Routine Apartment Maintenance You Can Do on Your Own

D.I.Y.? More like D-I-E. That’s what handymen and maintenance staff are for, right? But sometimes the best person for the job is…you! Save yourself time, hassle, and even money by taking care of routine apartment maintenance on your own. You might just gain a sense of accomplishment by the end!

When to Call the Landlord

Your landlord is in charge of providing you a safe and comfortable place to live. When your health or safety is at risk, that’s when it’s time to give your landlord a call so they can arrange for repairs. Check this list of things you should NOT try to repair before you embark on your own apartment maintenance spree. These are issues you’ll want to submit a repair request to your landlord to fix:

  • Broken windows or faulty door locks
  • Light fixtures that pop or spark when you turn them on
  • Light switches with burning marks around them
  • Malfunctioning smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Major appliances that are broken or faulty, such as the refrigerator or oven
  • A leaking or damaged roof
  • Animal or other pest infestation
  • A gas leak

Note that many of these to-do’s qualify as emergency apartment maintenance and should be treated as such by your landlord.

When to Try DIY Apartment Maintenance

Now that we’ve got that settled, here’s what you can do.

#1: Unclog a drain.

Apart from the rare major sewage issue, you should be able to take care of most drain clogs in your apartment yourself, whether it’s a toilet, shower, or sink drain. Almost all back-ups are caused by hair and other debris that gets caught somewhere down in the pipes. Check out these in-depth step-by-step instructions for unclogging any apartment drain.

#2: Replace the A/C filter.

The general consensus is to replace your apartment A/C filter about every six months or 90 days. Doing so will help you breathe better, especially if you have seasonal allergies! Replacing an A/C filter is as easy as locating the old one in your apartment, buying the right size from your local hardware or grocery store, and following the instructions for installation.

#3: Put new batteries in smoke detectors.

Don’t wait for your landlord to come put new batteries in your smoke detectors. You risk a fire going unnoticed the longer you go without a functioning smoke detector. Plus, that constant beeping is probably getting under your skin. To replace the batteries in your smoke detector, take the smoke detector down, open the battery compartment, and install the right type of fresh batteries.

#4: Clean the range hood filter.

Your range hood sits above your oven/stove and sucks up all the odors, steam, and smoke you produce while cooking. The range hood filter collects grease and other particles to prevent them from accumulating in the vent. If you let your range hood filter go uncleaned for too long, it will stop working. Scrubbing your range hood filter in the sink with dish soap should do the trick.

#5: Wipe down your refrigerator coils.

Refrigerator coils are usually located on the back or bottom of the refrigerator. Their job is to cool and condense the refrigerant. When the coils are dirty or dusty, though, your fridge won’t work very efficiently. That means higher energy bills for you and a fridge that could go on the fritz sooner. To start cleaning, unplug the fridge, remove the base grille, if necessary, and scrape the coils down with a coil brush.

#6: Change your light bulbs.

How many landlords does it take to change a lightbulb? None! You can change it yourself. Check the wattage for a given light fixture and then head to your local hardware store to buy a replacement bulb. Always turn off the light switch before taking out the old bulb and putting in the new one.

Are the maintenance issues in your current apartment piling up? Though you may be an apartment maintenance DIY expert by now, you can only do so much. Search for the perfect new apartment on ApartmentSearch, and make sure to ask about past and current maintenance issues!