/ Physical Plant

Common Sense, Cents & Scents

Practical, money-saving and odor-preventing tips.

Residential Help Videos

Electrical Outlets

Be sure to check your outlets before submitting an electricity related work order.

Oven Cleaning

Though often neglected, this portion of cleaning your kitchen is one of the most important.

Basement Storage

The basement of your residence is not just for storage: it also contains critical equipment for your comfort.

Flushable Wipes

They may say they’re flushable, but are they really?

Vacuum Bags

Is your vacuum not sucking up any debris? Start by checking your vacuum bag!

Vacuum Belts

Is your vacuum making obnoxious noises or producing a strange smell? Start by checking the belt!

Window Care

Every residence has windows, and making sure they stay intact requires some very simple knowledge.

Plunging a Toilet

Though not the most enjoyable task, plunging can help you avoid a visit from the plumber.

Iron Safety

Keeping your carpet intact and unburned is critical to avoid damage charges.

Tips & Tricks

  • Extension cords: Please do not run extension cords under rugs. This is a fire hazard, as the cords can crack or overheat and can start the rug on fire.
  • Light bulbs: If you can safely reach a burned out light bulb in your cottage or apartment, please remove it, bring it to the Physical Plant office, and we will provide you with a new bulb (no need for a work order).
  • Power Strips: If you have numerous hairstyling tools plugged in and heating at the same time, this can cause overload on the circuit and can blow the breaker. Then you're going to be late for class as you wait for someone to reset it so you can finish your hair! Please only use the number of items that can be plugged in to the actual wall outlets at one time, — no power strips — and remember to unplug each one after use.
  • Garbage disposals: If you are fortunate enough to have a garbage disposal in your apartment, please be sure to only allow "edible" items to go into the disposal. This will prevent jamming and backing up in the sink.  If you can't chew it, neither can the disposal. Watch out for silverware, bottle caps and bread ties!
  • Clogs: If you have a slow-moving or clogged drain in your sink or shower, please do not use any liquid or crystal product to try to dissolve the clog. These products are often not effective, and, since they are caustic, they can cause injury if it gets on your skin or in your eyes. Instead, please submit a work order, and our plumber will safely remove the clog. 
  • Flushables?: Please do not flush any feminine products down any toilet. These products are not dissoluble and can cause clogs in your toilet or further into the sanitary system. Please dispose of all these items in the trash, thank you! Likewise, "flushable wipes" is a misnomer. Avoid flushing thse products too.
  • Here is a list of things you should never flush down the toilet:  

    • Flushable wipes
    • Personal protective equipment (PPE)
    • Diapers
    • Tampons/sanitary pads
    • Baby wipes
    • Cotton swabs/balls
    • Cigarette butts
    • Dental floss
    • Paper towels
    • Toilet scrub pads
    • Household cleaners
    • Dryer sheets
    • Medications/vitamins
    • Cooking grease
    • Tissues
    • Hair
    • Condoms
    • Cat litter
    • Makeup remover pads
    • Toilet roll tubes
    • Plasters
    • Contact lenses
    • Gum
    • Bleach
    • Band-Aids
    • Paint
  • Drafty windows? Many cottages have "storm windows." These are two panes of glass and a screen outside of the main window frame. During the winter, please be sure that the two panes of glass are set to cover the whole window opening. This helps keep cold winds out and your room warm.
  • Window locking: Be sure your window is fully closed before you attempt to lock it. Trying to lock a window without it being fully seated in the frame can push the window open slightly or may cause damage to the window's seal.
  • Stuck drawers: Stuck dresser drawers are often caused by an article of clothing caught on the top edge of the back of the drawer. If you can reach into the drawer, see if you can find what is jammed in there. Removing the drawer above or below may help.
Heating and Air Conditioning
  • Air flow: Your bedroom is cold? Please check the location of the furnace vent or the radiator. If it is blocked by furniture or clothing, the warm air cannot circulate through the room. (Also be sure your windows and storm windows are closed and locked — see information under Carpentry above.)
  • Furnace rooms: Most cottage furnace rooms are locked  for safety purposes. Your furnace and water heater both have pilot lights — small flames that help ignite the appliance when it needs to work. The area around these appliances needs to be kept clear to avoid starting a fire, and locking these areas is our best preventative measure.
Grounds / Snow
  • Shoveling: Cottage residents are responsible to shovel snow on the sidewalks and steps that lead to the house from either the driveway or the city sidewalk.
  • Sidewalk salt: Please use salt sparingly, scattering the product instead of dumping it — use a plastic cup as a scoop. Also, keep your bag of salt in a dry place on your porch or just inside your door.
  • Driveways: To get you cottage driveway plowed, an RA must call, and all cars must be out of the driveway by noon. Grounds staff will plow your drive after snowfall of  2" or more since the last time your driveway was plowed.
  • Laundry – dryer: Be sure to clean out the lint filter on your dryer after every load. Build-up of lint can cause the dryer to overheat, risking a fire.
  • Laundry – washer: If your washer stops spinning, or if you see an error code that says UNBAL, check the items in the wash bin to see if they have shifted to one side. Rearrange the items to distribute the weight more evenly, then close the lid and let the machine restart.
  • Stovetop: Your stove burners are removable for cleaning the drip pans below. Be sure the burners are completely cool, grasp the burner on the side opposite of where you see the coil ends go through the drip pan. Pull firmly. The drip pan can be removed and soaked in the sink to remove any burnt-on food.
  • Vacuum: Be sure to pick up items from the floor before vacuuming. Especially watch for bobby pins, coins, bottle caps and electrical cords. If an item gets jammed in the rotating brush, it can cause the belt to slip and create a burning smell. Remember to unplug the vacuum if you need to replace the belt.
Cleaning Products and Supplies 
  • Ordering: Cottage and apartment RAs are in charge of ordering cleaning supplies for their residence. The online form can be found here, on our home page, or on the inHope main web page under the Resources menu.
  • Envirox: This new product provided for your cottage or apartment is called Envirox H2Orange2 (Concentrate 117), and it is a multi-purpose cleaner/sanitizer/virucide. It is provided in place of Mr Clean, the toilet bowl cleaner, and the glass cleaner products that we provided in the past. The use of this product is a big step in promoting green solutions to daily life on campus. Not only is it multi-purpose and non-toxic — recognized by NSF and EPA —  but it also reduces waste in the form of the containers of the previous three products. A key sustainable aspect of this program is your refillable Envirox bottle! When your bottle gets near empty, please bring it to the Physical Plant office and we will refill it for you. The refill is available on the supplies order form, but it's really not even necessary to submit that, just bring the bottle in any time.  
  • Deliveries: Toilet paper and sidewalk salt are the only two items that will be delivered to your cottage or apartment. You should expect to see them arrive within a couple of days of placing your order. 
  • Picking up: You will get an email when your order is available for pick-up. Remember to bring along your Envirox bottle if you need a refill. The Physical Plant Office is open weekdays from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m.