Care And Preventative Measures For Your Home

The most common problems we hear from tenants is that a drain or a toilet is clogged.

It’s easy to prevent clogs. Limit what goes down the drain.

Sink Clogs

  • Avoid letting food go down the drain. Scrape plates into the trash before rinsing or cleaning them.
  • Use hair traps (available at hardware stores) to keep hair from going in sinks and shower drains.
  • Minimize the amount soap and shampoo going down the drain.

If you get a clog, and before you call us:

In case of clog, purchase a Hair Snare from the local hardware store and attempt to manually remove clog.

If that doesn’t work,

  1. Pour a pot of boiling hot water down your drain.
  2. Dump in about 1/2 c. baking soda. …
  3. Then, pour a mixture of 1 c. vinegar and 1 c. very hot water on top of baking soda ….
  4. Cover with a drain plug (to keep the reaction down below the drain surface) if you have one and let it sit for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Flush one more time with a pot of boiling water.

If that does not work, call a plumbing company to clear the clog.


Take precautions to avoid clogging toilets.

  • Use less toilet paper. Fold toilet paper into squares instead of using wads. Wads of paper easily get stuck on their way down the drain.
  • Never flush paper towels, paper, female sanitary products or diapers. These things do not break down and will get stuck in the drain.
  • Keep small items away from the toilet. Avoid shelves or racks that go over the toilet to ensure things can’t get knocked over, slip and fall in.
  • If the toilet doesn’t not flush, do not flush again. Wait for the water to recede. If the water level continues to rise, turn off the valve behind to toilet to shut off the water.
  • When the water level goes down, try to use a plunger to dislodge the clog. The plunger must have a tight fit over the water exit to create suction to move the clog. Pump the plunger two or three times. The clog should move and water will be heard exiting the drain. Repeat if necessary.
  • If that does not work, call a plumbing company to clear the clog.

Garbage Disposal

Always run water during disposal operation. Run until sounds clear of debris.

Never put grease or anything big enough to scrape into the garbage into the disposal.

If the disposal is jammed:

  • Ensure switch is in the off position and check drain for large objects.
  • In case of no sound, check under the sink for a reset button. Manual adjustments can be made using an Allen wrench in the slot on the bottom of the unit.

Garage Door

  • Change batteries
  • Clear sensors

Check up and around the track. If something is in the way, the door won’t operate correctly and the cable will spring off the track.


Use or run the dishwasher at least once a week. Sitting for long periods of time may ruin seals and motor.

Avoid putting small items that can slip through baskets and racks inside the dishwasher. Check the bottom of the dishwasher to make sure nothing can interfere with arm movement or heating coils.

  • Scrape all excess food into trash before washing.
  • Clean the dishwasher
  1. Remove the filter. Soak in warm, soapy water for 10 minutes, then replace.
  2. Pour 1 cup of white vinegar into bottom of empty dishwasher. Run a heavy clean cycle.
  3. Sprinkle 1 cup of baking soda in the bottom of the dishwasher and leave overnight. In the morning, run an empty cycle.
  4. Gently scrub any remaining dirty areas with a toothbrush.

Clean the door and check the bottom of the dishwasher after each use for items that may have fallen through the racks. Wipe door perimeter often to keep it clear of food items.

Furnace & Heater Maintenance

  • Tenants are responsible for replacing furnace filters every three to six months
    1. The furnace filter door usually is located on the side or close to the bottom of the furnace. Inside should be directions and filter size for replacement.
    2. Note direction of airflow through filter before changing. Arrow inside door should indicate which direction filter faces.
  • Keep area around heater free of dirt, lint, furniture and debris. Dust and lint accumulates on furnace and heater vents and fan bath covers.
  • If furnace is not heating, check the pilot light. If it is unlit, look for instructions inside to light the pilot.
  • Wall heaters and baseboards need to be vacuumed every three months to avoid dust build up. Regular cleaning prevents the build-up and disbursement of dust through your house and damage to the unit.
  • Note: If you notice the furnace or air conditioner running for longer intervals while heating and cooling less effectively, the filter probably is clogged. Changing filters regularly can save close to $25 of every $100 you spend on heating.

Cadet Heaters

Keep items and furniture away from cadet heaters. Safety switches will be tripped and heater will cease to provide heat.

Grill discoloration can be caused by dirt or lint build-up in the heating element. Extra heat will occur in the area where the build-up is concentrated, resulting in grill discoloration. To avoid discoloration, clean the grill often and be sure your heater is clean.

Clean your wall heater at least every six months.

  • Vacuum around the unit and across the grill.
  • Clean with forced air; a vacuum cleaner that blows out air or with a hairdryer. Compressed air may ignite so do not use these canisters on heater.
  • Wipe down the front to eliminate leftover dust.

If the heater has overheated and tripped its manual reset, the heater will not work until you reset the control. The manual reset limit button is behind the grill louvers located just above the digital temperature display.

  • After allowing the unit to cool for at least 10 minutes, use a narrow object such as a ball-point pin to access the manual reset button through the upper-left center section of the heater grill.
  • Press firmly and listen for or feel for a click indicating the unit has been reset.


Mildew usually is caused by moisture. Often in the bathroom, along window tracks and behind furniture and bedding. Keep rooms ventilated and heated when it’s cold out. Clear items away from areas susceptible to mildew.

  • Wipe up moisture and spills.
  • For wall areas that show mildew, wipe down walls with a solution of water and detergent. Add vinegar or hydrogen peroxide for stubborn areas.
  • Wipe down shower walls and hang wet towels to dry.
  • For items that won’t be harmed (shower curtains), add a cup of bleach to the wash.

Electrical Outlets

Image of an outlet cover and the Test and Reset buttons pointed out
If an outlet has no power, first check the GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter). Look for GFCIs in bathrooms, kitchens, basements, garages and on the home’s exterior. Test and reset every GFCI you find. If the GFCI “reset” button doesn’t pop out when you press the “test” button, there may be no power to the GFCI or you may have a bad GFCI. On the other hand, if the “reset” button trips again every time you press it, there may be a dangerous current leak somewhere on the circuit. If this happens, call Coldwell Banker Valley Brokers Property Management immediately.

If the GFCI tests OK, check the main breaker, usually located in the garage. Look for any breakers that have switched off. Switch them back on. If you chose to do a main breaker reset, check to make sure computers and other electronics are turned off and everyone in the house knows the power will be turned off. Then, switch off and back on the main circuit breaker.


Check the wall and floor monthly to ensure water in not leaking. Leaks from washing machine hoses are tenant responsibility.

Check to ensure the dryer has a sealed connection to the vent. Vent hose gaps can lead to moisture as well has fire hazards from lint build up.

Water Pressure

Low water pressure usually is the result of minerals clogging the faucet screen.

  • To clean, unscrew the head of the faucet aerator or shower head and clean out the screen by tapping it into the trash or wiping out with a paper towel.
  • Rinse and replace, screwing back on the head.

Water Damage

It is tenant responsibility to avoid water damage. This is caused by water sitting on counters and floors. Make sure the shower curtain is inside the tub and shower doors are closed highly during showers. Water on tile floors can seep through grout and damage floorboards. Water seeping through and around vinyl also causes floor damage. Be sure to use a shower mat or towel in front of the shower or tub and to hand the item to dry in between uses.

Water easily seeps between counters and backsplashes into the space behind faucets and inside cabinets. Make sure these areas are wiped down to prevent damage.

Stain removal

Spills and stains are inevitable. Quick action makes all the difference in a messy situation.

  • Blot, never rub a spill. Use a clean, white cloth or paper towels to put pressure on a spill. Rubbing will just spread it around. Work from the outside in or from top to bottom. Once the stain is removed, rinse area with water and absorb liquid with clean paper towels or another clean cloth.
  • Avoid stain removers with bleach additives, use instead a mild solution of dishwashing soap and water. Folex is a good product without bleach that will help remove more stubborn stains from carpet and fabric.

Ant Invasion

Ants enter through the smallest cracks in search of food. Once they find something their numbers increase until they take over.

Reduce the risk of an ant infestation by:

  • Immediately cleaning up sweets, liquid or solid, and crumbs.
  • Store food in tightly closed containers.
  • Stop cracks around entrances and sprinkle dried mint, cinnamon or cloves.
  • Wash frequently the surface that has been traveled by ants. Vinegar and Windex will erase their trail.

If cleaning fails, set out bait:

  1. Mix a tablespoon of borax with a tablespoon of sugar or honey.
  2. Place in small container near areas ants are visible.
  3. The bait will be taken back to the colony and the ants will die off.
  4. Refill until ants disappear.

Ant traps may be purchased at home stores. You must attempt to get rid of ants on your own before calling Coldwell Banker Valley Brokers Property Management.

Gutters, Furnace, Chimney

Coldwell provides maintenance service to clean gutters, furnaces and chimneys. If you need to any of these things done to your residence, call our office.