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Property Management Blog

A Texas Summer and the Death of Air Conditioning Units....is Yours is Next?
09-18-2019
Michael Francis
Texas Summer = AC Deaths
09-25-2019
 
As another Texas summer starts to come to a close, we've left many, very costly AC systems dead on the side road!  The local newspaper reported, "Austin has survived the 2nd-hottest August ever; 27 of the last 31 days have been at 100 or above." this with little to no rain.  Given the current state of increasing global temperatures, this may begin to be more of the norm.  Our one big takeaway from the maintenance of our property management services through this summer's heatwave, the death of many costly Air Conditioning units.  

As usual, older AC units were killed off in droves and those that survived struggled to keep houses cool.  Industry standards state that on average, an AC unit is going to last 12 to 15 years.  Can it last longer?  Of course.  However, the probability of it dying just keeps going up.  If your property has one of those older units, we would strongly suggest discussing a proactive change out with your property manager.  We find that AC companies have more time during the cooler months and give better pricing to keep their techs busy.  

When an AC dies in the middle of the summer, tenants (and rightly so) want them repaired ASAP!  You would too!  However, it's not uncommon to have a 5 or 7-day delay (worst case) for the work to start.  Here's what that can look like. 
 
- Your tenant reports their unit is not cooling, the next business day (if at all possible) the tech goes out and finds a dead unit. It's day 2.
 
- The AC company then pulls together a proposal for a new one and (maybe) a repair option, it's now been 3 days. 
 
- You get the proposal for review and possible approval (if you're available).  You might have some questions or (worse yet) want another estimate.  You're now 4 days into it.
 
- Throw in a weekend (or a 3 day holiday) and it's now easily 7 days.  Better yet, throw in that the tenants have company and it really gets fun!
 
- You say go ahead and repair/replace, the AC company goes out but it's been 

When it's been 100 plus for a month, everyone is a little on edge and at this point tenants start to come unglued. 

Remember the goal, we want your tenant to renew their lease over and over and keep that cash coming in.  If we have to get another estimate, that can easily add another 3 to 4 days on top of the 4 already spent at this point.  You get the idea.  We understand it's a lot of money and we are sensitive to that.  One of the most cost-effective companies for these change-outs is usually two weeks out (from when we send them the WO) for a change out.  However, you are now 4 to 5 days in and this adds 10 more days.  This is untenable in the summer and because of that, we can't use them in the summer.  Fall would be a better time as the temps are more acceptable.to the tenant.  

Also, as these units age, they begin to become more and more inefficient and tenant utility bills skyrocket.  We have seen owners continue to repair older inefficient units (that keep breaking down) instead of replacing them.  This only leads to the tenants getting angry over their high electric costs, the continued break downs and they eventually move out.  Did the owner save money on repairs? Yes, in the short run.  However, now they have a turnover, all the costs associated with that and the AC still needs to be changed out.

If you're not getting spring and fall checkups on this valuable piece of expensive equipment (which our owners are and a reduced cost) it'll die sooner rather than later, most likely in the middle of summer and when you're on vacation.  Of course, you'll then wind up spending way to much.  What a hassle!  Call us about property management services and let us "take the hassle out of property management."

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  • A Texas Summer and the Death of Air Conditioning Units....is Yours is Next?
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  • Michael Francis