Confessions of a First-Time Renter: Stoves, Smoke Alarms and (Feelings of) Security

smoke in apartment

Beep! Beep! Beep!

The shrill sound of my smoke alarm shook me out of my brief moment of confusion. Ten seconds earlier, I’d opened the door to my preheating oven and encountered a small cloud of smoke. So much for a quick dinner…

Needless to say, the next few minutes were a frantic blur: windows opened, back door flung wide open, fans set on high. I silently mused about the irony of the situation while vigorously flapping a hand towel to disperse the smoke.

Why the irony? Earlier that day – my first official day in my new apartment – I had called my insurance agent and told him I needed my own auto and renters insurance. My agent delivered: I was given a quote within 30 minutes, and all of my coverages were thoroughly explained to me. I felt confident signing the dotted line because everyone had been so helpful.

What wasn’t helpful, however, was my oven having a mind of its own when I wanted to cook. Turns out, it just needed a good cleaning. And that was the last of it, right?

Wrong. Sure enough, two weeks later, one of the pilot lights on my stove top went out as well. (Did I mention this thing is a dinosaur?) Let’s just say that the fact that I could smell a little gas was not comforting in the least. Panic ensued until I discovered that it’s common to smell some gas when the pilot light goes out on older stove models. Turns out there’s an easy fix to that too – just relight it. (No, your hand will not blow off, my mom assured me when I called her freaking out.)

Renting has truly been a learning experience so far. And aside from the time my overzealous oven hated on my pizza rolls and set off THREE smoke alarms, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Knowing that I had insurance to cover my stuff in case my oven has a meltdown really took a weight off my shoulders. And I learned a valuable lesson when it comes to gas stoves: If you smell it, say something.

While my situation wasn’t serious, some are. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so call your gas company or your landlord (I called my maintenance guy) and get it taken care of ASAP!

Speaking of gas–I had to contact the utility company to have it turned on when I moved in. Tune in later for my next post when I offer a complete list of the utilities you need to handle when you move.  

So my oven and I have a love/hate relationship with my smoke alarms…and I’m not burning anything. /blog/alex-first-time-renter Erie Insurance