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Preventive Maintenance for the Holidays

A maintenance person with a clipboard checking an apartment unit, with tools in the foreground

By Jerry L'Ecuyer and Frank Alvarez

We are getting close to the holidays, which means guests, cooking and possible emergency calls to you from residents on Thanksgiving Day about a clogged sink or non-working oven and an apartment full of guests waiting for dinner.

Dear Apartment Owners:

We are getting close to the holidays, which means guests, cooking and possible emergency calls to you from residents on Thanksgiving Day about a clogged sink or non-working oven and an apartment full of guests waiting for dinner. This scenario can ruin both yours and your residents’ holiday. The answer? Preventive maintenance.

Before the holiday season begins, check each stove and oven for proper operation. Many residents only turn on their ovens at this time of year, and the problem may be as simple as a pilot light being out. Also, check the oven’s temperature calibration with an oven thermometer. Because of heavier-than-normal use of the plumbing, it may be a good idea to snake out your main plumbing lines.

Sending a note to all residents on the proper use of the garbage disposal will be useful, too. Explain what they should and should not put down the disposal unit. A few items to include on this “No-No” list are: banana peels, potato skins, coffee grounds and any stringy food. Also make sure that they turn on the water before using the disposer and put down small amounts of food at a time. Tell them not use the disposer as a trash can and then turn it on when full; it will clog.

On Halloween and other holidays more people than usual walking on your property. Is your property safe? What are some of the liabilities to worry about? Check trip and fall hazards. Sprinkler heads sticking up above the grass or landscape near sidewalks. Use pop-up heads to solve this problem. Look for sidewalks that have been pushed up by tree roots. This can be solved with a concrete grinder or replacement of the section and removal of the tree root. Cut any low hanging tree branches and look for branches that may break in heavy winter wind or rain. Check your decking for cracks or damage and inspect the exterior stairways for wear and tear. Inspect all your garage door springs, winter wind and rain may make them heavy causing the door to close or fall unexpectedly. As a precaution, always replace both garage springs at the same time and throw away any used springs. Never install used garage springs. Check all property lighting and timers.

Remember: Preventive maintenance is cheaper than emergency maintenance!