Fixing a Jammed Coin-Operated Washer

Perhaps my decision to purchase a coin-operated washer is coming back to bite me. I was out of town all weekend, and came back to a note on my door, saying that the coin slot on the washing machine was jammed, and wouldn’t turn on the washing machine, or pull out. The tenants said that they put in the correct amount of money (they had just gotten a new roll of quarters from the bank, even), and weren’t trying to pull anything (i.e. putting the quarters in pantyhose to pull them back out, or a similar trick like that).

The answer, curiously, had something to do with the exchange rate…

Refunding the security deposits. Mostly.

Tonight I finally figured out what I was taking out of my departing tenants’ security deposits. Since I live in the duplex that I also rent out, I get to know my tenants quite well, and become friendly with them. Friendly enough that I feel guilty for not refunding their security deposits 100%. But I have to remind myself that I’m running a business here.

It’s good to know your limits. (Plumbing is mine.)

My new tenants are getting settled in, and gave me a short list of things that needed attention in the apartment. As maintenance lists go, theirs was very short and simple: a slow drain in the bathtub (also a place where water was collecting in the bathtub, due to unlevel floors), and the rubber weatherstripping on the front door that was getting stuck to the new paint. Easy. (Or so I thought.)

I should have become a plumber. Or married one. Or at least befriended one.

I had plans to go out with my friends tonight and see a band downtown. I just called and cancelled — I’m not feeling well; tired and sick to my stomach. Perhaps it’s sleep deprivation, or perhaps it’s the $398 I dropped on a plumber this morning…

The drainpipe to the clawfoot tub upstairs had sprung a leak. Well, it had sprung a leak again… Numerous previous owners had fixed the leak with caulk, and I didn’t see that as a fit method of fixing things. When things break, I like to fix them the right way so that I can be confident that they won’t break again for a while.

It is, however, quite a bit cheaper to fix things with caulk than with a plumber.

Finding a contractor (a good one)

Eventually, once I’m a seasoned landlady, I’ll have my crew assembled: Electrician, Plumbing, General Contractor/Handyman, Appliance Repairman…. As it is right now, I have one drain-clearing guy that I like, and an appliance repairman. Luckily, I haven’t had to call in that many professionals. Right now, though, there is an issue with the upstairs tub drain that is beyond my skills and frustration level, so I went onto Angie’s List to find a good plumber to call. Here’s how I went about interviewing contractors, and making the final decision:

The twenty-four hour maintenance marathon

Last week I had the pleasure of turning over my upstairs apartment in only 24 hours. Actually, it was less than that, because the old tenants were an hour or so late in vacating the apartment, and the new ones called early in the morning on the first, wondering if they could start moving some things in. Valiantly, I pulled an all-nighter working in the apartment — doing general turnover maintenance and also squeezing in some improvements. I got a lot done, but it took me a few days to recover (as my father thoughtfully informed me, “I’m getting too old to be pulling that kind of thing anymore”). Thanks, Dad. Yes, and I also know that I’m an old maid for not being married at 30…

I had my to-do list all worked out, but things rarely go according to plan.

Coin-operated or not coin-operated? Repair or replace?

When I moved into the duplex, there was an old coin-operated washing machine in the basement laundry room. It worked fine, except for that it left the clothes really, really wet. But only sometimes. I had bigger initial issues to deal with, and my first group of tenants brought most of their laundry to their parents’ houses, so I got used to using it as-is.

My current tenants recently asked me if I could have it looked at. I try to keep my tenants happy (I want them to stay forever!), so I looked into getting it fixed or replaced.