Audit your home during the COVID-19 downtime: Part II



If you haven’t read Part I, we strongly suggest reading that first to get the best start at auditing your property by testing your check-in process.


Welcome to Part II of this series. By now, you've probably settled into your short-term rental and may have found a few items that could be fixed, like a faulty light bulb, an appliance that doesn’t work, or just adding personal touches to make a stronger first impression.


Part II is going to look at some potential issues that you may not be able to see easily, how to test these issues, and how to fix them. We'll take a look at issues that are likely to cost you more later if not tended to now, as well as jeopardise your guest reviews.


The smells


You might be getting a faint smell of dampness or grease in your home. Sourcing this smell can be hard, but you can narrow it down by asking yourself the following questions:


  • When were the throw pillows and throw blankets last cleaned?

  • When were the sofas, rugs, and carpets last steam cleaned?

  • When were the air conditioner filters last cleaned?

  • When were the bathroom and laundry exhaust fans last cleaned?

  • When were the range hood filters last cleaned?

  • When were the drains last cleaned?


If the answer to at least one of the above is over 3 months ago (or worse - you have no idea), this could be your issue.

All the above issues can be handled by professionals, but we recommend you try to do it yourself to learn more about these issues as well as reduce costs (plus, familiarising with these issues will make it easier to help navigate your cleaners next time). Get started with our top 10 tips to keep your property feeling fresh.


By not addressing these issues now, you're leaving your property at risk of more expensive repair bills or replacements. Once you've got this sorted, be sure to include these into a regular schedule of cleaning and maintenance.


The light bulbs


Check every light bulb in the house. You're not only checking to see if they work, you're also checking to see if they are energy-efficient. Energy.gov.au has found that LED light bulbs use 75% less energy than halogen light bulbs and last 5-10 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs, saving you more money over time.


Also check if your current light bulbs set the appropriate mood. Are some rooms too bright when they should be more ambient or warm? Are some the opposite of this? CFL and LED energy-efficient light bulbs are available in a wide range of colour temperatures. While every short-term rental is unique, for standard homes I would suggest using:


  • Warm white bulbs for living rooms and bedrooms

  • Cool white bulbs for kitchens, bathrooms and laundry


Do a stock-take of all your current light bulbs and find out which ones need to be changed over. Energy Australia has a solid guide on how to identify what type of lighting you need.


The fridge


Your fridge is running 24/7 and therefore the hardest working appliance in your property. Some basic maintenance will ensure your fridge stays efficient, remains presentable to guests, while drastically lowering your chances of needing a costly repair or replacement.


  1. Check your temperature dials and mark them According to Cardontrack, fridges should be set between 4 and 5 degrees, and freezers should be set to -18 degrees. This means that the dials should be set between numbers 2-3. You'll sometimes find that guests will change the dials. Best practice is to get a permanent marker and circle the number on the dial that the fridge or freezer should be kept at. Feel free to add a note in the guest handbook like “please don’t change the fridge/freezer dials.”

  2. Check for ice build-up in the freezer Some freezers do require more regular defrosting, which is not a problem in most cases. However, if your freezer is icing up rather quickly, or you notice leaks on the floor, this is often caused be damaged door seals or dusty condenser coils. Check the door seals by using a bank note or piece of paper and placing it in the closed freezer door. If it holds, the door seals are fine. If not, you need to replace them with the help of a specialist. Most fridges have condenser coils located across the bottom and you can access them from the back. To clean the coils, make sure you turn the fridge off first. The coils can be cleaned with a vacuum and a brush/duster. Use the duster to remove the dust and the vacuum to suck it up as the dust will try to stick back onto the coils. To remove the residual grime left over, wipe the coils with a rag and mild soapy water.


The cleaning machines


Your dishwasher and washing machine certainly work overtime in a short-term rental. Guests use them quite frequently and can be known to show little care for them.


Dishwashers

Dishwashers should be cleaned fairly regularly to protect it, keep it energy-efficient, and remove any mildew odours. The filter and drain parts should be cleaned once a month. The easiest way to ensure your dishwasher is clean is to routinely do the following steps:


  1. Clear the drain and remove any food waste caught in the system

  2. Place half a cup of cleaning vinegar in the top rack then run a hot water cycle to remove grease and odours

  3. Sprinkle half a cup of baking soda into the dishwasher then run another hot cycle to brighten the interior


Front-loading washing machines

Take the following steps every 6 months:

  1. Use cleaning vinegar and a rag to clean the gasket (rubber bit around the door on the inside)

  2. Place 2 cups of vinegar in the detergent dispenser, set to the highest water level, then run a hot wash cycle

  3. Add half a cup of baking soda to the drum and and run another hot wash cycle.


Top-loading washing machine

Take the following steps every 6 months:

  1. Add 4 cups of vinegar, set to the highest water level, then run a hot wash cycle

  2. Within the first 5 minutes of the cycle, pause and let it sit for 45 minutes before continuing the cycle

  3. Add half a cup of baking soda to the drum and and run another hot wash cycle (no need to pause)


Stay tuned for Part III of this series, where we'll take a look at the best way to audit your entire property with our FREE printable full maintenance checklist.

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