Maintenance Tips 101

Most tenants are more than happy to leave maintenance to the landlord. After all, maintenance service is a primary benefit of renting. That said, service calls are intrusive. And in the long run, you’ll pay for damage to your unit caused by neglect. Protect your peace of mind and your security deposit by following a few basic apartment maintenance tips.

Keep the Refrigerator Working Efficiently

Dirty coils hold in heat and make your refrigerator’s motor work harder to cool the inside compartments. Keep coils clean by removing the cover from below the door and vacuuming out the dust that has accumulated. While you’re there, remove the drip pan from underneath the coils. Wash it well, and check the drain for clogs before replacing it. Next, check the freezer. It needs to be defrosted if more than 1/4 inch of ice has accumulated on the walls. Don’t chip away at it with a sharp object. Instead, remove the contents to a cooler, place a pan underneath the ice to catch the drips, and either let the ice melt at room temperature or help it along with a blow dryer.

Take Care of the Flooring

Dirt is a floor’s worst enemy. When embedded into rugs and carpets, it wears out the fibers. On harder surfaces, like wood, laminate and vinyl, dirt causes scratches. Place mats inside and outside your door to reduce the amount of dirt tracked into your apartment. Vacuum low-traffic carpets at least once a week; vacuum high-traffic areas more frequently. Protect wood, laminate and vinyl floors by sweeping every day and mopping weekly with a product recommended for the floor type. Use the minimum amount of fluid needed to clean wood and laminate, as saturation damages wood’s finish and causes laminate to warp.

Keep Heat and A/C Dust Free

Preventive maintenance of the heating and air-conditioning units is all about ensuring proper air flow. Vacuum vents before using the units for the first time each year, and then inspect the vents periodically to make sure new dust hasn’t accumulated. Change filters as soon as they become soiled. Finally, keep furniture and window coverings away. In the case of heat vents, this is as much a safety issue as a maintenance one. Don’t turn off your heat or A/C when you leave for the day. Instead, turn the heat down or the A/C up just a few degrees. You’ll actually save more energy by maintaining a steadier temperature.

Prevent Plumbing Problems

Keep drains flowing freely. Avoid pouring oil, coffee grounds or other solids into the kitchen sink. In the bathroom, remove hair from the sink and tub promptly so they’re not washed down the drain. Sink and toilet clogs usually can be unstopped with a plunger. Fill the clogged vessel with water and then push the plunger straight down in a quick, firm motion. You may need to repeat a number of times before the clog is removed.

Know When to Seek Help

Sometimes it’s best to leave the work to the pros. Report malfunctioning appliances, water you can’t turn off and clogs that don’t respond to plunging. Also report broken or missing grout in the bathroom. Grout isn’t just cosmetic–it keeps water from seeping into walls and floors.

 

by Daria Kelly Uhlig, homeguides.sfgate.com

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Tips for the Home

  • Lower the temperature on your hot water heater down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit (55 degrees Celsius).

This is the optimum temperature for your hot water heater. Most people do not utilize water that’s hotter than that, and thus energy used to keep the water that hot isn’t effective. Lower the temperature, save some on your energy bill, and you’ll never skip a beat.

  • Check all toilets and under-sink plumbing for leaks or constant running – and check faucets, too.

Do a survey of the plumbing in your home before you settle in. If you find a toilet is running constantly, it’s going to cost you money. You should also peek under the basin of all sinks in your home, just to make sure there aren’t any leaks. Got a leaky faucet? You should repair or replace any of those, because the drip-drip-drip of water is also a drip-drip-drip of money.

  • Replace your air handling filter.

When you first move in, you almost always need to replace the air handling filter (don’t worry, it’s easy to do – it takes about ten seconds). Go down to your air handling unit, find where the filter is (it’s almost always a large rectangle), and mark down the measurements (printed around the edges). Then, go to the hardware store and pick up a few of these, then go home and install one of them, replacing the old one. An outdated filter not only doesn’t filter as well, it also has a negative impact on air flow, meaning your air handling system has to work harder to pump out lower quality air.

  • Make sure the vents in all rooms are clear of dust and obstructions.

None of the vents in your home should be covered or blocked by anything – doing that makes your heating and cooling work overtime. You should also peek into all of your vents and make sure they’re as dust-free as possible, and brush them out if you see any dust bunnies. This improves air flow into the room, reducing the amount of blowing that needs to happen.

  • Set up your home electronics with a Smartstrip or two.

Looking forward to getting your television, cable box, DVD player, sound system, and video game console set up? When you do it, set things up with proper surge protection (to protect your equipment). You might also want to consider a Smartstrip, which allows the on-off status of one device (say, the television) to control whether or not there’s power flowing to other devices (say, the DVD player or the video game console). Having the power cut automatically from such auxiliary devices can save a lot of money over time, especially since many such devices eat quite a bit of power as they sit there in standby mode, constantly draining your money.

  •  Develop a home maintenance checklist – and run through it for the first time.

 This list should include regular home maintenance tasks that you’d want to do on a monthly or quarterly or annual basis. Then, make it a habit to run through the items on this list each month. Doing so will extend the life of almost everything in your home, saving you buckets of money over time.

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Maintenance tips

Please review the tips below.  

We are here for you, call us at 912-925-9925.

 

HVAC: Not cooling or heating

No Heat? New Tenants: Make sure you’ve connected your gas services!

Heat Pumps in extreme cold may require setting the thermostat to “emergency heat”.

Check to ensure all air filters have been changed on a monthly basis.

Check breaker panel box.

If breaker has tripped and is in the “off” position, flip breaker to “on”.

Try resetting the breaker by flipping it off. Wait 1-2 minutes. Flip back to “on” to attempt resetting the system.

Check the furnace pilot light.

Check all floor or ceiling vents to ensure they are open and not blocked by furniture, etc.

If the pan under the air handler contains water, the drain is clogged.  Call the office at 912-925-9925.

NO WATER: (Hot or Cold)

New Tenants: Make sure you’ve connected your gas and water services!

For no hot water, check the water heater circuit breaker or pilot light.

TOILETS: Clogged or flush ‘slow’

Try plunging the toilet to clear clog.

If unable to clear clog, turn water supply “off” by turning valve clockwise. Refrain from use until repaired.

LEAKY FAUCETS: (Kitchen or Bathroom)

For Single Swivel Faucet, ensure handle is facing forward

For Dual Faucet, ensure both handles are turned to the extreme “off” position.

GARBAGE DISPOSAL: Does not power “on”

Check wall switches next to faucet.

Check reset button in cabinet underneath sink on base of garbage disposal

Check breaker panel box.

Carefully check for any foreign objects that may have fallen into the drain. (Do not turn on while your hand or any object is in the disposal).

DISHWASHER: Does not power “on”

Check wall switches closest to dishwasher (unusual).

Check breaker panel box.

REFRIGERATOR: Not powering “on”, dispensing ice or staying cold

Check the plug connection to ensure fridge is plugged in.

Check icemaker lever to ensure it is in the “on”/ down position. Remove any excess ice from the interior ice dispenser/ice bucket.

Check temperature level in freezer or fridge.

Check breaker panel box.

DRYER: Not drying clothes

Check lint traps. Remove lint after each load of drying to prevent build-up/dryer ducts clogging.

Check hose in rear of dryer for kinks.

Check the plug connection to ensure dryer is plugged in.

WASHER: Not powering “on”, washing clothes, spinning properly or making knocking noise

Check washing machine’s connection making sure it is plugged in.

Avoid over-loading machine.

Check hoses at back of washer.

Check for any foreign objects stuck in washer barrel.

Check to make sure washer is level.

Stop washing cycle. Open lid. Evenly disperse clothes.

GARAGE DOOR: Not opening/closing properly

Check for foreign objects blocking the sensor/wires.

Check batteries in remotes

Check breaker panel box.

BATHROOM: Steaming excessively

Turn on the vent fan.

Open the window.

 DEADBOLT: Difficult to lock  

Close the door and lock the deadbolt first, it may be necessary to pull the knob or push slightly

 

 

 

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energystar.gov renter tips

Top 10 Tips for Renters!

Even if you rent an apartment, townhouse, or a home, you can make a big difference, too! These tips will show you how to be more energy efficient and save energy, money, and reduce the risks of climate change. If there are things you can’t change on your own, share these tips and encourage your landlord to help you make a change for the better.

  1. Lighting is one of the easiest places to start saving energy. Replacing your five most frequently used light fixtures or the bulbs in them with ENERGY STAR qualified lights can save more than $65 a year in energy costs. ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) provide high-quality light output, use 75% less energy, and last 6–10 times longer than standard incandescent light bulbs, saving money on energy bills and replacement costs.
    • Remember to always turn off your lights when leaving a room. Turning off just one 60-watt incandescent bulb that would otherwise burn eight hours a day can save about $15 per year!
  2. Considering purchasing a room air conditioner? Consider an ENERGY STAR qualified model. They use at least 10 percent less energy than standard models.
    • In the winter, be sure to insulate room air conditioners from the outside with a tight-fitting a/c unit cover, available at your local home improvement center or hardware store. This keeps heated air from escaping outside. Alternately, you can remove the window unit in the winter months to prevent energy losses.
    • Be sure the window unit fits tightly in the window so outdoor air is not getting in.
    • (Note: Call the office at 912-925-9925 before installing an air conditioner)
  3. If possible, install a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust your home’s temperature settings when you’re away or sleeping.
    • When used properly, a programmable thermostat with its four temperature settings can save up to $150 a year in energy costs. Proper use means setting the thermostat at energy-saving temperatures without overriding that setting. You should also set the “hold” button at a constant energy-saving temperature when you’re away or on vacation.
    • (Note: Call the office at 912-925-9925 before installing a programmable thermostat)
  4. Consumer electronics play an increasingly larger role in your home’s energy consumption, accounting for 15 percent of household electricity use. Many consumer electronics products use energy even when switched off. Electronics equipment that has earned the ENERGY STAR helps save energy when off, while maintaining features like clock displays, channel settings, and remote-control functions.
    • Unplug any battery chargers or power adapters when not in use (like your cell phone charger!).
    • Use a power strip as a central “turn off” point when you are done using equipment.
      • Even when turned off, electronic and IT equipment often use a small amount of electricity. For home office equipment, this stand-by or “phantom” power load can range from a few watts to as much as 20 or even 40 watts for each piece of equipment. Using a power strip for your computer and all peripheral equipment allows you to completely disconnect the power supply from the power source, eliminating standby power consumption.
  5. A ten minute shower can use less water than a full bath.
    • With a new 2.5 gallon-per-minute (low-flow) shower head, a 10-minute shower will use about 25 gallons of water, saving you five gallons of water over a typical bath. A new showerhead also will save energy — up to $145 each year on electricity — beating out both the bath and an old-fashioned showerhead.
    • To avoid moisture problems, control humidity in your bathroom by running your ventilating fan during and 15 minutes after showers and baths.
  6. Make sure all air registers are clear of furniture so that air can circulate freely. If your home has radiators, place heat-resistant reflectors between radiators and walls. In the winter, this will help heat the room instead of the wall.
  7. During cold weather, take advantage of the sun’s warmth by keeping drapes open during daylight hours. To keep out the heat of the summer sun, close window shades and drapes in warm weather.
  8. Save water by scraping dishes instead of rinsing them before loading in the dishwasher. Run your dishwasher with a full load and use the air-dry option if available.
    • Rinsing dirty dishes before loading your dishwasher uses a lot of water and energy. Most dishwashers today can thoroughly clean dishes that have had food scraped, rather than rinsed, off — the wash cycle and detergent take care of the rest. To make the most efficient use of your dishwasher’s energy and water consumption, run the dishwasher only when enough dirty dishes have accumulated for a full load.
  9. Wash your laundry with cold water whenever possible. To save water, try to wash full loads or, if you must wash a partial load, reduce the level of water appropriately.
    • Hot water heating accounts for about 90 percent of the energy your machine uses to wash clothes — only 10 percent goes to electricity used by the washer motor. Depending on the clothes and local water quality (hardness), many homeowners can effectively do laundry exclusively with cold water, using cold water laundry detergents. Switching to cold water can save the average household more than $40 annually (with an electric water heater) and more than $30 annually (with a gas water heater).
    • Washing full loads can save you more than 3,400 gallons of water each year.
  10. Don’t over dry your clothes. If your dryer has a moisture sensor that will automatically turn the machine off when clothes are done, use it to avoid over drying. Remember to clean the lint trap before every load. Dry full loads, or reduce drying time for partial loads. Learn more.
    • It’s easy to over dry your clothes, if one setting is used for various fabric types. Try to dry loads made up of similar fabrics, so the entire load dries just as the cycle ends. Many dryers come with energy-saving moisture or humidity sensors that shut off the heat when the clothes are dry. If you don’t have this feature, try to match the cycle length to the size and weight of the load. A dryer operating an extra 15 minutes per load can cost you up to $34, every year.
    • The lint trap is an important energy saver. Dryers work by moving heated air through wet clothes, evaporating and then venting water vapor outside. If the dryer cannot provide enough heat, or move air sufficiently through the clothes, they will take longer to dry, and may not dry at all. One of the easiest things you can do to increase drying efficiency is to clean the lint trap before each and every load. This step also can save you up to $34 each year.

information from www.energystar.gov

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