Top 5 Apartment DIY Skills Every Renter Should Know

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What to Do If Your Apartment Floods

Flooding is, to put it mildly, no fun. Between the amount of damage typically done, the stress of dealing with repairs and trying to get back to normal, there’s a lot to cover.

While we can’t help you deal with the stress directly, these precautions and additional information should give you a better idea of what you’d need to do before, during and after you have a flooded apartment.


The first thing is preparing for the possibility of any kind of damage by getting renters insurance that includes a flood policy covered under the National Flood Insurance Program.

The whole thing is usually no more than a few hundred dollars per year, and it covers you from floods, fire and theft. It isn’t a legal requirement, but some property managers will ask you to get it. Considering the low cost for the level of coverage you’ll get, it’s worthwhile.

Catching problems before they happen

To address the possibility of water damage and a flooded apartment more directly, keep an eye out for drips and leaks. You also want to watch for the appearance of water stains or mold growth, signs of a previous water leak. This includes checking the walls and ceiling when it rains and periodically looking at faucets and pipes in the kitchen and bathrooms.

Report anything you see to your property manager since these are issues they’ll need to repair. Make sure you have the emergency phone number for your building saved and accessible. It isn’t only good for flooding, but anything that happens unexpectedly and needs immediate attention.

Securing your belongings

While the likelihood of a flood is low, it’s still a good idea to keep valuable items away from the most obvious places they’d get wet. “The easiest way to keep smaller items safe is with a waterproof, fireproof box. These safes come in a variety of sizes. You will want to consider what items are most important to you before deciding on the size,” says Soil Away, a disaster restoration company.

Keep items like electronics off the floor if they’re near the kitchen or bathroom as well. These strategies both protect your valuables and also give you more time to get to things if the water is rising and you need to grab and go.

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During the flood

When the flooding starts, get everything you can away from the path of the water. Take what valuables you can and move them into your car, into another room or into a neighbor’s apartment — anything to keep them dry.

Next, call that emergency maintenance number you’ve saved, as well as the management company itself. They should respond immediately, but if not, you may have to take matters into your own hands, contacting a plumber or other repair person.

While you wait for help to arrive, try to get things under control. Attempt to seal the leak if you can reach it and have the right materials. Use plastic bins or any other containers you have to contain as much water as possible.

After the flood

Unfortunately, the stress of a flooded apartment doesn’t end once the leak is fixed. Now you have to try and pick up the pieces, get things repaired and get back to life as normal. Sorting this out involves insurance claims and a close review of the terms of your lease.

Since you have to establish who handles what, there can be some confusion, so it’s important to know what general areas are more likely whose responsibility.

Documenting the damage

The first step after a flood is documenting all the damage that occurs. This is both for your insurance company and for your property manager to have. Take photos of both your damaged items and visible damage on walls or ceilings. Save all damaged property until an insurance adjuster is able to come out and document the damage. Don’t throw anything away until they give you the all-clear.

Establishing responsibility

Damage to the building itself normally falls under the property owner’s insurance. The actual structure and anything that comes with the unit like carpet or appliances are also covered. You’re responsible for your personal property, and having flood damage as part of your renters insurance should make dealing with that easier.

Exceptions to this breakdown occur when flooding happens because your property manager didn’t fix a known issue. In that case, they may end up paying to replace your own property. The opposite is also true if something you did caused the flooding. In this instance, you might have to pay for all the damage, including damage to the building itself. If there’s any conflict, don’t hesitate to consult a lawyer.

Terminating the lease

If the flooded apartment ends up with too much damage to remain livable, you may have the right to terminate your lease without penalty. If your property owner has another, equivalent apartment available, you could try and negotiate a move into that unit, signing a new lease. You could also try and work out a temporary living situation while your apartment is getting repaired.

Your lease should have a section on termination, but you can also research the local renter laws in your area to get a better idea of what your rights are. If you can’t work out a deal with your current property owner, it may be best to find a new place to live altogether.

flooded streetflooded street

Common causes of flooding

Flooding can happen anywhere, beginning from a natural phenomenon or from within your own apartment. Common sources of flooding include:

  • Heavy rain: “Heavy rainfall is more than 0.30 inches of rain per hour,” according to Weather Shack. Rain at this rate can overflow streams, drains and even entire sewer systems. This backs everything up, sending water overflowing into homes and apartment buildings.
  • Clogged or frozen pipes: Plumbing is often the internal culprit when it comes to flooding. Clogged pipes mean water can’t drain properly, so it comes back up into sinks, bathtubs or toilets. In the extreme cold, pipes can freeze, as well. When they thaw, they can end up bursting, sending water spraying. Issues like these going unchecked can lead to flooding.
  • Drainage basins in urban areas: Large cities like New York and Los Angeles use concrete drainage basins, which don’t provide a place for groundwater to get absorbed. In heavy rains, these basins can overflow, creating street flooding that can spread into the first few floors of buildings.
  • Leaky roofs: What may start out as a small crack in the ceiling can quickly become an access point for water to drip down if it’s not addressed. Any small imperfection in your ceiling should be reported immediately to your property manager for repairs.

“Just in case” is enough risk to prepare

Nobody likes to think about the disaster a flood could cause in their home, but it’s a risk to think it could never happen to you. In fact, 14,000 people in the U.S. experience some kind of water damage at home or at work every day according to Water Damage Defense.

Whether a little leak or a full-on deluge, some preparation and a deeper understanding of how easy it is to be ready, can help you can get ahead of the stressful situation that’s possible from a flooded apartment.

Read more about keeping your apartment safe:




Simple Ways to Unclog a Toilet Without a Plunger

There are quite a few maintenance issues that can pop up around your apartment, which you can easily take care of yourself. With the right combination of know-how and tools, you should succeed in making most simple repairs. However, what happens when you’re missing an essential tool?

Here’s a scenario: It’s Sunday evening in your one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment. A few friends come over for a casual dinner. After the meal, you’re all sitting around when one guest comes out of the bathroom with an uncomfortable look on their face. “The toilet won’t flush…sorry.” No problem, you think as you go for the plunger. Until you remember you don’t currently have one. What do you do now?

Head to the kitchen

bleach being poured into measuring cupbleach being poured into measuring cup

For an immediate fix, simple household items are all you need. Regular dish soap that you should have sitting on your sink and some hot water may do the trick. Pour about half a cup of dish soap directly into the toilet and let it sit for about 30 minutes.

This works because the soap helps lubricate the clogged pipe allowing materials to go down easier. At this point, you can try flushing and see if that works. If not, grab two cups of hot water and add it to the bowl. Make sure the water isn’t boiling. Water that hot can crack the porcelain. If it’s a tough clog, you should use the soap then water before attempting a flush.

For really tough clogs, your kitchen can still be your best resource. If available, try combining bleach and powdered dishwasher soap. Combine two or three cups of regular household bleach with about one cup of powdered dishwasher soap and pour into the toilet. Wait about 10 minutes before attempting to flush. This method is also good to try if you’re dealing with a very full toilet.

Go organic

baking soda and vinegarbaking soda and vinegar

Working in the same way the dish soap does, only with a different set of ingredients, use this mixture with hot water to unclog your toilet. Combine one cup of baking soda with two cups of vinegar. Be prepared for the mixture to fizz as it’s working.

Let it sit for 30 minutes before adding the hot water, then flush. This option is especially good if you have a septic system. Bleach and certain soaps can harm septic tanks.

Grab a closet staple

wire hangerswire hangers

Ending up with a particularly stubborn clog may mean abandoning your kitchen and going to your closet for the right supplies. Take a wire coat hanger, like the ones from the dry cleaners, and straighten it out.

Then, with a little muscle, push one end into the clogged area, giving it a few prods. You should feel the clog start to loosen up before you flush and watch things get sucked away.

When you need to be discreet

jar of epsom saltjar of epsom salt

Should you find yourself in a situation where you don’t want anyone to know you’ve clogged the toilet, common bathroom items may handle the issue. Keep things discreet by using these to handle your clog:

  • Bath Bomb: if you can find one, simply drop it into the bowl and watch it dissolve over a few minutes. Like with the dish soap, it should loosen things up and allow you to flush.
  • Epsom salts: check under the sink for this bathroom staple. Sprinkle in a decent amount, watch it fizz like the bath bomb and hopefully get results.
  • Toilet Brush: while not as sturdy as a plunger, it can be used in much the same way. Push the brush into the drain hole as best you can and give it a few good pumps. Don’t forget to rinse the brush thoroughly as the clog drifts down the drain.

Remember – no plunger, no worries. Your toilet will flush clear again thanks to a variety of items typically found around your apartment.




How to Turn Your Home Into the Ultimate Haunted House

Trick-or-treat! Halloween is around the corner and, besides watching horror movies, the best way to get into true spooky spirit is to decorate.

Pick pumpkins for a hint of Halloween spirit, or put in a lot of effort so that you have the spookiest house on the block. WARNING: Even the bravest trick-or-treaters may stay away this year.

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1. Pick a theme: You may want to pick a unique theme such as a haunted graveyard or a vampire’s den. Staying within a theme will make it easier to find the right decorations and make your house stand out.

2. Eerie atmosphere: Attack the five senses. Create an eerie feeling in your home by hanging dimmed twinkle lights, setting up a smoke machine, and adding sound effects like screams and ominous music. You’ll spook your guests the moment they walk through the door!

3. Creative, scary props: Mix and match with bigger and smaller props. For the bigger ones, choose something that will bring a spookier feel to the house, like (fake) body parts strewn across the room or hologram wall photos that seem to be staring into your soul. Choose smaller props like (fake) spider webs, a (fake) pool of blood, or even (fake) hanging bats.

4. Dress up: Ask family, friends, and neighbors to help scare your guests. Ask them to dress up as spooky creatures that match your theme.

5. Main attraction: Having a big finish at the end of your haunted house can be the icing on the (poisonous) cake. Set up something big that will give your guests goose bumps, like a haunted laboratory with a monster, or a graveyard scene.

Get ready to scare anyone who is brave enough to enter. You may end up having a lot of leftover candy to eat. The scariest thing in your future may be a trip to the dentist.

Recommended Reading:

-5 Ways to Make Your Home Cozy for Fall-5 Zombie-Proof Houses Your Family Won’t Be Caught Dead In-First Impressions: Door Decor For Fall


5 Ways to Make Your Home Cozy for Fall

It’s officially fall! Break out your sweaters, boots, hot apple cider, and other fall essentials. Make your home cozy and comfortable so you can enjoy family game nights, carving pumpkins, and curling up with a good book.

5 Ways to Make Your Home Cozy for Fall image 1

Use these tips to make your home snug and homey.

1. Candles: Lighting a candle, especially one that gives off a fall scent, such as pumpkin or apple spice, will help you relax after a long day. Scented candles fill a room with a sweet or spicy aroma, give an extra bit of light, and add a calming effect to your house. They instantly make any fall night cozier. (For safety never leave burning candles unattended).

2. Plush throw blankets: Placing a fleece or knitted blanket on your couch will instantly add a warm feeling to your home. Curling up under a blanket on a cool night, while your scented candles are lit, makes all the difference. As an added bonus, this is a great way to add color and decoration to your furniture.

3. Switch your curtains: During the summer months, you keep your window treatments as light as possible to cool off your home. Now with a cold breeze in the air, warm up with a heavier material. This adds natural warmth and coziness to the room. Go the extra mile and make the curtains a deep, warm color like chocolate brown to really bring the season into your home.

4. Add a fabric table runner: Sitting down at your dining room table can sometimes feel too formal and bare tables don’t add anything extra to the room. Change the dynamic by adding a seasonal table runner. This brings a homely feel and makes any family dinner feel more festive.

5. Layer your area rugs: Putting more than one area rug in a room will give an added cushion, perfect for lounging on the floor and watching television on a chilly night. More than one rug also means more warmth so the chill that wooden floors bring won’t be an issue this season. Opt for a color like orange or brick red to tie the look together.

Incorporating these fun, cozy fall ideas into your home is a great way to change up your decor, while also creating the perfect atmosphere for you and your family. Now pour some hot chocolate or hot apple cider and gather around for game night.