The air conditioning in your rental plays a crucial role in tenants’ decision to rent or remain in your property. The presence of an AC unit in the home means tenants have assurance of their physical comfort at all times.

But the mere presence of air conditioning is not enough; the type and quality of AC you install matters. Many landlords opt for central air conditioning in their rental properties. A central AC unit in your rental will let you:

Attract the best tenants: Rentals with central AC are viewed as higher quality by potential renters, says HMR Management. With central AC, you can attract high-quality renters.

Maximizing comfort: Central air conditioning comes with the benefit of consistent temperature levels and better air-filtration systems.

Have greater control and offer tenants more convenience: Central AC also comes with the advantage of letting you install a programmable thermostat. They give landlords more control over the performance of their HVAC.

Make long-term profits: The higher upfront cost of a central AC is offset by higher rents. After that cost of air conditioning repairs, the AC will keep providing benefits into the future.

Which type of central AC system should you buy?

Buying the appropriate central AC unit is vital. The wrong system will create more problems than it solves. The trouble is, there are so many brands and types of central air conditioning systems in the market. It is hard to know what to buy. What are the things to look for when purchasing a central AC unit for your rental property?

1. Brand name

Brand names matter when buying AC’s. The manufacturer of your AC is one of the most reliable predictors of its performance and longevity. Naturally, high-end brands and models will offer overall better service. But as long as you are buying a product made by a trusted brand, the difference between the most expensive models and the mid-range ones will not be much. Moreover, you will have the excellent after-sale service of the brand. A central AC system is an enormous investment. You don’t want to ruin your chances of maximizing your returns from that investment by buying a unit that will not perform as expected or one that will break down often.

2. Warranties and service agreements

Warranties on central AC parts vary, depending on the manufacturer and the model. More expensive models have extended warranties. Some companies offer a warranty of up to 12 years (or even a lifetime warranty) on top models while limiting it to 10 years for cheaper models. The best companies will also offer a few years of labor warranty. But, for the warranty to be valid, you may have to sign a service agreement which includes letting a recognized AC professional service your systems once or twice every year. Before you buy the AC, check if the warranty is transferable if you sell the property.

3. Energy and maintenance costs

Always think of the purchasing, operational, and maintenance costs of the system. Who will be responsible for paying the energy bills and maintenance fees? The cost of repairing a central AC may be as high as $300. This cost may increase depending on the average temperature in your location (breakdowns and repair costs tend to increase with temperature). Will you transfer this cost to tenants? If you intend to pass the cost to tenants by adding it to the rent, can the rental market in your location accommodate the increase? Will you be able to find tenants easily for the rental?

4. Size and efficiency

What AC size do you need? That will depend on the size of your rental property. It would be best to consider ceiling height and your location’s climate in addition to the square footage. AC size is measured in British Thermal Unit (BTU). One ton equals 12,000 BTUs, and you will need anything from a 2-ton to a 4-ton unit. The standard rule is to buy 25 BTUs for every square foot. To get the total BTUs for the rental, multiply the total square feet of your property by 25 BTUs. Note that this is a very rough way to estimate the amount of cooling power you need; to get an accurate estimate, talk to a professional.

5. Noise levels

Some municipalities are very strict about how much noise your AC is allowed to make. The noise level of the system appears as its decibel rating (dBA). For most central AC units, the decibel rating ranges from 50 dBAs to 70 dBAs. Units rated as 50 dBA are super-silent and produce only a quarter of the noise output of systems rated as 70-decibel dBA. If noise pollution is a big issue in your city, look for the ones with dual-stage compressors or variable-speed air handlers. These not only reduce noise, but they also improve efficiency. But even if your city does not require it, choosing the lowest dBA is still the best option for now and for the future.