A/C Maintenance 101: A Checklist for Your Single-Family Rentals

air conditioner maintenance check

Skipping regular maintenance A/C units at your SFR properties can potentially cost you expensive repairs and even the premature replacement of your equipment. Our team outlines nine items that should be on your A/C preventative maintenance checklist.

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Summers can be tough on your air conditioning system. If you missed an early season A/C maintenance check on your single-family rental (SFR) properties, don't put it off any longer. Skipping regular maintenance can potentially cost you expensive repairs and even the premature replacement of your A/C units. 

According to Modernize, the average HVAC replacement cost ranges from $6,465 to $11,877 and can cost much more for emergency services. In fact, HomeGuide reported HVAC emergency services typically cost double or triple the regular rate for a service call.

A/C Preventive Maintenance Frequency

If HVAC systems are well maintained, you can expect an estimated life expectancy of 15 to 20 years in most parts of the county. (In hotter climates, it’s closer to 12 to 15 years.) According to the Indoor Air Quality Association, regular HVAC maintenance reduces the risk of costly breakdowns by as much as 95%.

How often should you be scheduling HVAC preventive maintenance for your rentals? An optimal maintenance program includes:

  • Two major checkups—typically in the spring and fall—where all systems are checked, coils are washed and filters are changed.
  • Two minor checkups—typically in the summer and winter—where a visual inspection of the system is conducted and filters are changed.

Start by getting your A/C units checked, and then get them on a regular preventative maintenance schedule. Here’s what an HVAC technician should be checking and addressing as part of an A/C preventive maintenance checklist. 

Air filters

Regularly replacing air filters (as part of your planned A/C maintenance and then monthly) can potentially help you avoid problems with your HVAC unit. 

Plus, by routinely changing air filters, your renters can save on their energy bills. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that replacing those dirty filters can result in a 5% to 15% reduction in energy consumption. While they stand to benefit, it’s generally best to not rely on your renters to tackle this task, though. Talk to your property services partner about scheduling this routine job. 

Refrigerant system

The refrigerant system is a critical component of A/C maintenance, moving the heat from indoor air outside. Too much (or not enough) refrigerant decreases a system’s efficiency, drives up costs and can shorten its life. Inspecting and charging refrigerant levels are important for keeping A/C systems in working order. 

Outdoor condenser coil

Because the outdoor coils are naturally exposed to dirt, pollen and other potentially damaging elements due to their outdoor location, they need to be cleaned at least once a year. An HVAC technician will check and record the refrigerant pressure, then rinse the coils with water, applying a cleaning agent and removing any debris that’s accumulated around them. 

Foliage check

While they work great aesthetically as a disguise, shrubs and plants around outdoor A/C units should stay trimmed back—at least 18 inches on all sides of the unit—to permit air flow. Your property services partner should report back to you if landscaping near the units is a concern.

Indoor evaporator coil

Indoor coils should be cleaned and inspected for damage every year, especially in advance of the summer months when air conditioners will be doing the most work. 

Condensing system

When an air conditioning system pulls heat and moisture from the air, that condensate must be drained outside. The condensing system should be flushed during an A/C maintenance check to prevent or remove any clogs and allow for proper drainage. 

Electrical components 

During this A/C maintenance visit, the tech will confirm that all electrical components are firmly connected and tighten them if needed. In addition, they should test all motors, contactors and capacitors and recommend replacing any that are underperforming. This step can help you avoid bigger and more expensive repairs.


The A/C maintenance visit should also include a test for air leaks, paying close attention to any gaps or loose ductwork and sealing them as needed. Cleaning the ducts can also keep pollutants like dust and mold from being circulated inside the home, a benefit your renters will appreciate. 

Schedule an A/C maintenance check today

Keeping up with routine A/C maintenance can help you maximize your SFR investment by potentially avoiding expensive repairs and even the premature replacement of your unit. Plus, your renters may be able to enjoy the benefits of lower energy bills and improved indoor air quality, contributing to overall renter satisfaction. 

Find out how MCS can partner with you to keep your air conditioner in good working order and protect your investment. Contact Kerry Anderson or Jason Myers for additional information.