4 Simple Tips to Reduce Maintenance Costs as a Renter

Blog Post By Montana Hammonds
August 29, 2018

There are plenty of benefits to renting—varying levels of commitment, amenities, and, most importantly, access to a maintenance crew. While maintenance teams are great for large issues such as a leaking roof, broken appliances, and structural deficiencies, small repairs can quickly add up for tenants.

So before you put in a maintenance request, review these tips on how you can prevent small repairs and keep money in your pocket:

1. Keep a plunger in every bathroom
In case of a clogged or overflowing toilet, it is crucial to have a reliable plunger nearby. But not just any plunger, a clogged toilet requires a specific type of plunger called a flange plunger. You may have thought of a red rubber cup attached to a wooden stick, these cup plungers seal off flat surfaces and are actually best used to unclog a sink. A flange plunger has an extra plastic ring to suction tightly within the toilet bowl and loosen the extra waste.

Rather than calling maintenance, something as simple as having multiple plungers on hand can keep your costs down. Before you take matters into your own hands, be sure to review the proper way to use a plunger. Also, if you find that your toilet is clogging more often than not, try to cut back on toilet paper usage. If your water-pressure is lower, excess toilet paper can easily build up in the pipes. It is also important to note that any feminine hygiene product should not be flushed down the toilet.

2. Keep an extra set of batteries specifically for smoke detectors and the thermostat.
We receive calls about smoke detectors going off and most of the time they just need a new battery. If there doesn’t appear to be any imminent danger, open up the smoke detector and replace the batteries. For best practice, replace the batteries when you adjust your clocks for daylight savings time. This will keep your batteries up to date and keep you on a schedule. It is never fun to pay a maintenance fee just to have the batteries changed.

If your smoke detector is dusty, use a can of air to clean out any extra dust or dirt particles in the smoke detector’s receptor to ensure that it is monitoring the air properly. Take note of how long it has been since you’ve purchased a new smoke detector. A standard detector has a lifetime of about ten years, so if your detector is reaching the end of its limit, talk to your landlord.

If your or A/C unit or thermostat doesn’t appear to be working, check the batteries in your thermostat before you call for repair. Sometimes the digital thermostat just needs new batteries to get the system working again. Similar to the smoke detector, updating batteries during daylight savings time is a great way to stay up to date with your appliances.

3. Be cautious of putting items down the garbage disposal
Garbage disposals can be great for disposing food waste. But it’s important to note that garbage disposals vary in strength, so it is best to avoid putting large chunks of food down the drain.

Using a sink strainer can ensure that only small particles of food are making their way down the drain (they can also save you from accidentally dropping jewelry or other miscellaneous objects). Avoid tough food such as chicken bones or large pieces of meat as well as grease and eggshells which can cling onto the sides of the pipes. Being mindful of what you are putting down the disposal can save you maintenance charges and keep your sink smelling fresh.

4. Before you change a lightbulb, be sure to check the wattage
If you come across a dead light bulb, take a moment to check the wattage on the fixture before you replace it. Not only can it create a higher energy bill, but it can burn up a light fixture and potentially start a fire.

To find the wattage, check around the fixture or right around where the bulb screws in. It will give you a warning not to exceed X amount of watts. If you are interested in using compact fluorescent or light-emitting diode bulbs, they should say on the packaging their wattage equivalent for regular bulbs.

Be mindful of these tips and save yourself time, money, and stress. For specific questions or maintenance concerns, contact us!