Heat and AC barely reach the 2nd floor of our old apartment. Ductless AC seems like the way to do. Tips for getting a landlord on-side (at least) and footing the bill (at best)?
We're in a situation much like this
; i.e., our 2nd floor 1 bedroom apartment that's nominally "air conditioned" via forced air is super hot in the summer (and barely over 17 degrees C in the winter, come to think of it) because the insulation is poor and the thermostat is in the 1st floor apartment.
The windows slide horizontally and open in a very small way, such that you have to remove both panels... the result being that it's very difficult to fit a window unit. We've currently got a window AC unit for our bedroom (I think the last tenants left it behind) and have heated our south-facing living room with an electric radiator but I'm really not looking forward to another of our increasingly sweltering, humid Toronto summers with what amounts to no air conditioning outside our bedroom.
After some research I've determined that ductless (i.e. "mini-split") air conditioners with heat pumps can solve both the poor AC and
the poor heat problems in one fell swoop, although the layout of our apartment might mean we need to get a two-zone installation. It might cost several thousand dollars to get this installed, so it's not something we could just do on our own with the landlord's blessing to leave behind... at best, we could offer to pay for a portion of it.
Currently the landlord pays for the (gas) heat and central air, and we pay for electricity. Our electric bills have been rising steadily as we have had to rely more on our own AC and space heaters with the poor central heating and AC. My understanding is that the heat pump should be a pretty efficient way to heat and cool our small apartment, but I'm not sure how the costs would stack up compared to the "free" (built into our rent) cost of our half of the existing, but insufficient, forced air solution plus our electric supplementary heat and AC if, say, the ducts from downstairs were blocked and we switched over to the ductless heat pump completely.
I don't have any experience asking for anything from landlords beyond necessary repairs. I've seen advice from time to time in newspapers and magazines discussing strategies for getting upgrades (or at least permission to do them yourself). What's the best way to approach this? We are probably looking at staying put for a couple more years while we get our student loans squared away and save for a down payment. But the discomfort from heat and cold might push us out. I understand that keeping good tenants - which we are - is a priority for landlords, but I don't want to come off as making a threat.
This landlord has been very good when maintenance issues have come up in the past (we discovered an improperly grounded outlet that was probably wired incorrectly since before he bought the place, and it was immediately fixed via some extensive detective work by his "guys"); his other units are fairly well equipped (we saw a couple of them - all had portable dishwashers, which is a significant upgrade in this market); our downstairs neighbour got him to replace the deck in the backyard when she moved in.
Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.