Monthly Archives: April 2015

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.