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Posted: Thu Jul 28, 2011 9:35 pm
by brookeroo
I have a house which I am leasing to a couple. The house sits on a slab. I am in the process of an eviction due to non payment. I currently do not have full access to the house yet. I only was there to inspect after we found that they had abandoned the property. I'm trying to figure out a few things.

1. The A/C was on and the thermostat was set to about 42 degrees. I don't know if that is because the a/c went out and they were trying to keep it cool while they were there or they were attempting to burn the unit out since it's been 100 degrees every day. They did not let me know of any issues. I'm leaning towards the fact that they were trying to burn the unit out because the utilities are still in their name and therefore they are "paying" for it and left the house with it still on. ( I say that loosely)... I actually doubt that they will pay the utilities.

I was wondering if having this on a constant run, would even cause the unit to deteriorate and malfunction like this? Is it possible that even if it was out it would continue to cause more problems to the unit by allowing it to continue running while broken. We believe the house has been vacant for at least a week. So we think it's been running like this for at least a week. We were there about two weeks ago and it was working appropriately. Today, the lines in the house were actually dripping and there was ice growing on one pipe. The blower was running on the furnace to blow the air but the unit outside was not working at all.... nor would the blower turn off when we set the thermostat to off. We had to cut the power to it all together.

2. There is no crawlspace. I'm trying to figure out where water is coming from in my living room under the carpet. The central air conditioner is outside in the backyard. The living room is in the front of the house. The piping comes into the house through a pantry wall (in the laundry room) at the back of the house. there is one bathroom but I do not know why there would be any pipes running towards where the water spot is through the house. My husband said something about lines possibly running under the house but there is no restroom or water past the furnace in the back of the house. The kitchen is on one side of the laundry room and the bathroom is on the other side of the laundry room.

All pipes that (I was aware of) are visible from the exterior of the house through the pantry to the furnace/blower. On the opposite side of the pantry wall is the living room where there is a vent up near the ceiling. There is no moisture coming through the ceiling however there is a water spot coming from under the carpet in the middle of a doorway to the hallway. There does not appear to be any water surrounding the spot so it does not appear to be coming from the other side of the wall. I cannot for the life of me consider where this water is coming from since it's not coming from the walls or the vent and there is no reason waterlines would run that way since there is no bathroom that far into the house or even on the opposite side of the house... Are there typically lines that run under a slab for this?? My house was built in the 50s.

I cannot get a tech there until I have full possession which (may) not be for at least a week.

- troubleshooting

Posted: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:07 pm
by nomadpeo
unless the air handler is directly above the spot in the attic and water came from the ceiling from melting ice or leaky pan, it probably is not related to the ac. freon lines are not in the slab. good luck.

- troubleshooting

Posted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 9:25 am
by heatseeker
You didn';t state where the air handler is positioned in the attic or the hallway access closet. If your pipes are frozen yes that would wet the carpets if the unit is in the hallway. If in the attic you would see it dripping from the ceiling. Leaving a air conditioner on at 42deg would make it run constantly and would freeze the coil eventually. However the fan not turning off is an internal problem that could not be controlled by a tenant. Overall picture is your unit sounds as though it did need some maintenance and the tenant probably turned the tstat down to try to get it to cool better. As a landlord or slumlord which ever fits you ought to have basic knowledge of hvac maintenance. In other words the units should be checked twice a year for basic operation and safety. That way you can cover your ass and won't have to use tour 5000.00 dol retainer for your lawyer fees when someone gets carbon monoxide poisoning.

- troubleshooting

Posted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 3:03 pm
by brookeroo
The unit is outside in the backyard. The pipes come inside and connect to where the furnace is at in the laundry room. There is nothing in the attic at all. I also have no basement as it is a slab. Hope that helps. I don't know much about what is what.

- troubleshooting

Posted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 9:03 pm
by brookeroo
heatseeker -
As a landlord or slumlord which ever fits you ought to have
> basic knowledge of hvac maintenance. In other words the units should be
> checked twice a year for basic operation and safety. That way you can cover
> your ass and won't have to use tour 5000.00 dol retainer for your lawyer
> fees when someone gets carbon monoxide poisoning.

Also, I am a first time landlord, 30 years old. I am not a slumlord. This house was a very nice house until these tenants got into it. Over the course of the last two weeks they have mostly abandoned the property. All they left as of yesterday were two couches, a washing machine and dryer and junk in the garage.

They left the tstat at 42 degrees and all of the fans in the house on high. They busted my bathroom cabinet apart. Put a hole in the the master bedroom wall, broke the window out of my back door and chipped the paint (all over) the top of the *brand new* stove that I bought at Lowes last November (which was NOT bought out of a scratch and dent section). Broke the pull cord out of my lawn mower. Broke pieces off of my brand new kitchen cabinets... Luckily so far the brand new fridge (which also was NOT bought out of a scratch and dent section) has not been damaged... yet.... amoungst the kool aid stains on my carpet and various other issues I will have to resolve sooner than later.

Oh, and as for the wet spot in the hallway/living room area.... we figured out today (after I also found that they had taken my curtains and curtain rods along with their remaining belongings) that it's actually that he's been coming in and peeing in the same spot on the floor. They visited the property today to pick up their two couches which I had concerns were filled with drugs since they had pulled apart the entire seams of the couch cushions in the top of their brand new , very well made couches, and actually re-sewed them and left the thread and needles on the kitchen counter.

So since you didn't know the situation (which I didn't think I'd have to get into here) prior to calling me a slumlord over my AC unit having a malfunction...which they are required to notify me of if there is an issue, my goal here was to give them the benefit of the doubt after all the above...that their goal was not to force this to happen.

These tenants came to me in January and seemed like a happy couple with a baby. Unfortunately it wasn't until March that I found out that they were looking for somewhere to go in January because they were in the process of their first eviction with their former landlord. They stated that they lived in rental houses and gave me fake landlord references who actually turned out to be friends. I had no way of knowing I was not speaking with a true landlord since they were not apartment complexes. They have paid 5-7 payments late. They damaged their previous landlord's house and owes her $1600 that they probably will never pay. Since I would have to spend a bunch of money to take them to eviction court and had no way to prove to the court that these people were friends and not property managers since the previous landlord didn't want to get involved in my issue, I had no way to ensure I could get them kicked out until they completely defaulted. And for all I knew it could have been a property manager who just wanted them off their property and fed me crap to get me to take them.

I lived in this house for 7 years and made a lot of improvements to the house up until I married over a year ago. We bought a bigger house and opted to rent out my smaller house so that we could grow our family (I'm due in two months with our second child. My first is 3). We decided to rent it out due to not being able to sell it for 6 months, (economy). My old house is not worth near what I paid for it.

But thanks... not sure all my personal information was necessary to discuss when I came here for HVAC questions but the pre-mature, out-of-line slumlord insinuation/judgement kind of warranted it.

I know nothing about HVAC. I don't pretend to. You might be surprised, that's actually why I'm here...

As a wife and mother, I leave that to the professionals, and even my husband does the same. If every person in this world had HVAC knowledge your job (or at least you being here on this forum) wouldn't serve a purpose. Honestly, I don't know that I know any person in my life that has their AC or Furnace units inspected 2x a year. If it didn't bleed your wallet just to to have someone show up then more people probably would but that is just not typical of any person I have ever known.

I didn't want to be a landlord, or rent out this house (that I love) and have an attachment to, but that's just where life and the economy took us. It actually sickens me to see what they are doing to it and I can do nothing about it. Insurance won't cover it and the police tell me it's a civil court matter and I'll have to sue them for money I'll never get back. And on top of it they have access to the house for another week and I can do nothing about it.

- troubleshooting

Posted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 11:34 pm
by nomadpeo
sorry to hear you are having to learn this lesson the hard way. if you rent the house again, there are a couple of things you can add to your system that will cause it to shut down under adverse conditions such as ice on the evaporator, water in the emergency drain pan and extremely low or high pressures. talk to a reputable company about these options. the cost of installation will be far less than the cost of damage. you can also install a thermostat with setpoint limits that can be set from an installer configuration menu with a password. good luck. ( btw - tell me the peeing was done by a dog and you just failed to mention it ! )

- troubleshooting

Posted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 9:46 am
by heatseeker
I didn't call you a slumlord I simply put the option out there landlord or slumlord. I assume you don't have a lawyer on retainer you should get one. Oh yea I've started my career as a maintenance tech going to houses and businesses strictly for maintenance of hvac equipment. You need to do more homework.