Single family rental homes, apartment buildings/complexes, duplexes, etc. house old dangerous heating and air conditioning units in the residences of rented living space because the cash flow just wasn’t there for repairs. Now that property managers and owners are finally able to evaluate their properties for improvement because the occupancy rates and rents are up we are seeing an increase of requests to change out the equipment or to perform maintenance on the equipment to assure the safety and efficiency of the equipment.
Rental property owners know the risk of no revenue (tenants holding the rent) when the heating is not operational, however the focus on risk needs to be placed on the potential injury or death of the tenants and destruction of the real property that can be much more costly. You see much of the deferred maintenance on the HVAC (heating and air conditioning) equipment over the past several years is starting to show.
This would account for the two recent furnaces in an apartment complex we recently were requested to work on to flame up upon inspection. This had the potential of causing a real fire danger. When the owners became aware of this and they requested that Cold Craft, Inc. change out all of the heating units immediately.
Another furnace featured in our blog was also a rental where the flue was undersized, the filters were plugged with pet hair and several registers were turned off choking the furnace. This make the heat exchanger over heat and flames were shooting out the bottom of the furnace. Luckily the furnace stopped working and the tenant called the owner who in turn called Cold Craft, Inc. to investigate. We saw that the furnace was choked off of air flow and there were 2 holes and cracks where the flames were coming out of the furnace. After telling the owner our findings the owner opted to replace the furnace immediately.
If you are a property management company or investment property owner you are aware that a recent change in the carbon monoxide rules in California for living spaces requires carbon monoxide detectors. We are finding that some of these newly installed detectors are going off when the furnace is on.
In one case where the owner updated their home with a new high efficiency furnace but then decided to rent the home out. The property management company installed the carbon monoxide detector and it was alerting that evening when the tenant came home and turned on the furnace. They called Cold Craft, Inc. to find out what was occurring. This property was in a rural area so the technician could not park next to the home but on the street level. The technician’s CO detection equipment was sounding at the street level it was so bad. To understand what happened, the energy efficient furnaces (over 93% efficient) are engineered to burn the gas (propane or natural gas) more efficiently and when doing that the furnace produces water. If the installation of this unit is not done correctly, then the water can leak; back up into the unit, etc. This particular furnace was installed under the home (horizontally) and it seems that when the new furnace was being installed the flue running under the home was not sloped properly causing water to block the flue and the furnace would shut down. The technician or installer working on the home drilled holes in the flue to drain the water so the furnace would work, but thanks to the CO the tenant did not die from CO poisoning.
Other times Cold Craft is asked to fix or provide opinion on heating and AC work that just dowsn't look right, like the following....such as a condensing unit installed on top of a metal storage shed, PVC drainage pipes resting on top of a light bulb, etc.
Owners and peoperty managers should call Cold Craft to perform safety inspections, maintenance and even an opinion on replacement if the equipment is aging (15+ years old). Call Cold Craft, Inc. at 408.374.7292
If you need help with temperature, contact Cold Craft, Inc.
408.374.7292 or INFO@COLDCRAFT.COM