Scott Esmail

How do I know what size AC unit needs to be installed in my rental unit?

When it comes to ac units, it is important to be able to calculate the size of the unit required on your own.  Generally HVAC contractors measure and decide the size of the unit, however you can’t just go by what they say they may try to get your business by offering th cheapest quote and under sizing the unit in order to be the best price, so I also like to do the calculation  myself. I have had several houses that I have managed where the HVAC contractor took improper calculations based on sq ft size for example there was an addition added and wasn’t recorded on city records, or a HVAC contract just outright installed the wrong sized unit.

outdoor ac unit

Why is this important ? Well to start if the unit is undersized then it may not be able to keep the house cool enough especially in the hot months of July and August. The a/c may be running constantly but not be able to get the house cool enough to a reasonable level. This can cause two problems for your tenants, the first major issue his the house is too hot and won’t reach a temperature that they set on the thermostat, and second the a/c constantly running may have their electric bill gets high.

Why should you care? It’s simple if there good tenant either one of these issue or both may cause the tenant to leave after their lease is done. You may think ” I’ll just will get someone else in who’s just as good and replace them”. The problem with that is the new tenants will no doubt have the same issues and this can lead to a high turnover and never-ending complaints.

What do it suggest? First when getting the a/c installed, calculate the square footage yourself, look at each room to see if that room is has central air vents to correctly get the square footage, if there is no vents like most garages, there is no need to include that in your calculations. Additions to houses can vary sometime they have the vents and others don’t.

Rule of thumb, for every 500 sq ft of vented area requires 1 tun unit, for example if you have 2000 sq ft of vented area you will require a 4 tun unit. What I personally like to do is have an extra half ton installed, just so that I am sure the cooling will be done extra well to avoid any future issues with the house not cooling well. Usually it’s just an extra $100-$200 in price and the labor price stays the same.

Written by Scott Esmail

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