Dear Maintenance Men

Dear Maintenance Men | January 15, 2009

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Dear Maintenance Men: My rain gutters leak at some of the joint seams. I have smeared silicone on the joints, but it still leaks. What can I do? Stan

Dear Stan: The underlying issue with your rain gutters is support. Chances are the supports holding up your gutters are weak or rotted. Check each connector holding the rain gutters onto your building. Weak support will cause the gutter to sag when water is present and the joints to separate. If the sag is pronounced enough, the gutters will have low spots, which will cause the gutter to sag even more over time. Once the gutters are properly supported, the joint can be resealed.

You can use clear silicone, or depending on the gutter material, go to your local hardware store and buy the appropriate sealant. The gutter joints must be clean and dry before sealing.

TRIVIA How did Flashlights get their name?
Answer: The flashlight was invented by Joshua Lionel Cowen of the Lionel Train Company in 1898 and patented by Conrad Hubert of the Ever-Ready Battery Company. Because early batteries were weak and bulbs primitive, flashlights of the era produced only a brief flash of light—thus the name.

Dear Maintenance Men | February 6, 2009

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Dear Maintenance Men: I am a new owner of a 1965 four-plex. I am living in the front owners unit. It truly is a great place to live but I am quite concerned about my privacy and the fact that I can hear my tenant’s conversations, their TV or radio through the common wall between the units. I figure if I can hear them, they can hear me. I do know I probably lack insulation but do not want to make the expense of ripping drywall out and so on. Do you have any other suggestions? Tom

Dear Tom: We agree, the worst job to do in an occupied unit is significant drywall work. The dust and debris are awful no matter how good your dust control method. Fortunately, in your case you can address this problem by using a product called Acoustic-coat #150 which is basically a lightly textured water based flat latex paint, formulated with hollow ceramicmicro-spheres and sound-absorbing fibers and resins. To spare our readers a crashcourse in chemistry, we will give you the basic highlights.

Acoustic-coat #150 is a sound reduction paint, which can reduce sound transmission by 30% and will also dramatically reduce sound echo in the room. Acoustic-coat #150 can be used on walls and ceiling and also has excellent insulating properties. This sound reduction paint is most effective for speech range frequencies. The paint can be bought premixed or as a powdered additive and added to yourpaint. Please refer to this web site for more detailed info: www.ceramicadditive.com

Dear Maintenance Men | February 6, 2009

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Dear Maintenance Men: I am a property supervisor for a local property management company and I am looking for solutions to my maintenance issues. How do I keep the cost of maintenance down while still maintaining good living conditions for my residents? Sally

Dear Sally: Prioritize and bundle is the short answer. To elaborate, you will want to prioritize all of your non-emergency maintenance work by unit, building and area and then bundle enough work for each unit, building or area to use your maintenance tech or vendor efficiently. The less your tech or vendor needs to travel between jobs, the lower the cost of each job will be. Essentially, you would accumulate all non-emergency routine maintenance work placed on a P.O. or work order and forward it to your vendor or tech as authorized. This dramatically reduces the costs related to gas, trip charges, mobilization, purchase hours, etc. (It works even better if your parts are already on site.)

Establishing a “time and material” (not to exceed) approach to billing vs. a per unit price method would also give you more bang for your buck. Talk to your vendors or techs about bundled service to help cut costs. Most will appreciate a more organized approach to servicing your properties.

Dear Maintenance Men | February 6, 2009

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Dear Maintenance Men: I have been contemplating the purchase of a high pressure sprayer for my employees to use in maintaining and cleaning around my apartment buildings. Because these pressure washers produce a powerful stream of water, I am worried about my employees hurting themselves or damaging the building. What size machine do you recommend and how safe are they to use? Should I rent one first? Julia

Dear Julia: As with any large ticket items it is always prudent to “try before you buy”. Fortunately there are a variety of rental places to choose from which carry all sizes, makes and models.

A rental yard will often use the best and longest lasting machines. Most times these companies can provide you with the best information on the products in regards to maintenance, wear and tear, life expectancy and performance. In regards to workers safety, look at the operators manual for the best advice on personnel safety wear and use. These machines can produce a very powerful jet of water capable of ripping through clothing, skin and even break small bones. You should always wear goggles, leather gloves, and steel toe leather workboots with non skid soles.

Stucco and wood siding is especially susceptible to damage when using a power washer. Use the lowest setting and wide spray nozzle to avoid damage. Lightly mist stucco surfaces if cleaning is your objective. Keep nozzle adjusted to spray not stream and approx. 2' to 3' away from the surface.

As with most things, proper training will help insure safe usage of power tools.

Contact AACSC

Apartment Association,

California Southern Cities
333 W. Broadway St., Suite 101
Long Beach, CA 90802
(562) 426-8341

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