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Which air conditioner is best for a rental property?

The best air conditioner for a rental property really depends on which side you sit on, the landlord or the tenant. Both landlords and tenants will have very different requirements and desires, so it is likely that they will clash on what they think is best for the situation. This article will go through the perspectives of each side and then discuss which air conditioners are likely to be best suited for each party.


One of the most important aspects in this debate is who is paying for the electricity. In general, it is the renter that pays the electricity bill, since they are the ones using it. This removes the financial incentive for most landlords to pay extra for a more efficient air conditioning system.


From a purely financial standpoint, it doesn’t make much sense for a landlord to pay extra money for a system that is more efficient when the tenant will reap the savings. Now, not all landlords see everything solely through a financial lens. Some might be environmentalists and want the carbon footprint of the home to be as low as possible. Others might just want their tenants to be happy and comfortable. Some might have a particular soft spot if it is a young family struggling with all the bills.


If the arrangement does involve the landlord paying for the electricity, then it does become in their financial interest to have the most efficient arrangement. Even so, there are still many other things that need to be taken into consideration when choosing the right air conditioner.


From the tenants’ perspective, it all depends on their current situation. If they plan to move frequently, they may want an option that is more portable. The other consideration is what the landlord will let them do. They might not be too happy about a big hole in their wall for a wall mounted air conditioner. We have to look at all of these aspects for each individual case when deciding which air conditioner is best for a rental property.




The best air conditioner for landlords

Ducted Air Conditioning

If your primary concerns are the comfort of your tenants as well as efficiency, then this is the choice to go with. If you are building a new home, the cost to design a ducted heating and cooling system may not be considerably more than other options. If you are retrofitting a house, this can be the most expensive of the common options.

The positive aspects of ducted systems include that they look better and can help with the resale value of the house. Your tenants will also be in the ultimate comfort because of the amount of control that they give. A properly configured ducted air conditioning system will also be the most efficient, so it will save them money and reduce the footprint on the environment. Yes, the upfront costs may be high, but you will also be doing a good thing for the planet.

Split system air conditioning

If the installation costs of ducted air conditioning are too high, a split system might work out better. Split systems can be used to control the temperature of individual rooms or living areas. One thing to consider is that if you plan on putting two or more split systems into a home, the installation costs can be comparable to ducted air conditioning. These can be less efficient than ducted air conditioning and don’t allow the same level of control throughout the entire house.

Wall & window air conditioning units

If you are looking for the option with the lowest upfront costs, this is probably it. Wall and window units can be great for air conditioning rooms, but they are also loud and not very efficient. Your tenant will have higher bills, but they will still be able to stay comfortable when it’s hot. Window units require minimal changes to install, but wall units will generally require a cutout in the wall.




The best air conditioner for tenants

Wall & Window Air Conditioning Units

If your landlord won’t install air conditioning themselves, a window unit is probably the best option. They might be loud and not overly efficient, but they have a low upfront cost and are relatively portable and easy to move from place to place. A window unit is a good choice for a single room and it should do a good job of keeping you cool. A wall unit probably isn’t a good idea, because you will need to remove part of the wall to install it.

Portable air conditioners

Portable air conditioners are a great choice if you plan to move around frequently. They also have a smaller upfront cost than some of the other options. The big problem with them is that they aren’t very efficient and are only suitable for small spaces. With heavy use, they can drive the electricity bill sky high. They are best to be avoided unless all of the other options are unsuitable.




So which air conditioner is best for rental properties?

It’s not an easy decision to make, because there are so many variables. What is best for the tenants might go against the best interests of the landlord. The best thing that you can do is meet with your landlord or tenants and discuss your issues to see if you can come up with a solution. This article hopes to give you a basic guide of the key points to consider so that you can see things from the other party’s perspective. Hopefully you are able to use it to come up with an efficient solution that keeps the tenants cool and the landlord happy.