Keep the Refrigerator Working Efficiently
Dirty coils hold in heat and make your refrigerator's motor work harder to cool the inside compartments. Keep coils clean by removing the cover from below the door and vacuuming out the dust that has accumulated. While you're there, remove the drip pan from underneath the coils. Wash it well, and check the drain for clogs before replacing it.
Next, check the freezer. It needs to be defrosted if more than 1/4 inch of ice has accumulated on the walls. Don't chip away at it with a sharp object. Instead, remove the contents to a cooler, place a pan underneath the ice to catch the drips, and either let the ice melt at room temperature or help it along with a blow dryer.
Take Care of the Flooring
Dirt is a floor's worst enemy. When embedded into rugs and carpets, it wears out the fibers. On harder surfaces, like wood, laminate and vinyl, dirt causes scratches. Place mats inside and outside your door to reduce the amount of dirt tracked into your apartment.
Vacuum low-traffic carpets at least once a week; vacuum high-traffic areas more frequently. Protect wood, laminate and vinyl floors by sweeping every day and mopping weekly with a product recommended for the floor type. Use the minimum amount of fluid needed to clean wood and laminate, as saturation damages wood's finish and causes laminate to warp.
Keep Heat and A/C Dust Free
Preventive maintenance of the heating and air-conditioning units is all about ensuring proper air flow. Vacuum vents before using the units for the first time each year, and then inspect the vents periodically to make sure new dust hasn't accumulated. Change filters as soon as they become soiled. Finally, keep furniture and window coverings away. In the case of heat vents, this is as much a safety issue as a maintenance one.
Don't turn off your heat or A/C when you leave for the day. Instead, turn the heat down or the A/C up just a few degrees. You'll actually save more energy by maintaining a steadier temperature.
Prevent Plumbing Problems
Keep drains flowing freely. Avoid pouring oil, coffee grounds or other solids into the kitchen sink. In the bathroom, remove hair from the sink and tub promptly so they're not washed down the drain.
Sink and toilet clogs usually can be unstopped with a plunger. Fill the clogged vessel with water and then push the plunger straight down in a quick, firm motion. You may need to repeat a number of times before the clog is removed.
Know When to Seek Help
Sometimes it's best to leave the work to the pros. Report malfunctioning appliances, water you can't turn off and clogs that don't respond to plunging. Also report broken or missing grout in the bathroom. Grout isn't just cosmetic--it keeps water from seeping into walls and floors.