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Summer is Here – Of Course Our Rental Home’s A/C Would Die…

You read that right, the air conditioner in our rental home stopped blowing cold air.  It’s hitting 91 degrees during the day already, so this is pretty dang important.  Forgot to add in the original post that I first tried calling the a/c repair guy that we have always used, but they were already closed.  Mr. BFS and our friend went over immediately and narrowed down the problem, but our quick fix didn’t work for more than an hour or so.  It definitely didn’t buy me any time.  Now I am searching for a working a/c capacitor that can be delivered ASAP.

Broken AC

The Hypothesis

The system worked when our friend pushed along one of the rotating parts of the capacitor.  I’m calling this the “starter-thingy”.  BUT, then it stopped working again in an hour or so and the trick with pushing along the starter-thing didn’t work again for long.

Our hypothesis is that the air conditioner unit has a dual capacitor – a capacitor with a “starter-thingy” and a “main-capacitor-thingy”.  Well, we’re guessing that both parts are bad.

Long story short, I’m hitting Amazon.com and other online sites to find a good, FAST deal on the correct capacitor.  But we have the wrong numbers written down and my tenant is asleep (she also wanted to double-check the numbers in the morning when the sun was up), so we’ll need to figure out the exact capacitor model number as early this morning as we can so I can keep hunting.  I’m writing this post at 1:30am and haven’t had any luck yet.

Best and Worst Case Scenarios

Best case – I find the capacitor we need on Amazon via Amazon Prime and we have the part by Wednesday, install it, and it works.  This would run us less than $50.

Worst case – we call out our a/c repair guy, it isn’t just the capacitor, it’s something irreparable, and we have to fork out $5000 for a new air conditioner.  This scenario also takes WAY longer.

Realistically – I find the correct parts but it takes us a week to really find out every issue or to have the part(s) delivered.  So this would take about the same amount of time as the worst case scenario, but costs way less.  It costs more than the best case scenario, but takes more time.

I’m handling this all right now, so this is to be continued…

How is your house or rental property treating you or your tenant right now?

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6 comments to Summer is Here – Of Course Our Rental Home’s A/C Would Die…

  • Amber

    While it is usually admirable that you’re wiling to forgo a little comfort while you search for a good deal, I personally think the standards are different when you’re a landlord. We have a rental property and are preparing our own place to rent when we move again. I sometimes think we take more care with our rentals than our own place, because where we might be willing to put up with small inconveniences, I don’t think we should ask someone else to, for the sake of saving us money. I think a broken A/C during a Texas summer constitutes an emergency and you should try to get an A/C repairman out today. I wouldn’t be surprised if they carry common spare parts and may be able to fix it immediately.

  • I agree with Amber. When it comes to being a landlord keeping the tenants comfortable and safe is your job. After all, they are paying for a service and if you can not provide it within a reasonable time (in this case I would say 24-48 hours max) then you should be paying for alternate accommodation for them (i.e., hotel) or knocking a significant amount off their rent for the hassle (assuming they agree to this rather than the hotel).

    I’ve had the opposite problem as you – furnaces that stop working in the height of Ohio winters. Seriously, how do these things know when the absolute coldest days are? I have a trusted company on call and they are usually out within the hour to assess and repair. If it is a night or weekend the cost is slightly higher, but that is the price you pay when you manage properties. My tenants pay me for a service and part of our lease agreement says I will handle issues in a timely manner so I take this role of land lording very seriously. Thankfully every problem has been able to be repaired the same day but if it required a new furnace or AC and was going to take longer I would not hesitate to pay for a hotel.

  • @Amber and Denise, our a/c guy wasn’t answering since it was late on a Sunday. I added that into the post now since I forgot to include that in my 1:30am writing. Anyway, I was able to reach him this morning and he’s going over today to see what needs to be done. I found the capacitor online for $29, but it wouldn’t make it until tomorrow or Wednesday. I will have wished I had gone that route if the a/c guy doesn’t have the part either, but he might. Fingers crossed. I was just trying to go the fastest route since no a/c here does indeed suck.

  • We are in an apartment complex and we’ve been having issues with our A/C for almost a month now. It’s ridiculous. They’ve sent repairmen over four times, and each time we get told the same thing. Last time their fix lasted for ten days, and they were supposed to come back the following day to investigate further, but they never did. I’m just waiting until it breaks down again. Our apartment was 85 degrees the last time, so I feel your tenants pain. Hopefully they have fans to keep them cool in the meantime, and hopefully it’s a small issue with a quick fix!

  • Kim

    We just put a whole new AC system into our commercial rental. It was expensive, but way overdue. At least we were ahead of the curve and replaced it before the old one died. It’s not really even that hot here, so I can’t imagine in Houston! Hope they repair guy has the part.

  • @EM, it ended up being the capacitor like we thought. $113 and it was fixed in less than 20 hours total. Fingers crossed that it lasts for another 1-2 years before we just replace the whole thing (it’s a 10 year old unit this year…).

    @Kim, he did and it was fixed by 1pm here. She is no longer melting and it was $113- post tomorrow. :-)