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Helpful Maintenance Hints and Tips


What to do in an emergency – gas, electricity, water.

First, make yourself familiar with where the various meter boxes and shut-off valves for these services are located on your property just in case they ever need to be disconnected in an emergency.


The water supply may need to be turned off in emergency circumstances such as an overflow from the hot water service or a tap that won’t stop flowing.


In the event of a power outage or blackout at your property, first check to see if yours is the only property affected. If neighbours are experiencing the same problem phone SA Power Networks, Faults and Emergencies, on 13 13 66

If the power outage is affecting only your property, or a part of it, check the fuse switches which are usually situated outside the premises inside the electricity meter box. A localised power failure is usually due to a faulty household appliance (often a kettle or toaster) causing the safety switch to trip off. In this case, unplug all electrical appliances from their sockets and then plug them back in one by one. This will usually identify the faulty appliance.

Also check to ensure that you have paid your electricity bill.


To turn off the main gas supply use the control valve next to the gas meter. Always make sure you have turned it off completely. When you turn it back on, make sure you turn the control valve fully on and relight pilot lights on the hot water service if applicable.



  1. Mains Pressure Hot Water Service – Pull and release pressure valves once each month to ensure they are kept clean and operational.
  2. Gas Hot Water Service – Before reporting a problem, check if the pilot light is on. If not, follow instructions on the unit (if available). If in doubt, report the problem to your property manager.
  3. Hot & Cold Taps – Taps must be turned on fully once a month so salts can be cleaned out to prevent taps seizing
  4. Drains – No fats or oils are to be poured down drains. Allow to solidify, wrap in newspaper and dispose of in garbage.
  5. Air Conditioner – Evaporative air conditioners need to be drained and cleaned every season. Reverse Cycle – Clean filters once a month with dishwashing detergent, rinse thoroughly and let them dry before replacing. This allows a free airflow, reducing stress on the fan. It also keeps the coils clean, so heat can dissipate easily, leading to lower operating costs.
  6. Gas Heaters – Dust should be removed from the bottom vent under the burner to ensure the unit is functioning efficiently.
  7. Smoke Alarms – Some smoke alarms are connected to the electricity supply. They will have a battery in case the electricity supply is cut off. Other smoke alarms will be battery-operated. You must replace any smoke alarm battery annually. Check batteries every month by pushing the test button on the smoke alarm for one minute. Do not try to take the cover off the smoke alarm as the bracket is fragile and may break. Batteries must not be left out of the alarm at any time.
  8. Exhaust fans – After showering leave the bathroom fan on for 10 minutes to allow steam to escape. Clean the fan cover regularly.
  9. Lighting a Gas Stove – Light up match first, put match in position and then turn gas on. If this fails, wait 30 seconds for gas to escape and try again.
  10. Fuse box (electrical supply) – Do not place any obstructions in front of the fuse box or meter.
  11. Overloading power points – If the power fuse is overloaded, check if there are too many appliances running off the same circuit. If so, move the appliances to another outlet
  12. Safety Switches – Safety switches must be tripped off from the small button next to the switch to check if they work efficiently.
  13. Dishwasher – Rinse off large particles of food off before placing in dishwasher to prevent blockage of the jets.
  14. Other Appliances – If the oven not working, check to see if the auto mode is on, check and reset to manual mode. If unsure, check with your property manager.
  15. Security Alarm – This is your responsibility to attend to.
  16. Blinds. Holland blinds should be operated with little force and slow motions. Ensure that all brackets engage when releasing.
  17. Open fireplace or pot belly stove. A fire screen is highly recommended to prevent damage to any floor coverings and for safety reasons.
  18. Damp on walls or ceilings. Report any damp patches on walls or ceilings to your property manager immediately.
  19. Letter Box – Keep clear of unwanted mail and newspapers.
  20. Garage Doors – Do not place any obstructions in front of garage doors.
  21. Garden Sprinklers – Keep areas where sprinklers have been installed free and clean to ensure that they can operate correctly.
  22. Pool. – Pool must be cleaned and maintained weekly.
  23. Outdoor Spa – Spa must be cleaned and maintained weekly.
  24. Windows – Wait for a cloudy day to wash windows. When the sun is out it will dry too fast and leave the streaks.
  25. Lawns – If the lawn is cut too short it can turn brown or die off . For the best results cut it so that it is about 75 millimetres high. In cooler months cut the lawn to about 50 millimetres high.


Tiles & Linoleum

Tiled & Linoleum floors can be cleaned easily with nothing but warm water, but be sure to sweep or vacuum first to remove any loose soil or grit.

Wooden Floors

Any grinding substance, such as sand, dirt, or grit, will dull the surface of hardwood floors. Place mats or rugs at the entrance way to trap as much dirt as possible.

Wooden floors require good ventilation. Air that is not moving can encourage the growth of mould. If this occurs, use a solution of 1-cup water and ¼ cup household bleach. Use a soft cloth and wipe the mould away gently. It is suggested that you wear a mask when dealing with mould.


Its easy to keep carpets looking good and lasting for years. Having carpets professionally cleaned at least twice a year will keep them in good condition and reduce dust. The fibres from the carpet are sucked up when they are professional cleaned keeping them from collecting dust. Regular vacuuming slows down wear and tear and prevents dirt and soil from causing unnecessary damage.

Act immediately if there’s a spill or accident and you will help minimise the stain.

Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Scoop up any solids before cleaning.
  2. Blot as much liquid as possible with clean toweling.
  3. Apply cleaning agent to a clean towel, not to the carpet.
  4. Rinse with cold or lukewarm water, but don’t saturate.
  5. Blot dry with absorbent material such as a paper towel or use a cold air fan to complete the drying.


Alcohol: Cold water, detergent solution

Blood: Cold water detergent solution
Chewing gum: Chill with ice cubes in a plastic bag, scrape or pick off.
Chocolate: Detergent solution.
Coffee or tea: Cold water detergent solution, vinegar solution.
Sauce or gravy: Warm water, detergent solution
Ink (felt tip): Warm water and detergent solution.

Lipstick: Detergent solution.
Nail polish: Clear nail polish remover without lanolin.
Shoe polish: detergent solution.

Soft drink: Detergent solution.

Urine: Detergent solution, vinegar solution.
Vomit: Sprinkle with baking soda, scoop up, vacuum.
Wine: Cold water, detergent solution, vinegar solution


Wipe walls clean. Wash with a warm water and sugar.. Then dip a sponge into a bucket of clean water, wring it out and wipe the walls from top to bottom. Now use a soft cleaning cloth to wipe the walls until dry.


To cut down on dust  in the home, when washing cleaning rags rinse them in a vinegar solution to reduce lint.

Ceiling fans can attract dust. Polish fan blades with a furniture cleaner that contains bees wax in it. This will dust-attracting static on the fan to a minimum.


Oven & Stovetops

Ovens should be cleaned regularly to be kept in good condition. If a large spill occurs clean it up promptly, saving time in the long run. Commercial oven cleaners will sometimes have to be used to remove baked-on grease. These cleaners can, however, damage surfaces outside and around the oven. Be sure to wear protective hand and eye wear.

Removable parts, such as oven racks, can be cleaned more easily if allowed to soak in a sink or pan of soapy water. Long soaking is better for the surface and easier than intense scrubbing. If necessary scour oven racks or porcelain enamel with steel wool or a scouring pad to remove baked-on grease or food spills, which have not come off with regular cleaning. Don’t use these too often or scrub too hard for it can scratch the smooth surface and make it harder to clean from then on.

Control knobs can be washed in warm soapy water with a cloth or brush, rinsed and dried. If they come off they’re easier to clean but do not soak them.

Range Hoods & Fans

First check manual instructions for cleaning the hood and fan as they may require specific instructions. Range hoods and fans remove grease and moisture from cooking, and so collect dirt. Wash exposed metal with a warm soapy solution then rinse. If very greasy, use ammonia and water then rinse. Never use abrasive pads or scouring powders as they can scratch the finish.

Wash light bulb cover when cool with soapy water, rinse and dry .
Fan blades collect dirt and grease, which can restrict the air flow and cause motor over-heating becoming a fire hazard.

Remove the filter or filters and soak in warm, soapy water for a few minutes, wash and rinse. Dry the filter and place back in the stove hood. Some stove hoods have charcoal filters which can not be cleaned. The should be replaced annually.


Hang a squeegee in the shower to wipe down the walls after a shower to prevent soap scum build-up.

A quick way to clean the bathroom is to run the shower at the hottest setting and close the shower door until everything gets steamy. The steam will loosen the soap build up and make cleaning much easier. Wipe down with a cloth..

For sparkling clean glass shower screens, rub the glass with a sponge soaked with white vinegar. Rinse with cool water and finish off by spraying them lightly with furniture polish before polishing.

For safe effective cleaning of the bathroom sink, sprinkle baking soda lightly on a damp sponge. Scrub sink and tiles as usual. Rinse thoroughly and wipe dry.

Clean hard-to-reach places in the bathroom with an old toothbrush.