tl;dr: The thermostat broke, I fixed it. Yay being a landlord!
I rented out my SFR nearly two years ago; the same tenants have been there the whole time.
The last time I went over for a regular maintenance visit, a couple of months ago, one of them asked me how often I had put batteries (2 AA) in the thermostat while I was working on the house. I said maybe once a year, and they said that it seemed to be needing batteries every week or two. They were putting really inexpensive carbon-zinc "Heavy Duty" AAs in it, instead of alkalines, so I put a couple of fresh alkalines in it, and gave them a few more to be used if needed. That seemed to fix things until recently.
This past Saturday, I got a text at about 9 PM - the thermostat had power, but wasn't responding to the buttons, and (more importantly) was not calling for cool. They asked if I could look at it Sunday morning, and I said yes, but that I could also come over that night if they wanted. They agreed, so I put my tools in the car, bought a new thermostat, and drove over there. During that process, I got another text, saying that they had managed to make it call for cool.
When I got there at 9:50, it was a little warm in the house, but not too bad. I checked the thermostat wiring at the furnace and didn't see anything bad, so I proceeded to swap the thermostat. It was about 10:15 when I set the clock on the new thermostat, and ran both the A/C and furnace (briefly) to make sure it worked. The tenants were happy, so I cleaned up and went home. I texted them Sunday evening to make sure it was still working, and they reported that all was OK.
The only real point I have is that this was my very first unscheduled maintenance call - everything else I've been able to take care of on one of my regular visits. Can I apply for a merit badge or something from the Landlord High Council for this? :D
Dear Matt R.:
The BiggerPockets Landlord High Council is pleased to announce that you have been issued the:
Maintenance Merit Badge -- HVAC Level 1
Please accept our congratulations on this auspicious accomplishment.
You will receive the HVAC Level 2 Maintenance Merit Badge the first time you replace the thermocouple in a furnace and the HVAC Level 3 Maintenance Merit Badge the first time you replace a blower motor and capacitor.
Please continue to share your landlord maintenance accomplishments. We offer additional series of Maintenance Merit Badges in Locksmithing, Plumbing, Electrical, Drywall/Plaster Repair, Doors and Windows, Painting, Exterior Siding, Roofing and Chimney Repair, Yard Work, Pet Intervention, and Distraught/Disgruntled Tenant Analysis and Therapy. Certificates of accomplishment, embroidered badges, lapel pride pins, are all available for additional fees. Please note: we have discontinued issuance of our Landlord Meritorious Service Award gold, silver, and bronze medals due to overwhelming demand for cookies instead.
@Jim K. Thanks! The higher levels give me something to look forward to! :D
I've done some of those things before, but not as a landlord. I guess I have to wait for them to happen at my rental before I can officially apply for the badge.