When you move into a new apartment, you learn some interesting things about your past tenants after a month or two. If you’re lucky, they were neat freaks. God help you if they were slobs that enjoyed the company of critters and bugs.
Ours (we’ll call her Ms. K) apparently loved paying utility bills and basically burning her money. She had the water heater turned all the way up to scalding hot -so that there was no “warm” -just skin searing hot and freezing cold. I almost died the first shower. She also didn’t seem to mind that the tub needed to have the diverter valve replaced -and that as a result, the tub would leak water at night and would gush hot water through the tub nozzle during showers. I can’t imagine how high her gas bills must have been just because of the shower situation alone.
Then, on the shower/tub situation, she also didn’t keep cleaning as a high priority. They had to chemically treat it before we moved in and even then, I had to use powder Barkeeper’s Friend to get the black tarnish off the bottom drain & clean up the metal in there. Seriously, that stuff rules. I suggest investing in some because you can use it to clean just about any surface with it and obviously, it cleans bar-ware very well.
I also learned she had black hair and likely rarely cleaned out her bathroom sink drain. Yeah, that was a treat.
Ms. K never asked them to replace the weather stripping on the front door. We moved in during cold weather and immediately felt a draft those first two nights. So we had them come immediately and fix it. Then, last week, I was walking up the stairs and noticed a gap with light between the front door & the threshold that can let bugs in and A/C out. How much higher must her gas been been in winter and her electric bill been in summer thanks to the front door?
The truth is we love our apartment and these issues are mainly Ms. K’s fault for not bringing them to management’s attention. Our management is quick to hop on any requests we have -like within 15 minutes, no lie. These units were built energy efficient in the late 90′s -but every few years, things have to be replaced/repaired to keep it that way. Or you spend tons on bills you shouldn’t have to. Most days, we don’t have to turn on the heat or A/C in here. It stays pretty well insulated thanks to our upgrades.
We also made a point of replacing 90 percent of the light bulbs in the unit with energy efficient ones from IKEA. And we don’t leave anything plugged in that we’re not using -minus certain appliances and clocks. Our entertainment center, modem, toaster oven, microwave and computers all remain unplugged when we’re not home and using them. This cuts down on our electric bill immensely.
We actually have added value to this unit by getting improvements made and being OCD clean. Whenever we move, the next tenants will get it in better condition than we received it. And that is something I take pride in, much the way my father did when he did major upgrades to our old house before we sold it.
As I sit here watching the repair men do major work on my front door, I want to issue a helpful warning to all my friends. If you are thinking of moving into an apartment or new home any time soon -be sure to check your unit thoroughly when you do your walk through. Check the weather stripping looks new, check for leaking faucets, check for gaps under exterior doors. It might save you hundreds of dollars each year. Those hundreds are going to our trip to Walt Disney World in December. What could they add up to for you?