Quick Fixes for Common Maintenance Issues

Did you know that some basic maintenance tasks are a tenant responsibility? If the garbage disposal jams or a drain clogs, you may not always know the best way to address the problem. To help you out, we’ve compiled a few tricks of the trade to try before creating a work order.

Clogged Drain

Clogged pipes can leave a pool of sitting water in your sink, which makes it very difficult to brush your teeth, wash your hands, wash your face, etc. Before you get on the phone with your landlord, try one of these methods:

The Plunger: Little did you know, plungers can be used for more than unclogging toilets. Partially fill your sink with water, then create a vacuum over the drain with your plunger. Start plunging up and down several times. If you have a double sink, make sure that you plug up the other drain with a wet rag while you plunge.

Baking Soda and Vinegar: Pour 1/4 cup of baking soda down the clogged drain and follow that up with about 1 cup of white vinegar. Let the mixture sit for 20-30 minutes, which should be enough time to clear out the grime that’s blocking your pipes. Then flush the pipes with water to make sure the solution cleared up the blockage.

AC Issues

Thermostat display is not on: This may be a as simple as the replacing the batteries. First, check batteries and try replacing them with new ones to see if that gets it going. If that doesn’t work, check the breaker box. If everything looks okay in there, take a closer look at the thermostat cover. Is it on properly and level? Sometimes the cover can get bumped out of place and throw things out of whack.

Air conditioner suddenly stops working: Check whether the thermostat’s display is functioning. (If it is not, the thermostat cannot signal the air conditioner to cycle on). Then check the batteries and the breaker. If neither of those solve the problem, listen for humming, is the unit running? If possible, check the unit to see if you see the fan spinning. Last, check safety switch (float switch) in the pan. If the switch has tripped, the primary condensation drain may be blocked.

AC isn’t turning on/off at correct temperature or temperature never reaches the thermostat setting or frequent short cycling or continuous running: A thermostat that doesn’t sit level or is dirty inside can trigger the short cycling and impact your energy efficiency. Check to see if thermostat is level. Check filter and replace if it’s dirty. Check to see if thermostat is programed correctly, sometimes it gets bumped or hit and it will change. Look around to see if there is any vent, window or other sources of drafts that will affect the temperature. Check if the AC drain pan under unit is clogged.

Garbage Disposal

Clogs: If water stands in your sink and takes forever to drain, it’s probably because the kitchen sink pipe has been clogged. To fix this problem, try using Draino or Liquid Plumber to remove clog in sink (follow the instructions on the bottle).

Weird noises: If you can hear your disposal’s motor humming, but the disposal won’t grind, sounds loud, or starts and stops, it’s probably because something jammed it. Disposals jam when something gets lodged in the “flywheel,” which is what the disposal’s rotating plate is called. You can fix it yourself but remember: NEVER stick your hand down the garbage disposal. Ever. Seriously.

To fix problem: Start by turning off and unplugging the garbage disposal. Next, you’ll need the wrench that came with your disposal. If you don’t have it, you can buy a replacement in a hardware store that sells your disposal brand. Find the hex-shaped opening at the bottom of the disposal unit. Turn the wrench clockwise to dislodge whatever’s blocking the flywheel. When the object dislodges, you’ll feel the flywheel start to turn easily. Reset the disposal and run cold water while quickly turning it on and off repeatedly.

Won’t turn on: If the garbage disposal won’t turn on, then it’s probably not getting power. First, make sure it’s plugged in. It’s easy to forget that disposals have wall outlets. It’s easy to knock a plug out of an outlet accidentally, especially in a dark place like under the sink.

To fix problem: Check to see if the disposal is plugged in, check the reset button on the bottom of the disposal unit. If the disposal requires resetting, the button will be popped out. Simply press it and try the disposal again.

If the disposal is plugged in and doesn’t need to be reset, then you should check the GFCI to see if it needs to be reset or check circuit breaker. The breaker could be flipped, which would mean your disposal isn’t getting power.

If you are unable to fix any of the above problems on your own or if you need additional assistance, please create a work order through the Tenant Portal or by calling our 24/7 Maintenance Line at (866)956-5306. A member of our maintenance team will be in contact with you to try and walk you through the troubleshooting process prior to dispatching a professional.