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Local laws don’t require AC in most Southern Nevada homes

 In the wake of our June record breaking heat wave we see the damage:  Air conditioning units stop.  HVAC companies booked 24/7. Twelve heat related deaths.

The Las Vegas Review Journal  reported that North Las Vegas is the only local government in Clark County that requires residences to have air conditioning to be deemed habitable. Seventy degrees Fahrenheit (70F) is their magic, habitable number (origin a mystery). This could quickly become an issue for older AC units, as they are lucky to maintain 80F when the outside temp is 117F, and the insulation in the house flat-out stinks.

Las Vegas, Clark County and Henderson currently do not have a code, but they are working on it.  I think the sticking points, the most debated points, will be What is a habitable temperature?  What is life threatening? What is simply disproportionate comfort?

Know this:

  • Common breakdowns –  Freon leak (refrigerant coolant), condenser fan motor, compressor.  Sometimes a part must be special ordered with a delivery date of 24-48 hours.
  • The key to new units is to closely match the entire HVAC system specs. In other words, the new stuff must work well with the old stuff. This will ensure maximum overall system performance.
  • The higher the SEER rating (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio), the more energy efficient the unit. For the average residential property, older units are typically <13 SEER, while new units are 14 SEER.

I am sending out a global email to remind tenant’s that per their lease agreement they are to change the HVAC filters at least 1x per month.  That simple task, at a cost of about $7/month, could prevent untimely system failure.

For more reading….

Las Vegas Review Journal,  Local laws don’t require AC in most Southern Nevada homes

North Las Vegas code :

15.20.030 – Chapter 7, Section 701 amended.

Section 701 and Subsection 701.1 are hereby amended to read as follows:

SECTION 701. Heating, Air Conditioning and Ventilation.

701.1 Heating and Air Conditioning. Dwelling units, guest rooms and congregate residences shall be provided with heating and air conditioning facilities, capable of maintaining a room temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21.1 degrees Celsius) at a point three feet (914 mm) above the floor in all habitable rooms. Such facilities shall be installed and maintained in a safe condition and in accordance with Section 3102 of the Uniform Building Code, Mechanical Code, and all other applicable laws. Unvented, fuel burning heaters are not permitted. All heating and air cooling devices or appliances shall be of an approved type.

(Ord. 1156 2 (part), 1995: prior code 13.36.020), Extreme Temperature

The human body has a normal core temperature between 97˚F and 99˚F, but on average, a normal body temperature is 98.6˚F (37˚C). To maintain this temperature without the help of warming or cooling devices, the surrounding environment needs to be at about 82˚F (28˚C).

and more from the same article …..

First, note that the temperature reading on a thermometer is not necessarily the temperature that you should be concerned about. The relative humidity in your environment can affect the temperature you actually feel, which is called the “apparent temperature.” Some example scenarios include:

  • If the air temperature reads 85˚F (29˚C), but there’s zero humidity, the temperature will actually feel like it’s 78˚F (26 ˚C).
  • If the air temperature reads 85˚F (29˚C), with 80 percent humidity, it will actually feel like 97˚F (36˚C).

Keep cool!


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