Inspect the AC Before Renting a Home in San Diego, CA
When you’re looking for a home to rent in San Diego, you may not think to thoroughly examine all the home’s systems as if you were buying it. However, some systems, such as the AC and heating (HVAC), are critical to your everyday comfort.
Here are four steps to inspecting the AC system in your home before you sign a binding contract.
- Turn on AC and Check for Cool Air
First, the basics. Find the thermostat. Is it a programmable thermostat that will help you save money? When you turn it on, how long does it take for cold air to come out of the vents? After you turn it on, wait a minute, then go find a vent and see how cold the air has become.
When you do this, you rule out a completely dysfunctional AC unit. If you leave the system on while you walk through and inspect the house, temperatures should be noticeably lower when you’re finished than when you began.
- Find a Vent and Take a Whiff
If the air smells musty coming out of the vent, that should be a big red flag. The ducts might have a mold or mildew growth indicative of a moisture problem or to a larger mold problem throughout the house or condo. Moldy air in the ducts spreads throughout the house, so the mold problem can rapidly reoccur.
Mold in the ducts is still a big problem because all the air you breathe at home travels through your air ducts. A detectable moldy or musty smell indicates a high concentration of mold spores in the air, which are very bad for your health. Spores can cause an allergy to develop or worsen any respiratory conditions you have.
Other bad smells coming out of the duct work are also problematic. A little stale air just at first is one thing, especially if the system hasn’t been used in some time. But if the vents smell like a dead animal, the house could very well have a rodent problem; mice and rats can die in the ducts and create an awful smell.
- Check Size and Placement of the AC Unit
If the AC unit is too small for the area of the rental, it won’t be able to keep you cool during the hot summers in San Diego County. This is especially a problem if you live in the East County where temperatures don’t cool down at night or if the rental unit gets full sun exposure all day and doesn’t have plenty of windows for supplemental ventilation.
If the rental home has recently been upgraded with an extra room or a feature that produces heat (such as a hot tub), check to make sure that the AC unit was also upgraded for added capacity. For example, a 1,000 square foot home likely needs a capacity of 18,000 to 21,000 BTU. You can generally find the capacity on the outdoor unit’s nameplate.
- Check Rental Agreement for Liabilities
Who’s responsible for AC upkeep and repairs? What about pest control? AC maintenance can be quite expensive, and you don’t want to be responsible for it if you don’t even own the system.
Checking these four aspects of the AC system before you sign on the dotted line can help you ensure you don’t get stuck with a lease that causes you to roast every summer. For more tips on AC usage, upkeep, and efficiency, check out the Mauzy Heating, Air & Solar blog today.