Air Gaps and Dishwasher Filters

While our dishwashers make our lives easier as they work their magic on making grease and grime disappear from our dishes, we have to do our part to maintain the magic.

This includes cleaning the dishwasher air gap and filter.  Both of these should be done on a regular basis, however, one of the tell tale signs that something needs attention is: 

What is an air gap and how do I clean it?

The air gap is a cylinder fitting that connects the kitchen sink drain to your dishwasher, preventing dirty water from flowing into the dishwasher as well as out of it during a wash cycle. You can easily clean it by removing the cap and cleaning the inside of the air gap. 

See this instructional video for more info.

What is a dishwasher filter and how do I clean it?

The filter prevents food from redepositing debris on clean dishes and clogging the drain. Dishwashers use a variety of filter designs. Some have a simple screen, some have removable filters below the screen, and some require removing the bottom spray arm for a thorough cleaning. 

You can check the appliance manual for instructions on how yours should be cleaned or you can look up video tutorials online

¿Qué es el seguor de inquilinos y por qué es importante?

A primera vista, muchas personas asumen que el seguro para inquilinos es solo para proteger su propiedad personal. ¿Pero, sabía que el seguro para inquilinos en realidad ofrece tres tipos de cobertura? 1. Cobertura de propiedad o pertenencias personales: esto incluye artículos como muebles, ropa, productos electrónicos, electrodomésticos y juego de cama, por nombrar algunos. Sin embargo, hay ciertas cosas personales...

A primera vista, muchas personas asumen que el seguro para inquilinos es solo para proteger su propiedad personal. Pero ¿sabía que el seguro para inquilinos en realidad ofrece tres tipos de cobertura?

1. Cobertura de muebles o pertenencias personales:

Esto incluye artículos como muebles, ropa, productos electrónicos, electrodomésticos y hasta incluso el juego de cama, esto es solo mencionando algunas cosas. Sin embargo, hay ciertas pertenencias personales que pueden no estar cubiertas si superan cierto valor. Para artículos tales como joyas, obras de arte y coleccionables, generalmente se debe agregar a su póliza para obtener cobertura adicional.

2. Cobertura de responsabilidad civil del arrendatario o responsabilidad civil personal:

Digamos que está organizando una cena, uno de sus invitados se resbala y cae en la cocina, lo culpan a usted y luego lo demandan. La cobertura de responsabilidad civil general puede cubrir los costos judiciales y los honorarios de abogados que, de otro modo, su seguro de inquilinos no cubriria. Piénselo de esta manera: ¡la cobertura de propiedad personal cubre sus pertenencias, el seguro de responsabilidad personal lo cubre a usted!

3. Cobertura de gastos de manutención adicionales:

Esta cobertura puede proporcionar un reembolso al titular de la póliza si un desastre cubierto resulta en una reubicación temporal de la propiedad. Los ejemplos de reembolso pueden incluir alojamiento, comida y otros gastos de manutención. Si bien las pólizas pueden variar, los desastres cubiertos a menudo incluyen humo, incendios, explosiones, robo, vandalismo, tormentas de viento, rayos y daños por agua de una fuente interna.

4. Pólizas/cobertura de seguro contra inundaciones:

En términos generales, el seguro de inquilino no cubre los daños a sus pertenencias en caso de inundación (esto también se aplica a los desbordamientos de aguas residuales que ingresan a la casa). Si vive en una zona de inundaciones, le recomendamos que revise la cobertura contra inundaciones con su agente de seguros como parte de su seguro de inquilinos. Si no esta seguro de si vive o no en una zona de inundaciones, consulte su contrato de arrendamiento o consulte el mapa de inundaciones de FEMA.

Pensamientos finales:

Es fácil caer en la mentalidad de “pero eso no me pasaría a mí”, y lo más probable es que no sea así. Sin embargo, siempre es mejor prevenir que lamentar, especialmente en un evento que esta fuera de su control.

¿Qué esta bajo su control?

Comprueba periódicamente si hay fugas debajo del lavabo, en la base de los inodoros y en cualquier otro lugar donde el agua pueda acumularse fácilmente. ¡Es absolutamente crucial que cualquier fuga o daño causado por el agua se informe al administrador de la propiedad TAN PRONTO COMO SE ANOTE! El no hacerlo o la negligencia en el asunto puede causar daños irreversibles a la propiedad que pasan a ser responsabilidad del arrendatario. Si estas cosas se detectan de inmediato, se pueden evitar más daños. ¡En caso de dudas, llame y pregunte tan pronto como lo note!

Como se habrá dado cuenta, puede haber muchas áreas grises cuando se trata de lo que puede o no estar cubierto según la compañía con la que elija comprar una póliza y las pólizas en sí. Siempre es una buena idea revisar sus opciones con su corredor de seguros para asegurarse de obtener la cobertura que desea.

Finalmente, si aun no lo ha hecho, pídale a su agente que incluya a Distinct Property Management como uno de los titulares de su certificado para que podamos estar seguros de tener su póliza archivada.

Descargo de responsabilidad: Distinct Property Management no es un agente de seguros y no puede aconsejarle qué cobertura es adecuada para usted. Por favor consulte a su agente de seguros.

City of Santa Cruz Residential Food Scrap Program Info

City of Santa Cruz Residential Curbside Food Scrap Collection Program

Did you know that 40% of food in the US is wasted and the average American household throws out 25% of the food they purchase?

Santa Cruz County is making it a priority to reduce this waste and is expanding the Commercial Food Scrap Collection program. The City has begun Curbside Food Waste Collection from Single Family and Multi Family Residences by supplying residents with a new food scrap bin.

Here are some tips for collecting food scraps from your home:

Food Scraps YES

Food Scraps NO

Once you've collected your food scraps, your 6 gallon bin can be left out with your organics and recycling bins for weekly pick up.

Please click here to watch a brief information video. 

Property Maintenance Tips: Preventing Grease Buildup in Your Kitchen Sink

We at Distinct Property Management run into maintenance requests about clogged kitchen sinks at least once a week and in 99.9% of the cases the cause was a build up of grease, which has turned into black thick goo. Grease is a normal substance found in the kitchen, and comes from cooking processes and food such as meat and dairy. It is a common misconception that pouring grease down the drain is okay if you run hot water and pour dish soap after it. In reality, grease should never go down the drain. Even if it’s hot and easy to pour out of the pan, it will eventually cool and solidify somewhere in your plumbing. This causes a gummy, goopy mess to form along the pipe walls, trapping other debris that flows down the drain. Over time, the resulting clogs could bring your drains to a standstill.

Even if the grease makes it past your home’s plumbing system, it continues to wreak havoc in the municipal sewer system. Some cities spend millions of dollars a year addressing damaged sewer systems and clearing out masses of solid waste—obstacles the industry calls “fatbergs,” which are named for the cooking oil and grease that hold the obstructions together. By never pouring grease down the drain, you can help prevent clogs and other plumbing problems further down the line.

Thankfully, there are measures you can take to avoid this common clog.

1. Don't send fatty, greasy, or oily foods down the sink

It may seem like an easy cleanup option, but pouring any greasy, oily, or fatty food substances down the sink is the beginning of a grease clog. This includes salad dressing, coconut oil, peanut butter, butter, lard, mayonnaise, cosmetic oils and petroleum jelly.  Remove excess grease and food scraps from cookware and dishes before washing by wiping them out with a paper towel. Also, any dishes which have a bigger grease buildup should be soaked with a grease-dissolving cleaner before the washing process.

2. Hot water and grease cutting soap

Some fatty, oily, and greasy substances will find their way into your kitchen drain regardless of how carefully you wash up. To help avoid grease clogs, intermittently run lots of hot water and grease cutting soap down the drain. Use this method frequently to breakdown any accumulating grease.

3. Hot water and vinegar

You may prefer to avoid chemicals found in soaps and cleaners. There are natural products that have been found to effectively fight grease buildup in kitchen sinks. We suggest trying a 1:1 ratio of hot water and vinegar. Sending boiling water down the drain helps melt the clog, while the vinegar eats away at debris attached to the wall of the pipe. Finish the process by sending more boiling water down the drain to clear any remaining grease.

What is renters insurance and why is it important?

At first glance, many people assume renters insurance is only to protect their personal property. But did you know that renters insurance actually provides three types of coverage?

1. Personal Property or Personal Belongings Coverage:

This includes items such as furniture, clothing, electronics, appliances, and bedding to name a few.  However, there are certain personal belongings that may not be covered if they are above a certain value.  For items such as jewelry, artwork, and collectibles, one must usually add-on to their policy for additional coverage. 

2. Renters Liability or Personal Liability Coverage: 

Let’s say you are having a dinner party, one of your guests slips and falls in the kitchen putting you at fault and then sues you. General liability coverage may cover court costs and attorney fees that your renters insurance otherwise wouldn’t. Think of it this way: personal property coverage covers your belongings, personal liability insurance covers you!

3. Additional Living Expenses Coverage:

This coverage can provide the policy holder with reimbursement if a covered disaster results in temporary relocation from the property.  Examples of reimbursement may include lodging, food, and other living expenses.  While the policies may vary, covered disasters often include smoke, fire, explosions, theft, vandalism, windstorms, lightning, and water damage from an internal source.  

4. Flood Insurance Policies/Coverage: 

Generally speaking, renter’s insurance does not cover damage to your belongings in the event of a flood (this also applied to sewage overflows that enters the home). If you live in a flood zone, we highly recommend you review flood coverage with your insurance agent as part of your renters insurance. If you are unsure about whether or not you live in a flood zone, please refer to your lease agreement or check the FEMA flood map.

Final Thoughts: 

It’s easy to fall into the mindset of “but that wouldn’t happen to me”, and chances are, it might not.  However, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, especially in an event that is out of your control.

What is in your control?

Regularly checking for leaks under you sink, at the base of your toilets and anywhere else where water can easily pool.  It is absolutely crucial that any leaks or water damage is reported to your property manager AS SOON AS THEY ARE NOTICED!  Failure to do so or negligence of the issue can cause irreversible damage the property that becomes the tenant’s responsibility.  If these things are caught right away, further damage can be avoided.  When in doubt, call and ask as soon as you notice!

As you may have gathered, there can be a lot of gray areas when it comes to what may or may not be covered depending on the company you choose to buy a policy with, and the policies themselves.  It is always a good idea to review your options with your insurance broker to make sure you’re getting the coverage you desire. 

Finally, if you haven’t done so already, please have your agent include Distinct Property Management as one of your certificate holders so we can be sure to have your policy on file. 

Disclaimer: Distinct Property Management is not an insurance agent and can not advise what coverage is appropriate for you. Please consult your insurance agent.

About the importance of dryer vent cleaning

Do you know why regular cleaning of dryer vents is so important?

As a tenant, you understand the importance of checking your smoke detectors, changing your air filters and keeping up with other preventative maintenance in your home. But how much time do you spend cleaning your dryer vent? If you’re like the average resident, the answer is probably, “not much.”

Unfortunately, according to the U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Data Center, nearly 15,000 structural fires occur each year as a result of an issue with a clothes dryer, and clogged, dirty dryer vents cause 80% of the fires.

Warning signs that it’s time to clean your vent

Sanitary Wipes Reminder

These little fellas still don't belong into the toilet

Please remember the following when using paper towels and disinfecting wipes. This could save you money in plumbing repairs and an after-hours nightmare. Please read on here.

As Americans stockpile disinfecting wipes and paper towels to clean their homes more often to reduce the risk of coronavirus, California’s state water regulators on Tuesday urged them to keep one thing in mind: Don’t flush them down the toilet.

Wipes and paper towels do not break down like toilet paper does in water. They are stronger, and many wipes include plastics and materials like nylon. That means bad news for sewer systems. 

“Flushing wipes, paper towels and similar products down toilets will clog sewers and cause backups and overflows at wastewater treatment facilities, creating an additional public health risk in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic,” the California’s State Water Resources Control Board said. “Even wipes labeled “flushable” will clog pipes and interfere with sewage collection and treatment."

Distinct Property Management’s Green Living Tips*

Distinct Property Management’s Green Living Tips

As a homeowner or renter in Santa Cruz there are many little steps you can take to live a more "green" life and conserve natural resources. Please see the useful tips below.

Save Energy

Save Water

Shop Local, In Season, and Organic

Reduce Pollution and Toxics

If you’d like to learn more about reusable and more environmentally friendly products you can easily swap out in your day to day life – read more in this article.

*Adapted from LifeHacker’s 20 Green Tips and Life Hacks for Sustainable Living    

Distinct's Winter Tips

As we move into the winter season there are a few things you can do to help prepare yourself and your home for all the surprises that winter weather and can bring. Being mindful of these things and familiarizing yourself with your home before an emergency, power outage or weather related concern arises can both help prevent issues and make you better prepared should anything happen.

As many California residents have experienced throughout this Fall season, there are times when PG&E may cut electrical and/or gas services to their customers. With the current state of much of their equipment and new laws in place this is something to always be prepared for. You can be better prepared for a power outage by keeping extra water for all the members of your household as well as any pets on hand, and keeping a stock of extra batteries, lanterns and non-perishable food items like canned soups and vegetables, dry pasta, etc. 

Thank you for your attention to this letter, and we hope you have a happy and safe Winter this year!

PG&E Wildfire Season & Safety Reminders

As many of you may know, California is very prone to wildfires during this dry and hot season of the year. To ensure that residents are as safe as possible when wildfires become a threat PG&E has issued a notice that in order to limit danger and damages they may temporarily turn off electricity to certain areas to protect the public. Additionally, they have released some safety tips for homeowners to keep in mind: