There are two tools you need to have to save you BIG on plumbing problems, and tenants need to know this too!
Tenants like to think that all problems are covered by the landlord, but certain problems can rightfully be charged to the tenant when caused by tenant’s misuse. The main problems relate to drain blockages.
Having been a property manager for years, I’ve seen it all, and have had many a service call for blocked drains. Since plumbers rates start at well over $100 per hour (with a minimum charge) we are talking real money here. I’ll spare you the gory details of what people tried to send down the drain, without luck.
The drain-blockage policy of The Rental Source and other property management companies, is as follows:
“Drain blockages occurring after move-in, that are not caused by an inherent, pre-existing condition of the drains, caused by inappropriate use of drains, shall be the responsibility of the tenant to repair.”
If a building is old and plumbing has not been upgraded nor maintained well, blockages can happen frequently and many times are not the user’s fault. Old drains get sludge build-up that narrows the drainways that are easy clog candidates. But other times, people put things down the drain that should not be there, that cause clogs: cotton swabs (Q-tips), baby wipes, tampons, hair, paper towels, dirt from potted plants, etc..
Ok, if you’re a tenant you’re probably grumbling about the idea of paying for a plumber or trying to fix it on your own.maybe having to pay to clear the drain. Same goes for the owner….nobody wants to spend money on this dirty work! But when you are obligated to pay, you will want to save money. Take special note of these cheap plumbing tools that you should have in your arsenal for that time when a drain is clogged.
Plunger. Many times a plunger will do the job for a clogged toilet or a sink drain. It is too often that we get calls from a tenant who has a clogged toilet that they can’t fix with a plunger, but many times they gave up too soon or weren’t doing it right. Try filling the toilet bowl almost to the top (but not overflowing!), and THEN start pumping. The extra weight of the water will help push down the obstruction. Keep at it, and usually it will go down. If it doesn’t, it could be something fell into the toilet that needs to be removed with a snake or toilet removal. In that case, the call to the plumber may be in order.
Zip-It. (need to provide link) This is a trade name for a very simple device made of plastic that costs about $3 and probably costs five cents to manufacture. It is a long strip, about 18” long, made of semi-flexible plastic with many barbs along its length. Since many drain blockages in tubs and bathroom sinks are from hair, the Zip-it is simply for pulling out hair. You stick it in as deep as it goes (you might have to wiggle it around a bit or twist it as you go). After it is in, pull it out slowly, and you may bring with you a trail of hair that will amaze you (how did all that hair get in there?) Don’t wait, buy one now for the next time, and you won’t have to call a plumber or your property manager, and maybe end up paying for a plumber!
Drain King. (need to provide link) Again, this is a trade name, but this is a brilliant invention, simple to use, and cheap (about ten bucks, and you can use it over and over). It looks like a little black rubber stick, about 5 to 10 inches long, depending on the drain size you need it for. It has a female garden hose connector on one side, and a little hole on the other side. You need a garden hose and a place to connect it to a cold water supply (a garden hose spigot or a cold water supply to a washing machine will do).
Connect the male end of the hose to the Drain King, stick it into the affected drain, and then turn the water on, making sure the DK is securely in the drain so it doesn’t pop out. THen, turn on the water full-force. What happens is DK fills up like a balloon, with creates a seal within the pipe, and then it pulsates water in the direction of the drain blockage. DK has succeeded where many a plumber has failed, and now most plumbers keep these in their tool box as an alternative.