Maintenance Tips and FAQs

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What if power is out in PART of my apartment or house?
If all of your power is out, its probably a power outage. Contact Alabama Power. If power is out to some of your outlets, then let’s do some testing.

Tripped GFCIs

This is really just a variation on tripped breakers. Many circuits in a home (especially the kitchen, bathrooms, and outside outlets) have what’s called a GFCI (or GFI). Its a “ground fault (circuit) interrupter”. The GFCI is a device that shuts off an electric power circuit when it detects that current is flowing along an unintended path, such as through water or a person. That’s a good thing! GFIs can trip for a variety of reasons and they kill the power to the circuit until the GFI is reset.

To reset it, you have to find an outlet that has two buttons on it: test and reset. It will also most likely have a glowing yellow/orange light when it is tripped. Push reset.

If it immediately trips again, try unplugging stuff from the area and resetting it. If you find that it doesn’t trip after you unplug something, then there is likely something wrong with that device. It is also possible for outlets or lights to end up with a ground or neutral wire move and touching something else, creating an “unintended path.” If resetting doesn’t fix the issue and you can’t find a problem device, then submit a ticket and we can have an electrician come out and check it. Note, resetting a GFCI is like home-dweller 101, basic stuff.

Tripped Breakers

Ah, so, in most cases, if some, but not all, of your houses/apartments power is out, you have most likely tripped a breaker. Perhaps too much stuff was plugged into an outlet, or a surge caused an overload. Find your circuit breaker panel (often in the garage or a closet), and see if one of the breakers is partially flipped back. If so, push it all the way off, then all the way back on, and see what happens. If should reset the part of the house without power. If it trips again, then a couple things can be going on. The most likely is that something attached to that breaker is shorting out and caused it to trip. In rarer cases, a breaker can be bad, but this is not very frequent.
How to check and light a pilot light
Seriously. No kidding. At least once per year, we get a call or email about someone being cold and how its terrible, and how bad we are, and and… and then we determine they never turned on their gas, so obviously the GAS furnace isn’t working. And, no, there isn’t anything we can do about it. Vectren might be able to do an emergency turn on for you especially if its really cold out, but unfortunately we can’t get it handled for you because its your place and your utility.

This is why we send out multiple notes about ensuring ALL your utilities are on in the fall, while its still nice and warm….

Yes, we get that you are upset, and yes lashing out sort of feels productive (or at least cathartic), but its not helpful, and we get you would rather be mad at anyone but yourself, so if you must, feel free, but it won’t get you warmer any faster. ??

Oh, and this can be true of hot water as well… Seriously we’ve had tenants gripe, even write online reviews, about how cold their water was, yet when they get around to reporting it to us, well, turns out the gas for their GAS hot water heater wasn’t on…. Go figure.
How to unclog the kitchen sink
Water and other fun stuff simply not going down the kitchen drain? Plunging and other quick and not so quick fixes for clogged or slow draining kitchen sinks.
3 Key Things to Know Before Starting to Working on Your Clogged Kitchen Sink
Do not use caustic drain cleaning chemicals. Baking soda and vinegar do a nice reaction that can clear the sink if there’s not a lot of water in it.
If your sink is clogged DO NOT USE THE DISHWASHER. The dishwasher drains through the sink plumbing. You WILL have a major mess.
Do you have a disposal and is it working? You might want to troubleshoot the disposal first.
3 Key Steps to Unclogging Your Kitchen Sink
First, if you have a disposal, and its not making the normal noise when turned on, deal with it first.
Use a plunger — note if you have two sink basins side by side, you have to close the other side with a rubber cap or your plunging will not work at all (all your pressure will just come up the other side!).
No luck, remove what you can, by hand. Try plunging again.
How to Fix Your Garbage Disposal
How to fix a jammed garbage disposal? A yucky stew in the sink, or a backed up dishwasher, not cool. But you can fix it yourself in most cases.
If your disposal is clogged and you have a dishwasher, do not run the dishwasher. The dishwasher drains through the sink plumbing (this is true in all houses), and if you run it with a clogged sink, you will get water backing up into the sink and probably straight out of the dishwasher onto your floor. You have been warned…. Now, on to the disposal!

Before we send out maintenance, which can be costly for you, we wanted to make a few suggestions that you can try to fix the problem yourself. In most cases, a disposal that won’t run, is a simple fix.

Clog or disposal issue?
Normal grinding noises, but water won’t drain? You have a clog!

If you turn on the disposal, can you hear it whirling around, and see the water being disturbed by the blades, but the water isn’t going down? You have a clog! You may also have both a jammed disposal and a clog. I’d fix the disposal first because if you get it running, then it might just clear the drainage issue all by itself (see troubleshooting steps below for humming/no humming). However, here’s a FAQ on unclogging the sink itself (regardless of whether the disposal is working).

Humming or no humming?
No Humming
There is a reset button, usually red. On the side or the bottom. Check it and push it. Turn back on.
No humming and reset didn’t work? Check fuse box. If flipped, put back. Try again. No luck. Check reset now.
If either of these make it hum (even for a short period of time), move on to humming. This is progress. It means something is causing it to trip, and that something is probably a jam.

Humming, no grinding? It’s jammed.
Remove what is jammed in it

Could be something big. Who knows what might have slipped in there. If it is jammed make sure the switch is off before you put anything in the opening. Remove any debris from inside the disposal. You may need to use tongs or pliers — again be sure its off! — to remove whatever is inside the disposal (which is off, right? Seriously…not just not working, I mean off at the switch, you don’t want to lose a couple digits, right?). If there is something solid in there, that won’t grind (like plastic, metal, glass), will just tear it up and keep jamming it, so we have to get anything like that out first.

Dislodge with a hex wrench

Under the sink, look at the bottom of the disposal for a hex-shaped hole. If you see one, find a 1/4-inch hex wrench that fits the hole (often there is one attached to the disposal). Fit the hex wrench into the hole, and force it back and forth in both directions a few times to free the impellers. You may not be able to move it, if not, go back to the broom handle because you can get more torque by twisting it around inside.

Dislodge with a switch

Some models actually have a switch to reverse the direction of the blades to unstick whatever’s stuck. Most do not, but if you see a switch, it’s either power (check that!) or a reverse (try that too).

Dislodge with a stick: Try a wooden broom handle or large sturdy wooden spoon

Take the end of a wooden broom handle or spoon, put it in the drain, and move it to dislodge whatever is in the disposal. If doing this, you may have to put some weight into it. Run the water and try the switch again.

You should be able to crank the broom handle hard enough to manually make the bottom of the disposal turn. Wiggle it back and forthBe sure you don’t have the spoon or broom handle or your hand in it when turning back on. Give it another shot. Any progress?
More General FAQs & Tips »

Maintenance Request

Making a Maintenance Request and Tracking your Maintenance Progress is done through our Maintenance Portal.

After-Hours Emergency

For after-hours emergencies, please call 334.502.0250.
This number is to be used only for maintenance emergencies that occur outside of our normal office hours.
Please leave a message at this number and we will call you back in regards to your request.