The Heating, Ventilation, and Cooling System (HVAC) is the system responsible for helping maintain a comfortable temperature in your home, and therefore is one of the most important systems in a Florida household. HVAC maintenance is strongly dependent on tenants being proactive and preventative when it comes to the system. It is of high importance that the HVAC is being properly maintained, as the system is not only responsible for keeping your home at an ideal temperature, but also for clean indoor air. The HVAC removes moisture, smoke, odors, heat, dust, airborne bacteria and gasses from the air, so taking the proper steps to maintain your HVAC will provide you with better air quality indoors.
Items that are Tenant Responsibility
- You are responsible for changing the a/c filter every month. A good rule to follow is to change your filter when you pay your rent or power bill. We do not recommend using the 3-month filters for a number of reasons.
- You are responsible for checking the breakers and resetting any tripped breakers, as well as changing any batteries in the thermostat.
- You are responsible for keeping the area around the HVAC unit free of weeds, foliage, or other debris, and making sure the drain line outside is not buried.
- You are responsible for lighting or relighting the gas furnace in winter if service is disrupted.
Poor cooling can be due to a clogged filter resulting in poor air flow. If you call for service and the HVAC technician establishes the issue resulted from not changing the filter or from using the improper size, you will be billed for service.
General Care and Use Tips
The most important rule of caring for your heating and cooling system is changing your air conditioning filter once a month. Don’t worry, it’s easy to do, and you can pick up a 3 pack of filters from Walmart or Lowes for $10. In addition to keeping the system running efficiently, changing your a/c filter improves airflow and therefore also improves efficiency in your home. This directly correlates to a more affordable power bill, so remember that it pays to stay on top of keeping the filter clean.
Experts say that it is optimal for your power bill, to set a/c temperatures to 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in summer. Phil Mathews with Mathews Heating and Air also recommends not setting your thermostat to below 70 in the summer months.
How to Change Air Condition/Heating System Filter
- Locate your a/c filter return. Most are located behind a grate near the indoor a/c unit. Some filters are inserted into the system. For questions on how to locate your filter, google the manufacturer or reach out to your property manager.
- Turn the a/c system off. Debris can be sucked in while you are replacing the filter.
- Remove the old filter and replace it with the arrows pointing inward.
- Date your filter. This helps you remember when to change your filter! A/C filter should be changed monthly.
How to Flush Drain Line
The next most important maintenance on the HVAC system is keeping the drain line clear. This includes flushing the indoor drain line. Here is a video from one of our trusty vendors, Phil Mathews with Mathews Heating and Air, that shows how to keep your air conditioning condensation drain line clear from both inside and outside your property.
Troubleshooting Common Issues
Before calling in a work order, we ask you to take the following steps to troubleshoot the unit. If these steps do not work for you, please submit a maintenance request to the office so we can get a vendor scheduled to come out and assess the issue.
HVAC Will Not Turn On
If the unit is not running at all, reset the breakers in the inside breaker box. There is also an outside breaker box by the HVAC unit. Check these breakers and reset power. Next, check the thermostat. If the thermostat is blank, you may need new batteries. Replace batteries. If these steps do not work and power does not return, call for service.
HVAC Unit is Frozen
HVAC units often freeze when the unit is set too low or if airflow is too restricted, which is often caused by not replacing the filter timely. If the unit is covered with a thin unit of ice, you must turn off the HVAC unit to thaw. Call for service.
HVAC Unit is Leaking
If the unit is leaking, you must turn off the HVAC unit immediately. If additional damage is caused because you failed to turn the unit off, you will be held responsible for this damage. If water drips from the inside unit, it is usually due to a clogged condensation drain line outside. Dry the area with towels and fans. If the line becomes clogged, turn off the unit and clear the drain line from both the outside and inside. Some drains are easy to clean with a wet/dry vacuum cleaner and others will need maintenance.
HVAC Not Blowing Cold Air
Do you have a heat pump? The easiest way to determine this is to check your thermostat to see if you have an “emergency heat” option. If you do, you may have a heat pump. The air coming from the vents may not feel cool in the summer but if the unit is working properly, this does not signify a problem.
If you do not have a heat pump, and do not feel the unit is running properly, consider the temperature outside. As we live in a harsh climate, we receive numerous reports by July and August of a/c units not working that are actually operating as designed. Unfortunately, during extreme hot temperatures, the heating and air system may not keep the house as comfortable as you desire. When the heat index is high, the air conditioner may not lower the inside temperature more than about 10-15 degrees below the outside temperature.
Here’s a few tips to manage the heat. Close window coverings, keep doors closed, do not run hot appliances for extended periods of time and take all other precautions given by public authorities when heat advisory is in effect. Do not set the thermostat at a low temperature or it could cause the unit to freeze up.
If these conditions do not apply, call for service. Please keep in mind if the technician does not find anything wrong with the unit, you can be billed back for service.