6 Maintenance Issues You Should Probably Fix Yourself
Often, the panic brought on by a maintenance issue in the home leads us to immediately call a repairman. The best part about renting is that your landlord handles most of the major repairs that are necessary. But did you know there are common apartment maintenance fixes for most issues that you can actually do on your own?
Before you clip on your tool belt and swing your hammer, talk to your landlord first. While these fixes are simple, he or she may not want you touching anything. It is their property, so they have the final say. But if they're in agreement and your game, these repairs can be done in no time.
1. An ineffective heating or cooling unit
If your unit is not working at all, you probably need to call a professional to have it fixed. But if you're just looking for some extra power, try any or all of the following:
- Replace or clean the filter
- Avoid adjusting the thermostat temperature too much
- Install insulation on any exposed ducts
2. Old caulking around bathroom fixtures
After living in your apartment for some time, you'll probably notice the caulking around your tubs, sinks or showers will begin to look grimy, yellowed and dirty. There's really no need to call in a repairman or cleaning service for this one.
Replacing the caulk is a very common apartment maintenance fix. The supplies are very affordable and can be found at almost any home improvement store – and even many supermarkets. A caulk remover tool makes the process even easier.
3. Holes in drywall
As a renter, you obviously have to fix any holes that were put into walls after you moved in. Whether you're doing it in preparation to move out of an apartment or as a repair for the home you'll live in for a while, repairing holes in a wall is likely less intensive than you think. You can repair holes of any size fairly easily with just a few tools and not much time. But if there's extensive damage like a water leak or mold, you'll need to call in professional help.
4. A clogged toilet
It's definitely not necessary to call someone to repair a clogged toilet. Toilet issues are quite common, and you can handle them at home with a few simple steps.
Most of the time, all you need to repair a clogged toilet is a plunger. It's a good idea to keep a plunger somewhere in your apartment, so you grab it quickly when the need arises.
If plunging fails to unclog the toilet, it may be necessary to use a plumbing snake – another tool that would be advantageous for you to keep in your apartment.
5. A jammed garbage disposal
Garbage disposals are a lifesaver. But every once in a while, something gets lodged in the blades and the disposal stops rotating. Most of the time, this problem is very easy to fix.
You can usually unclog a garbage disposal by inserting an Allen wrench into the keyhole in the bottom of the disposal and turning it. This manually spins the blades and dislodges whatever was causing the blockage. Always unplug the disposal or cut the power before attempting any repairs and remember, you're dealing with sharp blades, so watch your fingers.
6. Squeaky floors
Squeaky floors are annoying but usually not a sign of any serious problem. And, for the most part, they can be fixed easily.
One way to fix your squeaky floors is to sprinkle talcum powder over them. The powder settles into the joints and underneath the boards and can eventually stop the squeaking noise. You can also use soapstone or powdered graphite if you prefer not to use talcum powder due to the potential of negative health effects.
A slightly more intrusive solution is a repair kit called Squeeek-No-More. This repair solution does leave a small hole in your floor so you should check your lease or talk to your landlord before attempting to use it.