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November 03, 2023 5 min read

Property Manager Maintenance Issues: Protecting Your HVAC Investment

As a real estate investment owner, you're all too familiar with the challenges that come with property management. From screening tenants to handling maintenance requests, it can be a demanding role. One of the most significant concerns for property managers and real estate investors is ensuring that the residential property or commercial property remains in good condition and that unexpected expenses are minimized.

Among these concerns, HVAC maintenance ranks high, accounting for a staggering 14.2% of all reported issues in rental properties. Your HVAC system is not only a vital component of your property but also a substantial investment. In this article, we'll delve into the importance of proper HVAC maintenance, particularly the role air filters play in extending the lifespan of your units.

The Cost of HVAC Neglect

Your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system is the heart of your property's climate control, providing comfort to your tenants year-round. However, it's not just about keeping tenants cozy; it's also a significant financial investment.

Replacing an HVAC system can cost thousands of dollars, and unexpected breakdowns can lead to unplanned expenses and tenant dissatisfaction. Regular maintenance can help mitigate these issues, ensuring your HVAC system functions efficiently and lasts for its expected lifespan. This is true for office buildings, single family homes, and any real estate property.

The Forgotten Filter: A Vital Component

One crucial element of HVAC maintenance often overlooked is the air filter. Air filters are relatively inexpensive and easy to replace, yet they play a pivotal role in the overall health and efficiency of your HVAC system.

These filters are designed to capture dust, debris, allergens, and other contaminants from the air, preventing them from entering your system.

Accordian home air filter that has been neglected versus a clean Filters Direct USA air filter

Over time, however, air filters become clogged with these particles, reducing their effectiveness and causing your HVAC system to work harder to maintain the desired temperature.

The Impact of Neglected Air Filters

When tenants neglect to change the air filters in their rental units, the consequences can be severe. As a property manager or real estate investor, you may not be aware of the issue until it's too late. Here are some of the ways neglected air filters can impact your property and your HVAC system:

  1. Reduced Energy Efficiency: Clogged air filters force your HVAC system to work harder, consuming more energy to achieve the desired indoor temperature. This inefficiency results in higher utility bills, which can impact your property's profitability.
  2. Increased Repair Costs: The strain on an HVAC system caused by dirty filters can lead to more frequent breakdowns and the need for costly repairs. Tenants may report issues with heating or cooling, leading to service calls that could have been avoided with regular filter changes.
  3. Shortened Lifespan: HVAC systems are designed to last for many years, but neglecting filter maintenance can significantly reduce their lifespan. Replacing an entire HVAC unit is a substantial expense that property owners would prefer to avoid.
  4. Decreased Indoor Air Quality: Clogged filters cannot effectively remove pollutants from the air, leading to reduced indoor air quality. This can result in tenant complaints, health issues, and even legal concerns.
  5. Tenant Discomfort and Turnover: Inadequate heating or cooling due to dirty air filters can lead to tenant discomfort. Unhappy tenants are more likely to move out, which can result in higher vacancy rates and increased turnover costs.

Educating Tenants on Filter Maintenance

As a property manager or real estate investor, taking a proactive approach to educating your tenants on air filter maintenance can save you time, money, and stress in the long run. Here are some steps you can take to ensure your tenants understand the importance of changing air filters regularly:

  1. Include Filter Maintenance in Lease Agreements: Make it a requirement in your lease agreements that tenants change air filters regularly. This ensures that it is part of their responsibilities as renters.
  2. Provide Clear Instructions: Offer tenants clear and easy-to-follow instructions on how to locate and replace the air filter in their units. Include a schedule for filter replacement to prevent forgetfulness. Or include the service on a subscription that is mandatory for their tenant agreement.
  3. Regular Reminders: Send out periodic reminders to your tenants about the importance of changing air filters. You can include these reminders in your monthly newsletters or via email.
  4. Supply Filters: Consider providing air filters to your tenants as part of the rental package. This can help ensure they always have access to the correct filter size and make it more convenient for them to replace the filters. At Filters Direct USA each air filter costs $12 and we always offer free shipping. You select the sizes one time and they will automatically ship at your desired cadence.
  5. Offer Incentives: Encourage tenants to change their air filters regularly by offering incentives. For example, you can provide a discount on rent for those who consistently maintain their filters.
  6. Maintenance Service Options: If you have the resources or a property management company, consider offering a maintenance service that includes regular filter changes as part of the package. This can provide peace of mind to both you and your tenants.

Choosing the Right Air Filters

Not all air filters are created equal, and as a property manager or real estate investor, it's essential to choose filters that strike the right balance between filtration efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Here are some factors to consider when selecting air filters for your rental properties:

  1. Filtration Efficiency: Filters that have a high MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating, are not the best for your HVAC unit. We make filters that are antimicrobial and have a MERV 9 rating. This will allow proper air flow and trap dust, dirt, and dander. This is more efficient for your unit and will reduce your energy bill as well.
  2. Filter Size: Using the wrong filter size can lead to inefficiency and potentially damage your system. At Filters Direct USA we will mail the filters directly to the home.

Filters Direct USA home air filter is antimicrobial and better for your HVAC system. What sets these filters apart.

Either the tenant or maintenance person can replace the filters every three months. At Filters Direct USA we cut custom sizes. Our factory is in North Carolina and we always offer free shipping.

  1. Replacement Frequency: If a tenant has a pet, the air filter needs to be replaced more frequently. Do not go more than three months without replacing air filters in a home, condo, or apartment.
  2. Cost: While it's important to select quality filters, cost is a consideration, especially if you're supplying filters to multiple rental units. Filter Direct USA supplies high-quality filters for $12 per filter.

Conclusion: A Small Investment for Long-Term Gains

In the world of property management and real estate investments, HVAC maintenance is a top concern. Neglected air filters are often the culprits behind inefficiency, increased costs, and system breakdowns. By educating your tenants on the importance of regular filter changes and selecting the right filters for your properties, you can protect your HVAC investment and ensure the long-term health of your real estate assets.

Remember that air filters are a small, relatively inexpensive investment that can yield significant long-term gains. Regular maintenance not only reduces energy bills and repair costs but also keeps tenants happy, improving tenant retention rates.

It's a win-win for both property managers and tenants. So, don't let your HVAC investment go to waste – make filter maintenance a priority in your property management strategy, and enjoy the benefits of a well-maintained, efficient HVAC system.

Your tenants, your bottom line, and your property's value will thank you.

Mark McNally
Mark McNally

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