Maintenance Frequently Asked Questions


I lost power or need to reset the circuit breaker. How do I do that?


Reset Circuit Breakers: If you have been using an electrical outlet and it stops working, then you may need to reset a “tripped” circuit breaker. This happens many times when you are using appliances that may cause a temporary overload on the system such as a hair dryer or portable heater.

Please click here for instructions on resetting a tripped breaker

A circuit breaker provides protection by stopping the flow of electricity if an overload or fault occurs. When an electrical fault occurs or the load on your circuit becomes too great, the breaker on that circuit trips and interrupts the flow of current to that circuit. A tripped circuit breaker is still sometimes referred to as a “blown fuse” in reference to the older technology that circuit breakers replaced.

Before electricity can be restored, the circuit breaker must be reset. However, even before you do that, you must take steps to ensure that it is safe to do so. Turn off or unplug all of the devices that are plugged into the circuit. Make certain no dangerous condition exists before restoring power. A Circuit Breaker which has been tripped will either be in the middle or “OFF” position. Locate the tripped circuit breaker and reset it by pushing it all the way to the “OFF” position and then back to the “ON” position. Often when you can’t cannot reset the circuit breaker, it is because it must be turned all the way to the “Off” position first.

Electricity should now be restored to the circuit. If the circuit breaker trips again before you have turned anything on or plugged anything in, please submit a maintenance request to Texas Dreams Realty immediately. If no circuit breakers were tripped and you still do not have power at an outlet, the circuit is probably on a GFCI.


I lost power to the bathroom, kitchen, or outside. How do I do that?

A GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlet is a device that adds a greater level of safety by reducing the risk of electric shock in locations such as bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms and outdoors.

A GFCI outlet may be wired in a branch circuit, which means other outlets and electrical devices may share the same circuit and breaker (or fuse). When a properly wired GFCI trips, the other devices down the line from it will also lose power. Note that devices on the circuit that come before the GFCI are not protected and are not affected when the GFCI is tripped.

If you have an outlet that doesn’t work, and the breaker is not tripped, look for a GFCI outlet which may have tripped. The non-working outlet may be down line from a GFCI outlet. Note that the affected outlets may not be located near the GFCI outlet, they may be several rooms away or even on a different floor. Pressing the “Reset” will restore the circuit.. If the outlet doesn’t reset, what ever appliance that is causing it to trip, may still be unplugged. If after unplugging everything, checking the circuit breaker or fuse, and resetting the GFCI does not work, please submit a maintenance request to First Rate Property Management right away.


What do I do if I smell gas in the house?

Click here to learn what you do if you smell gas in the house.


My garbage disposal is jammed. How do I fix that?

What To Do if Your Garbage Disposal is Not Grinding:  90% of garbage disposals that appear not to be working just need to be reset. There is usually a red or black reset button on the garbage disposal motor underneath your sink. Just push to reset.

Give it a push-start. Most garbage disposals have a hole underneath that allows you to hand-crank it free once it’s been jammed. To crank it, use either an Alan wrench or a garbage disposal tool that you can pick up at most hardware stores. This should free up most non-serious jams. See the following links for detailed instructions:

How to properly use your garbage disposal
How to unjam my garbage disposal


How do I light pilot light on gas fireplace?

Click here to learn how to light pilot light on gas fireplace.


How do I change my A/C – furnace filters?

How to change an in-furnace filter
How to change a ceiling vent filter


My air conditioning is not working. How do I fix that?

If your A/C stops working, especially after a quick power outage or storm, then it could well be the breaker switch, not the A/C.

Please check the breaker first. See “Reset Circuit Breakers” below.

If your unit is not working and you have submitted a maintenance request, please turn off the unit completely. The reason is that the majority of time, the coils have frozen up and when the technician gets there, he won’t be able to do anything until the coils thaw out. This means 2 trips for the HVAC technician, and a longer wait for you.


No heat for systems using electric heat. How do I fix that?

Before calling in your problem or making a work order request, please check the below possible options.

  1. Check that a fuse hasn’t blown or that the circuit breaker hasn’t tripped. Replace with the appropriate fuse or reset the circuit breaker.
  2. Check that your thermostat is on, heat is selected, and set at a temperature that would call for heat (not too low)
  3. Check that there is nothing obstructing the airflow from the heater or heater vents
  4. Electric furnaces, not baseboards or cadet heaters, often have a light switch right next to the furnace which turns the furnace off. Because this switch is identical to a light switch, it gets turned off by mistake. Simply check any nearby switches. If they don’t turn lights on and off, they may be turning the furnace on or off.

After checking the above and you still do not have heat, please submit an online maintenance request.


No heat for systems using gas heat. How do I fix that?

Before calling in your problem or making a work order request, please check the below possible options:

  1. Check that a fuse hasn’t blown or that the circuit breaker hasn’t tripped. Replace with the appropriate fuse or reset the circuit breaker.
  2. In or around most furnaces there is what looks like a light switch. This operates the power to the furnace. Be sure this switch is on before completing the online maintenance request. You will be charged for the heating company to flip this switch.
  3. Check that your thermostat is on, heat is selected, and is set at a temperature that would call for heat (not too low).
  4. Verify that you have gas service is in your name or has not been disconnected for non-payment or other issues.
  5. Can you hear any fans or blower running? If no noise at all, must be one of the items above
  6. Is there a window with a blinking or steady red light? If so, please explain what you are seeing if you submit a work order request.
  7. Are your furnace filters dirty? If so, replace immediately. Dirty filters are the cause of 95% of all heating issues. If your lease requires you to maintain your furnace filters and you submit a request for maintenance and your filters are found to be dirty, you likely will be billed for all charges. To avoid inconveniences of not having A/C or no heat, keep spare filters handy and replace them at a minimum of once a month.

If after checking the above and you still have no heat, please submit an on-maintenance request. Within the request, please annotate the condition of your furnace filters and any the status of any steady or blinking red lights.


My oven will not come on. How do I fix that?

Sometimes an oven may not come on make sure that the clock/timer is in the “off” or “manual” position. These settings will override operator commands, and must be adjusted to allow the oven to ignite. Never clean a self-cleaning oven with over the counter oven cleaners.


How do I test my smoke detector?

Most people think smoke detectors will also detect carbon monoxide, this is false. They make carbon monoxide detectors that will but most properties do not have this type. Smoke detectors have 2 alarms that mean different things. Beep/chirp approximately 2-3 times every 5 minutes most of the time means the battery needs to be changed.

Instructions on how to test your smoke detector


How do I unclog my drain?

Click here to learn how to unclog your drain

Troubleshooting your dishwasher: 

Dishwasher does not work – no sound, water or lights

  • Check for a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker
  • Check that the dishwasher is plugged in securely, or
  • Check the door latch

Dishwasher does not start but motor hums

  • Submit a maintenance request to Texas Dreams Realty

Dishwasher does not fill with water or it drains while filling

  • Check that the water supply is turned on. The valve may be located under the sink.
  • Check the door latch
  • If problem continues, submit a maintenance request to Texas Dreams Realty

Water does not drain from the dishwasher

  • Clean the drain
  • Re-run an entire cycle and see if problem continues

Dishwasher is leaking water or soap leaks around the door

  • Check your garbage disposal to make sure the drain is not clogged.
  • Make certain that your detergent is intended for dishwashers. Do not use liquid dish soap.
  • If problem continues, submit a maintenance request to Texas Dreams Realty.

Dishwashers not cleaning properly

  • Purchase a cleaning agent product from WL May called Glisten Dishwasher Cleaner

Door does not close or latch properly

  • Check for obstructions
  • Check the door latch

Dishwasher cycle does not complete

  • Let the dishwasher complete the cycle wherever it is at, then re-start a new cycle and it should clear itself.

Detergent cup does not open

  • Check and clean the detergent cup for obstructions

Dishes are not cleaned adequately

  • Clean the drain screen
  • Spray off dishes before using the dishwasher
  • Run several cycles with no soap to clean out soap residue.


I put the wrong soap in the dishwasher – now what?

  • This is easy to fix, if you know what to do; and we do. First scoop out as much water as you can and dump it in the sink. Next add a cup or two of white vinegar and run the dishwasher for a short time. Now scoop out more water.The vinegar cuts the foaming action of the soap. You may have to repeat the process to eliminate the suds because some soapy water remains inside the pump and hoses.

    Also, if you poured it into the soap dispenser, wash that out by hand to get all the dish soap out.


How do I turn off main water supply?

If you have a catastrophic water leak in your house, you will need to turn the water off at the street. Time is of the essence, so learn these simple steps to quickly act to stop the leak.

How To Locate Your Home’s Water Meter & Water Shut Off Valve


Bath & Kitchen Faucets Issues

There are hot and cold supply lines and shut off valves under the sink for every faucet. Be sure to familiarize yourself with these. It is important to keep this area clear of debris. If a supply line is leaking, shut the valve off and contact the office. If the valve itself is leaking, put a pot or pan under it and contact us immediately.

How To Locate Your Home’s Water Meter & Water Shut Off Valve


Poor Water Flow Issues

Cleaning clogged faucet aerators and sink sprayers help faucets function like new. Mineral deposits and sediment can slow the water flow. When a faucet has a weak or intermittent flow, the problem is often with the aerator. Aerators contain a fine wire screen that mixes water with air to provide an even flow. Over time this screen can become clogged with mineral deposits or debris, reducing the amount of water coming through.

To solve the problem, unscrew the aerator from the end of the faucet, and soak it overnight in a cup of white vinegar. The acid in the vinegar will dissolve any deposits and make the aerator as good as new.

Cleaning a faucet aerator


Tub/Shower Issues

The biggest problems with tubs and showers are hair clogs. Try to clean the drain area if you see hair building up to prevent a clog. If you notice a faucet leak call immediately. If your shower head has poor water pressure, you can unscrew it and flush it out under the sink to clean out built up sediments. Use a good shower curtain to prevent water damage around the outside of the tub. If you notice any caulking or grout that is deteriorating around the tub/shower area, please contact the office immediately, so that we can minimize water intrusion.


Clogged Toilets Issues

There is not much that can go wrong with toilets. They do require new parts, but not very often. The main concern is foreign objects getting stuck in them. Do not flush feminine products or any other large items down the toilet. If a stoppage occurs because of this reason, the tenant will be charged for all costs to repair. If you notice any discoloration in the flooring around the toilet or if it seems to be rocking at the base, the wax seal may be broken or deteriorating and you must contact the office immediately.

If our plumber determines that a clogged toilet was caused by the resident, then very possibly the resident will have to pay the plumber’s bill. If you think you’ve caused the problem and want to avoid this situation, you can try to unclog the toilet yourself using these simple and helpful hints.

How to Unclog a Toilet Without a Plunger or Snake


Dryer Issues


Replacing the Toilet Flapper

Click here to learn how to replace the toilet flapper


Garage door will not close. How do I fix that?

The garage door maintenance is the responsibility of the tenant. The repair is the responsibility of the landlord.

Tenant responsibilities:

  • Change Battery in remote
  • Resync Remote if needed
  • Change light bulbs in the opener
  • Keep the motion sensors clear of blockage
  • Clean motion sensor “eyes” when needed
  • Reposition motion sensors when they get jarred or moved out of alignment
  • Any damage to the remote, opener or door is the responsibility of the tenant to repair

Owner Responsibilities:

  • Change Springs when worn out
  • Change Garage door opener if it fails due to mechanical fail not caused by damage
  • Repair Sprockets

If you put in a maintenance call and it is for something listed under the “Tenant Responsibilities” you will be billed for the repair.

If your garage door isn’t closing all the way, you may have a problem with the aligning of the sensors at the bottom corners of the garage door. This may occur if anyone has accidentally bumped into them. For a video of how to properly align your garage door, go to this link:

Instructions on how to align your garage door
Instructions on how to reset a garage door remote control


Carpets & Floor Care Issues

Dirt, not normal wear and tear is the single largest contributor to the demise of carpets. Be sure to vacuum on a regular basis.

If you do stain the carpet, work immediately to remove it as much as possible. The longer a stain stays embedded in the carpet the harder it will be to remove later on. There are many household products that are effective in stain removal, you can look up many of these systems on the internet under carpet stain removal.

Never clean the carpet without testing a very small portion of your cleaning compound on an out of the way piece of carpet to ensure discoloration will not happen. Be very careful when moving large objects and furniture across linoleum and hardwood floors. Use a dolly for large appliances and furniture pieces or slide a rag or sock over the legs of furniture when moving across flooring. Never clean hardwood floors with solvents you are not sure of.


Roof Issues

If you notice any stains forming on your ceiling or wall area contact the office immediately. If a large leak occurs causing a bubbling effect in the ceiling material, make a small puncture in the bubble with a knife and place a bucket under the leak immediately. Never hesitate in calling the office regarding roof leaks. We have a 24-hour emergency system in place for these types of situations.


Winter: Preventing Frozen/Burst Pipes

On occasion we do get below freezing weather. When the temperature drops below freezing, there is a very real possibility of your water pipes freezing in your house, which could cause your pipes to burst and ruin your house with water when they thaw. The following tips can help you safeguard your home before, during and after a pipe freezes.

Prevent Your Pipes From Freezing

  • Disconnect all gardening hoses and install covers on all outside faucets.
  • Keep your house temperature at 68 degrees or higher, even if you’re leaving the house for an extended period of time.
  • Open cabinet doors below sinks to allow heat from the home to circulate.
  • Identify the location of the main water valve and the valve on your water heater. (Learning the location of these valves may come in handy during an emergency.)
  • Wrap pipes nearest exterior walls and in crawl spaces with pipe insulation or with heating tape. This can prevent freezing, especially for interior pipes that run along outside walls.
  • Close all windows near water pipes; cover or close open-air vents. Freezing temperatures combined with wind drafts can cause pipes to freeze more frequently.
  • Insulate outside walls and unheated areas of your home.
  • If you plan to be away from home for an extended period of time, shut off water supply valve to your home.

Monitor Freezing Pipe Conditions

  • Allow a faucet to drip slightly (lukewarm water) in order to minimize freezing.
  • The first sign of freezing is reduced water flow from a faucet.
  • Check your faucets for water flow and pressure before you go to sleep and again when you wake up.
  • Check pipes around your water meter, in unheated areas, near exterior walls and in crawl spaces.
  • These tend to be vulnerable to freezing conditions.
  • Identify cold air drafts coming in from a flue or chimney chase and caulk gaps that are near pipes.

If a Pipe Freezes

  • If a faucet or pipe inside your house freezes, you can thaw it using a good hair dryer. (For safety purposes, avoid operating a hair dryer around standing water.)
  • To thaw a frozen pipe, heat water on the stove, soak towels in the hot water and wrap them around cold sections of the pipes.
  • When thawing a pipe, start thawing it nearest to the faucet. Make sure the faucet is turned on so that melted water can drip out.

If a Pipe Bursts

  • Shut off water at the main valve.
  • If the break is in a hot water pipe, the valve on top of the water heater should be closed.
  • Call a plumber. Keep an emergency number nearby for quick access.