OPA Blog

Easy Breezy Air Purifying Plants

In the mid-west the cold of winter can force you to spend much of your time indoors.  Being unable to open the windows to circulate fresh air can trap indoor pollutants in your home, impacting the air you breathe.
Indoor pollutants are a build up of particles, gases and chemicals that effect the air quality in your apartment.
How do you you help counter-act the poor air quality within your own four walls?
Oak Park Apartments suggests introducing indoor house plants into your space.
Keeping indoor plants in your apartment will help to filter the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that create “indoor ozone”.
NASA, the Associated Landscape Contractors of America and The Journal of American Society of Horticultural Science have published extensive studies on the positive effects certain houseplants have on indoor air quality.
Here are 5 easy care houseplants that will help to filter and purify the indoor air you breathe:
All of these plants act to clear out chemicals and pollutants such as: formaldehyde, benzene, carbon monoxide, xylene, which are byproducts of every day items that are part of our space – chemical-based cleaners, paint, furniture, carpets, plastics, personal care products and more.

New Windows Help Defeat Winter At Oak Park Apartments

As a company Oak Park Apartments has made it our mission to not only preserve the historic character of our properties but to improve our buildings in a way that is sustainable for the environment and many more years to come.
One update that makes a huge positive ecological impact is replacement windows. Old windows are one of the biggest single sources of heat loss so by replacing old windows with new, energy efficient ones our properties are better at preserving our Earth’s natural resources. Plus, tenants will also feel so much more comfortable in an apartment that isn’t drafty.
Over the last several years Oak Park Apartments has steadily gone from building to building replacing windows.  Most recently replacing the windows at 301 Oak Park Ave., 302 Washington Blvd., 921 Garfield St., 501 Lombard Ave., 710 N. Austin Blvd. and 1228 N. Austin Blvd – over 1,000 windows exchanged within the last two years.  In fact, only two out of over 45 of our properties have their original windows. ( and those two buildings have historic preservation facade standards that make it trickier for the windows to be replaced.)
So, not only do new windows benefit both our tenants and our Earth in creating a more comfortable and greener place to call home, they are also easier to use and maintain, reduce noise and improve the appearance of the building.  
An all around win, win, win for tenants, property owners and Mother Earth.

Are Your Pets Ready For Winter?

 

 

Winter can pose very real safety hazards for your pets.  By being aware and following these tips you can protect your pets health, plus some of these tips can help people get through winter too!

 

  • Use a humidifier in your apartment.  Winter air is drying for everyone, pets included!

  • Wash and towel dry your pets feet and belly after being in the snow, pay attention to your pets feet, especially in-between the toes. Check for cracks or redness in the paws. Make sure to remove any snow/ice, salt and chemicals.

  • Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells. Washing too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin. If your pooch must be bathed, ask your vet to recommend a moisturizing shampoo and/or rinse.

  • Apply petroleum jelly into paw pads before going outside. This can help protect against exposure to ice melting products your pet will come into contact with when outdoors.

  • Booties are another option to protect paws provide even more coverage and can also prevent salt/ice melt from getting lodged between toes.

  • Beware of antifreeze, it is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Thoroughly clean up any antifreeze spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.

  • Feed your pet a little more during the cold weather months – animals burn more calories just trying to stay warm.

  • Drink plenty of water – this applies to humans as well because winter weather is dry.

  • A Warm bed, off the floor and away from all drafts. Who doesn’t prefer cozy?

How To Avoid Roommate Problems Before You Move In Together

imgres-1Saving money is only one of the pluses of having a roommate.  Not only are you able to split the cost of rent and utilities roommates can:
  • Help expand each others network of friends, especially if you are new to an area.
  • Provide a sense of security for those who might be hesitant to live on there own.
  • Split responsibilities – cleaning, bill paying, taking out the garbage, etc.
And, to be honest, there can also be some definite cons when living with someone, but with a little pre-planning before you sign a lease you may be able to avoid some of the typical roommate drama. The key is to honestly communicate ahead of time and not try to “figure things out as you go.”

To avoid problems here are 3 key points to tackle

before you move in together

  • Decide who pays for what. All things being equal, you should expect to split the rent evenly with your roommate but if bedroom size, closet space or view greatly differ then this needs to be discussed upfront and a rent allocation given to the roommate who agrees to the less desirable space.  Aside from rent, agree on how much each roommate will contribute to other anticipated expenses like utility bills, cleaning supplies, and groceries.
  • Decide who is responsible for what. One person should not have to handle all the #adulting when sharing an apartment. Either split cleaning, shopping, bill paying responsibilities or find another equitable way to balance the tasks that go along with being a tenant.
  • Put it in Writing. Specify, on paper, any and all arrangements, especially monetary – this will serve as a reference point if a disagreement should occur. It also makes sense to discuss and write down some practical compatibility issues regarding schedules, cleanliness, sleeping patterns, pets, sharing belongings, lifestyle choices, etc… before you and your potential roommate sign a lease.
If your potential roommate seems put out when you suggest a written agreement then that could be a roommate red flag, so proceed with caution.

#GivingTuesday

#GivingTuesday – A Good Day to Give

“A global day of giving, fueled by the power of social media and collaboration.”
Tomorrow is #GivingTuesday 2016.

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How will you give?
Your generosity makes an impact.
Last year 116.7 million dollars was raised for many worthy causes.
Oak Park is a community with a lot of charitable options.
Find one you like.
Or ten.
And remember,
Every day is a good day to give.

Shop Locally – The “Rewards” Are Endless

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The holidays are here.  They really do kick into gear the minute you close the door on your last Halloween trick or treater these days.  But instead of getting all “Grinch-y” about it let’s focus on a very important Oak Park holiday positive.

Downtown Oak Park Shopper’s Rewards are back.

This is a program put into place by the Downtown Oak Park Business District to encourage people to shop, dine and be entertained locally – you are literally rewarded for being a loyal, Oak Park shopper.

How does this all work?

You, the shopper, will receive $50.00 in Shopper’s Reward certificates when you bring in receipts totaling $25.00 or more from at least 7 different local participating downtown Oak Park businesses to the Oak Park Visitor’s Center. The grand receipt total must be at least $400.00 and there is a limit of 3 Shopper’s Reward certificate booklets per household – so according to our math, you could literally receive $150 rewards dollars to spend just by shopping locally (and being organized enough with your receipts).

Then, come January 1st through February 15th, you get to go out and spend the rewards you earned by keeping your shopping dollars local at the very same participating Downtown Oak Park businesses.

Whether you need a Lake Theater movie gift certificate for your babysitter, something fun and French from the Careful Peach for your bestie, or a box of Fannie May mint melt-a-ways to bring as a hostess gift to grandma… you can head to Downtown Oak Park and take care of everyone on your shopping list while earning yourself a little post-holiday cha-ching to spend in 2017.

 

What To Do If You’ve Lost Your Apartment Key

imagesLost apartment key?

Don’t panic.

Here’s what you need to do and can expect when living in an Oak Park Apartments property:

If you have lost your key and are locked out of your apartment during normal business hours (M-F, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.), call 708-622-9246 and let the Oak Park Apartments office know the specifics of your lock out issue, where you live and how you can best be reached.

During normal business hours an Oak Park Apartments representative will be able to let you into your apartment – a $25 fee applies.

During the hours of 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. and on weekends the fee increases to $50.00, holidays the charge becomes $75.00.  If you are locked out during these times please call the emergency number at 708-406-8644.

All lock out fees must be paid at the time of service to the OPA representative who is letting you back into your apartment.

If you are locked out after 9 p.m. you must call a locksmith.  You will be responsible for all locksmith charges. Another option would be to find a friend to stay with until normal business hours when we’d be happy to help let you back into your place.

We recommend saving both our non-emergency and emergency contact numbers to your phone in case the need arises.

Turning On The Heat

imgresOak Park Apartments knows that a well informed tenant is a happy tenant! So, we would like to give you a little fyi on how the heating systems work now that the weather has started to turn cooler.
First off Oak Park Apartments is required by the Village of Oak Park to maintain certain building temperatures between September 15th and June 1st. During the day (6:30am – 11pm) your apartment should be at least 70 degrees and at night (11pm – 6:30am) your apartment should be at least 65 degrees.
Now, because daily temperatures can fluctuate greatly here in the midwest in the fall – 52 degrees one day, 71 degrees the next – so will your heat cycles.  The days that are cooler you will notice your heat cycling on and off more frequently to keep your apartment at the right temperature.  On days in the fall, when we are lucky enough to get into the 60’s and 70’s, your heat may not cycle on at all during the day because the outside temperature is so warm.
The sun is a factor as well – on a sunny day your brick apartment building absorbs and retains heat like a champ! Do not be alarmed if your radiators are cold during these warm, sunny fall days – your radiators are doing what they are supposed to do and sensing when the temperature falls below the necessary levels before it signals to the boiler that heat is needed in your apartment.
We also suggest some steps to take to help ensure your apartment stays warm because we know all too well that even colder temperatures are just around the corner:
  • Remove window air conditioning units – we talked specifically about this in last weeks blog – because leaving an A/C unit in your window is like leaving your window wide open.  Not a good thing if you like to be warm.
  • Close your windows, including the storm windows (if you have them – newer windows don’t need storms because of their energy efficiency). Lock your windows, which will ensure the tightest seal possible.
  • Don’t block radiators or radiator vents with furniture. The furniture will absorb the heat instead of allowing it to disperse throughout your apartment.
  • Add insulated curtains to windows and keep them closed on cold/windy days, when you are not ceilingfandirectionat home. When the sun is shining open the curtains to take advantage of the sun’s warmth, especially windows that have a southern exposure.
  • If you have ceiling fans switch them to reverse – since heat rises turning on your ceiling fan after reversing the blade rotation will push heat back down towards the floor.
  • Use a humidifier – humidity holds heat so your apartment will feel warmer with more humidity in the air.
  • Block any door drafts with towel or store bought draft blocker.
  • And last but not least – keep a cozy sweater/sweatshirt handy to throw on when the temps begin to plummet.
If your heat has not cycled on in a while, the outside temperatures are below 60 degrees and the inside of your apartment is colder then the 70 degrees during the day/65 degrees during the night temperature regulations then it is time to call the Oak Park Apartments emergency number  at 708-406-8644.

The Best Way To Keep Your Apartment Warm

images-1We are well into fall with November just around the corner and hey, we are no fools – we know what comes next – the cold.
So why are we being downright cruel by reminding everyone of the inevitable frigid temps when the weather is still pleasant and mild?
Because now is the time to remove those window air conditioning units to make sure your apartment will be warm and cozy when the temperatures do start to drop.
Why go to the hassle of removing those A/C units you ask?
Because it is the number one way to ensure your apartment will be warm during the cold weather.
When window units are not removed and the storm windows not properly closed it’s like leaving a window wide open.  Brrr…
So just follow these simple tips and removing your unit will be a breeze:
  • Wear a long sleeve shirt to protect your arms.
  • Enlist a friend for help if you think you’ll need some extra muscle.
  • Make sure to wear sturdy shoes.
  • Have a screw driver, drill and old towel ready.
  • Unplug the unit.
  • Remove the A/C’s front panel and set aside to better grip the unit.
  • Lay the towel on the floor right below the unit.
  • Check out your window and make sure no one is directly below.
  • Stand on the A/C’s power cord just in case.
  • Firmly hold (here is where a friend comes in handy) unit and begin to unscrew.
  • When all the screws are out lift the window pane (Once again, a friend is a plus at this point).
  • Carefully remove A/C unit and place on a towel on the floor.
  • Close the storm window/actual window.
  • Woot, woot – you did it!!
Not only will you be warmer in your home but you will be helping Mother Earth by conserving energy as well!

The 411 on 911’s at Oak Park Apartments

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Oak Park Apartments provides tenants with a 24/7 emergency contact service in order to report serious situations.  But, there are times when a tenant may ask themselves, “Is this truly an emergency?”
Here is some simple information and guidelines to help determine when you truly have an emergency situation and what your next steps should be.

 

Emergency situations include:

No heat.
Boilers cycle on and off during the heating season, they are not constantly on.  When the boiler has cycled off radiators cool down.  This is a normal part of the heating system and does not mean that there is no heat.
Call Oak Park Apartments emergency number at 708-406-8644 to report a problem:
  • If your heat has not been on for hours and the temperature in your apartment is less than 70 degrees between the hours of 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. and less than 65 degrees between the hours of 11 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.
No electricity.
  • First, check, change or flip your fuses/breakers.
  • Check to see if power is out only in your apartment, the entire building and/or the whole neighborhood – this information can help Com Ed trouble shoot the issue.
  • Next, contact Com Ed to report a problem at their residential service number, 1-800-Edison-1.  It may take Com Ed some time to respond if there has been a major storm.
Gas leak/gas smell. 
  • First, leave your apartment.
  • Next, immediately call Nicor Gas at 1-888-NICOR4U (642-6748).
  • Finally, call Oak Park Apartments’s emergency number, 708-406-8644 to report the problem.
Smell Smoke/See Fire.
  • Call 911 immediately.
Flooding.
  • Call Oak Park Apartments’s emergency service number at 708-406-8644 to report the problem.
For non-emergency services (for example: your toilet is not flushing, you have a slow drain, an appliance is on the fritz, or an outlet is not working) call 708-622-9246 during normal business hours (M-F, 9-5) or go online anytime at Oak Park Apartments to log in a maintenance request.