Is my landlord misleading me about air conditioning?

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Is my landlord misleading me about air conditioning?

Postby ColimaDawg » Fri Mar 22, 2013 11:32 pm

A conversation with my -

Initially, my landlord said that my apartment wasn't cooling because it took time for the water temperature to go down (in the Master Chiller) - and I was fine with that.

"You need to understand that the Master Chiller system is not like a conventional A/C System and when it turns on it automatically shoots up 55 degree temperatures."

Then, he said that my apartment wasn't cooling because one compressor was inoperable, but indicated that when it was fixed next week there would be more air, and colder air!

"Currently, our chiller system has two compressors and one is down as we are waiting for a part. That one should be up in running in the next week and the system should be pushing out more air at cooler temperatures."

I was fine with this, and willing to wait patiently until the second compressor was repaired (as he indicated would happen).

But today the landlord's "air conditioning specialist" told me that management just barely received a bid on that compressor repair - and both the on-site manager and the "AC specialist" told me that the second compressor won't even be turned on until it's "110 degrees". When I asked the landlord about this he then admitted that the second compressor won't even be used (or turned on) unless the temperature reaches 100 degrees!

"The second compressor is inoperable and yes, Dan is correct, it won't turn on until the temps reach 100. Regardless, if the second compressor is on, it won't make any difference as the compressor is what chills the water in the lines to 42 degrees."

Most importantly, he essentially said that the current unit (Master Chiller) is simply insufficient to cool all 39 units - no matter what!

"It has to chill hundreds of gallons of water and has to push ALL of that chilled water to 39 units in this complex, and lets say everybody wants the A/C on at one time, well, just like anything else--the more people trying to use, the less there is to go around. It's just not feasible for any Master Chiller System to do, no matter how old or new, no matter if the duct work has holes or not, no matter if its dirty or clean."

I can't help but think that this will be a serious problem when the temperatures are in the 80s, 90s, and 100s - when it's pretty much guaranteed that every tenant will want (and rightfully so) to use air conditioning.

I just don't see the purpose in having a cooling unit or system for a 39-unit apartment complex that is not capable of cooling a 39-unit apartment complex, particularly in Arizona.

The bottom line is that the chiller is not cooling my apartment. I woke up this morning in a pool of sweat, and discovered that it was cooler outside than inside (after having the AC on all night) - so turned the AC off and opened the windows instead.

The landlord's "air conditioning specialist" came by today at 10am (and he had no tools with him - zero - and looked like a homeless person), turned my fan on high, waved his hand in front of the vent, and told me that everything was working fine!

It is 78 degrees in my apartment right now. It's 83 outside. My AC has been on high for 7 hours, with all the lights off, blinds closed, and without using any heat producing appliances. And it's still 78 degrees INSIDE.

If the chiller can't cool my lower level apartment when the outside temperature is in the low 80s, what is going to happen when the temperature reaches the high 80s, or 90s, or 100s?

This is Phoenix! It's hot here! From May through October, it's going to be 90 degrees or above during the day - and in the months of June, July, August, and September, it's going to be over 100 degrees during the day!

Is my landlord just stalling me? Can a Master Chiller in poor repair with one compressor cool a 39-unit apartment complex in Phoenix, Arizona?
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Postby juster » Sat Mar 23, 2013 8:14 am

It is true that if the chiller is not working properly (down one compressor) then it will not be able to ensure that the chilled water (that cools all apartments units) will be able to cool all the apartments. Basically the unit will be over loaded. The land lord will need that compressor repaired and that will cost money. Yes they are pulling your leg on when the compressor will be repaired or when the second compressor will be used. They are trying to save money in some way as you are not getting the full story.

Chillers could have many problems other than just the compressors. If you are too hot now, you will be very hot this summer. Most chiller repairs can be completed from a few hours to a few weeks depending on the parts that have failed. With you not knowing the extent of the repairs, all you can do is ask for a detailed explanation of what is needed for the repair, then ask are the parts available, if not how long will they take to arrive, then get a commitment on the very latest date the repair will be completed.
Has this over heating problem been a problem in previous years? If not then they will need this repair completed soon.

You will need to continue to inquire, every day if needed.
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Postby ColimaDawg » Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:50 am

My landlord just turned on our "AC" unit about a week ago. Despite this, my apartment stayed 75-78 degrees inside, even when temperatures outside ranged from 66-92. Since they turned the AC on, the average difference between the outside temperature and inside temperature was 5 degrees (5 degrees cooler inside). However, at night it would actually get hotter inside than outside.

As I stated before, I told them that I felt it was not working, and they told me first that we had to wait for the water temperature in the "Master Chiller" to cool down, and then that the 2nd compressor wasn't fixed yet - but later they told me that the 2nd compressor would not be turned on until it reached 100 degrees or higher outside.

Worst of all, the landlord said that is because when everyone needs AC at the same time there simply isn't enough to go around! I feel that this means they need a unit that is sufficient to cool all units!

How can I convince my landlord that it is not working? How do I measure the temp in my vents? Should I pay for an AC/HVAC specialist to come out and measure vent temperatures and "intake" temperature and air flow and look around and give a "diagnostic" evaluation as proof?

I feel that the air coming from the vents is not very cold at all, and also it is barely blowing.

I complained again, pointed out the inconsistencies in their story, and they sent their "AC" specialist in, who opened the intake and messed with the duct there, turned my fan on high, and set the temperature on my thermostat to "50" - then left saying it was now 65 degrees in my apartment (it wasn't).

I went and got two room thermometers that keep track of the current temperature and the low and high. The coolest it has gotten inside my apartment is 71, the highest is 78.

I have Multiple Sclerosis, and have problems with vision and leg functioning in extended hot temperatures, and I am very worried that if the AC can't cool the apartment now when it's not hot, it won't possibly be able to cool the apartment when it is 90 or 100+ outside (which will begin in May and end in October here in Phoenix, Arizona).

Is a Master Chiller with one compressor sufficient to cool a 40-unit apartment complex in Arizona (it's a three story building, concrete block)?

Is it reasonable to expect to keep my apartment at 70-72 degrees?

Any suggestions on what I can do or say to persuade management to take action?
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Postby Freon » Sun Mar 24, 2013 2:15 pm

You need to explore landlord tenant law for your state. See if there isn't a local free organization that helps tenants. Your landlord's technical problems are not your concern. What is your concern is getting a habitable apartment in exchange for the rent you pay. You have rights and need to exercise them.
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