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Common Tenant Problems - Air Conditioners

This section is for renters to discuss issues regarding problems they may be having with their air conditioner, including harassment by your landlord regarding your window-mounted Air Conditioner, or demands that you remove yours.

Landlords are not required to provide air conditioning, however buildings that do provide central air must turn it on from June 2 to September 14, and must maintain an indoor temperature of not more than 26 degrees Celsius.  The Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations Heat/vital services webpage has more information, as does this City of Toronto webpage: RentSafeTO for Tenants - See the "Indoor Temperature and Air Conditioning" section on that page.

If you have an window-mounted air conditioner, it must not constitute a danger to others, nor cause damage to the building (dripping water?), nor bother your neighbours, and one's Tenancy Agreement (Lease Document) may forbid window mounter air conditioners.  But if none of these scenarios applies to you then the landlord cannot make your remove your air conditioner.  The City of Toronto has a helpful pamphlet on this topic: Frequently Asked Questions: Window Air Conditioning in Apartment Buildings

Landlords are not always honest about the fact that they have no legal means to force a renter to remove their air conditioner, for example in this article: Can my landlord ban window air conditioning units in my apartment?, NOW Magazine points out that "Medallion, Greenwin and other landlords have cited the city bylaw Section 629 as prohibiting window units that are not on a balcony, but according to the city of Toronto, that is not what the by-law says."

In addition to this forum there are some terrific information resources available on this topic:

• From the Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations, Rules Around Air Conditioners

• From the The Toronto Star, Air-conditioning, renting and your rights: An expert explains the rules

Author Topic: AC, humidifier, HEPA myths  (Read 5852 times)

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romank

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AC, humidifier, HEPA myths
« on: March 18, 2023, 01:35:13 pm »
I've seen some inaccurate info going around re: air conditioning options and humidifiers etc. in old buildings. Here's my take on this... your experience may of course vary. In my own case the landlord publishes a newsletter and while recent mentions of dry throat and eyes etc. were generally helpful, some other stuff was pure rubbish. And this is a big company with lots of buildings so it makes you wonder.

In the last... few years I have personally installed three or four AC units. I'd say it's not really a job for the faint of heart so when a landlord says "why don't you install an AC - it's easy!" it kinda rubs me the wrong way.

(1) Really crappy, bizarre documentation. If a vital part can fit comfortably in a 5 mm square box or plastic bag (I am not making this up!) it is not a good idea to try and illustrate the unit and the part in a 9 cm (3 inches square) technical drawing. Nuff said?

(2) Indoor air conditioners like "Arctic Queen" or whatever are sort of okay, but they are generally designed to push the warm air out through a window through a plastic manifold - a long flexible white thing that looks like something that Armstrong and Aldrin might have worn. THAT part is not always easy eg. the end of the manifold has to fit the window. And you only get one manifold-and-bracket assembly, so don't lose it or you will literally be toast.

Lots of luck trying to get the friendly new hires (or even the management) at Lowe's or Homeless Depot etc. to broker you a special order for extra manifolds and parts. Again I have done this a few times in recent years so I write from long, sad and generally frustrating experience.

(3) Humidifiers and HEPA air filters etc. are a bit of a trick. Recent designs by companies like Helen of Troy (again I am not making this up) have incorporated cosmetic changes compared to (say) units from a dozen years ago. The main issue for many people is that the media were and remain prohibitively expensive.

In my case I got a humidifier (“Honeywell” HEV320WC - you have to flip the box completely upside down to see the number) at Tired Canadians for about $70-$75. Comes with a paper filter that you soak in water. Instructions say the filter is good for a month or two - doubtful. Worse there is only one such filter and it doesn't quite match the replacement ones that will set you back $20-$25 each... hopefully they are cheaper by the dozen.

I have occasionally seen brown water coming out of my taps, and in my neck of the Don Valley woods 4L of distilled water costs at least $1 and more like $2, especially when you factor in bus fare. 4L lasts maybe 3 or 4 days, so do the arithmetic for a year's worth of service! To make things “easier” (not very) I usually split the contents of a 4L jug into two jugs of 2L each that I can proceed to lug home.

(4) Those little, rectangular Honeywell air filters have not changed much other than the price. Expect to part with about $150.00 most days at Tired Canadians and for that price you only get maybe one and a half units! Not negotiable or it will quickly lead to "if you don't leave now I'm going to call security". They do suck up a lot of dust though. Run 'em for a while and there will quickly be a layer of what looks like gray felt on the outside of the activated charcoal pre-filter.

I personally believe that there is a "high-rise disease" of sorts going around in these old buildings, that management and the city/public health etc. have come nowhere near addressing yet. Over to you, FRPO! Happy breathing.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2023, 01:37:00 pm by romank »

romank

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Re: AC, humidifier, HEPA myths
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2023, 03:25:48 pm »
A lawyer from CELA was on the CBC television news network on Sunday evening talking about the climate crisis and older renters who swelter in aging, badly maintained buildings. She mentioned a need for a shift in government policy. I was lucky to be able to capture a few seconds of her parting comments with my cell phone. (short video clip)

https://cela.ca

 

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