Managing an apartment complex can have you tending to dozens of issues at a time. You may be in the midst of trying to show vacancies, check references and run background checks, evict a tenant, set up service with a new pest control company, track down the no-show landscaper, and deal with any number of other issues. However, along with everything else you have to do, the complex's HVAC system should be a top priority. Letting problems or regular maintenance slide a bit can quickly cause you to find yourself with major HVAC problems that can't be ignored and need to be repaired no matter what the cost.
You want to make clean filters your #1 priority
Keeping clean filters in the units is the most important thing that needs to be done to prevent problems with the HVAC systems and to keep the air quality good in the apartment units. While it would seem the logical choice to leave the filter changes up to the tenants, this can end up causing you grief. If you have a tenant that can't afford to buy the filters regularly or who forgets to buy them or change them, then it's your HVAC system that can be at risk.
When a filter is dirty, it causes the system to work a lot harder, putting more wear and tear on it. Also, this will raise the energy bills. Some tenants may remove a dirty filter and keep forgetting to put another one in altogether. This will allow all kinds of airborne debris to circulate through the system, which increases the chances of the system needing repairs. For this reason, you may want to supply all the tenants with filters regularly and send out reminders that it's time to change the filter. With the reminder, explain how to make sure the filter isn't going in backwards, because this can also be hard on the system.
You want to have the HVAC systems serviced before the ACs are used
Watch the weather forecast carefully and once you see that warm air is around the corner, call and make an appointment with the HVAC company to come out to service the HVAC systems in the complex. Send out notices to your tenants asking them to refrain from using the HVAC system until after the HVAC service appointment.
Annual servicing not only helps prevent problems, but it can also catch small issues while they are still fast and easy fixes.