Common Maintenance Issues & Solutions

Many times there are maintenance issues that come up that don’t necessarily require a call to our office. Some of these scenarios are listed below. We are offering suggestions for things you may do or check on your own before we send maintenance over. If you ever feel in danger or uncomfortable doing so, please call for assistance. If you’ve exhausted our suggestions and the problem is not corrected, please call with a detailed description (upper/lower, specific room, back/front, etc.) of the problem. We will also need permission to enter the unit, and a contact number. Keep this in mind if you are leaving a message on our voicemail, or emailing a request for maintenance.

Maintenance issue:

Lights are out/no power: Check the circuit breaker box for a flipped switch. This is not always obvious. You may have to turn switches to OFF, then flip back to the ON position. If you don’t have a circuit breaker system, you’ll have to identify which fuse looks like it may be burnt. There would be a burnt/discolored appearance and/or a break in a metal band or spring across the top of the fuse. This is visible when looking through the glass top of the fuse.

Changing a fuse: After identifying the burnt fuse, it must be replaced with an exact match. Fuses are color coded and have the watt information printed on top.

Blocked/slow draining sink/tub drain: Usually using a plunger on the drain will help if caught in time. If plunging doesn’t cause the clog to come loose, you’ll have to purchase Drano or Liquid Plumber. Follow product directions for safe use. We recommend you invest in a standard drain screen to help prevent hair and other objects from going down the drain.

Leaking faucet/handle/drain: After locating the source of the leak, try to determine if it is leaking due to a missing screen or gasket. If water is leaking at a steady stream, you may want to turn off the water source under the sink when not in use. Call the office for maintenance.

Deadbolt is sticking: Sometimes spraying a little powdered graphite in the lock and around the bolt while extended will help. Make sure not to use anything that will freeze the lock during winter.

Frozen pipes: During subzero winter months, pipes have been known to freeze. Before the pipes freeze, you can try to preventing it, by leaving your cupboard doors open so heat can circulate under your sink and/or leaving the water on a slow steady stream. If you have a space heater, use it to help thaw frozen pipes while you are able to be home to monitor the appliance.

Appliances (major): First you want to check to see if the appliance has power. Is there a light or switch you can turn on to indicate this? Is it making any noise or movement? Before you call, be able to give an accurate description of what the problem is and the model of the appliance.

What’s a GFI?: That outlet is called a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). It’s there to protect people from electrical shock. If an appliance is working properly, all electricity that the appliance uses will flow from hot to neutral. A GFCI monitors the amount of current flowing from hot to neutral. If there is any imbalance, it trips the circuit. It is able to sense a mismatch as small as 4 or 5 milliamps, and it can react as quickly as one-thirtieth of a second.

Smoke alarm makes noise at random: If there is no smoke or heat to cause your smoke alarm to “chirp”, it usually means the battery needs to be replaced. If this is a direct wire connection, it may not be plugged in properly.

Furnace not blowing/heating: Check your thermostat settings – Fan ON or AUTO, temperature setting, and heat switched to ON are all ways to determine whether it’s actually the furnace. You don’t want to adjust it too often, since it takes time for the settings to register and make changes in the unit. Turn the heat setting up just a few degrees, and wait a few hours to see if it is up to temp. If not, call for assistance. Also, to maximize efficiency of a furnace, tenants should be sure to change the filters monthly. This inexpensive task will save money in heating.

Pilot light out: If there are manufacturer’s instructions available to relight the pilot, follow them directly. If not, please call for assistance.

Toilet tank keeps running water: You’ll be able to hear the water continue to run after flushing the toilet, or periodically during the day. This is something our office needs to know about so we may check it out before your water bill increases significantly.

Toilet not flushing: Carefully lift the lid off the tank. Look to see if the chain from the flush handle has become disconnected or kinked. If it’s not broken, it can be reattached or unkinked.

Bats/Pest control: Most pest problems can be avoided by not leaving food out in the open, keeping garbage covered, floors clean and swept, countertops/sinks free of dirty dishes, and screens free of holes. Bats are another story. They find small holes in foundations, roofs, and screens to get into shelter. There are laws that protect bats from being killed. The best option is to leave a door or window open in the room that the bat has entered, in hopes it will fly out on its own. If you have an idea where the bat came in, we can remedy the problem in some cases by closing off the hole, however this can be a trial and error process, and may require several attempts & visits from our maintenance crew.

Burglary/break-in: File a report with the police department as soon as possible. Take inventory to determine what was stolen. If any damages were caused to you rental unit, call our office after talking to the police. If you have security issues with the doors/windows, you can talk to us about options to make it more secure.

After Business Hours/Weekend Emergency Maintenance:

If any of the below apply to your problem, please call the office at your earliest convenience, or call 715-559-8800. Our Maintenance staff will prioritize calls as needed, and determine if it is an actual maintenance emergency. If you leave a voicemail, please describe the problem in detail, and leave a phone number where you can be reached.

  • Water pipe burst
  • Unable to lock/unlock entry doors
  • Potential fire hazard
  • Broken window (glass has been broken out)
  • Furnace not working (winter weather)
  • Smell gas while all pilot lights are lit
  • Water coming in through the roof or foundation.
  • All incidents involving damage to the property (fire, flood, vehicle hit building, etc.)
  • Any electrical hazard not related to circuit breaker/fuse concerns.