crawl space air. Most contractors install whatever you ask them to. Best course of action is sealing all gaps between attic and the floor below, then add insulation. In addition, have natural convection keep your attic temps lower. You will need soffit vents plus a gable vent for that.

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