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Household Maintenance

Although many appliances and physical features of your home may seem similar to those in your country, beware of hidden differences! Plumbing, floor, ceiling and wall coverings and ventilation and heating systems may be drastically different. Before using certain cleaning products and appliances you should read the directions. The following includes areas which may be somewhat different in the United States.


There are several ways to keep tubs and sinks draining well.

  • Don't put food, solid materials, grease, or oil down drains.
  • Buy a removable drain strainer if there isn't one. (Remove dirt, hair, food after each use.)
  • Periodically pour boiling water down drains. To clean drains, you can pour liquid bleach down cool drains. Let it stand 15 minutes. Rinse thoroughly. You can also use baking soda and hydrogen peroxide.
  • If there is a garbage disposal system in the sink it can process food waste only. Read directions and follow them. Be sure to run water when using.

Heating and Cooling Systems

If a different odor is observed when gas heating is on, please contact the landlord and the gas company immediately. It is also a good idea to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home. Carbon monoxide is a clear, odorless, colorless gas that can only be discovered with a detector. During winter months, under extreme cold conditions, never turn off the heater completely to save money. During very cold weather, keep a little water running in faucets to avoid freezing of water in the pipes and bursting them.

Stove and Ovens

If you have a gas stove that must be hand lit, be sure to light the match first and then turn on the gas burner. If you turn on the gas first, escaped gas may cause an explosion when you strike the match. Most gas stoves have a broiler. This is the bottom drawer that pulls out under the large oven door. If you want to cook meat or other foods with high grease content at a high temperature, you should use the broiler. Broil simply means cooking under direct flame of the fire. On the oven temperature control knob you will find "broil". Set your oven to this setting for broiling meat. Do not cook meats with high grease content in your oven. This could cause an oven fire. Baking soda thrown on fires extinguishes them very quickly. Never leave your home with something cooking. If you suspect a gas leak, notify the gas company as soon as possible and allow proper ventilation.


American homes do not have adequate ventilation for cooking on an open fire inside the home. Although you can cook on your stove and use the exhaust fan in the hood above, no other cooking with an open fire should be done in the house.

Insects and Pests

If you find cockroaches, water bugs, rats, mice, silverfish, termites or ants in your home, you should immediately report it to your landlord. It is your landlord's responsibility to provide you with a pest-free apartment. It is your responsibility to keep your home clean to discourage pests, to cooperate in the landlord's pest control program, and to report problems to the landlord.

Garbage and Trash Collection

Once a week the city of Columbus collects the garbage and trash from each neighborhood. There is no charge. All trash must be put in covered containers and placed in the designated location on the day your neighborhood's trash is collected. For more information on trash collection in your neighborhood, please visit the Department of Public Service website. Most apartment complexes have large garbage containers that you may use to dispose of your trash. Call (614) 645-8774 to arrange pick up of large items.


RecyColumbus is a program where the City of Columbus collects trash that can be recycled such as cans, lids, flattened cardboard boxes, bottles, paper and cartons. All recyclable trash must be put in the blue covered containers and placed in the designated location every other week on the day your neighborhood's recyclable trash is collected. For more information on recyclable trash collection in your neighborhood, please visit RecyColumbus' website.