Maintenance Do’s & Don’ts!
The following article will outline the proper care of the fixtures and appliances in your home. Very often maintenance problems or damage to your fixtures can easily be prevented with a little knowledge and common sense. We encourage you to read this section BEFORE a problem can occur. Residents may be held liable for certain maintenance problems which can be directly attributed to negligent usage.
If you experience an electrical outage of any sort the first place to check is your breaker box. Chances are a circuit has been overloaded and the breaker needs to be reset. Try flipping each switch on the box off and back on again to reset the breakers. Make sure you only do this once as problems can result from activating and suddenly cutting off the power surge. If the electricity does not come back on, check all of your outlets to be sure they are not being overloaded.
If the electricity has gone out in your entire home and resetting the breaker does not restore it, it is likely that there has been a power failure. A good indicator of a power failure would be to check if you notice outside lights on your neighbor’s house are off as well. The gas and electric company should be notified. You should then call your emergency service number to report the problem.
If the electricity is off in only part of your home and resetting the breakers does not restore it, it is possible that you have experienced an electrical short. Lack of electricity in the majority of your home may qualify as an emergency after hours if it affects your refrigerator or other vital areas of your home.
**IF AT ANY TIME YOU NOTICE SPARKS COMING FROM A SWITCH OR ELECTRICAL FIXTURE TURN OFF THE SWITCH AND UNPLUG THE APPLIANCE IMMEDIATELY. Call the problem in and leave the switch off until maintenance professionals or contractors can respond.
Before calling for service on any appliance be sure the cord is securely plugged in and the breaker is not tripped.
The refrigerator will operate most efficiently if the temperature is set between 3 and 8. To determine the best setting, test the temperature of the items inside and adjust accordingly. The freezer setting may be too high if freezer items form ice coating shortly after placing them inside. If you do not have a frost-free refrigerator, the freezer should be defrosted when the ice that forms on the side is no more than 1/4 inch thick. A heavy build-up of frost can severely limit the effectiveness of your unit and increase the electric cost on the utility bill. To defrost the freezer, we recommend placing all items in a cooler and turning the control knob to off or defrost. Allow the ice to melt by placing a pan of hot water inside the freezer. NEVER USE KNIVES OR ANY OTHER OBJECT TO REMOVE ICE! This can cause irreparable damage for which you may be held liable. If your refrigerator fails to operate properly, please call for service.
Keeping your oven clean is very important to the efficient operation of the appliance. In addition, a buildup of grease or food particles left inside or on the stove can facilitate fires. It is best to wipe off the top and inside after each use. A moist towel and mild soap can be used to clean food or grease which has not baked onto the surface. Always place food on a baking sheet or aluminum foil inside the oven. To keep grease from building up on drip pans we suggest wrapping foil tightly around the pan itself, being sure to cover the center hole. When the foil becomes stained, in can simply be removed and replaced with fresh foil. Drip pans and the outside aluminum rings are chargeable to the resident upon moving out when they must be replaced due to negligence.
Be sure to scrape food particles from dishes into the garbage before placing them in the dishwasher. Use only detergents which are specified for use in dishwasher. Before running the dishwasher, make sure that the bottom of the washer bas been cleared of any items which may have fallen there. Make sure all dishes are secure onto the rack, putting bowls and pots on the top rack to keep from blocking water circulating to other areas. Dishwashers should never be left to run in your absence. An undetected leak can cause major damage to floors or carpeting if left unattended. If you notice any water escaping from the dishwasher or the unit fails to operate properly, please turn the machine off and call for service.
Disposals operate virtually trouble-free when used properly. Please read and carefully follow the procedures outlined below to prevent jammed disposals and clogged drains:
- Turn cold water on to maximum flow position.
- Flip the switch to the on position.
- Push refuse through the splash guard keeping hands away from the inside chamber.
- Continue to run the disposal until the grinding sound stops. Then flip switch to the off position.
- Continue to run cold water for two to three minutes to be sure all of the waste particles have been flushed away.
Below are some Do’s and Don’ts for disposal usage:
*Grind a citrus peel or put baking soda down the drain periodically to keep the disposal odor free.
*Run plenty of cold water during and after operation.
*Grind coffee grounds and eggshells.
*Put your hand down a disposal when it is running – NEVER!
*Use hot water when operating a disposal.
*Try to put too much through the disposal at once.
DO NOT PUT ANY OF THE FOLLOWING ITEMS INTO A DISPOSAL:
Fibrous materials (cornhusks, artichokes, etc) Clam, oyster or nut shells
- Bones Drain cleaner
- Tea Bags Potato or Banana Peels
- Celery Tomatoes
- Grease Wooden objects
- Glass, China or Plastic Dishrags
Metal objects (bottle caps, aluminum foil, Tin cans, or utensils)
If the motor has stopped due to overloading, turn the disposal off. Wait three to five minutes, then push the reset button (often located under the sink on the unit itself). Then follow normal operating procedures.
If the disposal hs jammed, turn the power switch to off before attempting to remove any object. With tongs, remove any object that might be inserted into the mouth of the disposal and turn in a circular pattern to free the blades. Once the movement has been restored to the blades, push the reset button on the disposal unit. Then follow normal operating procedure.
In the event that a toilet or drain stops up, a plunger is often all that is needed to clear the blockage. ALL RESIDENTS ARE ENCOURAGED TO OWN A PLUNGER! The following will help determine what to do if you experience a plumbing problem. If it cannot be corrected please call the office for service.
If your toilet should overflow, you can turn off the water supply by turning the shut-off valve in a clockwise direction. The shut-off valve is located under the toilet tank. The water flow can also be stopped by pushing the flap firmly over the hole in the bottom of the tank.
If the toilet is stopped up, try using a plunger to clear the blockage. If this does not clear the blockage and you must call for service you may be charged for the visit if it is determined to be due to over stuffing or foreign objects. If you have only one bathroom a non-usable toilet will be treated as an emergency after hours. Otherwise, the other toilet(s) can be used until maintenance can correct the problem.
There are several items that should never be put into a toilet. These include, but are not limited to, paper towels, feminine products, grease, disposable diapers, bottle caps(or any small metal or plastic items), newspapers, or drain cleaner.
Always attempt to clear the blockage with a plunger. If you are unable to clear the drain, please call for service. Never put grease or hair down a drain.
If you have any questions, please refer to your Tenant Handbook or call Realty Masters Staff at (850) 473-3983.
Credit Scores have vital information that lenders and other companies use to help decide the credit worthiness of consumers. Having good credit helps one make the large, important purchases in life like getting an auto loan or home mortgage. To most people, it is a mystery on how credit companies calculate your score and what information they are using.
Realty Masters, like other property management companies, have some minimum criteria that renters have to qualify for to be approved - one of the big ones is your credit score.
The First Step is knowing where to look:
There are many websites and services available to consumers to evaluate or monitor their credit score. The first step is finding out your score. One of the most widely used credit scores are FICO® Scores. Some great information is provided on FICO® Scores at http://www.myfico.com/credit-education/credit-scores/. Also, here is a little more information on credit scores directly from the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) that is valuable: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0152-credit-scores.
The Second Step is knowing your score and monitoring it:
There are several companies and services that give you access to your credit score. There are websites, apps, and banking services that help consumers monitor their credit. Some of those cost money as an one-time fee or monthly subscription.
You are eligible to get a free credit report every 12 months as authorized by the FTC.
There is a website where you can get access to all three of your major credit reporting companies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion - https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action. It is important to know as the more times your credit is pulled, that also affects your score. The credit agencies vary slightly on how they score your credit and even each credit reporting company (like ours being Resolve) can come back with a slightly different score based on the criteria and which credit bureau they use. I know, it’s so confusing!
I understand it’s frustrating getting approved for a rental property without a rental history and a credit score, however, those are the only criteria we have to give to the owner as Fair Housing doesn’t allow us to tell the owners anything about our potential renters.
Tips on Improving your Credit Score:
Paying your bills on time
The % of available credit to the credit limit
How long you have had credit
Realty Masters is excited that we are now partnered with - Renttrack - Our new payment system allows for online payments at a discounted rate from Payclix and also allows you the opportunity to build your credit by reporting your rental payments to the credit agencies!
For more information - head over to our website to learn more - Realty Masters Payments
Here you are staring at the thermostat with the display showing the A/C is set at the lowest setting possible. You expect the house to feel like the inside of your freezer, but the house still feels warm. Some may find this statement all too familiar: "My house won't cool below 68 degrees and I've been running it all day!" In Florida, the days between early May - late August are hot!
The spring and summer seasons provide some of the most enjoyable weather Florida has to offer, but residents would enjoy a reprieve from the heat in their own homes.
The next time you are questioning your A/C - Try out these helpful tips to have a more comfortable, energy efficient Spring and Summer season.
The First Step is to know your Climate
The average humidity in most areas of Florida will be above ~70%. All the constant moisture in the air is going to make the outside temperature feel hotter than it would otherwise be. Your A/C may constantly fight the high outside temperatures to keep the inside of your home cool. Gulf Power recommends keeping your thermostat set on 78 in the spring and summer. One of the reasons for this is that most a/c units simply will not cool below 15-20 degrees of the outside temperature.
Let Gulf Power help with your energy cost
Gulf Power has established a program called Budget Billing to help out cosumers with their higher bills in the spring and summer. With Budget Billing, you will pay approximately the same amount each month based on an average of your previous 12 months' electrical usage. For more information and see if this would work for you; Click here.
Put the Personal Touches on your A/C
Do you have a programmable thermostat? There are low-cost thermostats that allow you to control when your A/C will run. If you are away from home for several hours during the day, it is best practice to set your A/C around your schedule. Gulf Power offers a program called Energy Select that will install a free programmable thermostat in your home. For more information and to see if you qualify; Click Here.
Perform Maintenance Regularly
- Change the A/C filter once a month to allow optimal air flow. Especially if you have pets, the 3 month filters do not last 3 months. We recommend the 1 month filters only for improved a/c efficiency.
- You should plan on flushing the condensation drain line at least once a year. Pour 1 cup of bleach followed by 2 cups of water the next day. There are specific bacterial solutions to clean HVAC condensation lines, but bleach works as well.
Your A/C needs maintenance when:
- It is leaking water outside the unit
- There is frost buidup
- Unit blowing warm air
- Unit is not blowing any air at all
Contact your Property Manager if any of these problems occur and we will gladly send a technician.
If your A/C is set below 72 degrees, your A/C may run all day and not reach the desired temperature due to the heat/humidity of outside; however, that does not mean your unit is not working. Keep in mind, if the technician is sent and no problem is found, you may be billed for a service fee.
Other things you can do to make your home feel cooler
- A good way to beat the heat is to dress for the occasion. Avoid dark color clothes that will absorb heat and try to wear light, natural fabric that will keep you cool.
- Run any ceiling fans around your home that will make it feel cooler than it is. Make sure your ceiling fans are switched for summer.
- Check the doors and windows around your home to ensure hot air is not coming in. Notify us if you find any issues that need to be corrected.
- Make sure all blind/curtains are closed to block sunlight heating up your home.
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