Class C ACs
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Class C ACs (by S i d [MO]) Jul 12, 2023 12:03 PM
       Class C ACs (by Ken [NY]) Jul 12, 2023 12:49 PM
       Class C ACs (by Richard [MI]) Jul 12, 2023 1:03 PM
       Class C ACs (by GKARL [PA]) Jul 12, 2023 1:27 PM
       Class C ACs (by Busy [WI]) Jul 12, 2023 1:53 PM
       Class C ACs (by David [MI]) Jul 12, 2023 2:00 PM
       Class C ACs (by David [MI]) Jul 12, 2023 2:01 PM
       Class C ACs (by Deanna [TX]) Jul 12, 2023 2:21 PM
       Class C ACs (by WMH [NC]) Jul 12, 2023 3:53 PM
       Class C ACs (by GKARL [PA]) Jul 12, 2023 4:17 PM
       Class C ACs (by WMH [NC]) Jul 12, 2023 5:51 PM
       Class C ACs (by Barb [MO]) Jul 12, 2023 5:53 PM
       Class C ACs (by WMH [NC]) Jul 12, 2023 6:12 PM
       Class C ACs (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Jul 12, 2023 6:50 PM
       Class C ACs (by Robert,OntarioCanada [ON]) Jul 12, 2023 11:22 PM
       Class C ACs (by Robert J [CA]) Jul 13, 2023 12:27 AM
       Class C ACs (by S i d [MO]) Jul 13, 2023 10:29 AM
       Class C ACs (by Sisco [MO]) Jul 13, 2023 3:29 PM
       Class C ACs (by David [MI]) Jul 13, 2023 3:59 PM
       Class C ACs (by David [MI]) Jul 13, 2023 4:00 PM
       Class C ACs (by David [MI]) Jul 13, 2023 4:00 PM
       Class C ACs (by David [MI]) Jul 13, 2023 4:00 PM
       Class C ACs (by WMH [NC]) Jul 13, 2023 4:04 PM
       Class C ACs (by Sisco [MO]) Jul 13, 2023 6:24 PM
       Class C ACs (by Pat [VA]) Jul 13, 2023 6:50 PM
       Class C ACs (by S i d [MO]) Jul 13, 2023 6:52 PM
       Class C ACs (by Sisco [MO]) Jul 13, 2023 7:59 PM
       Class C ACs (by Oreo [WI]) Jul 13, 2023 8:52 PM
       Class C ACs (by Oreo [WI]) Jul 13, 2023 8:55 PM
       Class C ACs (by 6x6 [TN]) Jul 13, 2023 9:28 PM
       Class C ACs (by zero [IN]) Jul 14, 2023 8:18 AM
       Class C ACs (by S i d [MO]) Jul 14, 2023 9:26 AM
       Class C ACs (by ChicagoLL [IL]) Jul 14, 2023 12:19 PM
       Class C ACs (by Oreo [WI]) Jul 14, 2023 4:39 PM
       Class C ACs (by zero [IN]) Jul 14, 2023 5:52 PM
       Class C ACs (by Homer [TX]) Jul 14, 2023 9:20 PM
       Class C ACs (by gevans [SC]) Jul 15, 2023 7:36 AM
       Class C ACs (by gevans [SC]) Jul 15, 2023 8:27 PM
       Class C ACs (by Ray-N-Pa [PA]) Jul 17, 2023 6:16 PM
       Class C ACs (by 6x6 [TN]) Jul 17, 2023 6:24 PM
       Class C ACs (by zero [IN]) Jul 18, 2023 8:01 AM
       Class C ACs (by David [MI]) Jul 18, 2023 3:04 PM

Class C ACs (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Jul 12, 2023 12:03 PM

I continue finding validation for only using window AC units in my Class C homes, which I define as "clean, safe, and functional". Sure the fridge may be avacado green and the walls may be the same beige as the trim, but ultimately we're talking "affordable housing" here: not HGTV show room.

Last weekend I had two HVAC issues: one at a place with central hvac that I bought back in my earlier days when I thought every unit should have central hvac, and one at a place I bought about 8 years ago that is window units only. The first place had a $6000 system I installed years ago. The second place had $500 worth of window AC units.

In the place with central, it was a sauna. No air AT ALL! Tenants was miserable for 2 days (to be fair, she only reported it at the end of day 1, so I was still got it fixed within 24 hours). I also chose to wait until Monday (she informed me Sunday) to avoid the added cost of off peak repairs. Still, about $300 for a blown capacitor and service call.

In the place with window ACs, one unit was out. No biggie. The other two were still chugging merrily along and so the tenant just relocated their TV and slept in the other bedroom that was still ice box cold. Maintenance swapped in a new unit for about $240 for the new unit and labor.

Which was the better outcome?

I can say that having spent almost 10x as much on the central air, I'm not getting 10x the rent premium. In fact, most of my central air homes rent for only about 5% more than my window AC unit homes. Not nearly enough to make up the cost and hassle difference of central. Plus tenant satisfaction is a real thing, and the folks like those little window rattlers that just keep on keeping on.

The other kicker is newer central HVAC units seem to break a lot easier than the older ones. I used to expect 15-20 years of life out of a system: now I'm luck to get 10 years, and some of those years I still get to spend money on blown capacitors, clogged drain lines, or coolant leaks. So basically, just to service the darn things 2-3 times is the same as installing all new window AC units in a house.

This is why I stick with window ACs in Class C units. What's your experience?

Class C ACs (by Ken [NY]) Posted on: Jul 12, 2023 12:49 PM

I have never put a central unit in a rental but i have put them in flips being sold.I wouldnt even put a window unit in,if the tenant wants it they can get there own,that being said upstate NY is nowhere near the heat as MO and the 2 markets are totally different --74.77.xx.xx

Class C ACs (by Richard [MI]) Posted on: Jul 12, 2023 1:03 PM

Here in Northern Michigan we only get about 2 to 3 weeks a year when it gets pretty hot.This year,maybe a little more since we've already had a week in the 80's and 3 or 4 days in the low 90's.

I have several"C" rentals and I don't provide a/c units at all. I just tell tenants to buy their own window units if they want one. Now in the "B" or higher units,most of them have central a/c, but that does not affect me. There is a large shortage of "C" units here (also known as "affordable housing". Tenants can get used units for $40-75 and new ones starting at about $130 for a small one that cools one room.

I tell them that when they move they can always take their a/c with them, but guess what -- about half of them don't take the unit. So I can clean them up and sell them to the next one for about $50 or so. They can do any needed repairs but, honestly, they just get another used one instead of doing repairs (because repair fees are higher than just buying used).

I also just pull any central heat if it goes bad as well but I do provide the little white heaters that I can get at the big box stores. These come in 10k, 20K and 30K btu models and cost about $225 new and often less when discounts are available. Used ones can be had for $50 to $120 pretty easy.I will put 2 to 3 of these in a place, each with its own thermostat. That way if one goes down, there is always a backup. This seems to work well for me. The prices for a new central heating system installed are way higher than 3 units at $225 each. So far, I've had no complaints on this. Plus, if the old central unit has any life left in it, I can easily sell it for up to $400 to someone wanting a low cost replacement (I've got 2 of these sitting in storage right now and will likely sell them this winter).

Just speaking for myself, I think people have become spoiled over the last 20-30 years regarding heat and a/c and advertising, etc has convinced them that central units are "a must". People have lost the knowledge of how their parents and grandparents dealt with temperatures that were not perfect. --97.85.x.xx

Class C ACs (by GKARL [PA]) Posted on: Jul 12, 2023 1:27 PM

I put in some minisplits into a place but that was because that was more cost effective than replacing the boiler. I could have gone with electric baseboard, but the incremental cost of going with the minisplits wasn't much greater as I was going to need to run the wiring for the baseboards. I agree however, unless you absolutely have to, it makes no sense to put in central air.

Class C ACs (by Busy [WI]) Posted on: Jul 12, 2023 1:53 PM

Have one more house to get the TTW A/C installed in living room in my four little houses. One house also has a window shaker in the kitchen, installed after thieves busted the ‘night latch’ mechanism to gain entrance when I was rehabbing that house. Haven’t gotten the window replaced yet, so the window A/C, and its surrounding plywood ‘installation plate’ ( cut plywood to fit shape of a/c, wide enough to go from window trim to window trim, sill to bottom of sash. Screw through plywood, through window trim into studs. Screw a/c to plywood. Insulate and caulk.) provide security.

Last TTW A/C that went out, $400, and hubby to help with lifting. Easy-peasy, but heavy.

Question for you, Sid. Do you leave window units in continuously, or do you put in and remove seasonally. If you leave them year-round, I’d love to read how you weatherize and secure. I’m thinking of adding an awning over the one window a/c, just to help prevent possible rain penetration. But, only if I scrounge a used one for cheap. Though, I don’t know its needed. --172.58.xx.xx

Class C ACs (by David [MI]) Posted on: Jul 12, 2023 2:00 PM

"In fact, most of my central air homes rent for only about 5% more than my window AC unit homes. "

Sid, I have seen you discuss this many times and I disagree with your analysis. Here, it costs about $3000-$3500 to put in central ac if you already have a furnace and ductwork. That should easily last 20 years and adding expected repairs, the total should not be more than $5000. Amortized, thats only $20. That is a no brainer if you have the existing ductwork.

Class C ACs (by David [MI]) Posted on: Jul 12, 2023 2:01 PM

That's only $20 a month

Class C ACs (by Deanna [TX]) Posted on: Jul 12, 2023 2:21 PM

The problem I find is not so much HVAC is desirable for the air in the summer (plus its dehumidifying properties), but it's desirable for the heat in the winter.

Back in the day, it was standard in my area for houses to rely on either wall heaters or Dearborn heaters. But I don't trust my tenants enough to heat with an open-flame gas heater.

Since we're in an area where winter usually = 30-60's, I had thought I could get away with electric radiators. But not so much. They're good for supplemental heat, but not for house-heat. Likewise, I've tried the heating/cooling window units, but again, no one's been particularly happy with them.

I don't know if it's the difference between people not knowing how to dress in the wintertime (ie, bare feet and shorts and complaining about being cold) or not know how to heat a house in the wintertime (ie, thermostat's at 80* in winter and 60* in summer), versus people who were raised in the 30's and 40's where those weren't really options.

How do you manage that aspect of things?

Class C ACs (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: Jul 12, 2023 3:53 PM

As I've posted a few times (more?) we use through-wall heat pumps in our non-central cottages. They've gone up in price, as has central, but still easy to install, easy to fix (just rip & replace - they don't seem to break, they just die after about 6-10 years.) If we put more than one in a place, we call it a zoned system :)

No one has ever complained about them.

Class C ACs (by GKARL [PA]) Posted on: Jul 12, 2023 4:17 PM

WHM, that's a good idea. I have one apartment where a through the wall would be a good option. It's a studio about 400 square feet. I have casement windows, so we can't use a window unit.

Class C ACs (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: Jul 12, 2023 5:51 PM

The through-wall systems look better and are far more efficient than the in-window versions, too, Gkarl. DH frames them in nicely and insulate around them so they are "built-in."

Class C ACs (by Barb [MO]) Posted on: Jul 12, 2023 5:53 PM

I have through the wall AC units in a few of my older places, but sadly can’t put the heat pumps in like WHM. The electric service is not sufficient to handle the demands of them. They have older gas wall furnaces in them. So we put wall AC units in.

They work, though. People accept them.

We joke that it is “zoned AC”. You adjust the temp in the zone you are in.

Class C ACs (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: Jul 12, 2023 6:12 PM

Barb, they do require 220 rather than 110 to have both heat and AC. DH knows how to install that, or if it's necessary, we'll pay the piper and call our electrician to install the service. Still way cheaper than central. Especially over time considering repair costs.

We had one little brick house purchased at auction that only had baseboard heat, which tenants here HATE ($$$) and window ACs. So we priced out adding ductwork and a central unit, or mini-split with a few heads, or a couple of of the through-wall heat pump units...through-wall units won hands down.

We found a couple of guys who knew how (and had the tools) to cut through brick walls properly. Then DH framed the spaces, added the necessary wiring, we installed two 12k BTU the time, I think we spent $1500 vs. the $5-8k for the other systems.

Difference was thousands and thousands of dollars to us and cheaper electric bills for the tenants over baseboard heat.

Class C ACs (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Posted on: Jul 12, 2023 6:50 PM

Nice homes have central AC.

Others get 2 window units.

My competition is new construction and I believe offering AC makes a big difference here in humid Indiana.

Other local LLs are too cheap to provide window AC so I get a small advantage.

Momma picks the house so it better be cool when she steps inside in July.


Class C ACs (by Robert,OntarioCanada [ON]) Posted on: Jul 12, 2023 11:22 PM

The life expectancy of a HVAC is determined by the heat loss or heat gain where a well insulated building will use the HVAC less. A high efficiency heat pump is the best option for efficiency where can used all year round for heating and cooling instead a central system. A net zero or passive building does not require a HVAC system as there is minimal heat transfer.

Class C ACs (by Robert J [CA]) Posted on: Jul 13, 2023 12:27 AM

It depends on what types of windows my homes have. Double Hung? Sliders? Cranking? Metal, Vinyl or Wood?

In a "C" grade home I could install three different A/C systems. But many times tenants will rent out rooms to friends and when no one is home, the guest will crank up the central a/c, causing the power bill to sky rocket from $250 every two months to over $500.

So I've been purchasing the Low Profile A/c window units that take up only 3 (Three) inches of window space. The a/c drops down over the window sill on the inside and outside of the window. I only have to make a track so when the window is closed on to the top of the a/c it is air tight.

Now the window only looses less than 15 % of the open volume, still meeting code.

Class C ACs (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Jul 13, 2023 10:29 AM

Thanks everyone for the responses. To clarify:

Most of my houses have central natural gas furnaces or a gas heat stove. Those do seem to last 20 years, and the purchase / install cost is not prohibitive. I can usually get on installed for about $1500 - $2000, assuming all the ductwork lines up. Those are almost worry free. Maybe have one repair request per year on those. Not one repair per system: one furnace repair for my entire portfolio.

Many of my older units won't support PTACs unfortunately due to the 220V circuit requirement; otherwise, I'd consider them as furnaces die out. To date, I've only had two actual furnaces die. Usually it's the AC unit that dies, and when it does I can still keep the furnace going and just add window ACs.

Class C ACs (by Sisco [MO]) Posted on: Jul 13, 2023 3:29 PM

I have in my hands an invoice for 2 1/2 ton condensing unit and A coil $1586.17 with tax.

$200 will pay for installation.

Service call to change capacitor $110.

You have room to improve your game in this area.

Class C ACs (by David [MI]) Posted on: Jul 13, 2023 3:59 PM

$200 will barely get a window AC installed. i don't know how $200 does a central AC when it takes 2 days a half day.

Class C ACs (by David [MI]) Posted on: Jul 13, 2023 4:00 PM

when it takes two days more than half a day

Class C ACs (by David [MI]) Posted on: Jul 13, 2023 4:00 PM

when it takes two guys more than half a day

Class C ACs (by David [MI]) Posted on: Jul 13, 2023 4:00 PM

I think you left off a zero, it would say more like $2000 labor, $3200 all in is more like it

Class C ACs (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: Jul 13, 2023 4:04 PM

We pay $5-7k for unit + install of 2.5 ton unit. We have two to replace right now. First one is 17 years old, second is about the same.

Class C ACs (by Sisco [MO]) Posted on: Jul 13, 2023 6:24 PM

David, this is a change out. No new ductwork, no new line set , no new pad or disconnect. Close the king valve, heat the soldered joint, pull apart at a coil and at condenser. Replace with new components heat joints, solder, connect wires, install gauges,open king valves, check Freon levels. Done.

One man, one hour or less.

Class C ACs (by Pat [VA]) Posted on: Jul 13, 2023 6:50 PM

We just traded a square hay baler for 3 central A/C units. Our HVAC guy looks out for us! We have several older units that are bound to go soon, and we are buying big round hay bales now so it is a win/win. We only have window A/C's in one block home, the rest have C/A. Singlewides, doublewides and stick built.

Class C ACs (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Jul 13, 2023 6:52 PM

Sisco, I'm all ears to hear about how to get an AC unit and AC coil installed for $1900. That would be a game changer for some units, especially in my commercial ones where window ACs aren't an option.

Class C ACs (by Sisco [MO]) Posted on: Jul 13, 2023 7:59 PM

You buy the equipment, have in place for the installation.

Develop relationships with the installer, let them know that you’re a big boy and won’t expect them to warranty anything, pay promptly, don’t cause them to spend any more time than is required to do the installation.

Class C ACs (by Oreo [WI]) Posted on: Jul 13, 2023 8:52 PM

Guys, a capacitor was only $5 each a few years ago; now probably no more than $20. A quick you tube video shows you how to install one. Buy some extra as they are likely made in China. Hubby does 10 in a day.

We decided to do it ourselves after our first service call on a central air unit was $200 with service call (sending 2 people) plus capacitor. The most common thing to go is the capacitor so we keep them on hand and do that first.

I know many of you don't like to do these things yourselves, but a handiman could do them for less than an HVAC guy would charge you for the part, let alone the service call. --75.11.xx.xx

Class C ACs (by Oreo [WI]) Posted on: Jul 13, 2023 8:55 PM

*10 a day includes cleaning the outdoor units along with installing the capacitors. --75.11.xx.xx

Class C ACs (by 6x6 [TN]) Posted on: Jul 13, 2023 9:28 PM

Sid, do you realize how much those run capacitors are?

Pre scamdemic you could get a capacitor for around $13.00 and DIY using caution.

When I was a kid we sat in front of window fans to cool off. While doing my major rehab I have been using window fans until about last week I put in 2 window units that I had so as to draw some humidity out of the air as I redo some floors.

Using window fans might make them melt these days.

For anyone that might decide to change their own capacitors you need to learn about it first. It is easy enough but dangerous enough.

Class C ACs (by zero [IN]) Posted on: Jul 14, 2023 8:18 AM

Capacitors can be very dangerous if handled poorly. Be safe.

We never had AC when I was growing up.

The first AC I had was after I had been married a couple years. We bought the biggest unit we could and put it in the rental we lived at.

That was one of those times where you think you have finally made it.

Now the spouse can't live without AC in the house and I think the AC in her car is on unless there is snow on the ground.

It's amazing that we as a people survived all those pre-AC years.

Class C ACs (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Jul 14, 2023 9:26 AM

I realize capacitors are cheap and YouTube videos make things look easy, but I long ago stopped DIY for reasons I won't get into here again.

I notice that no one here is talking about the advantage of having just one unit out of three go out as compared to a whole house system going down. How many times have we seen posts here when someone has a tenant demanding compensation for a hotel room when the AC was out all weekend or longer because the LL couldn't get a tech to fix it, or if they could find someone then they had to pay overtime? This doesn't happen with my units. One window AC out is a mild annoyance. A whole system down during 90+ degree temps with 50% humidity is misery. PO'd tenants aren't good for business.

Part of what led me to the window units is when my central system went down, I'd sometimes rush over and install a window AC unit in one room to give them relief until the repair was done. Then I'd have to go take it out afterwards. I started thinking...."What if I just left that unit here?" Saved myself an uninstall trip. From there it didn't take long to realize that starting out with more than one system in place made even more sense. Odds of all three dying at once are too small to worry about.

Anyway, I'm not here to convince anyone to switch over. I still do have to deal with central systems in our commercial units which don't have the window/room set up conducive to small window ACs. So I'm going to work with Sisco's advice on being a better negotiator and see how I can improve my costs.

Class C ACs (by ChicagoLL [IL]) Posted on: Jul 14, 2023 12:19 PM

In Chicago, we don't have many hot days here even in summer. Most of my rentals don't have the central unit. I agree with you on the benefit of having multiple AC window units. It eliminates the single point of failure problem of one central unit. Also, I never provide the window units. It's cheap. Tenants always bring their own. That's another plus for us because we have one less item to maintain.

I have a number of prospects who refuse to rent a place without central AC. That's fine. More than 70% of the prospects here don't mind using the window units. Like your area, I could probably get slightly higher rent if the place has the central unit. Not worth it.

Class C ACs (by Oreo [WI]) Posted on: Jul 14, 2023 4:39 PM

The professionals who replace capacitors are careful to shut off the breakers before replacing them. My husband does also. Be sure to do that and you'll be fine. --75.11.xx.xx

Class C ACs (by zero [IN]) Posted on: Jul 14, 2023 5:52 PM


I don't want to start an argument but a capacitor stores electricity in it. They can be live for a long time after no electricity is fed to them.

Flipping a breaker will not make the cap die. Now if it is already discharged no worries, but I treat all capacitors as if they were loaded.

Most people do not know how to check to see if the cap is still functional. Don't make contact with the legs and you are fine either way. But I know a lot of people that don't know anything beyond a you tube video about electricity.

I admit that I haven't been at my W2 since 2012 so maybe things have changed, but I do not see how.

Class C ACs (by Homer [TX]) Posted on: Jul 14, 2023 9:20 PM

I would much rather have window units in my class C homes, but would never be able to rent them. At $1800 per month, people expect central air. I have a window unit installed on the back side of my personal home. It sure helps to keep the load off the central AC during these 105 degree days.

Class C ACs (by gevans [SC]) Posted on: Jul 15, 2023 7:36 AM

Capacitor change out: turn off power.

Take a screwdriver and short out the terminals to each other or to the frame. If you turned off the wrong breaker, you will find this out NOW LOL.

Class C ACs (by gevans [SC]) Posted on: Jul 15, 2023 8:27 PM

Even my cheapest class C unit has central air, but then, I install it myself.

Class C ACs (by Ray-N-Pa [PA]) Posted on: Jul 17, 2023 6:16 PM

I define a class C place as a blue collar location where the folks work.

A class A is where the attorneys and Doctors live. A class B is where the white collar folks live.

A class D tends to be in locations where the folks might not be working or if they do work they might be in the marketing and sales business ahhhhh for themselves.

A window AC is fine for a blue collar location. You do occasionally have them walk away at turn over but they are still miles cheaper than central air.

Class C ACs (by 6x6 [TN]) Posted on: Jul 17, 2023 6:24 PM

I like Ray's description of the ABCD's

Class C ACs (by zero [IN]) Posted on: Jul 18, 2023 8:01 AM

I like the description as well. I have a hard time deciding what class a place is.

I seem to class them depending on condition rather than what Ray said.

Class C ACs (by David [MI]) Posted on: Jul 18, 2023 3:04 PM

as a wise man said, "repairs take time"

Even if it is 90 outside, if it is 70 inside, it will take a couple days to rise to even 80, since temps will drop at night. They can use fans to cool off in the meantime.

Subject: RE: Class C ACs
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