08 March 2012
Dear Maintenance Men:
I have a bathroom sink that is slow draining. I have already snaked the drain and found no stoppage. When I remove the pop-up assembly and have an open drain, water whooshes down with no problem. However, with the pop-up in place, water backs up into the sink and drains very slowly.
Most bathroom sinks have an overflow hole near the top edge of the sink. This hole serves two purposes: (1) acts as a safety drain to keep the sink from overflowing should the water rise above a certain level in the sink; and (2) the overflow hole also serves as an air vent for the sink when the water levels are above the pop-up plug. The overflow hole allows air to escape through the drain and the water to evacuate more efficiently.
What has happened is hair, toothpaste, grime, etc., have built-up and sealed off the overflow drain where it exits just below the pop-up assembly plug. Most snakes are too big to go through the overflow drain. Alternatively, a speedometer cable will work great or even a long zip tie will work. Push the cable or zip tie down through the overflow hole at the top of the sink and push any gunk out into the drain. Use water to help push the debris out the overflow drain; a funnel works great to direct a good flow of water. If you cannot get the overflow to drain, disassemble the main drain assembly to gain access to the overflow drain exit. Once the overflow drain has good airflow, the sink should drain a bit faster. If this does not solve the problem completely, look at restricting the water flow coming out of the faucet. Use a restrictive aerator to cut down on the GPM of the faucet.
Dear Maintenance Men:
I run into a vendor communications problem every now and then. It is very frustrating and at times costly to my pocketbook or the vendors' depending on whose error it is. It can be as simple as the wrong shade of paint, to as serious as work completed in the wrong unit. I try to keep my directions as simple and direct as possible, but mistakes still happen. What do you recommend?
Sometimes familiarity and the assumption the other party can read our mind gets in the way of proper communication skills. We have found that even with vendors we have used for a long time and who should know better, fall victim to mind reading errors. We no longer rely on verbal confirmation when finalizing a job. Everything is in writing no matter how small.
To minimize errors further, be sure to write in a concise direct manner in simple sentences. Do not use compound sentences or complicated jargon. Write for the lowest common denominator. Often the work order will go from the contractor directly to his techs without any further explanations. The techs need to understand clearly what work is expected and authorized.
If you have more than one task being performed in an apartment unit, itemize and specify by room what the work is. If you are painting, specify the color, flat or semi-gloss and what rooms are to be painted. If you have rooms or objects that are not to be painted, use a separate sentence so the difference can be clearly noted. This works with faucets, window coverings, flooring, etc. Have the other party initial not only the original work order, but also any changes that take place before work proceeds. With the work order initialed, miscommunication is less likely. Don't forget to add special notes and details when needed and include a phone number for any question.