By Jerry L’Ecuyer & Frank Alvarez
Dear Maintenance Men:
Should I check smoke alarm batteries in my units or is that the resident’s job? Also, how often should I clean out my water heaters, not to mention A/C filters and so on?
1- Most rental agreements have a check box that says the resident is responsible for the operation of the smoke alarm. The newest rental agreements now have a check box for Carbon Monoxide alarms. We lay awake at night thinking about that little check box. In order to sleep, we check the residents smoke and CO alarms every time we do maintenance on the unit. We keep a log of each time we check and what action was taken. The smoke and Carbon Monoxide alarms should be “Officially” checked and logged, at least once a year. Typically, January is a good month for the annual check.
2- A typical 100-gallon water heater depending on the BTU rating will costs anywhere from $4,700 to over $6,500 installed. That cost alone should be incentive to clean out the heater regularly. Normally, the clean out should be done at least once a year. If the water at your building has a high mineral content, then it should be cleaned out every nine months. Again keep a log of each clean out; it will help in remembering when to do the next cleaning.
3- If your building has forced air & heating, the filter should be checked, cleaned or replaced each October or November and each May or June. This will help keep your systems working properly and reduce strain on the components. It will also ensure proper filtration before the winter and summer workloads.
4- Cleaning out the exhaust vent tubes of the laundry room dryer. Everyone knows about cleaning out the dryer lint basket and throwing it on the laundry room floor. We’re talking about cleaning out the lines leading out the back of the dryer. Keeping the exhaust vent tubes clean will help cut down on gas and electric usage, longer machine life and shorter drying time and lint in these tubes have been known to be a fire hazard. It should be done at least once a year and again, keep a log of each cleaning for reference.