Being a homeowner can be one disaster after another but being a tenant can be much more relaxing! Still, certain home maintenance issues are something we all have to be aware of. We're happy to answer questions and be "at the ready" when something needs our attention.
In the meantime, we've captured some of our favorite questions and put together a list of answers we think just about every modern dweller could learn from. If you have other questions you would like to see an answer to, just let us know, and we'll include them here.
When In Doubt
Call Nest DC! The best tip for home or apartment maintenance is knowing when to seek help. Sometimes, it's easy to get in over your head, and that's when it's best to leave it up to the professionals. Login to your tenant portal to issue a maintenance request in appfolio (link above).
Ah yes, the almighty dishwasher. Make it a godsend, not a nightmare. For basic cleaning, run an empty dishwasher with 1 cup of baking soda as well as 1 ½ cups of vinegar. This should be done periodically. However, if your dishwasher goes unused for a week or more, dishwasher cleaner and deodorizer should be used to clean the interior of the machine. For the exterior, a damp sponge and a little detergent are all you need to get your dishwasher gleaming, or for stainless dishwashers use a stainless cleaner or cloth. Be careful not to overcrowd your dishwasher. Dishes won't get cleaned properly and some may even break in the insufficient space.
It's all about the coils. Dirty coils can hold heat, making your refrigerators' motor work harder to cool down the inside. Simply remove the cover from below the door and wipe away the dust. It's also a good idea to remove the drip pan, wash it, and check for clogs. Don't forget to give the freezer some attention, too. You want to make sure you have less than 1/4 of an inch of ice on the freezer walls (if it's not a frost free). If you have more, let the ice melt at room temperature, or go ahead and take a blow dryer to it.
DIRT! The enemy of the perfect Nest. Make sure to have mats both inside and outside of any exit doors. For carpeting or rugs, vacuuming once a week should help reduce the amount of dirt greatly. Mopping weekly will take care of your wood/vinyl/laminate flooring. High traffic areas may require a little more attention. For refinished wood floors, use 1/4 cup white vinegar with 1/4 cup warm water. This will maintain the finish and prevent it from breaking down.
Work on the air flow. Vents can get dusty and grimy pretty easily. If you have central air, vacuum these vents once a year, usually in spring time. To save energy, and to keep your units running strong, don't turn off your heat or A/C when you leave for the day. Instead, simply turn the heat up or the A/C down a few degrees. It'll be better for the unit and your wallet! Change air filters 4-12 times per year depending on the type you buy. Clean filters cut down on energy use and help prevent systems from overworking and freezing.
Don't be scared of the p-word! General plumbing maintenance is actually quite simple. Make sure to keep all drains clear and flowing freely. This means avoiding pouring solids or oils into the kitchen sink. Hair in the shower or tub is also a must-remove. If you do get a clog, they are usually easily fixable with a plunger - a basic bathroom necessity.
Be sure windows are locked and working properly at all times. When open for fresh air make sure you use the screen to avoid unwelcome critters from calling your hoe their own.
Don't panic when the lights go out. Check the breaker box for general electrical outages to make sure you didn't overload a circuit. If you are in a kitchen or bathroom, you likely have a GFCI outlet that may have tripped. Those include "reset" buttons. Push the button to restore power. Even if the reset button isn't on the outlet you are using, it might be connected to another outlet in the same line!!