Unfortunately, rental apartment appliances are not built to last forever, and, realistically, could fail at any point. However, when this happens, it doesn’t necessarily mean that a replacement is called for.
In a rental property, it’s expected that the landlord will pay for reasonable appliance repairs – but of course, this doesn’t always go to plan. If a tenant doesn’t report an issue straight away and is negligent, they could even end up having to foot the bill.
So, to ensure you have the best chance of your landlord getting your appliances fixed in a prompt and cost-effective manner, you need to report the issue (usually in writing) as soon as it happens. And in order to do this, you need to watch out for the following telltale signs!
(Of course, if you are not renting through a landlord who you know well, you’ll be better off calling in the experts to check on your appliance rather than buying a replacement. Minor repairs may be what your appliance needs to run smoothly again.)
The general warning signs
According to our friends at Refrigerator FAQ, “lookout for the following warning signs – they could be an indication that your appliance/s may need to be repaired:”
- A sudden increase in your water and power bills. Many renters have a general idea of how much they spend on their power bill each month. If you notice a sudden spike in your power bill or even a steady increase, this could be an indication that your appliance needs attention. Faulty appliances need more power to function, so if you notice any dramatic changes in your monthly power bill, call your landlord or a reliable appliance repair company to have your appliances checked.
- The appliance is becoming slow or inefficient. If you’ve owned the appliance for several months already, you should know the rough it takes to do its job. But if you observe that it’s taking longer than usual for an appliance to perform a certain task, it might need some professional attention. This early sign is usually ignored as the general consensus is that if an appliance is still working, it’s okay. Wrong. If your appliance is working slowly, report it to your landlord or a repair company – leaving the appliance to decline slowly could end up being a heavy blow to your wallet.
- Strange noises are coming out from the appliance. If your appliance is making noises other than “natural” noises, this could be an early sign of a problem so you should report it.
- The appliance is not operational. Okay, this is obvious, but if your appliance isn’t functioning, it’s high time to have it checked! Note: If your appliance is still turning on, but not all of the functions are working, you still need a professional checkup.
While appliances have many similarities, they really are very different in terms of how they function and fail. Keep an eye out for the following symptoms on your specific appliances:
- Washer and Dryer. A common sign that your washer and dryer need repairs is when it shakes a lot during use. Of course, it’s normal for this appliance to experience some shaking because it has drums inside that spin. But if it’s moving more violently than usual, don’t ignore it. There are a few reasons for unusual shaking:
1) A piece of clothing (usually a cheeky sock!) may be stuck somewhere inside the machine, so it’s worth having a root around.
2) Shaking or movement could also indicate your appliance’s shock absorbers have become damaged or worn – so make sure to report this to your landlord or an appliance repair company.
3) This symptom could also be an age factor, and perhaps the part of the dryer that holds the drum steady has worn out. If your washer also creates puddles of water while operating, this is a sign of a leak that should be addressed by a technician.
- Refrigerator. With proper maintenance, a refrigerator should last more than 10 years. Proper refrigerator maintenance means keeping it at an ideal temperature, avoiding overloading, and cleaning its coils. However, you may still have problems with your refrigerator, even with proper maintenance.
If your refrigerator is running more loudly than usual, this could indicate that the motor is having trouble running. Water leaking from the refrigerator, fluctuating temperatures, or warm spots are also signs that you should be wary of. When you notice these signs, be sure to call your landlord or a professional for help.
- Stove. If you notice that the stove is not lighting up, or when you turn the stove on low, it goes out, this can potentially be a dangerous issue if the gas on your stove continues flowing. If your stove is running on electricity, a problem you may encounter is that its coils don’t get as hot as they should. You may think that this is just a minor problem, but if it’s ignored for a long time, it can eventually lead to your stove breaking down and needing a complete replacement.
- Oven. One common problem that people experience with their oven is cool spots that lead to uneven baking. Sometimes, an oven may experience trouble maintaining an even temperature while being used. Ovens may also have problems with the controls, or when the actual temperature doesn’t match the temperature on its dial. To save yourself from headaches, you should report even these minor issues before they become a bigger problem.
- Dishwasher. If your dishwasher fails to drain out completely, this is a major problem that should address instantly. It’s also a good idea to check how the dishes come out after a wash. Check if the dishes are really clean; if they have a film over them, or if they have a bad smell, you could be looking at a problem. Listen to the sound that the dishwasher is making and if it makes unusual noises, it might be high time to have it checked before the problem becomes unmanageable.
To ensure that your appliances are in perfect condition, proper maintenance should be practiced, especially so you don’t waste power — seeing as there is so much power needed to run a home. When you notice any of the above warning signs, it’s best to report it to your landlord and have it checked by a professional. A reliable appliance technician should help you solve the problem right away, saving your appliance, sanity, and money.