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Tips for Fixing Common Household Problems Without Involving the Maintenance Staff

June 10, 2011 | DIY Home Improvement, Handy How-Tos

It’s happened again: the dripping of your kitchen sink is beginning to drive you crazy, and you’re debating whether or not to contact your maintenance staff or just live with it. You’re certainly not a professional plumber, but you’d love to just be able to fix the issue yourself. Have no fear! We have put together a few DIY tricks of the trade to help you effectively tackle some common household problems.

DIY Home Maintenance:

  • Clogged Drain:  Believe it or not, most sink clogs are minor and can be easily fixed with a simple plunger. Fill the sink about halfway with water and begin plunging away. If you’d prefer not to use a plunger, another option involves very simple ingredients: white vinegar and baking soda. Simply pour about a quarter of a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by a cup of white vinegar, and let it sit for 20-30 minutes. The foam that results will help clear the pipes!
  • Stuck Window: No need to panic—you can handle this one all by yourself! Before you pull a muscle, stop and make sure it’s unlocked. If the window is indeed stuck, use a putty knife between the window and the frame, tapping the handle of the knife gently with a rubber mallet. Using this technique along the full edge of the window frame should do the trick. And, to prevent this problem from occurring in the future, sand the area around the window and rub melted candle wax over the recently-sanded area.
  • Overflowing Toilet: This is probably the last reason you want to be calling your maintenance staff, and luckily, one of the easiest problems to fix yourself! Normally, if you have toilet issues, the root of the problem is one of two things: either the drain is clogged or the floater is not set properly. If the drain is clogged, merely turn off the water supply to the toilet and use a plunger to clear the drainage pipe. If you think that the floater could be the culprit, just pull it up with your hand. If this stops the flow, adjust the level of the floater so that the tanks stop filling when the water is about an inch below the top of the overflow tube.
  • Appliances Stopped Working: Don’t panic! First, check the circuit breaker in your apartment, as many problems are a result of a blown fuse. Unplug the appliance and re-plug it back in. If that doesn’t solve the problem or if the circuit breaker is not readily accessible, websites like Appliance411 are great resources that offer how-to guides specific to individual appliances. Just remember, if the fix doesn’t seem simple, call your maintenance staff and leave it to the pros.
  • Smoke Alarm Beeping: If you are absolutely positive that there is no heat or smoke in your apartment that is causing your smoke alarm to make noise, it is most likely an indicator that the battery simply needs to be replaced. If the smoke alarm is not battery operated, but is instead connected through a wire connection, it might not be plugged in properly. If this doesn’t do the trick and your alarm is still beeping, call your maintenance staff to have it checked out properly.

Hopefully these tips will help you to fix common problems in your home without calling for help. However, if you aren’t comfortable fixing something yourself or if you’d prefer to enlist the help of a profession, it’s always a good idea to call the maintenance team. As you know, one of the greatest perks of renting an apartment is that there are dedicated professionals available to help out!

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