August 30, 2015 in Property Maintenance
ABU DHABI // Air-conditioning troubles for tenants at an Abu Dhabi housing complex have made for a miserable summer.
Many residents of Al Reef Downtown – a community of 46 buildings with 1,818 apartments – said they have had to deal with indoor temperatures as high as 27.5°C in their units, without being able to receive an explanation for the reason why their AC units are not operating efficiently.
Mohammed Al Taher, a Jordanian national who lives in one of the buildings with his wife and two children, said the temperature of the living room in his three-bedroom apartment would not go below 27.5°C.
“It is really annoying getting home from the high temperatures outside and not being able to find a comfortable environment inside, especially in the area where the family gathers to watch television and dine,” he said.
His landlord refused to take any responsibility, so he took his concerns directly to an outside maintenance company.
Testing done by the company showed the units to be in good working order, but confirmed the temperature coming from the vents to be 19°C. It should be five degrees cooler to sufficiently cool the room.
Wasif Ahmed, an Indian expat who lives in a different building in Al Reef Downtown with his wife and two children, said the bedrooms of his apartment would not go below 22°C. And, the living room would not go below 23°C. “It is not a very comfortable temperature at this point in time,” he said.
Last year, in the same apartment, he said his apartment’s temperature could reach an “acceptable 18°C”.
After spending Dh1,800 on maintenance and another Dh600 on ceiling fans, he said he had started a petition to submit to Census International, Al Reef Downtown’s property management company, demanding that action be taken to rectify the situation.
“I am not the only person in Downtown who is experiencing this, there are numerous complaints from various buildings saying that they are having the same issue,” he said. “Some people are not even going below 25°C in their apartments, in this kind of weather that is ridiculous,” he said.
A community management representative for Census International said there had been no complaints from residents concerning air conditioning. Any issues could be solved through routine maintenance or minor repairs.
“It depends from flat to flat, it’s not about a whole building,” the representative said.
A representative with Manazel Real Estate, Al Reef’s developer, also denied having received any complaints from Al Reef Downtown residents.
Since summer started, more than a dozen residents have used Al Reef’s community Facebook page to vent their frustration about the air-conditioning problem – everything from recommendations for repairs, lack of cool air, to returning from holiday to a sweltering apartment.
Mr Ahmed said he suspected that the problem could lie with Al Reef’s district cooling, because of the large number of affected residents from different buildings.
Ben Crompton, an Abu Dhabi-based estate agent, said district cooling differs from traditional air conditioning, which uses electricity to cool units in individual apartments.
With district cooling, water is chilled at a nearby facility and pumped underground to an apartment block or set of villas.
Air travels over pipes containing the chilled water, which is then distributed to each unit, while tenants are billed for use of the chilled water.
Mr Crompton said if there were problems with the development’s district cooling, it should be felt broadly across many units in a particular development. “It would be impossible for a chilled water provider to guarantee cooling levels, but the temperature of the chilled water going to an apartment can be guaranteed,” he said.
He said factors such as the number of windows, whether you have curtains, apartment size, and whether routine maintenance of AC units is carried out can influence how effective cooling will be.
SOURCE: The National