Have basic plumbing supplies on-hand.
Plumbing problems have a nice way of sneaking up on us when we least expect them. There’s the leaky faucet at midnight that drives you crazy and the toilet that won’t flush at the “critical moment”. With that in mind, we think you’ll agree when we say that it pays to be prepared. Here are a few simple plumbing supplies to have on-hand on your property so that you don’t get caught with your pants down, so to speak.

Easy-fix repair kits
Most plumbing appliances will allow you to use a repair kit to fix basic problems. These can include handles for faucets and flush valves for toilets. Most repair kits will come with the parts necessary for the job and a set of instructions to assist you. These are relatively inexpensive and can be found at Lowes or Home Depot and most other hardware stores along with most of the items in this list.

It’s always a good idea to have a box of trusty tools around and not just for plumbing problems. Make sue that your toolbox has all the essentials including the following:

  • Hammer
  • Wrenches (crescents, pipe wrench, ratchets of various sizes)
  • Screwdrivers (Phillips, flatheads)
  • Screws (assorted)
  • Bolts (assorted with nuts and washers)
  • Level

Be sure to keep your toolbox in an accessible area and put all the tools back in the box after use. Trust us, nothing is more frustrating than going on a treasure hunt for the lost screwdriver at four in the morning.

Plumber’s Putty and Pipe Epoxy
These have similar uses and are only designed as quick fixes when you don’t have a lot of time or options. Plumber’s putty can be used as a temporary seal for leaky hoses or other joints or pipes. It comes in plastic tubs, in various sizes. If anything, it will delay the problem long enough for you to call the plumber.
The pipe epoxy on the other hand is different. It is designed to bond to both wet and dry surfaces. This is ideal for temporarily sealing holes in pipes and hoses. However, be careful- epoxy is very potent and can be difficult to remove, so be conservative in how much you apply.

Drain Snake
Although it sounds kind of scary, a drain snake is really just a flexible metal coil that you can “snake” down a clogged drain to free up whatever it is that’s down there. Basically it does a plunger’s job, only it does it much better. These can be purchased for around twenty dollars at hardware stores. It's an almost invaluable tool for every property maintenance manager.

This is a decent list, but don't limit yourself. Feel free to add whatever kinds of tools or supplies that are necessary to get the job done. We can guarantee though that even with these basics, you'll feel better being prepared.


Even though not all of these steps apply to every boiler design, we thought they might prove helpful in designing a planned preventive maintenance check list for your facility.


  • Open front and rear doors. Clean and vacuum fireside surfaces as required.
  • Inspect all refractory. Patch and wash coat as required.
  • Inspect all gasketing on front and rear doors and replace as necessary.
  • Seal and close front and rear doors properly.
  • Remove low and auxiliary low water cut off controls, clean and inspect. Then re-install using new gaskets.
  • Remove plugs in control piping, inspect, clean and re-install.
  • Remove all hand hole and man hole plates. Flush boiler with water to remove loose scaled and sediment.
  • Replace all hand hole and man hole plates with new gaskets.
  • Open feedwater tank manway, inspect and clean as required. Replace manway plate with new gasket.
  • Clean burner and burner pilot.
  • Check pilot electrode and adjust or replace.
  • Clean air damper and blower assembly.
  • Clean motor starter contacts and check operation.
  • Make necessary adjustments to burner for proper combustion and record all results in service report.
  • Perform all flame safeguard and safety trip checks and record results in service report.
  • Check all hand hole plates and man hole plates for leaks at normal operating temperatures and pressures.
  • Troubleshoot any boiler system problems as requested by on-site personnel.


When performing a due diligence inspection on your property, it's helpful to work from a checklist. Here are some ideas:

Foundations and Basements
  • Inspect for signs of termites and for wood decay.
  • Check grading to assure that water will drain away from the building
  • Check closeness of trees to foundation for problems from roots.
  • Check basement and crawl space for dampness and leakage following wet weather.
  • Check driveways and walks for cracks, settling and soil erosion.
  • Clean area wells, window sills and storm drains.
Doors and Windows
  • Check doors, windows and trim for finish failure or rotted wood.
  • Check for broken glass, damaged screens. 
  • Clean screens.
  • Check glazed openings for loose putty.
  • Check hardware and lubricate moving parts.
  • Check weatherstripping for damage and tightness of fit. 
  • Check joints and caulk.
  • Check caulking at doors, windows, and all openings and joints between different materials (such as brick).
Exterior Walls
  • Check masonry for cracks and loose joints.
  • Check painted surfaces for paint failure
  • Check siding and trim for damage and decay.
  • Check stucco
  • Check trim for tightness of fit at joints and caulk.
  • Check for damaged or loose shingles, blisters, roofing sponginess, etc.
  • Check underside of roof where accessible for water stains or dampness.
  • Check for damage or if paint is needed on gutters, downspouts, hangers, strainers and splash blocks.
  • Clean gutter strainers, gutters, downspouts, splash blocks.
  • Evaluate roof for future replacement.
  • Check fascias and soffits for paint failure and decay. 
  • Assure that vents are open and properly vented.
  • Check masonry chimneys for cracks (inside and outside) and for obstructions.
Interior Surfaces
  • Check all painted and natural finished surfaces for dirt, finish failure, and for needed repairs.
  • Check all joints in ceramic tile, laminated plastic and similar surfaces. 
  • Check caulking around sinks, bathtubs and showers.
  • Check for wear, damage, evenness and sponginess. 
  • Check particularly where one floor material joins another (e.g., wood to carpet).
  • Evaluate for replacement or refinish.
  • Check for handrails on stairs. 
  • Make sure handrails are properly attached.
Electrical System
  • Check areas where wiring is exposed, and replace at first sign of damage.
  • If fuses blow or breakers trip frequently, electrician should be contacted to determine cause and make necessary repairs.
  • Check condition of cords and extension cords to all appliances.
  • Check smoke detectors
Heating and Cooling Systems
  • Have entire system (including gas lines) checked by qualified service person.
  • Clean, service or replace filters, humidifiers and dehumidifiers.
  • Unvented gas heaters need to have proper ventilation. 
  • Have a qualified service person check.
  • Remove window air conditioners in winter (if applicable).
  • Check boiler operation
Plumbing System
  • Check faucets, hose bibbs, valve stools, sinks and water heaters for leakage
  • Check for corrosion of plumbing connections and fixtures.
  • Replace all gate valves with quarter-turn ball valves.
  • Have service plumber check septic system.
  • Check sump pumps and grease traps.
  • Look for underground leaks.
  • Check gas lines and make sure no material around water heater is blocking air flow.
  • Check to see that water heater vent is not obstructed.
  • Gas water heaters should be elevated on an 18" pedestal by code.
  • Ceiling insulation should be an R-30 or approximately 10 inches deep.
  • Check attic for proper ventilation at soffits and gable to assure air flow.
  • Wall insulation should be a minimum of R-13 or 3.5 in.
  • Floor insulation should be a minimum of R-13 or 3.5 in.


When it comes to tools we like to buy quality. That doesn't mean we're recomending you buy the most expensive tools you can find. We just suggest you purchase good quality tools -- not the stuff you find in a dollar store in other words.

Good tools make all the difference. You won't be very impressive if your screw drivers ruin the screw heads and the hammer head bends when you try to pull out a nail. We recommend that you tell your local retailer that you want good sturdy tools but you don't need industrial quality and then look at what he or she recommends.

Here is a barebones list of tools that we believe you need to take care of most issues. Since a picture tells a thousand words, descriptions really aren't necessary.


One of the most important factors in keeping the value of your property high is excellent property maintenance.  Value is determined by, among other things, how much a buyer wants your home. So if you keep your property fresh, clean and well looked after, you are much more likely to realise a top price for it when it's time to sell.

Here is a handy guide to essential property maintenance:

Tools for the job

Own all the essential tools. That way, no matter what needs fixing or which emergencies are thrown at you, you will always have something on hand to perform a fix.

You'll need the basics, such as a range of screwdrivers, spanners, a hammer, and pliers. It would also be handy to keep basic electricians' tools handy, such as special pliers to strip wires when you rewrite plugs. A wrench can be handy for plumbing problems, and insulation and gaffer tape will have hundreds of uses.

It's also good property maintenance practice to keep consumables such as fuses and light bulbs in stock in your house. Inevitably a fuse will blow on Sunday evening when the shops aren't open. Keep a range of fuses and bulbs dry and warm. You should also buy washers in case of a dripping tap.

Other handy products to keep around are a drain snake, grout filler to prevent leaks in the bathroom, and a number of different sized screws and wall plugs.

One final essential in your property maintenance tool kit is a decent ladder. For safety reasons, it should be big enough to reach the very top of the property without you having to stretch out. Keep your ladder well secured and locked up or chained. Not only are they a target for thieves (especially the expensive fiberglass ones), but your own ladder could be used to burgle your property!


Floors get more abuse than most other surfaces, especially if there are young children. The key to keeping carpets and hard floors looking their best is preventing dirt getting in, and then cleaning it quickly when it does.

Use door mats at each entrance and clean floors regularly, at least once a week. Sweep hard floors and clean them monthly with a specialist cleaner that won't make them slippery. Keep a powerful carpet stain remover handy and treat stains immediately. It's worth getting carpets steam cleaned once a year - if you can't be bothered, get a professional to do it for you. The longer a stain stays in your carpet, the harder it will be to get rid of it.


Walls are often overlooked in property maintenance, but they do tell a story about what's going on with the overall structure. Don't worry too much about minor surface cracks in the drywall. These can easily be repaired. The thing to really look out for is more intrusive damage.  If cracks re-appear after being repaired, there could be a settling problem with the building.

Widening cracks should be looked at by an expert as quickly as possible. As with most problems, the earlier you deal with it, the easier and cheaper it will be to fix.

Keep an eye out for any mold or dry rot.  Pay particular attention to the walls in your bathroom and behind kitchen cabinets. Check water heater closets to be sure they are dry.  You want to ensure that moisture and condensation each day isn't settling into the walls and causing them damage.


Get windows cleaned regularly and wipe down any condensation. Paint wooden windows at least every three years to prevent the weather from damaging them.  The caulking around windows is notorious for drying and cracking in the hot Arizona sun.  Re-caulking can save money by preventing moisture damage as well as save on those electricity bills.


Don't put up with any dripping faucets, toilets, water heaters, hose bibs, or yard leaks! Make it a part of your property maintenance schedule to check pipes and faucets regularly, and again deal with problems as they arise. If you have a property with poor plumbing, consider getting it repaired or replaced by a professional before it bursts and damages the property.


Depending on your skill level, you can do basic electrical maintenance yourself such as replacing plugs. Remember to switch off the supply where needed. For anything else, including replacing broken switches, consider hiring a licensed contractor. It is always prudent that any electrical installations or major work be done by a qualified, licensed and insured electrician.


UPDATE: Rainforest Plumbing & Air continues to use CrimShield for pre-employment and annual background certifications. ALL employees must be crime-free certified. This is our "No Monkey Business" concept. You can read more about our crime-free attitude at The criteria is all laid out there. 
Much of our service is done for multi-housing (apartments and condos), and care facilities as well as other commercial and residential properties. These are places where people live and work and security is a basic expectation. Our customers appreciate that we pay attention to the problem of criminal employees working for vendors. 

CrimShield recently published a survey that 40% of employment candidates, who were NOT CERTIFIED because of a criminal record, have since become repeat offenders. We sure are glad that these people were rejected from our employment ranks. I'm sure our customers (Property Managers and Property Maintenance Managers) feel the same.


After you have installed a blacktop driveway, it’s important to keep it in as good as condition as possible. Part of keeping it in good condition is to clean it regularly, which you can do in several different ways, including following these tips.

Tip 1 – Push Broom
A strong bristled push broom is an essential for keeping your blacktop clear of loose debris. It can also be used as a scrubbing tool for driveway cleaning.
Tip 2 – Power Washer
For spring cleaning, or for just a general deeper cleaning, use a power washer. If you don’t own one, these can be rented inexpensively.
Tip 3 – Laundry or Dish Detergent
You can household laundry or dish detergent for scrubbing driveways and it works quite well. To be environmentally friendly use an eco-friendly brand.  Just use your garden hose to fill a bucket with the soap and some water and your push broom or another similar tool to do more deep cleaning on the blacktop.
Tip 4 – Kitty Litter
For deep cleaning spills of oil, use a clay-based kitty litter. Simply pour right on top of the spill as well as all around it. Let it sit enough to absorb the oil and then sweep it up.
Tip 5 – Sealer
Be sure your blacktop has a current coat of sealer on it to prevent cracks and make clean-up easier.


We all want to be the best we can be. We work day and night, fix everything that goes wrong and deal with everything that comes our way. After all that effort, why not go for a little recognition - win an award!

We say that recognition isn't important but deep down we secretly wish to win something. The first step in the process of winning an award is to find out what awards are available. Why not shoot for the industry award you really want - Maintenance Supervisor of the year!

As in everything we do, there are a few tricks to being successful. Here's the way to "B":

  • Honest - Display sincerity, integrity, and candor in all your actions. Deceptive behavior will not inspire trust.
  • Competent - Base your actions on reason and moral principles. Do not make decisions based on childlike emotional desires or feelings.
  • Forward-looking - Set goals and have a vision of the future. The vision must be owned throughout the organization. Effective leaders envision what they want and how to get it. They habitually pick priorities stemming from their basic values.
  • Inspiring - Display confidence in all that you do. By showing endurance in mental, physical, and spiritual stamina, you will inspire others to reach for new heights. Take charge when necessary.
  • Intelligent - Read, study, and seek challenging assignments.
  • Fair-minded - Show fair treatment to all people. Prejudice is the enemy of justice. Display empathy by being sensitive to the feelings, values, interests, and well-being of others.
  • Broad-minded - Seek out diversity.
  • Courageous - Have the perseverance to accomplish a goal, regardless of the seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Display a confident calmness when under stress.
  • Straightforward - Use sound judgment to make a good decisions at the right time.
  • Imaginative - Make timely and appropriate changes in your thinking, plans, and methods. Show creativity by thinking of new and better goals, ideas, and solutions to problems. Be innovative!
In the Phoenix area, the award is presented in May by the Arizona Multi-housing Association (AMA) at the annual Tributes Awards event. You can read about the current title holder in Apartment News in one of the summer issues (about June). The AMA also posts those articles on their website at

Find out what characteristics it takes to earn "the crown" and emulate them.


Water heaters are one of those appliances we rely upon every day. Whether gas or electric, they are generally very dependable and quiet. Water heaters can last for a decade or more and with this simple 3-step annual maintenance plan you can extend the life of your water heater even further and save money in the process.

Do the 3-Step

By following this easy 5 minute, 3-step annual maintenance plan, you can significantly extend the life of your water heater:

1. Check your water heater temperature setting:
Go to the temperature setting dial on your water heater. It will be a knob on the gas valve or a thermostat behind an electric water heater panel.

Dial the temperature setting down so it is between 115 to 120 degrees F.
This lowered setting will protect the tank from overheating and will reduce the energy used to heat the water.

2. Check the T & P valve:
The temperature and pressure relief valve is critical to safety and proper operation of your water heater. It's a simple but important valve and is easily checked:
To test the T&P valve simply lift up on the lever part way, then let go and allow it to rapidly snap back.
You should hear a gurgling sound as the valve allows some water to be released into the drain tube.
If the T&P valve did nothing then it is bad and needs to be replaced.

3. Remove sediments:
Removal of sediments from the bottom of the tank is important to prevent rust, corrosion and improve efficiency. Although a full water heater tank draining and flush is best, performing a full flush is a bit of work and requires shutting down the water heater. This mini-flush works well, takes a fraction of the time and allows you to do it while the water heater is running:
Place a bucket under the drain valve found near the bottom of the tank.
Some drain valves have a handle. Others like the one in the photo shown here have a short handle-less stem with a slot for a flat blade screwdriver.
Turn the valve counter-clockwise to release a few gallons of water into the bucket.
Close the valve by turning it clockwise and drain the bucket.


There is a lot of buzz out there about vendors being "CrimShield Certified". What exactly is this and why should properties be interested? Let us explain.

As a CrimShield Certified vendor, Rainforest Plumbing & Air is committed to the safety and security of its customers. The key to this commitment is the integration of verifiable background checks performed by CrimShield, a professional investigation firm.
All employees of Rainforest Plumbing & Air are required to be CrimShield Certified. Employees are issued a photo ID with the company name, logo and unique ID number. This number can be used by anyone who wishes to verify the background check results of the individual. These cards are required to be made available upon request while on site at a customer property.

CrimShield background checks ensure that employees have:

  • No felonies in the past 10 years
  • No violent or drug related misdemeanors in the past 10 years
  • No sex related crimes or crimes involving children, ever
  • No pending or looming legal action which may result in a misdemeanor or felony conviction
  • A valid US government issued ID card

    CrimShield, as a designated agent, also performs the E-Verify screening procedure for each employee which indicates his/her citizenship status. You may obtain more details at or contact CrimShield sales department at 480-305-1351 to learn more about this service.

    Rainforest Plumbing & Air is happy to provide the peace of mind that this certification will bring to each customer. Rainforest is leading the way as they were among the first to participate in the program.

    We all benefit from crime-free employees!