Renters in Chicago can always contact their landlords with regard to maintenance requests large and small. However, there are some maintenance items that tenants can easily address themselves. Knowing how to handle these DIY maintenance items can make a tenant’s life much easier:
- Flip a circuit breaker – circuit breakers are switches, buttons, or fuses that channel electricity from the utility company to separate areas of a home. If power goes out in certain rooms or areas of a home, the breaker that controls the flow of power to that area has popped to prevent a power surge. To fix this problem, all a person needs to do is find their circuit breaker panel, find any switch that is not firmly in the on position, flip it and hold it to the off position, and then flip it and hold it to the on position. This will restore power to the area. If a fuse box is present, a new fuse must be purchased to screw into the socket containing the popped fuse. (If you guessed the circuit breakers are much more convenient, they are — fuse boxes have become very rare.) Helpful Link – https://youtu.be/3B1xTgLfQgI
- Plunge a toilet – A toilet plunger should be a required item for all homes/apartments. If a toilet gets clogged from too much human waste, too much toilet paper, or items that are not supposed to go into a toilet (feminine hygiene products, paper towels, rags, clothes, wipes, toys, jar lids, or anything that is not human waste or toilet paper), a plunger will be needed. A plunger needs to have a round rubber end large enough to fully cover the drain hole at the bottom of the toilet. Plunging a toilet involves more than just pushing the plunger down once or twice. The plunger should be pushed up and own vigorously for between 15 and 30 seconds. If the toilet is still clogged, it should be plunged again for another vigorous period of 15 to 30 seconds. If the toilet is still clogged after that, a plumber or landlord may be needed. Helpful Link – https://youtu.be/wT5C09JvkAU
- Replacing batteries in detectors – All homes must have a carbon monoxide and smoke detector, or a “combo” detector that does both. In Chicago, these detectors are required to be placed within a certain distance of any bedroom, as well as any products that may produce carbon dioxide. Some detectors only function by battery power, while others have batteries and are connected to the wired electricity in a home. Regardless of the type of detector, the batteries will run out of power over time, even if the detector is plugged into the wire electricity of your apartment. When this happens, the detector will begin to chirp once at a constant interval. This is a signal that the battery needs to be replaced. Replacing the detector’s batteries may require use of a stool or ladder, so it’s always a good idea to have one in your home so that anyone can reach their detector, find the battery compartment, and replace the AA/AAA/9V battery. This will stop the chirp and keep the detector working effectively. Helpful link – https://youtu.be/qSPENd-XTPo
- Changing a furnace filter – If a home/apartment has central heat or central air, the system has a furnace filter. This filter collects dust and debris from the vent system and stops it from getting on the heating and cooling system’s sensitive equipment. If the filter is left in too long, it will get clogged. Over time, a clogged furnace filter can cause the system to overheat and eventually break. A furnace filter costs between $1 – $20 per filter. Per any Seminary Properties apartment lease, the filter should be changed monthly. This helps protect the heating and cooling system, which helps to keep electric and gas bills lower. For help finding and changing your furnace filter, you can consult an HVAC specialist, the owner’s manual, speak to the landlord, or review the Seminary Properties Frequently Asked Questions page. In most cases, the replacement process is as easy as sliding out the old filter and sliding in the new filter. (https://www.seminaryproperties.com/faq/#maintenance-q8). Helpful Link – https://youtu.be/SGYrVgFSzV4
- Replacing a light bulb – Seminary Properties makes sure every light bulb in an apartment is working at the start of the lease. As the lease continues, light bulbs will burn out. The traditional incandescent bulbs have an average lifespan of 750 hours, or 30 days, of being on full-time. This is an average, so bulbs can last for less time or for much longer than that. Different types of bulbs, such as florescent, halogen, or LED bulbs, can last months or even years. If the bulb goes out, replacing it is as easy as turning it righty tighty or lefty loosey to remove and replace them. Oftentimes, the hardest part is accessing the bulb from within light fixture covers. If you are unable to figure out how to remove the cover yourself, feel free to consult with your landlord. Helpful link – https://youtu.be/KQJALywkB4U
- Dishwasher – Dishwashers are a very popular invention that has become a very common sight in many apartments. However, it is also common for tenants to say that the dishwasher is not cleaning dishes fully. Sometime these maintenance requests can have a legitimate cause; however, roughly around 80% of the time, Seminary Properties finds that tenants are not rinsing food debris from their dishes before loading the dishwasher. Any items on plates, cups or other utensils that enter the dishwasher will slow, damage or clog the pump and drain. This will result in dishes not getting cleaned or standing water in the bottom of the dishwasher after it completes its cycle. Dishwashers are wonderful and hard-working appliances, but they are not intended to remove food from items.
- Locking a door – Seminary Properties operates in the City of Chicago. Chicago is an amazing city with boundless opportunities; however, it is also a city with a criminal element. Every apartment door that Seminary Properties manages has a knob lock and deadbolt. Frequently, it is found that tenants only use their knob lock to secure their homes. While these locks are easier to lock, they are not as strong as a deadbolt and are much easier to open without a key. For the safety of your family and home, you should always engage every lock available on a door or window. Why have the second or third lock and not use it?
- Windows – A home or apartment without a window is a rare sight indeed. In fact, in the City of Chicago, a home or apartment is required to have a window by law. These windows are great for light and air, but they also provide security, which is why all windows are also required to have locks. These locks are pointless if they are not used. There are many types of locking mechanisms on windows, but no matter what type of lock is present, make sure the lock parts line up and are engaged. In addition to safety, this also helps to ensure that inclement weather stays outside your home. It is common for residents to open their windows in the summer and close them during the winter; however, we often find that they do not take the time to line up the locking mechanism and lock the lock. Over time, gravity can pull the top window pane down allowing outside temperatures open access into a home. Why heat a home to 70 degrees, only to leave windows ajar, bringing in frigid winter temperatures? Take the time to make sure the lock mechanism lines up between the two window panes and lock the window for safety and comfort. Helpful link – https://youtu.be/430UvsgjwVc
These are the eight most common work requests or contributing factors to resident concerns that Seminary Properties encounters. Even though Seminary Properties feels these are all situations most tenants can handle, we do offer the service to resolve them. It is up to the individual to address the problem at the time of discovery, or to take the longer option of submitting a maintenance request so that Seminary Properties can address it.