Electricity required for cooling with heat pump

+6
Answered
A condo seller says that the maintenance fee covers the air conditioning, but elsewhere it says that the owner has to pay the electricity to run the blower. I'm assuming the compressor for the AC is the vast majoprity of electrical cost, and the blower is minor. Is this correct?
  9 answers
  • Flo Flo on Aug 25, 2015
    I agree with your description. In the State I live, you can ask to see the last utility bills (from the height of the AC season) to be able to estimate the cost you will pay for electricity. That works unless the Condo has never been occupied.
  • Lindy Lindy on Aug 25, 2015
    To me it sounds like the seller means maintenance of the condenser is covered by monthly fees but the electrical charges are covered by the owner who runs the unit. Get clarification ASAP as this is pretty big in the condenser world (we have one for both cooling and heating). I wish our system worked that way because maintenance and replacement (around 2K) is a big expense.
  • Karen Karen on Aug 25, 2015
    I only recently learned about heat pump systems, and when I had to replace my A/C, went back to a regular system: it's designed to make heating less expensive, most often in locales where electric heating is very expensive yet there's not enough winter to justify putting in gas or oil. I live in Florida, and I've used my heat perhaps 3 times, briefly, in more than 5 years. I'm thinking Scottsdale might be similar (though I know the desert can get cold at times). I'd definitely get a full understanding of what's going on ... it's rare for condos to include something such as electricity -- maybe water but not power. When in doubt, ask for the documents, to be SURE you know what you are buying. Too few people do this until right before closing, and then it's too late to realize you don't like some of the key rules and regs -- the electricity might be the least of your issues!
  • Karen Karen on Aug 25, 2015
    P.S. What may be meant is that if the A/C unit is outside the building, then the association (of which you are a member as a result of ownership), through monthly maintenance fees, is responsible for the portion of the system that is outside (as part of the "common elements"). Especially likely if the outside components serve multiple units ... or if the condos are new enough that a builder's warranty still covers defects. Again, learn enough to be absolutely certain what is and what is not your expense ... ask for the documents, and ask to speak with whoever is the association manager (or board of directors, if self-managed).
  • Kimberly Saxton Scruggs Kimberly Saxton Scruggs on Aug 25, 2015
    If you're working with a Realtor( buyer's agent), ask him/her. That's what you're paying them for! Do some more sleuthing and look up A/C contractors and ask them to explain how this type of system works. A long time ago I rented a place with a heat pump; house was total electric. Hate those things,...it's like double dipping: electric for the A/C and electric for the *%#^ heat pump! ....all this, as they say, to help your A/C run more efficiently. Right. Not!
  • Sassy Sassy on Aug 25, 2015
    Definitely sounds like the association will keep the AC serviced, but you will pay for using it via your power bill. Do find out what the monthly power costs were - Kimberly is right, the Realtor can easily find out. You don't want to be shocked like my daughter was in her new house - almost $600 for the month of July!!!
  • Dorothy Collett Dorothy Collett on Aug 25, 2015
    It would be a good idea to get exactly what that maintenance fee covers and what happens to it if it is not used. Most units outside are only checked/cleaned once a year as they get older.
  • Tanya Tanya on Aug 25, 2015
    I agree with some of the other commenters. Based on your wording, it sounds as if they are responsible for the maintenance of the unit, but not for the cost of usage, which would be included in your electric bill. Maintenance should include seasonal preventive maintenance, as well as their fixing anything that might go wrong with the unit throughout the season. Find out if they have a time-line on how quickly repairs have to be done. This can be highly important in Scottsdale and all the low desert areas of AZ. Also, find out if maintenance includes regular replacement of all filters.
  • Jaxon Jaxon on Aug 27, 2015
    90% of the time the way you expressed it is correct. Good luck!