Apartment living in Chicago can be an exceptional experience. There are some extremely gorgeous apartment buildings throughout Chicago that offer a multiplicity of amenities. One of the less glamorous aspects of Chicago apartments is dealing with maintenance issues. If you are in an apartment for long enough, the chances are pretty high that you will have some type of maintenance issue arise; however, it is extremely important to be able to distinguish the difference between a maintenance emergency and a non-emergency.
What is the Difference Between Routine Maintenance and an Emergency?
Routine maintenance is something that does not require immediate attention and can be handled during the normal maintenance department hours. Some examples of normal maintenance are: your bathroom facet dripping or a burner out on your stove. Both are items that are an inconvenience, but neither are hazards to you or your apartment. For routine maintenance you can go a day or two before the item is repaired without it endangering your health or potentially damaging the apartment. Feel free to call us or submit a maintenance form online for these types of maintenance requests.
Emergency maintenance situations are those that need to be addressed immediately and you should call the office immediately during business hours and if it is after hours call the emergency maintenance number. Do not submit an emergency maintenance request online or via email.
What Counts as an Emergency?
No Heat in the Apartment
During the winter months, not having heat in your apartment in Chicago can be considered a life-threatening situation; consequently, this would only be considered an emergency during extreme winter weather. It is important to understand the emergency status only applies to mechanical issues and not disconnection of services by your utility company.
If your refrigerator stops working, even if it is empty, it will start molding causing an odor that may require the entire appliance to be replaced if the issue is not resolved expeditiously. You also risk the contents of your refrigerator spoiling and may have to throw out the contents.
A Clogged Toilet
If the apartment only has one bathroom a clogged toilet constitutes am emergency if you are unable to correct it yourself with a plunger.
No Electricity in Your Apartment
This is only considered an emergency when the problem extends beyond the fuse box or if the fuse box is not located in the apartment, as with some older Chicago apartment buildings where the fuse box is located in the basement behind a locked door. It is important for tenants to familiarize themselves with their fuse box and to know how to turn their power back on if the fuse is tripped. An electrical outage will be considered an emergency only when there is no electrical power throughout the entire apartment and:
- You have called the power company and confirmed that is not their issue
- You have personally confirmed that it is not a circuit breaker issue if you are able to access it
It is important to understand that a partial outage does not constitute an emergency. If certain switches and power sources are not working while others are, this would need to be filed as a regular maintenance order.
Flooding of Your Apartment
Living in an apartment exposes you to water damage due to flooding, even if the source does not originate from your apartment. If you see flooding in your apartment, you should contact the emergency maintenance staff immediately. You should also attempt to move your possession out of harm’s way as much as possible.
Gas Leaks or the Smell of Gas
Should you suspect a gas leak or you detect the scent of gas, the first thing that you should do is contact the gas company to report the issue. Make sure not to use the phone located in the apartment, as the spark from the phone can ignite an explosion if it comes in contact with the fumes. If you suspect that one of your appliances may be leaking gas, make sure to turn off the gas supply. You should be able to locate the turn off valve near the appliance.
Call 911 first! After contacting 911, then make sure to alert the apartment complex maintenance department.
Carbon Monoxide Release
If there is a gas heating system or gas water heater, it is extremely important to have a properly maintained carbon monoxide detector. Should the detector go off, make sure to exit the unit immediately and contact emergency personnel and maintenance personnel as well.
Knowing the difference between what is an emergency and what is not, will ensure that things run as smoothly as possible in your Chicago apartment.