Common Maintenance Issues and Solutions

If you have any of the following issues, please take a moment to follow these instructions, and then call us at the office!

Water Leaks

Most important -- Turn the water off at the source!

  • Sinks: faucet handles or knobs under the sink
  • Toilets: knob behind toilet
  • Other: under the building or crawl space

Power Outages

  • Check all your fuses and circuit breakers:
    • Fuses: Replace with a matching one from Home Depot.
    • Breaker: Just flip it off, then flip it back on.
  • If the power comes on and the fuse or breaker blows again:
    • Unplug everything attached to the fuse or breaker
    • Replace the fuse or flip the breaker again
    • Plug each item in, one at a time, to see if any individual item is causing the problem
  • If ALL your electricity is off, call Duke Energy 1-800-777-9898 as there could be an outage in the area.

No Heat

  • Central GAS heat:
    • Make sure the thermostat is set to "HEAT."
    • If the fan is running, but the air is not warm -  Check and replace your HVAC filter. These should be replaced every 30 days!
    • If the fan is running, constantly, make sure the fan is set to "AUTO." This switch is on your thermostat.
    • If the pilot lit is out and needs re-lit during office hours, call Bob Schmitz Properties (416-0393) After hours, call Dominion (877-776-2427).
    • If the fan is not running at all, check the furnace fuse or circuit breaker.

No Air Conditioning

  • Central Air:
    • Make sure the thermostat is set to "COOL."
    • Check to see that the motor is running outside.
      • See if the fan is spinning on the unit and listen for any strange noises.
        • If you hear noises, check to see if there are any leaves or other debris blocking it.
    • Check to see that the fan motor is running (under the house or near the furnace).
      • If it is not running, call the office.
      • If it is running constantly, make sure the fan is set to "AUTO" on the thermostat.
    • Check the vents to see if any air is flowing.
      • If the fan is running but the air is not cool, check and replace your HVAC filter. These should be replaced every 30 days!

Dryer not drying well

  • Check that your lint trap is clean. This should be cleaned every time you use the dryer!
  • If you can see behind the dryer, make sure the duct is not crimped or broken. Let us know if it is, and we will come fix it.

Unclog a Drain or a Toilet

Please be mindful that the plumbing systems in most older homes were not designed to handle anything other than human waste and toilet paper! 

  • Toilet:
    • If your toilet doesn't flush properly after one flush, don't flush again. Instead, take the lid off of the toilet tank and close the toilet flapper. Closing the flapper will keep more water from entering the bowl.
    • Using a good rubber plunger, make sure the plunger completely covers the hole. The plunger should be submerged in water to be effective. It is important to be pushing and pulling with water, not air. Add water from the sink to the bowl if necessary.
    • Pump the plunger over the hole. Start slowly at first, since the first plunge will push air into the bowl. Push down, then pull up sharply to disturb the clog and loosen it. Continue vigorously pushing and pulling until the water begins to drain. It may take 15 to 20 times before the toilet unclogs. Be patient, as long as you're sure there's no hard object, plunging alone often suffices. It might not work immediately but would often work after a few repeated efforts/flushing, with each effort constituting of dozens of plunging. 
    • If you know there is an object in the toilet that caused the clog (i.e., a child's toy), reach in and remove it from the toilet if possible. If you can't clear it with your hands, but you know there's an object causing the clog, skip the plunging and call the office!
    • Here's a great Wiki-how with great details on taking care of various types of clogs:
  • Drain:
    • Wiki-how has some great tips for unclogging drains:
    • Please do not take apart any plumbing! If plunging or drain cleaners don't work, give us a call!
    • Be mindful of cleaning out the visible hair from shower and sink drains every day.
    • Don't pour grease down any drain.
    • Be mindful of scraping food waste into the garbage can and not into your kitchen drain.