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How to Fix 11 of the Most Common Household Appliance Problems

Garbage Disposal

All disposals have an overload feature that automatically shuts off the power when the motor becomes overloaded and gets too hot. Once the motor cools, simply push the reset button on the side of or under the unit.

On the other hand, if it hums but doesn’t spin, it may have something stuck in it. Switch the disposal off, then try working through it by turning the blades with a special disposal wrench (sold at home centers) or by turning a bottom bolt. Many disposals have an Allen wrench for that purpose, inset on the bottom of the machine.

Lights

When a light goes out or a switch doesn’t work, you should first check the main electrical panel for a tripped circuit breaker. But don’t stop there. Before you change out light bulbs and switches, see if a GFCI outlet (which may be upstream from the troubled light or outlet) has tripped. Sometimes all the bathrooms or the outside lights are powered through a single GFCI located in one bathroom or elsewhere, such as in a basement. Simply push the reset button on the GFCI and you could be back in business.

Refrigerator

If your refrigerator conks out on a hot day and you have a cat or a dog, immediately check the coils for pet hair. Service pros find this problem on half of their refrigerator calls. The coils are the black tube-and-wire grid that cools the fluid in the compressor. A buildup of hair will cause the compressor to overheat and trigger the overload switch. On many fridges, you get to the coils by opening the grille at the bottom of the refrigerator. Then push a coil cleaning brush (sold at home centers) into the coils, pull it back and vacuum it clean.

If the coils are located on the back, pull out your fridge (it’s often on rollers) and brush them off. Bonus: The clean coils will cool more efficiently and save you money on your utility bill! Once the overload switch is tripped, you may have to wait a few hours for it to cool. It will reset itself and turn the refrigerator back on.

Gas Stove

If your stove burner won’t come on, the likely culprit is the spaghetti sauce that boiled over a few days ago. Use a toothbrush to clean off food spills from the igniter. On an electronic ignition stove, it’s a little ceramic nub located either on the stovetop or under the ceramic seal strike plate. Also make sure that the round ceramic seal strike plate is properly seated on the burner.

Electric Range

If your electric stove burner won’t heat, turn the burner off and pull it out from its socket. Then plug it in again and wiggle it around. If it feels loose, remove the burner again and gently bend the burner prongs slightly outward for a tighter connection. Easy does it. You could end up pushing the whole socket out of its bracket.

Standing Gas Pilot Range

To access the ignition system in an older-style standard gas range, pop the lid. It’s usually hinged on the back side. If the pilot flame is out, poke a needle into the pilot hole to clean out soot (be careful not to ream it wider). Brush off any debris and clean the tube that leads from the pilot to the burner. Then relight the pilot.

Oven Controls

Blame it on the technology. It so happens that if you set the “time cook” function, the oven, much like a programmed VCR, won’t turn on until the appointed time. You may have done this inadvertently, but if your digital display reads “hold,” “delay” or “time cook,” then the timer is engaged. You’ll have to clear it first by pushing the “off” button. On ovens with dials, be sure the knob is turned to “manual.”

Washer

When a washing machine cabinet rocks, it makes a horrible racket during the spin cycle. The solution is to simply readjust the legs. Screw the front legs up or down until the cabinet is level. When both legs are solid on the floor, tighten each leg’s locking nut. In most washers, to adjust the rear legs, gently tilt the machine forward and gently lower it down. The movement will self-adjust the rear legs.

Dryer

Our expert repairman responds to many “dryer-not- heating calls” only to find that the machine is set to “fluff air”—a non-heat setting. Avoid the embarrassment. Check the settings first. Another common cause of poor drying is a clogged lint filter. The filter may look clean, but it may actually be covered by a nearly invisible film caused by dryer sheets. This film reduces airflow and forces the thermostat to shut off the heat before your clothes are dry. Test your filter by pouring water into it. If the filter holds water, it’s past time to clean it. Pull out the filter and scrub it in hot water with a little laundry detergent and a stiff kitchen brush.

 Also check the outside dryer vent for any lint that may have built up there. The louver door–style vent covers are notorious for lint buildup, which traps heat and turns the heat off in the dryer. Pull the cover completely off to get to these clogs.

Air Conditioner

If you turn your central air conditioner on, off and then on again in rapid order, chances are you’ll blow a fuse or shut off a circuit breaker or the air conditioner simply won’t respond. That’s because the compressor (in the outdoor condensing unit) may have stopped in a high compression mode, making it difficult to start until the compression releases. Older condensing units may switch the compressor on anyway, which causes the circuit to overload and blow a fuse. Newer, “smarter” condensing units will prevent this blunder by delaying the AC’s “on” function for a few minutes. It’s easy to mistake this delay with a faulty air conditioner. Be patient and give the air conditioner about five minutes to come back on.

 To determine if you have a blown fuse, locate the special fuse block near the outside unit. Pull out the block and take the whole thing to the hardware store. A salesperson can test the cartridge fuses and tell you if you need to replace them.

Another simple reason your AC might not come on: You’ve signed up for a cost discount with your electric company in exchange for limited air conditioning during high-demand periods, and you’re in an “off” period. If you can’t remember, call your electric company to find out. You don’t want to pay the repair technician to drive out and explain this program to you!

Dish Washer

When your dishwasher no longer gets your dishes clean, a food-filled filter is most often to blame. If it’s clogged, water can’t make it to the spray arms to clean the dishes in the top rack. The fix takes two minutes. Simply pull out the lower rack and remove the filter cover inside the dishwasher. (Check your owner’s manual if you can’t spot the filter.) Then use a wet vacuum to clean off the screen.

While you’re there, slide the nearby float switch up and down. If it’s jammed with mac and cheese, you won’t get any water. If the cover sticks, jiggle it up and down and clean it with water.

from: Lifehacker

Helpful Maintenance Tips & Troubleshooting

Helpful Maintenance Tips & Troubleshooting

Water causes the most damage in rental properties. This type of damage is very expensive. Common water damage includes, sheetrock, carpet, carpet padding, linoleum and tenant belongings. If you notice any water intrusion at your property please notify our office immediately. It is vital that all tenants carry the proper Renters Insurance, to protect their own belongings.

Plumbing:

Kitchen, Common Leaks under sinks:
Drainpipe under sink, p-trap, tailpipes. If you are mechanically inclined you may attempt to stop a leak by tightening the plastic nut. They are generally a 1 inch plastic nut. Hand tighten by turning to the right. Most of the time items stored under the kitchen or bathroom sink knock the pipes loose. A temporary solution for such a leak is to place a bucket, pot or pan under the leak until it can be repaired. If you can do this just until we are able to repair the leak, it will prevent damage from occurring to the floor

The Disposal:
A garbage disposal should work for and extended period of time maintenance free. If you hear the disposal humming but not moving, a foreign object is more than likely jammed in it. Foreign objects: If we find bottle caps, glass, etc. jammed in the disposal, you as the tenant will be charged for the repair. NEVER place cooking grease or grease of any kind down the garbage disposal. When putting rice, vegetables, and scraps into the disposal, turn on the water first, then turn on the disposal and feed the scraps slowly into the disposal. If the disposal jams up, turn it off and use a butter knife to push the scraps through the drain hole clockwise. If you cannot get the disposal to turn on at all, check the power at the outlet (GFI), and then try the red reset button on the side of the actual disposal under the sink.

Dishwasher:
Before loading the dishwasher, make sure all dishes are rinsed well. If you leave large pieces of food on the dishes, the pump can wear out and cause the drain to back up. Usually a lot of water will pour out onto the floor. Use the directed amount of dishwashing soap. If you use too much it will overflow onto the floor. If you have a chronic leak, contact the office immediately and make sure to wipe up any water from the floor area.

Ranges & Ovens:

If you have a gas range, you may find that the burner will not ignite, from time to time. This may be caused by grease accumulating in the igniter valve. Be very careful when cooking not to allow grease to splatter and gather in and around the burner. If you feel so inclined, you can raise the top of the range and blow into the valve or use a small toothpick in an attempt to clean the valve of grease. Sometimes an oven may not come on the clock/timer is in the “off” or “manual” position. These settings will override operator commands, and must be adjusted to allow the oven to ignite. Never clean a self-cleaning oven with over the counter oven cleaners. If you are not sure of how to use the self-cleaning oven contact our office and we can attempt to help.

Bathroom/Kitchen Sinks:

There are hot and cold supply lines and shut off valves under the sink for every faucet. Be sure to familiarize yourself with these. It is important to keep this area clear of debris. If a supply line is leaking, shut the valve off and contact the office. If the valve itself is leaking, put a pot or pan under it and contact us immediately.

Tub/Shower:

The biggest problems with tubs and showers are hair clogs. Try to clean the drain area if you see hair building up to prevent a clog. If you notice a faucet leak call immediately. If your showerhead has poor water pressure, you can unscrew it and flush it out under the sink to clean out built up sediments. Use a good shower curtain to prevent water damage around the outside of the tub. If you notice any caulking or grout that is deteriorating around the tub/shower area, please contact the office immediately, so that we can minimize water intrusion.

Toilets:

There is not much that can go wrong with toilets. They do require new parts, but not very often. The main concern is foreign objects getting stuck in them. Do not flush feminine products or any other large items down the toilet. If a stoppage occurs because of this reason, the tenant will be charged for all costs to repair. If you notice any discoloration in the flooring around the toilet or if it seems to be rocking at the base, the wax seal may be broken or deteriorating and you must contact the office immediately.

Air Conditioning Systems/Heater:

If you cannot get your system to start at all, check your circuit breakers and the GFI switches in your house. You may also want to check if you have an electricity “peak corps” box installed on your unit. These are installed by the utility company to shut off your system when there is an overuse of power in the community. It is evidenced by a small green box, installed on the top of your air-conditioning unit. If you have airflow, but very little, you will want to make sure your filter is clean. It is your responsibility as a tenant to replace or clean filters on a monthly basis. This not only keeps the system running efficiently, it will keep you electricity bills lower. Airflow can also be hindered when the coils on the outside unit have become clogged. This is very common when dogs or other animals that shed are in close proximity to the unit. Try to keep animals and debris away from the outside unit. Air conditioners have a cooling system identical to a refrigerator. It is important to not turn the unit off then back on right away. Wait at least 10 minutes after shutting the system down to allow the pressure in the refrigeration system to equalize once again.

Carpets & Floor Care:

Dirt, not normal wear and tear is the single largest contributor to the demise of carpets. Be sure to vacuum on a regular basis. At least three times a week. If you do stain the carpet, work immediately to remove it as much as possible. The longer a stain stays imbedded in the carpet the harder it will be to remove later on. There are many household products that are effective in stain removal, from liquid detergent to hydrogen peroxide, you can look up many of these systems on the internet under carpet stain removal, or in a book on household cleaning. Never clean the carpet without testing a very small portion of your cleaning compound on an out of the way piece of carpet to ensure discoloration will not happen. Be very careful when moving large objects and furniture across linoleum and hardwood floors. Use a dolly for large appliances and furniture pieces or slide a rag or sock over the legs of furniture when moving across flooring. Never clean hardwood floors with solvents you are not sure of, or if you have not been instructed on their proper care by the owner.

Roofs:

If you notice any stains forming on your ceiling or wall area contact the office immediately. If a large leak occurs causing a bubbling effect in the ceiling material, make a small puncture in the bubble with a knife and place a bucket under the leak immediately. Never hesitate in calling the office regarding roof leaks. We have a 24-hour emergency paging system in place for these types of situations.

Wintertime:

On occasion we do get below freezing weather. It is a good idea to leave a faucet running very low. This keeps the water moving through the pipes and does not allow it to freeze. Call us right away if there seems to be a broken pipe anywhere in the property.

 

from Lexington

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

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.

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

 

 

 

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!
  1. 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)
  1. 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)
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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