Tag Archives | maintenance

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For many of us, going away for college is the first time we moved away from home and the first time we actually have to take care of some “grownup” things on our own. For the first time, you are truly responsible for the condition of your apartment and its regular maintenance. And for the first time, you realize that maintenance includes more chores than vacuuming and folding clothes. However, you are also probably a tenant and not the owner of the apartment, so you have to be extremely careful not to damage anything and consult your landlord about any bigger projects. Here’s a list of maintenance chores you can do, and the ones that require the assistance of a professional.

DIY: Recover and Paint Old Chairs
The simplest way to save money when moving into an apartment is to keep the furniture the landlord has left, instead of buying everything from scratch. However, sometimes, when the place is being rented for years, the furniture is old and worn out. You don’t have to throw it all away; just refresh it a bit. Take the old dining room chairs, apply two coats of paint (let it dry overnight) and refresh the existing cushions by replacing the fabric.

Leave to the Pros: Installing a Gas-Fueled Appliance
So, you bought a new appliance (water heater, oven, clothes dryer) and you’re eager to try it out? Don’t do it. Any mistake with connecting gas lines can lead to gas leaks and build-up which can eventually spark and explode. This is a job that should be left to the professionals. So, either ask for installation to come with delivery or call the pros after the appliance is at your address.

DIY: Paint the Place
There’s nothing like a little paint to introduce life in a gloomy apartment! Of course, before you decide on the color and start your little project, consult your landlord. After you get his seal of approval and find the necessary equipment (paint, paint roller, painter’s tape, rags) you can get down to business. If the painter’s tape is applied firmly (and straight), you should have no problems getting professional results.

Leave to the Pros: Plumbing Issues
You may be able to unplug a clogged toilet or a sink if the problem is not very serious, but any other plumbing issues should be left to the professionals. Working with plumbing involves a lot of leaks that can cause mold, structural problems and other damage. Professional plumbers can solve breaks and leaks without worsening the problem.

DIY: Clean the Fridge
Every so often, the fridge must be cleaned from the inside out. It’s not a very pleasant chore, but you can do it by yourself. Toss out the food that has outlived its shelf life, take out all the food in your refrigerator, and put it aside. Take out shelves and drawers and wash them in the kitchen sink. Wipe the inside of the fridge with an organic cleaner (such as baking soda + hot water). Dry the shelves and drawers, put them back into the fridge, and reintroduce the food.

Leave to the Pros: Electrical Wiring
Any work with electricity, other than replacing a light bulb, should be left to professional electricians. Working with the apartment’s electrical system can be very dangerous and it doesn’t matter if you are fixing a problematic circuit or installing new wiring – you are at risk of electrical shock in both situations. Also, installing new wiring is determined by the local codes, so you need to know all about them, have a permit and be prepared for your work to be inspected.

Maintaining the apartment includes a lot of chores. Some, like dusting, are basic day-to-day actions, while others are monthly or seasonal duties. There are also unexpected repairs and home-improvement projects that may seem overwhelming to you, but in time you get used to them. However, it’s still important to distinguish the ones within your power from the ones that should be left to the professionals.

This article was contributed by guest author Chloe Taylor.

Image by kaboompics, pixabay.com

Image by kaboompics, pixabay.com

Driving to and from a college campus can put a lot of extra strain on your vehicle. As a car owner, you have to take an active role in properly maintaining your ride. It can be difficult to juggle these responsibilities along with all your schoolwork, but if you know what to look for and can take a few preventative steps, it can make your college commute a lot easier. Here are the six basics of car care every commuter should know:

Oil Check
Checking your oil level is very easy and also one of the most important things you can do to care for your car. While the engine is off, grab the dipstick and wipe it clean with a paper towel. Reinsert it to get a more accurate reading. Try to keep the oil level at the full line. If your vehicle has more than 100,000 miles on the odometer, check your oil level every three weeks. Worn engines tend to consume oil more rapidly.

Tire Care
To extend the life of your tires, be sure to check the pressure on a monthly basis. Not only can low tire pressure impact your vehicle’s handling, but it can also cause a decrease in gas mileage. A digital tire pressure gauge is a device every driver needs to keep on hand. If your steering wheel has started to vibrate, take the vehicle to a place like Free Service Tire Company, since this means the tires likely need to be re-balanced.

Change the Air Filter
After around 15,000 miles, most air filters will need to be replaced. An extremely dirty air filter will drastically reduce your engine’s performance. The good news is, most replacement air filters are fairly inexpensive.

Wash the Vehicle
When you are busy attending class, it is easy to overlook washing your vehicle. However, the accumulation of grime and road salt promotes the formation of rust. It is also a good idea to wax the paint at least twice a year. The layer of wax will provide an extra barrier of protection from chip damage.

Keep an Eye on the Coolant Level
In order to prevent an overheated engine, there must be an adequate amount of coolant in the radiator. In the event that your temperature gauge suddenly approaches the danger zone, pull your vehicle over immediately. You could have a broken thermostat or a busted coolant hose.

Install New Brake Pads
Most modern braking systems feature a wear indicator. When the brake pads get extremely low, the wear indicator will begin to make a loud screeching sound. This means that your pads must be replaced within the next 50 miles.

Take a good look at these car care tips – if anything, they’ll give you an extra sense of security on your daily commute.

This article was contributed by guest author Brooke Chaplan.