Maintenance Troubleshooting Tips

Before you put in a Maintenance Request, check to make sure you have done everything you can to resolve the problem. Please check out the troubleshooting steps/tips associated with Frequently Asked Questions below!

General Troubleshooting
Garbage Disposals

Disposal Not Working? Will not Drain? Sink Backed Up?

The dishwasher and disposal are tied together under the sink. Many times if you are having trouble with the disposal, you will also have a similar problem with your dishwasher. Please see the trouble shooting video here: How to Fix the Garbage Disposal.

There is mention of a wrenchette tool in the video. Your Property Manager has one of these in their office that you can borrow. Feel free to stop by and get it. Once you have tried what is on the video, let your PM know if it works. If not, you can submit a maintenance request and we will send the maintenance team to come take a look at it.

If you can’t unplug the garbage disposal, turn it off using the circuit breaker.

Bad Smell Coming from your Disposal?

Take a look at this video on how to clean the unit. How to Clean a Garbage Disposal.

Smoke Detectors

The replacement of smoke detector batteries is the tenant(s) responsibility. You will need a 9 volt battery or a couple of “AA” batteries depending on the model that you have.

Isolate the detector that is chirping. This is the indicator of a low battery and you could have multiple detectors in your unit. Open the unit to identify what type of batteries you will need.

Here are a couple of videos that will give you tips and pointers.

Once you change the battery, it may still beep. There is a reset or test button. Depress it until it activates; this will reset the unit and the beeping should stop. If changing the battery doesn’t solve your problem, please let your Property Manager know and we will have the maintenance team investigate.


Frigidaire Dishwasher Will Not Start?

If your Frigidaire dishwasher is stuck in a cycle or will not start, doing a hard reset may resolve these issues. Turn off the dishwasher breaker in your electrical panel box.  If you flip that breaker, which should be labeled dishwasher, leave it off for 30 seconds and then flip it back on, this will do a hard reset on dishwasher and it might start working again. This is similar to rebooting your computer.

Leaking Dishwasher?

Start by trying to determine where the dishwasher is leaking from. If it is coming from the front, in the area of the door, then see the tips below.

A leaking dishwasher can be caused by excessive soapsuds. Excessive soapsuds are the most common reason dishwashers leak and will cause dishwashers to leak from the door. Good dishwasher detergent will have no more than ½ inch of suds on top of the water. If your dishwasher is leaking from the door, open the door and check the suds. If there is more than a ½ inch of suds, your problem is in your soap. One drop of hand soap, hand dishwashing soap, or any other non-dishwasher soap will cause dishwashers to leak.

If there are a lot of suds, you can fix it by pouring vinegar or cold water into the dishwasher and running it. This will kill the suds.

To avoid this in the future, change your dishwasher detergent or use less. A few years ago dishwasher detergent companies started making three-in-one tablets / action packs for dishwashers. They will sometimes cause dishwashers to leak. Changing to powder or liquid detergent may fix your problem. The compressed powder packs are also acceptable.

Dishes not getting clean?

Improperly loading the unit can prevent dishes from coming clean. See a video here.

What type of detergent are you using? A few years ago dishwasher detergent companies started making these three-in-one tablets or sometimes called three-in-one action packs for dishwashers and they will sometimes cause dishwashers to leak. So if you have this problem, try changing back to the powder or liquid detergent and this may fix your problem.

Is the dishwasher itself clean? If it is staying dirty and not draining, there may be a chance the garbage disposal is clogged (see FAQs Garbage Disposal). If not, you may have left dirty dishes or a wet load sitting too long. This can result in dirty water in the bottom of the dishwasher a. If this is the case, the interior will become very moldy and your dishes will not clean properly.

Here are several links with good tips on how to clean a dishwasher and dishwasher cleaning products:

If this is not the problem, try to answer the following questions; this will allow you to provide us with additional information specific to your problem.

    • Will the detergent door open or are you finding some left inside the compartment after the cycle is completed?
    • Do you think that the unit is getting water? Do you hear any water running?

Please include as much information as you can in your work order.

Dishwasher not draining?

The dishwasher and disposal are tied together under the sink. Many times if you are having trouble with the disposal, you will have a similar problem with your dishwasher.

Please see this video:


Washer Not Draining?

If this the first time this has happened, try running a spin or drain cycle to see if the issue resolves itself.

If your machine will not drain, consider removing the items in the washer and allowing them to drain in the tub or sink. This will help prevent smell and facilitate work on the unit.

If it is the weekend, or there is a wait time with the  maintenance company, you can scoop out any excess water to prevent smell in the apartment.

What is an A10 error code on my washer?

The A10 code signifys a drain issue. You may find that there is water inside the drum and it won’t drain.

There is a small door on the front of many of our washers – down low – similar to a gas cap door on a car. Open up the door and inside is a cap that needs to be unscrewed. This is called the Coin Trap. It is a debris trap that prevents dirt from going into the pump. The Coin Trap needs to be removed & cleaned. Try running a drain cycle and seeing if this resolves the issue.

How do I clean my washer? What if my washer is stained?

See the following on cleaning your washer.

Over time, the washer and/or dryer may become stained with dye, especially if you wash something like new jeans. The following links provide tips for removing these stains, which can help prevent transfer of these dyes to other clothes.

Are there laundry items to avoid?

Please avoid using the following items if your appliance has a pullout drawer:

    • Scented wax pellets in your washer
    • Dryer Sheets in your dryer

Using these items could cause a waxy buildup in the unit which could lead to a tenant charge on your account. Units with a pullout drawer may be found at the following properties: Urban Exchange, Ice House, Kavanaugh, &  Keezell.

We recommend using the following items to achieve the same laundry freshness:


See the following videos for general guidelines for dryer upkeep.

Dryer will not start?

Check to make sure that the dryer is plugged into the wall. Sometimes the plug can work itself loose slightly and while it looks like it is connected, the unit will not start.

If it isn’t the plug, then check the electric panel box. Open it up and find the breaker labeled dryer (or laundry). Turn the breaker off for five seconds and then back on.

Clothes not getting dry?

If the dryer will heat up, but the clothes do not seem to dry in a reasonable amount of time you should check/clean your lint trap.

The holes in the dryer lint trap is where air will flow through and allows moist damp air to exit the machine. The dryer sheets that you put in the dryer to make your clothes soft has waxes and animals fats on them. When they heat up, these substances will coat your clothes, the inside of the dryer and the dryer lint trap. The holes in the lint trap are very small and this wax can block the holes and prevent air flow. This will cause the dryer to work less efficiently than designed causing longer dry times and increased electricity usage.

To clean the dryer lint trap, fill the sink with warm water and a little dish soap. Allow the lint trap to soak in the water for about 10 minutes. Air dry and put back in the dryer. If that doesn’t work, try using some rubbing alcohol. You should be able to hold the filter up to the light and see through the holes.

Stale smell from a Bosch Dryer?

On several Bosch dryers, there is a “secondary” lint filter that also needs to be cleaned. These can accumulate lint and water, causing a stale smell. The filter is located on the bottom left side of the dryer. See this video on how to clean this filter. Take note that there will be a significant amount of water that comes out of the dryer. Be ready to wipe that up. Also in the video, the secondary filter comes in 1 piece. Your model has 2 pieces that will need to be removed.


Power out in a portion of the unit? Did I trip a breaker?

If the power is out in a portion of the unit, you may have blown a breaker. Each circuit in an apartment has a limited amount of electricity that can run through it. Once it reaches that amount, the breaker will trip. This feature is for your safety to prevent you from running appliances that pull too much power or too many items on one circuit.

You can identify, and possibly remedy this issue quickly by checking your breaker box. See How to Reset Your Electrical Breakers.

If the breaker trips again, you need to try to establish why this is happening. Space heaters, mini-fridges, flat screen TV’s, microwaves, computers, phone chargers, stereos all take electricity. Separately, they are not too much, but when they are combined, they could very quickly reach the maximum amount and overload a breaker. In addition, bathrooms and kitchens also have designated designs for items like blenders or hair dryers. If you are plugging these in at other outlets, they could trip the breaker while in use. It could also be that an item you have plugged in has an issue electrically.

Start by unplugging all of the items that you have plugged in, or determining if you are doing something specific when the breaker trips. Try plugging in the items one at a time and seeing if one trips the breaker. If the breaker remains untripped, then plug in more items- allowing a couple of days in between to see if the breaker doesn’t trip. This will determine if there are too many items plugged in on one circuit. You could also try moving larger items to a different room. If you are unable to isolate the issue, please put in a work order.

Electrical outlets not working?

Often you will notice a single outlet is not working, but in order to isolate what to do, you need to determine the extent of the issue. First, answer two key questions:

    1. How many outlets are not working?
    2. Where are the outlets located that aren’t working?

If there is more than one outlet not working and they are all grouped together, such as in one room, then you might have tripped a breaker.

    1. Find the electric panel.
    2. Open it up and find the area that isn’t working (kitchen, bath, living room, etc.)
    3. Turn the Breaker OFF for 5 seconds then back on.

If that doesn’t work, then it might be a GFI outlet that needs to be reset. These are outlets that have 2 small buttons in the center: Test and Reset. They are sometimes close to the sink in a bathroom (or kitchen), but can also be in other places.

    1. Find the GFI located in the area where you don’t have any power and push the “RESET” button.
    2. See this video:

Is it my responsibility to replace light bulbs?

The replacement of light bulbs is a tenant responsibility. Before placing a work order, consider picking up a pack of light bulbs at your local hardware store. Typically, a standard light bulb (60w) is what is needed, but we recommend taking the light bulb with you to get a replacement.

Is your bathroom light or bathroom exhaust fan light burnt out?

Bathroom lights may be different, or seem less accessible than other lights. However, there should be a plastic cover that can be easily removed. The light bulb will be just behind that cover and can be unscrewed.

See the following links on how to remove the plastic cover for the bathroom exhaust fan to expose the light bulb:

We suggest that you take the light bulb with you to get a replacement.

Do I need to maintain the Carbon Monoxide Detector?

General guidelines are to replace the batteries in CO detectors twice a year. VA association of Realtors updated the lease to state that maintaining CO detectors is the responsibility of the tenant per Uniform Statewide Building Code (HB735/Chapter 744). Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions about your detector.

Also: “Tenant shall have the right to request in writing that Landlord install a carbon monoxide detector in the Dwelling Unit, the cost of which may be charged to Tenant, in accordance with Section 55-248.18 of the VRLTA. Tenant shall not remove or tamper with a properly functioning carbon monoxide detector, including removing any working batteries, so as to render the detector inoperative.”


Air Conditioner not cooling?

Make sure your thermostat is in ON, set to cool, and turned down to at least 70 degrees. If this is the case, try resetting the breaker.

    • Go to your electric panel box
    • Locate the breaker for the furnace and/or AC unit and turn it off. Wait 5 seconds and turn it back on.
    • Sometimes there is an individual breaker for the furnace. It may need to be reset. Open up the closet in your apartment where your furnace is located and try resetting the breaker.

If the unit is working, but not efficiently check your air filter. Changing the air filter is the tenant(s) responsibility and a clean air filter will allow your system to work most efficiently.

How and when do I change the air filter?

As stated in the lease, the tenant is responsible for the replacement of all air filters. The industry standard is to change your filter on a monthly basis.

See the following for tips on changing your filter:

How do I clean a mini split filter?

The HVAC systems in some apartments are Mini Splits. They have reusable filters that should be removed monthly and cleaned. Tenants are responsible for these filters. They are easily taken out of the mini split and can be rinsed off in the shower or kitchen sink. Check out this video for step by step instructions.

Mini split not working?

You may have multiple mini-split HVAC units in your apartment. The way that these work, all the units in the apartment must be in the same mode. In other words, you cannot run heat and air conditioning at the same time. If the unit in the Living Room is in heat then the bedroom must also be in heat. The same goes for AC. If this is not the case, the units will not work. If your heat or AC is not working try the following:

    1. Turn off all of the units
    2. Turn on one unit and put it in the desired mode.
    3. Turn this unit off and do the same for the others one at a time.
    4. Once they are all in the same mode, then turn them back on.

Thermostat not working?

If the thermostat display is not working, check to see if the batteries need to be changed. Here are a couple of resource on changing the batteries.

What do I do if my AC is frozen?

If your AC unit is frozen, in order for the HVAC tech to investigate and diagnose the problem, the unit needs to be thawed. Please turn off the unit at the thermostat. Set the thermostat to the off position- in between heat and cool. In a few hours, it should be thawed. This will allow us to more quickly diagnose the problem.

Electric Heat Pump not heating?

Before sending in a work order about an electric heat pump, check the following:

  1. Make sure your thermostat is in ON / set to heat / and turned to 70 degrees +/-
  2. Make sure that all your windows and doors are closed and locked. Even a slight crack can cause the heat pump to be ineffective.
  3. Close all the blinds / curtains, this will provide a layer of air that will provide insulation.
  4. Check your air filter. A clean air filter will allow your system to work most efficiently. They should be cleaned every 30-45 days, especially in times of heavy use (Summer & Winter)
  5. Open up your electric panel box, locate the breaker for the furnace and/or AC unit – turn it off and back on. Sometimes a power surge it can trip the breaker
  6. Open up the utility closet in your apartment where your furnace. See if there is an individual breaker for the furnace. It may need to be reset.

An electric heat pump is a very good option when the temperatures are in the normal range (32 – 85 degrees F). When the temperatures fall to extreme levels, then an electric heat pump will have a harder time keeping up with the temperature that you set on your thermostat. The air coming out of the registers (vents) is warmer than the air inside the apartment but definitely not as warm as a gas or oil furnace would feel. This does make the air feel cool, but it is warming.

If it is not warming, submit a work order. Please note, in some units you can switch to emergency heat. This is a temporary fix and can help keep the apartment warm while you wait for maintenance. However, this is more expensive and should not be run continuously. See What is Auxiliary/Emergency Heat.


Tenants are responsible for dealing with minor pests. Ants, silverfish, and other pests are not unusual when the weather turns warm. Mice are  not unusual, especially when the weather turns cooler. You can find traps or deterrents at Lowe’s, Home Depot, Wal-Mart, or a Hardware Store.


Ants are not unusual to see when warmer weather arrives.

The ants and other pests are usually in search of food. Please make sure that the trash is taken out on a regular basis. The kitchen is clean – dishes are loaded in the dishwasher or washed in the sink and put away. Cooked food is put away. Dirty pots/pans are washed. Food and dirty dishes are picked up from living areas (Dining areas / Bedrooms / Living Room).

We recommend trying this ant killer.


These pest also tend to be seen more once warmer weather settles in. This is a tenant responsibility. Below we have listed two products that should help remedy the infestation.

Capable of thriving in most climates, silverfish prefer to dwell in dark, damp areas such as basements, attics, kitchens and bathrooms. They are especially attracted to paper and damp clothing. Commonly found in stored boxes in garages and sheds. Silverfish feed on carbohydrates, particularly sugars and starches. Cellulose, shampoos, glue in books, linen, silk and dead insects may be food sources. They have been found in unopened food packages as well.


View this video on how to spot an infestation.

Drain Flies/Gnats?

A mixture of vinegar, baking soda and boiling water trick will do more than get rid of the flies – it will also leave you with squeaky clean drains. Here’s what you’ll need:

    • 1/2-cup baking soda
    • 1 cup vinegar

Pour baking soda down the drain first, then add the vinegar slowly. The mixture should start bubbling and fizzing, and may come up out of the drain. Go slowly, so most of it remains in the drain. Allow it to sit for an hour. Next, pour a pot of boiling water down the drain to wash the solution away. The vinegar reacts with the baking soda to create a bubbling and fizzing action. The mixture loosens build-up in the drain while also killing any flies, eggs or larvae that may be hiding inside. The boiling water is the icing on the cake, washing all the material down the drain.

Mouse in your House?

This is not unusual with cooler weather.  We would advise that you set a few traps around your living space. We have found that the old fashioned traps, baited with peanut butter seems to be very effective. You can find these at Lowe’s, Home Depot, Wal-Mart, or a Hardware Store.

The mice and other pests are usually in search of food. Please make sure that the trash is taken out on a regular basis. The kitchen is clean – dishes are loaded in the dishwasher or washed in the sink and put away. Cooked food is put away. Dirty pots/pans are washed. Food and dirty dishes are picked up from living areas (Dining areas / Bedrooms / Living Room).

Wasp / Hornets Nest?

Here is a product from Lowe’s that is very effective. It sprays up to 27 ft, which allows you to stand a safe distance from the nest while treating and kills on contact. Wait at least 24 hours before removing treated nests.

We would suggest to spray after dark in the evening or in the morning just before sun-up as it is the coolest part of the day.


No hot water?

There are times that a breaker will trip and cause the water heater to stop working. Find the the electrical panel, open it up, and find the double breaker labeled Water Heater. Turn it off and back on. If this was the issue, it will take an hour or 2 for the water to heat up.

Ice maker not working?

The metal bar along the outside on the right side of the ice maker should be lowered as far as it goes. If this is in a raised position, your ice maker is off and the ice maker will not make any ice. Please make sure that this bar is down (in the on position). Please note, some Charleston Townes freezers have an ice maker with an on/off switch rather than a metal bar. If your freezer doesn’t have the metal bar, make sure the switch is in the on position.

Have a toilet leak?

Whenever possible, you should immediately turn off the water to the affected toilet.

Underneath the toilet, at the wall, there is a valve, turn it to the right until it stops. This will shut off the water when you aren’t using it. By turning off the water, this will help prevent further damage. After you have turned off the water, flush the toilet. This will remove any extra water from the tank.

If there is another toilet available, use this until repairs can be made. If the leak is minor, you can turn on the water to allow the toilet to fill when it needs to be used. We do not recommend this unless there is no alternative.

For a toilet leak, try to answer the following when submitting a work order:

    • Where is the toilet leaking? i.e. from the supply line at the wall / where the toilet meets the floor / where the tanks meets the bowl?
    • Is it a steady drip? A slow leak? Or a gusher?
    • Did you turn off the water at the wall?

Clogged Drain?

The bathroom sink and shower drain are common areas to have trouble draining due to clogs. Before submitting a work order, try using a liquid drain cleaner product and/or a plunger.

    • Using a plunger: Run some water, or use the existing standing water and try plunging directly over the top of the drain. Clogs can be caused by hair and/or dirt among other things and can be forced from the pipes by a plunger.
    • Using a liquid drain cleaner product: You can find the drain cleaner (Drano) at any super market, hardware store, such as Lowe’s or Home Depot. Be sure to follow the instructions on the bottle and wear eye protection.

Using these two tools can solve the issues a majority of the time!

Matchbox also has a hair Zip-It tool that you can borrow. The Zip-It pulls out hair that is stuck in the drain; see this instructional video. Please call the office to arrange picking up this tool.

Clogged Toilet?

If you have tried using a plunger with no success, we suggest that you try one other thing. We have had some luck with it.

Please try using some dish soap. See the link here.

Smell coming from the utility closet?

We sometimes receive work orders for an odd smell coming from the utility closet. When these type of issues have arisen, it typically involves the floor drain. These drains have a trap underneath. The drain traps need water inside. If all the water evaporates, it can cause smells to occur.

Please take a jug of water (1/2 gallon or more) and pour it directly in the floor drain. It can take several hours for the smell to dissipate completely. It is best to wait 24 hrs or call us the next business day if the smell persists.


How should I hang things on my walls? 

You are responsible for the repairs to any damages to the walls beyond normal wear and tear. Choosing the correct way to hang decorations can help you avoid having to pay for damages.

Can I patch the drywall? Should I?

Disclaimer: Should drywall patching be done incorrectly, the tenant will be charged with the costs of fixing the issue. Fixing a bad patch job can be expensive – often times, it is more expensive than if you had done nothing and allowed us to fix it. Should you choose to do drywall repairs yourself, you may find this video to be helpful.


Windows Won’t Close?

Check to see if your windows are what they call double hung. This means that both the bottom and top sections move up and down. Is this correct? If so, the top portion of the window (or top sash) can sometimes slide down when the windows are unlocked. To get them to lock, you will need to push the top of the window up and at the same time, push the bottom window down. Your locking mechanisms should line up and you should be able to lock your window. Please see the video here if you have any questions.

Mildew on your window?

Mildew typically occurs when condensation forms from vast temperature differences inside and out of your unit (cold outside, hot inside and vice versa). These issues normally fall under the tenant’s responsibility. Try these out and if the problem still isn’t resolved then let us know via a maintenance request.

    • Mix 50/50 Hydrogen peroxide and vinegar and apply to the mildew and surrounding surface. Let the mixture sit and then wipe down the area. Apply again to ensure all fungi have been killed. Dry the area thoroughly using a hair dryer if need be.
    • Mix 1/4 to 1/2 cup bleach in a gallon of water. Scrub the window with this mixture using a clean rag. Allow the bleach to sit for 15 minutes to disinfect and kill any fungi that remain. Dry the area thoroughly using a hair dryer if need be.

Mildew forms on the window because of condensation forming and sitting for extended periods of time. In order to prevent this, make sure you are regularly cleaning your unit and keeping the area around your windows dry and clutter free to allow for air movement. Look out for condensation forming and do your best to ensure these areas stay dry.

Charleston Townes

Washer Not Working at Charleston Townes?

For several units at Charleston Townes, there is a device connected to the washer called a Flood Stop. It is designed to minimize the chance of a flood/water damage from the washing machine. It prevents water flow by closing the water valves. If your washer is not working, it could be an issue with the Flood Stop.

Check the device mounted on the wall behind the washer. Does it have a red light on? If the answer is yes, there are two reasons your flood stop may be flashing red:

    1. The sensor that is attached to the wire placed under your washing machine has gotten wet.
    2. The batteries (4 “AA”) are low and need to be replaced.

Start troubleshooting by checking the sensor.

    • Trace the wire coming from the Flood Stop unit and gently pull it out from under your washer.
    • Check to see if the paper sleeve around the sensor is wet or damaged.
    • If it is damp, remove the sensor from the sleeve and make sure the sensor is completely dry. Then, check to make sure that the area under the washer is dry, if it is wet, please submit a work order as the issue may be associated with a leak on your washer.
    • If it is dry, wrap the sensor in a clean / dry paper towel and place the sensor back under the washer.

Once you have checked the sensor, push the “Open” button on the wall mounted unit above the washer. If all the water is removed, then the washer should be ready for normal operation. A green light should flash to indicate that the unit is ready to go.

If there is no change after checking the sensor, try replacing the batteries. Once you have replaced the batteries, push the “Open” button on the wall mounted unit above the washer. If all the water is removed, then the washer should be ready for normal operation. A green light should flash to indicate ready to go.

Odd smell coming from the utility closet?

See our utility closet drain maintenance guidelines. 

City Exchange

Edgestar Dryer is Not Drying Clothes?

It could be a lint trap that needs cleaning. The lint trap needs to be cleaned about 1 time per 25 loads. See instructions from Edgestar on Cleaning the Lint Filter on Edgestar Washer/Dryer Combo. The instructions say to use a bowl or tray to catch the water but you may want to lay a towel to collect the water that may run out. The position of the lint trap is awkward and some people don’t have a bowl that size.

Odd smell coming from the utility closet?

See our utility closet drain maintenance guidelines. 

How do I use my intercom?

When you receive calls from the lobby, your phone will ring with a distinctive sound‐ two quick rings. In other words, two quick rings means someone’s there to see you! Answer your phone in order to talk to your visitor. To refuse entry, simply hang up.

Dial 9 to allow entry. This will disconnect you and you will no longer be able to talk to the visitor. The entrance door will automatically unlock and your visitor can enter.

If your intercom is not working, please note that it must be plugged into the right phone jack in the kitchen.

Ice House

What can I do about moisture or humidity in my apartment?

Please see Ice House Mini Split-Dry Mode.

How do I clean my mini split? 

Please see our video offering a Mini Split Filter Cleaning Tutorial.


Keezell Microwave not working?

If a message about the door- Door or Open/Close- appears in the display, the door has been closed for 5 minutes or more without the microwave oven being started. This is a safety feature to prevent the microwave from being started unintentionally. Open and close the door, then start the cycle.

Livery Lofts

How do I clean my mini split? 

Please see our video offering a Mini Split Filter Cleaning Tutorial.

Urban Exchange

Frigidaire Dishwasher will not turn on?

If your dishwasher is displaying a green light and will not turn on, this means it has been put in lock mode accidentally. The start-up code to reset these dishwashers will be the following: hold down the heat/dry button for 3-5 seconds until the green light goes off and the dishwasher should go out of lock mode. The dishwasher should now be ready to resume normal functions. If this does not solve the issue, please turn in a work order.

Odd smell coming from the utility closet?

See our utility closet drain maintenance guidelines. 


Having trouble with your thermostat or setting up the Smart features?

See the Daikin One owner’s manual.