Maintenance Monday – preventing kitchen fires

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Cooking fires are the most common cause of household fires. Here are eight tips from Apartment Guide to help prevent kitchen fires:

1. Stay in the kitchen. This may seem obvious, but, according to the National Fire Protection Association, unattended cooking is the number one cause of cooking fires. If you must leave a stove unattended, turn off the heat and move the pan to a cool burner.

2. Use a timer. Check food regularly, whether you’re simmering, baking, boiling or roasting. Using a timer can help remind you to check on your dish.

3. Keep the stove top clear. Keep dishtowels, oven mitts, paper towels—anything that can catch fire—away from your stovetop.

4. Dress for the occasion. Wear close-fitting clothes, and tightly roll up sleeves, when you’re cooking. Loose clothing can come in contact with burners and catch fire.

5. Wipe up spills. Cooking on a dirty stove, or in a dirty oven, is just inviting a potential fire. Grease buildup is flammable; clean your stove every time you cook and promptly wipe up any spills.

6. Don’t overheat your oils. Overheated cooking oil can start to smoke and bubble up, which can cause it to spill out and ignite. Not sure about the smoking point for your cooking oils? Refer to this handy chart.

7: Wait for grease to cool before disposing. Toss hot grease into your trashcan and it could go up in flames! Wait for it to cool before disposing of it in the garbage. Or, better yet, pour it into an old food can before tossing it out.

8. Keep your smoke detector working. A smoke detector is an important fire safety device and your first line of defense. Make sure your landlord has installed one. And make a mental note to change the batteries twice a year, when you change your clocks fordaylight savings time.

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Maryland in June, what are you doing?

Summer is almost upon us and the kids are almost out of school. Whether you like festivals, food, movies or music, Maryland has it all this June!

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Baltimore’s annual Hon Fest is next weekend June 14 from 11am to 10pm and June 15 from 12pm to 6pm. The weekend is full of music, food and contests for Bawlmer’s best Hon. For instance, there is a Best Beehive Contest, an Elvis impersonator and of course Maryland crabs.

Speaking of Maryland crabs, the following Saturday is the Chesapeake Crab and Beer Festival at the Inner Harbor on June 21st. It is four hours of all-you-can-eat extravaganza with over 20,000 crabs, many beers, music, crafts and so much more.

For our residents at Burnam Woods Apartments, you can enjoy the Party on the Plaza at the Avenue at White Marsh every Friday and Saturday nights throughout the summer. It is an evening of free music under the summer stars. This week Baltimore Rockabilly plays Friday night and Elikeh plays Saturday night. Music starts at 7pm.

Our residents at Chatham Gardens Apartments can enjoy free outdoor movies every Saturday night throughout the summer in the parking lot behind the Wine Bin on Main Street in Ellicott City. Bring your chair and pack a picnic dinner. Movies start at 9pm. This Saturday the classic Wizard of Oz is playing.

Just down the road, our residents at Old Orchard Apartments can enjoy free music every Friday night throughout the summer at Frederick Road Fridays at 15 Mellor Avenue in Catonsville. Music starts at 6:30pm. This Friday is Out of the Blue is playing.

All of our residents can participate in our Patio and Balcony Contests this June. Get those patios and balconies cleaned up. Management will be coming around to “Judge” all. We’re looking for neatness, creativity, color, etc. Winners will receive a gift card. Chatham Gardens judging will be on June 12th, Old Orchard’s judging will be on June 17th and Burnam Woods’ judging will be on June 20th. Good luck!

Maintenance Monday – keeping your apartment cool

 

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In the coming Summer months, the temperatures will rise and your air conditioner will run and run causing your BGE bills to get more and more expensive. But there are some things you can do to keep your apartment cooler, so your air conditioner won’t run quite as much. Here are some apartment cooling tips from Ron Leshnower at About.com Apartment Living/Rental :

If your apartment becomes uncomfortable or unbearable when it gets hot outside, don’t assume there’s not much you can do about it. Even though you may rent an apartment and have limited control over the building’s air-conditioning system, there are still certain things you can do to help maintain a pleasant environment in your home.

Here are suggestions for keeping cool in your apartment that require little time and effort, don’t cost a cent, and could help reduce the amount of your monthly electricity bill:

1. Close or Open Doors

Depending on your air-conditioning situation, you may need to close or open doors to maximize the amount of cool air in your rental.

For instance, say you’re renting a small one-bedroom apartment and you rely on one air-conditioning unit in your bedroom to keep cool. You should be sure to keep your bedroom door open to allow cool air from your unit to circulate throughout your apartment.

However, if your concern is making sure the bedroom (and not the rest of the apartment) gets enough cool air (such as when you go to sleep at night), you might want to keep the door closed to prevent cool air from seeping out.

2. Close or Open Windows

If you’re running air-conditioning units, you should keep the windows closed. Otherwise, much of the cool air will escape and you’ll add unnecessarily to your electricity bills. If outside temperatures fall significantly (such as at sunset), you might want to open your windows and shut off your air-conditioners to take advantage of a natural, cool breeze.

3. Keep the Sunlight Out

If you’ve got blinds or curtains, keep them closed on hot, sunny days to conserve energy.

Also, if you have air-conditioning units, they’ll have to work that much harder to lower the temperature the more heat that enters through your apartment’s window. When you leave your apartment, don’t forget to shut blinds or close curtains, whether or not you keep your air-conditioners running.

4. Set Your Ceiling Fan to Cool

Many people who buy ceiling fans to cool a room don’t realize that most of these fans have a switch that changes the direction of the blades and actually makes the fans work to keep heat from escaping.

If you’ve got a ceiling fan, find out if your blades are circulating air in the right direction and, if not, how to change it.

5. Move Furniture Away from Air-Conditioning Units

Avoid placing a couch, dresser, or other large pieces of furniture directly in front of or to the side of an air-conditioning unit. Make sure any units in your apartment have enough space to send cool air forward and sideways, ideally at least to a 45-degree angle.