Protecting Your Apartment Wi-Fi: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet

neighbors stealing wifi

Wireless internet service has become quite a luxury. Long gone are the days when you had to make tough choices that pit a tedious dial-up connection against using your home’s landline.

Welcome to the 21st century, where checking for a good hotspot has become second nature. From quick trips to the grocery store to a weekend stay at a friend’s house, you only care about one thing: where’s the Wi-Fi?

To keep others from connecting on the sly, here are some things you can do to keep your wireless network secure.

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Thank You for Not Smoking (in My Apartment)

no smoking in my apartment

Cigarette smoking is still a very common habit in the U.S. According to the latest findings from the American Lung Association nearly 50 million adults over age 18 are smokers.

So what does this have to do with you?

Whether it’s summertime, the holidays or spring break, it’s likely that you’ll welcome visitors into your apartment. Whether they’re staying for a day or a week, you may run into a very uncomfortable issue: how do you ask them not to smoke in your apartment?

You should not feel intimidated in your own home. Your house, your rules! If they can’t deal with not being able to smoke inside, they can find somewhere else to crash.

If being blunt isn’t your style, here’s something to consider. Even if you’ve never lit up yourself, you would still be in harm’s way says the Centers for Disease Control. More than 40,000 people die from exposure to secondhand smoke each year.

So, what can you do?

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8 Simple Pool Rules for a Fun and Safe Summer

swimming pool rules for apartments

Summer is still officially one month away, but swimming pools everywhere will be opening this Memorial Day weekend. Sure, the summer is beach season, but at your apartment community pool, there’s no risk of painful jellyfish stings and hidden dangers lurking in the sand.

So to prepare you for the months ahead, here are eight pieces of advice to help you make the most of pool season before it’s too late!

As cliche as it may sound, we must remind you to keep safety first. Every pool has its own set of rules that need to be followed. They should be clearly posted in the pool area. You, your children and guests should become familiar with the rules to avoid being banned for silly things like splashing, diving or excessive cannonballing. Most importantly, never leave children in the pool unattended – not even for a quick run to the bathroom. Stay in the shallow end of the pool if you have to.

Read more: Practice Proper Pool Etiquette

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Locked Out? 8 Things to Do Before and After Losing Your Key

lost apartment keyIt’s no fun being locked out of your apartment, but it’s bound to happen sooner or later. You walk up to your front door and the key that unlocks your world is nowhere to be found. And where exactly is that handy spare key? Oh, it’s just a few feet away. Inside the hallway junk drawer. You know, inside your apartment.

Nice.

There’s no need to panic. Everything is under control. Breathe. Chances are that Fido actually isn’t tucked away in the closet quietly feasting away on your new blue suede shoes. But then again, anything’s possible.

Okay, enough with the wisecracks. We’re going to tell you how to prevent this inconvenient dilemma from ever happening, so take notes.

Here’s how to prevent locking yourself out:

  1. Appoint a close family member or friend as your keymaster. This basically involves giving a spare key to someone you trust – a lot. This person should also live nearby for your convenience and theirs. Just keep in mind that if you ever go out of town, that person has full access to your place. Make sure it’s not someone who will come over and pour bleach all over your thrift store treasures if the relationship goes south. Sporadic boyfriends and frenemies need not apply. Tip: the spare key should be distinctive so that it doesn’t get lost in a sea of other keys in a messy junk drawer.

  2. Save important numbers in your phone – landlord, building manager, a local locksmith, apartment maintenance staff, police station, etc.

  3. Never leave a spare key under your welcome mat. It’s so predictable and criminals know to look there.

  4. Giving a key to your neighbor is risky, but it is an option. Keep in mind that even if your neighbor is trustworthy, someone else could gain access to your key without your knowledge. Also, when that neighbor moves out, you may not remember to ask for it back.

  5. Is your smartphone protected by a case that’s hard to remove? It’s the perfect place to hide a key!

lost apartment key

Read more: 4 Reasons Why It’s Smart to Meet Your Neighbors

Now if all else fails and you still find yourself keyless, here’s what you can do:

  1. If it’s during business hours, a short walk to your leasing office should solve the problem quickly. If your landlord or superintendent is off-site, a phone call should be enough to get them to swing by and let you in. If it’s after business hours, don’t call your landlord. They shouldn’t have to miss out on sweet dreams because of your mistake. Hopefully there’s a neighbor or a trusty friend who lives nearby who you can crash with until morning.

  2. As an apartment renter, you have to be resourceful. Think about this: if a masked robber wanted to break in and steal your Ikea knick knacks, how would he get in undetected?  Would he climb (safely) up the fire escape and through an unlocked window? Think like a criminal and you may find yourself inside your apartment in no time.

  3. Calling a locksmith should be your absolute last resort. It could take an hour or more for them to arrive, and of course, it’ll be at a premium price. Before you call, be mindful of whether you are trying to gain access to the building versus your individual apartment unit. Some locksmiths choose not to service shared entrances, and others don’t have the ability. Another thing to keep in mind is that if the locksmith damages any door, frame or lock, you will likely have to foot the bill for that.

Read more: How to Assess the Safety of a New Apartment 

Have you ever been locked out? Tell us all about your experience on Facebook!

Photo credit: Flickr creative commons / JustinBaeder

Fire Prevention Tips: 14 Ways to Avoid Setting Your Apartment on Fire

apartment fire safety

Winter may be halfway over, but much of the U.S. is still experiencing some of the most extreme weather on record. Need we remind you? Messy mixtures of snow and ice paired with below freezing temperatures have made it necessary to crank up the heat at home. Staying warm and toasty during the frigid winter months is no doubt a basic human necessity. But as renters get resourceful with their techniques, the risk of disaster lurks.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, how we heat our living spaces is largely to blame for the many fires that take place each year. In 2012 there were reportedly 97,000 apartment structure fires resulting in 380 deaths. If there’s any silver lining to highlight, it’s that, possibly due to increased awareness or prevention methods, the number of fire-related apartment deaths has fallen by over 62 percent since 1980.

Heating your small space is a must, but the right safety precautions have to be in place to avoid a potential life-threatening catastrophe. Below, we outline some of the main causes of apartment fires and how you can prevent one from setting your humble abode ablaze.

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Dollar Store Haul: Create a $10 Emergency Car Kit

It was just two weeks ago when the heart of Atlanta was paralyzed by what’s been dubbed many things – “Snowmageddon”, “Snowpocalypse”, “Snow Jam” and “South Parked”. Well played, late night comedians. In fact, there are still dozens of horror stories being recounted around the water cooler right here at Apartment Guide’s metro Atlanta headquarters.

snowpocalypse Atlanta

Well, here we go again. A severe winter weather alert has already been issued across the South as far west as Houston, TX and stretching past Atlanta up into northeastern Virginia. A healthy mix of rain, sleet, snow and ice are to be expected. And apparently it’s going to be even more of a whammy than last time.

Read more: Identify Safe Locations in Your Apartment Building for Sitting Out Bad Weather

We cannot control dear old Mother Nature, but we can prepare for her wrath. Thousands of drivers were stuck in their cars for hours on end without the essentials that would have made the ordeal a tiny bit less exasperating. Let’s be honest – an emergency car kit isn’t something you really think about until after you need it. And, as we vividly recall here in Atlanta, even the trusty roadside assistance service you pay for might not always be able to swoop in and save the snow-filled day.

So to help you get ready for another roadside mishap, we took a trip to the dollar store and gathered some potentially life-saving items that will come in handy if you ever find yourself stuck in your car for an extended period of time.

Reminder: Each item pictured here cost just $1.00!

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Renters Insurance: What You Need to Know

Insurance for your rental apartment can do a lot -- and really add to your peace of mind!

Insurance for your rental apartment can do a lot — and really add to your peace of mind!

You might think you can get away without buying renter’s insurance — and you may have plenty of excuses for why you don’t need it:

  • Your landlord already has insurance.

  • You don’t want another monthly expense.
  • You’re not required to carry it.

Sound familiar?

But we’re betting you’d throw those excuses right out the window if you truly understood the kind of protection that renter’s insurance offers.

If you have an apartment and you don’t have this protection, there are a few things you really should know about the benefits of carrying renter’s insurance. Read on!

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Protect Your Holiday Gifts with a Home Inventory

Planning on racking up the gifts this holiday season? In case of emergency, inventory them and the rest of your belongings with an app on your phone.

Will you be receiving new electronics, jewelry or other big-ticket items as gifts this holiday season? And (hint, hint), will you also be getting the receipts?

The holidays are an ideal time to take a home inventory and make sure all your pricey new gifts will be protected in the event of a loss: a fire, a burst pipe due to freezing, a natural disaster or even theft.

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8 Tips to Prevent Kitchen Fires

Prevent kitchen fires by using these eight tips.

Don’t let your next dinner party go up in smoke! Cooking fires are the most common cause of household fires, and you don’t have to own a commercial-sized Viking range to feel the heat.

From grease spills to stray dishtowels, even a tiny cooktop in a studio apartment can set a blaze. Follow these eight tips to reduce your risks for an apartment kitchen fire.

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