Riverside Property Management Blog

DIY Repairs That Anyone Can Handle

Friday, August 30, 2019

“My sink is clogged! My window won’t close! My door squeaks! My toilet won't flush! WHAT DO I DO? “

According to Life Hacker, “Your home is one of the most expensive things you'll ever pay for, so whether you're renting or buying, you should take good care of it.” While you'll probably be tempted to call a professional when something breaks, you can take care of a lot of problems yourself.  

During my time working in property management, specifically in the maintenance department, I have noticed a lot of (to my belief) unnecessary maintenance requests. In addition, you will probably need to wait a few days for a handyman, especially if you have a problem over the weekend. Some things need to be taken care of by a professional, but others can be taken care of by you! Here is a list of simple things I can do around my home and believe me if I can repair them, I bet you can too!


Clogged Toilet

One of the most common reasons for someone calling a professional is a clogged toilet! There are a few things we can try to avoid paying at least $85.00 for a plumber service call. Sometimes the regular $14.99 toilet plunger will do the trick but if not… try doing this:

  1. Add a gallon of warm water and four tablespoons of dishwashing soap to the toilet (DO NOT USE BOILING HOT WATER BECAUSE YOU MAY CRACK THE TOILET). Let it sit overnight and flush!
  2. Add 2 cups of vinegar and 1 cup of baking soda to the toilet. Let it sit overnight and flush!
  3. Silence the Squeaks and more…

    Say that I am crazy but besides Mayo in a cup DW-40 is one of the best inventions in history! Like GIZMODO says, “Everybody knows WD-40 is the go-to product for silencing squeaks, displacing moisture, preventing rust, and loosening stuck parts.” You can also use silicon to silence those irritating


    Squeaks! If you suffer from a little OCD, a squeaky window or door, is hell! Well, this happens because there is some rust building up! Add 1 or 2 sprays of the magical DW-40 at least every two months, and that will do the trick! I also like spraying a little to the door lock to avoid it getting hard, breaking my keys, and then I need a locksmith. You can add your window rails so that opening and closing them never gets hard.

    Gardening! YES, believe it, or not, this can help you a lot! I tried it last weekend, and it worked. I just sprayed the shovel with a little WD-40, and it helped the shovel go through the soil like a hot knife cutting butter!

    KIDS! How do you feel when you see a beautiful piece of art created by your kids with the crayons you purchased for them? Only to discover they used the wooden table your grandmother gave you for your wedding as a canvas! Well, guess what? DW-40 will help you clean it! Just spray a little, don’t go crazy, give a little wipe and the crayon marks will come right off! It works on walls too. I also used it to remove gum from the floor, get rid of the gooey glue that is left when you remove a sticker, and even separate stubborn LEGOS!

    Garbage Disposal

    A typical call I receive is… “My garbage disposal won’t turn on!” If the garbage disposal is clogged or you run it for a very long time, it may have overheated, and you will need to be reset it. Follow these simple steps, and you will be ok:

    • Make sure the garbage disposal switch is OFF!
    • Go under the sink, locate the garbage disposal, look under and you will see a red reset button!
    • Press the red button; if the button does not stay in wait 10 minutes, probably it is still hot!
    • Once the red button stays in, turn on a cold stream of water and then turn on the disposal!
  4. If you tried this a couple of times and it does not work, don’t go any further and call a professional.

    Also, check out this video recorded by Steve Hembree on Garbage Disposal 101.

    Garbage Disposal

    GFI Switches

    This one happened to me! While trying to prepare a fancy dinner for a small soiree, all of a sudden none of my electrical outlets in the kitchen were working! What did I do? Yes, I PANICKED! I call a handyman since once again; I know nothing about being a handyman. The handyman came in and resolved it so quickly that I was mad after he charged me $100.00. Follow these simple instructions and if this works for you, let me know, and I’ll give you my account number so you can wire transfer me my tip!

    1. Locate your GFI switch; you will know that it’s the correct one because it looks different from all the other outlets.
    2. Press the TEST button until it clicks.
    3. Press the RESET button until it clicks.
    4. Test the outlets!
  5. If this works, YAY! But if it does not, follow these other steps before you make the call.

    • Go to the breaker box which is usually on the left or right side of the garage if it’s Single Family Home.
    • Identify which breaker is the one that is not showing on and flip it back into the “on” position
  6. This should do the trick, so you don’t have to spend your money on a handyman or electrician, but if it doesn’t DO NOT TRY TO MESS WITH THE BREAKERS! Call a pro! Here  is a quick video that Ken Thurman recorded about the GFI Switches (I wish he did this before I wasted my money! )


    Wasting Water?

    Believe me when I tell you people call saying, “My sprinklers broke, and there is a lot of water wasted!” Well, while you wait for a pro to come to your rescue, shut the water lines to the sprinklers off. As “no brainer” as it sounds, a lot of people are afraid of messing with anything related to their homes, me being one of them. But don’t be, get to know your house and discover what every handle, switch, or button does in your home. Once again, Ken to the rescue here! Check out this clip about How to Shut the Water Off to Your Home.

    Water shut off

    Over the last three decades, we have handled hundreds of thousands of maintenance requests, and based on those calls; we created a guide and videos for our residents to follow. Having a guide to refer to allows residents to troubleshoot the situation and find a resolution. Hopefully, they don’t find themselves in my situation (dinner soiree and no electricity), but if they do, they can refer to the handy guide. You can too… download it here…

    Emergency Guide