On Sat, 07 Jul 2007 09:27:18 -0700, carie email@example.com wrote:
I surely wouldn't consider that an adequate test. An adequate test
looks at the results, that is, is the air cold. Unless that is
physcially impossible, like maybe measuring something on a satellite
when one is on the ground, but that is not the case here.
Still, I wonder if there are two places that are specially important.
But I'm not an AC guy.
Although someone said 20 yesterday, I don't think it is always 20 -- I
think what I've heard here, AHR, is 15 to 20.
Now the thing is working! Darn. It's much much harder to fix most
things when they are working right. Even things that only work
intermittently. You pretty much have to catch it when it's not
working to be able to fix many things.
Do you have a thermometer other than the one that is on the
He asked because curious-type repairmen are always curious when a
customer says something about a repair, right or wrong.
And of course it does have to run for a while to get to that temp. He
may have thought you had had it running.
The fact is that all repairmen get calls for things that either were
really never broken or start workimg the moment they touch it. Even
when I'm working on my own stuff, that I know is broken, it's not
unusual for it to start to work fine the moment I start to repair it.
Sometimes they never break again, sometimes they do.
It's plainly working outside, but I think he should have looked if it
was dirty. By now he has 18 degrees, which iiuc is pretty good.
I think during hot weather a lot of companies make service calls as
quick as possible, because so many people are calling them. If one
wants a tune-up or a cleaning, he has to call when they aren't so
busy, or pay more in the busy season**. But if the outside is dirty,
you could clean it yourself if the landlord says ok, using a garden
hose with no nozzle, iiuc. The fins are very easy to bend, and bent
fins cut down AC efficiency. This isn't your major problem, though.
**This is why I guess whether you rent or own, you should test your
furnace in September and your AC in April or May, so that if it is
broken, you have time to get it fixed when companies aren't busy. I
don't know what various landlords will say if you say your ac isn't
working in May. Landlords vary.
For the next time, espeically a more important situation, you have to
have the pencil ready, because if you give someone time to think, they
want to "check with their lawyer". That's why reporters iiuc sometimes
try to surprise the people they interview.
Did you first ask his name, or if he had a business card**? For your
records, all you really need is his name, or the company name on the
truck. He didn't add any freon, so he doesn't have to have a
license, and your legal relationship is with your landlord, not with
the AC company. This part is very important. If he fixes it and does
a bad job, but doesn't cause damage to things you own, you won't be
able to sue him. You're not paying him and you don't have a direct
relationship with him. No privity. (If does damage things you own,
the landlord might be resposnible too, in this case.)
Being a tenant can be both an advantage and a disadvantage in this
situation. It depends how things play out.
**My friend who has a burglar alarm business gives all his installers
business cards, although I'm sure many bosses in many fields don't
bother. He's hoping to get business that way. (He might be thinking
that without a business card, the installer will just give them his
own number and do the work without my friend, but if they have a card
they won't bother.)
That's really going to endear him for the next time he has to come.
He'll be sure to clean up well, and be extra careful to not leave
And for nothing because as you found later, he doesn't have to give
you his number. Except he may tell your landlord he doesn't like you.
That's not in your interest either.
I absolutely despise the president of my home owners association. She
lies, cheats, and steals votes, and she's a hypocrite or senile. But
I don't tell her any of that that or she will make my life more
difficult. When one of us moves, I'll probably tell her.
From my pov, it's hard to say if it's unfortunate or not. Surely if I
were in your shoes, I'd be happy to be able to get his number. (Even
though I could find his number if I had his name. If the licensing
agency wouldn't look up his number based on his name, they also
wouldn't do anything if they had his number.) But if we look at the
whole picture, we live in a country where laws are becoming more and
more oppressive. I'm flabbergasted that in Virginia, they passed a
law that there can't be smoking even at private clubs. And some place
else they banned the sale at restaurants of food made with transfat.
Requiring that the ingredient be listed on the menu would have been
ok, and probably killed it, but telling people they can't serve a
legal food if people want to buy it is, I hate to say it, the bud of
fascism. That the state has the power to do anything. (Not German
fascism, which includes mass murder. More like maybe Spanish fascism.)
This strikes me as reasonable.
BTW, you didn't reply to any particular thing I said last night, but I
hope I convinced you that I wasn't suggesting that anything
underhanded is going on.
He wasn't curious, he didn't know what he was doing. He was ready to
leave after 2 minutes, having checked to places with a probe. After I
went in to a longer explaination that I put here about why it should
be 20 deg different, he started looking at the unit (inside) again,
and scratching his head, without actually doing that. He also looked
surprised when I was 18 deg different when he checked it again. - And
he knew the A/C had been off, because I told him, and he turned it on.
I tried handing him a notebook and pen before I said I'd follow him to
his truck, and he just ignored that, but got very nervous. I then said
I'd go down with him - "You have it in your truck? I'll just go down
with you and write it down." When we got there he said he wouldn't
give it to me. I don't think he has any contractors license at all.
Of course you don't know all those details, because I abreviated down
to just the relevant facts, but I do appreciate the feedback.
I'm not sure what you mean. Are you being sarcastic? He didn't adjust
anything, he was just using something that looked like a voltmeter
(and scratching his head, without actually doing that). Telling him
the A/C couldn't get the apt down below 83 deg all day didn't mean
anything to him.
The function of the A/C unit *itself* is to pump out air that's about
15F to 20F colder than the air that comes in (or actually, whatever
temperature difference is in its specifications). If it's doing that,
then *it* is working.
Now, in a larger context, the purpose of the A/C unit within your
actual apartment unit is to achieve a comfortable indoor temperature.
It is possible that the A/C unit is working perfectly according to its
specs but can't do that. In that case, the problem might be that the
A/C unit is simply undersized for the load it's having to handle.
That doesn't mean the A/C unit is broken. It means that you have the
wrong A/C unit. *If* this is the case, it cannot be fixed by tinkering
with the A/C unit.
To make a car analogy, if I try to tow a large trailer up a mountain
with a Toyota Corolla and I fail, does this mean the Toyota Corolla
is broken? No, and if I start looking in the engine compartment to
see what's "wrong" with the Toyota's engine, I am looking in the wrong
The point is, perhaps the problem is that whoever designed the apartment
complex failed to choose appropriate A/C units given the size of the
apartments, the amount of insulation (which may be NONE), and variables
like that. And maybe they chose A/C units which are really energy-
inefficient. I don't know how common this type of bad engineering is,
but it seems like a plausible explanation for your situation.
I've been here for over a year and a half, and never had an electric
bill like that, the A/C has never ran continously like it is, and I
never had any problems getting the temp down to 76 deg.
The unit couldn't get the temperature below 83 the other day, when the
temperature outside was ONLY 90 deg with 37% humidity.
Whining about it on here won't get it fixed, calling your local housing
authority might, and keep jumping on the landlord about his handyman doesn't
know shit about HVAC, get a pro out there, will. Just flat tell the SOB,
that he can send out a pro, and get it done right, or you will worry the
stew out of him. There is nothing that says you can't call him on the phone
dozens of times a day, or show up on his door step, and camp out until he
does something. How many other tenents are having issues?? Maybe a call to
your local TV station news room??
Boy, this adversarial relationship between tenant and landlord (neighbor
and neighbor, boss and employee, contractor and homeowner, etc. ad
infinitum) that keeps getting advocated really irritates the shit out of
me. I'm a tenant and a landlord, and I have fantastic, cooperative,
sane, mutually beneficial relationships with the other party in both
circumstances. Luck? No. Intention.
Maybe because you don't have to deal with slumlords that don't care about
anything but the money going into their pocket.
If her landlord cared about the tenent at all, he would have sent a pro to
begin with, not some minimum wage flake.
I don't choose to do business with people of no character. So no, you're
absolutely correct, I don't have to deal with slumlords. And I never
will, because I will never rent from one. Or be one, either.
We don't know yet that he's a slumlord. IIRC he had the AC fixed a
month ago and while the guy might not have fixed it right, maybe this
is a new problem, and it did last 3 weeks to a month.
IIRC, it's the same guy this time. Maybe the guy knows how to fix
some problems and not others, or he was having a bad day, or his wife
left him, his kids in jail for drunken driving, and he's having a bad
week. Yes I know a pro should still do good work, but one can't count
Or perhaps the company isn't very good, and the LL hired it precisely
because they are cheap. But maybe it's not even so cheap, but the
company itself is deteriorating, without the knowledge of the
landlord. Perhaps the owner is gambling and losing company money
(let's say it's a company he owns lock stock and barrell so it's not
even illegal what he's doing) so he's had to hire cheaper people than
he should. There are loads of things that the LL won't know about for
a while, especially if the employee is able to portray the tenant as
What if your building is sold to a new landlord, like mine was.
I sure hope not. I hope everyone's good plans go well. But what
happens if your wife or kid has medical bills beyond your insurance,
and the only way to raise the money is by bleeding your rental
What I would do is bleed my rental properties or sell them, but I can
imagine that it's a bad seller's market and I think I only need
another 20,000 and I can keep the property and catch up later. Then
another 20 grand, etc.
I don't think you would plan to become a slumlord, but things happen.
What about today? It was working for a little while. It would be
good to know about how long it was working, and what the temp is in
the apartment today. And what the temp is outside.
You should keep at least a daily record, but maybe an every 12 or 6 or
4 hour record when you are not sleeping. This will be valuable in
convincing the landlord it's still a real problem, in discussing
things with a city agency or in court if it ever gets to either of
those places, and might even turn out to help the repairmnan fix the
problem, if the problem is intermittent, which it seems to be.
Do you have a thermometer? You must have a thermometer, and frankly
it has to be more than 3 or 4 inches long to convince anyone it's ok.
I'm sure you can get one for a dollar at a dollar store, and a good,
prettier one for no more than 5. I'm still using a thermmeter I
bought 35 years ago, and one I bought 29 years ago. They are white
plastic so that it's gently backlit during the day time as the sun
goes through the white plastic. I had to reglue the glass tube into
place about 10 years ago (there's a small mark filed on the side that
should be next to 32 when it is glued, or you can tell where it was
sitting becuase there's a little dirt). I also bought a second
identical thermometer when I didn't have eneough heat (see other post
that may appear below this one) to keep a record of the indoor temp.
So now I have one on the second floor outside and one on the frist
Keep a record of the temp in the room you spend most of your time in,
and of your bedroom, and measure the temp of the air coming out of the
AC, and the air going in, probably where the ac guy did that, and keep
a record of everything. You will get far more respect from everyone
concerned than just saying it was 83 most days. Keep a record of
which of your vents are open and which are closed, and anything
While your at it, even though it is the AC that is the big cause,
look for anything else that might be cause heat loss. If you can cure
anything yourself, your ll will respectd that. If you can't fix it,
just list it calmly (although maybe not unless he asks or until the AC
is fixed. If he's a bad landlord, he might decide to spend a week or
two on some small air leak, rather than pay for a high-rate repair
during the very hot weather.
Im assuming there is more than one rate. Do, or how many do, AC
repairmen charge more during July and August. Or do they charge the
same and you just have to wait at the bottom of the list?
These groups usually work slowly, I am under the impression. How
could it be otherwise? First they call on the phone. The secretary
says, He'll get back to you. He calls back the next day, and says he
sent a repairman, but it doesn't seem to be fixed. They say, when do
you think you will be able to fix it. He says, The AC company says
tehgy'll be out the day after tomorrow. They call the tenant in a
week to see if it is fixed. She's at work and calls back the next
day, and so on.
It doesn't matter how much he knows. The point is that it isn't fixed
yet. (assuming it is still hot inside today.)
Yes there is. At some point LESS than dozens of time a day, it is
harrassment, and besides the potential liablitity for that, no court
of agency will look kindly on someone who does that.
This is also a mistake, especially when dealing with someone who had
it fixed a month ago (and as far as we know, it worked for the past
month until it broke sometime within the last week) and who has sent a
repairman, no matter how incompetnent. I'm sure the AC charged the LL
for a service call, and when he finds out it still doesn't work, the
LL will want to know what he's paying for. The AC company will say,
as they should, that it had 18 degrees differential when they were
there, and that is why the tenant has to keep a record like I say
Even if perchance the kind of repeated complaining you are
recommending were to get her AC fixed, do you think she will get any
cooperation on anything in the future. At most given the reaction of
most people to being annoyed, she'll get the minimum the lease
requires and she'll have to wait for that.
And when the lease expires, he may well refuse to renew it. AFAIK, in
most places there is no recourse when a landlord refuses to renew a
lease. Even in places with rent control or rent stabilization, unless
you are in an aparment covered by one of those laws, there is afaik no
recourse. Even in NYC maybe but for sure in most or all other places.
She's been there a year and ahalf. Her lease might be up in 6 months.
It might have been up 6 months ago. She might be month-to-month now,
or soon. 30 days notice and she's got to be out, or in some places
she would have to the end of the month.
humidity the latent-heatload will be minimal, allowing the sensible
heatload to be removed & transferred outside much faster. Pull down the
shades & close the drapes to keep the radiant heat from entering the
conditioned space. Vent the bathroom after taking showers, don't cook
things that steam up the kitchen, etc., the latent heatload reduces the
evaporators Sensible (or Temperature Reducing) capacity!
You can do a lot to keep the heatload much lower; do those things &
reduce your utility bills!
WISDOM PRINCIPLE DIRECTED EMPOWERMENT COMMUNICATIONS -
THE REAL POLITICAL ISSUES and WISDOM BASED PEOPLE EMPOWERMENT
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.