Dear Maintenance Men
25 January 2011
Dear Maintenance Men: Do you have any suggestions as far as summer projects when it comes to maintaining my apartment building? I’m handy and don’t mind rolling up my sleeves. Bruce
Dear Bruce: The first thing we would look at is your landscape sprinkler system. The weather has warmed up which means a broken sprinkler line or clogged head may cause dry spots. A non- or poor working irrigation system can kill or damage your landscape before you know it. Turn on your sprinkler valve and check for proper coverage at each head. Adjust any sprinkler heads so they do not water the concrete or non-growing areas. If you have an automated system: check that the valves are operating correctly, the wires are not frayed and the valves don’t leak. Next, adjust the time clock, keeping in mind the warmer weather. To fight against evaporation, set your timer to turn on the sprinkler system early in the morning or late in the evening. Another fun project is working on the most neglected room in an apartment building: the laundry room! Nobody wants to do laundry in a dirty, hot, ugly laundry room. This is a great time spruce up the room. Remove all cobwebs, pull the machines back and clean out the accumulated dust and dirt that finds its way behind the machines. Check that the windows work properly. Paint the laundry room; that alone will make the laundry room feel cooler and more inviting to use. If your laundry room has a bare concrete floor, consider laying linoleum or vinyl squares. Items to save you money in the laundry room include: replacing the light switch with a rotary timer along with installing florescent bulbs. Many laundry rooms contain the central water heater. If the water heater has a recirculation pump, consider installing a timer to control the reticulating pump. Set the hours between 5 am and 10am and then again between 5 pm and 10 or 11 pm. This will accomplish a number savings. The first is not running a large pump 24 hours a day, saving electricity, second is not introducing cool water to your heater 24 hours a day, saving on the cost of heating the water and third is by not running the pump all the time, you are saving wear and tear on the recirculation line itself. Most slab leaks originate from the recirculation line; the weak link in most water systems.