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Construction Season Used to End

Once upon a time, there was a season called “construction season”.  This season used to start in the spring and end in the fall.   It was a time of congestion, frustration, and a lot of road rage.   In recent years, this so-called “season” has ballooned into a year-round, nonstop period of seemingly-endless construction.   It seems that there’s always work taking place in the city of Chicago.  Year-round residents are subjected to street closers, detours, pot holes, new gas lines, new water lines, and construction workers clumsily directing traffic.

 

In Lakeview, there are the never-ending Wrigleyville construction projects.  The Cubs organization are improving their stadium, they’ve built an administration building, they’ve built a hotel, and other structures with which they are not involved are being built as well.  Within half a mile of the stadium, dozens of other job sites are underway that make walking and driving more difficult.

 

Lincoln Park is just starting to see the end of years of construction.  DePaul University has built new buildings and the old Children’s Hospital is near completion.   Several more years of construction will occur before all projects are completed.   The final product will greatly alter and improve this classic neighborhood.

 

These are two examples of what Chicago residents are experiencing in every neighborhood year-round.  While this is a nuisance and a source of understandable frustration, it is ultimately a great thing.

 

All these projects are signs that the city of Chicago is constantly improving and growing.  They help to improve streetscapes and neighborhoods.   These new developments can add more retail spaces, allow neighborhoods to be more densely populated with a diverse array of people, and replace properties that are in poor shape with new ones that meet today’s needs.   We always hope that old and architecturally-significant buildings will be rehabbed.   Sadly, however, this is not always the case when it comes to some of Chicago’s most beautiful and historic buildings.  If every building in Chicago stayed the same, then the older buildings wouldn’t be as majestic.  Even though losing some of them can be painful, that just makes it all the more special when the truly amazing buildings survive.

 

Living in a city of constant change and development has its pros and cons.   Getting around can be taxing, especially during peak traffic hours.  The noise that once stopped in the winter now pounds our eardrums 365 days a year.  And yet, as a result, we have a constantly evolving city packed with beautiful new building that offer new stores, housing, and attractions.  These changes provided Chicago residents with Millennium Park, Navy Pier, Water Tower Place, North Avenue, and the Halsted intersection.  The new Wrigleyville may be a headache to develop, but we are very excited to see the new and improved streetscape it will provide.

 

Change is constant, so try and enjoy it!

Do It Yourself Home Maintenance Tips

Renters in Chicago can always contact their landlords with regard to maintenance requests large and small.  However, there are some maintenance items that tenants can easily address themselves.   Knowing how to handle these DIY maintenance items can make a tenant’s life much easier:

 

  1. Flip a circuit breaker – circuit breakers are switches, buttons, or fuses that channel electricity from the utility company to separate areas of a home.   If power goes out in certain rooms or areas of a home, the breaker that controls the flow of power to that area has popped to prevent a power surge.   To fix this problem, all a person needs to do is find their circuit breaker panel, find any switch that is not firmly in the on position, flip it and hold it to the off position, and then flip it and hold it to the on position.   This will restore power to the area.   If a fuse box is present, a new fuse must be purchased to screw into the socket containing the popped fuse.  (If you guessed the circuit breakers are much more convenient, they are — fuse boxes have become very rare.)  Helpful Link – https://youtu.be/3B1xTgLfQgI

 

 

  1. Plunge a toilet – A toilet plunger should be a required item for all homes/apartments.   If a toilet gets clogged from too much human waste, too much toilet paper, or items that are not supposed to go into a toilet (feminine hygiene products, paper towels, rags, clothes, wipes, toys, jar lids, or anything that is not human waste or toilet paper), a plunger will be needed.  A plunger needs to have a round rubber end large enough to fully cover the drain hole at the bottom of the toilet.   Plunging a toilet involves more than just pushing the plunger down once or twice.  The plunger should be pushed up and own vigorously for between 15 and 30 seconds.   If the toilet is still clogged, it should be plunged again for another vigorous period of 15 to 30 seconds.  If the toilet is still clogged after that, a plumber or landlord may be needed.    Helpful Link – https://youtu.be/wT5C09JvkAU

 

  1. Replacing batteries in detectors – All homes must have a carbon monoxide and smoke detector, or a “combo” detector that does both.  In Chicago, these detectors are required to be placed within a certain distance of any bedroom, as well as any products that may produce carbon dioxide.    Some detectors only function by battery power, while others have batteries and are connected to the wired electricity in a home.   Regardless of the type of detector, the batteries will run out of power over time, even if the detector is plugged into the wire electricity of your apartment.  When this happens, the detector will begin to chirp once at a constant interval.  This is a signal that the battery needs to be replaced.  Replacing the detector’s batteries may require use of a stool or ladder, so it’s always a good idea to have one in your home so that anyone can reach their detector, find the battery compartment, and replace the AA/AAA/9V battery.   This will stop the chirp and keep the detector working effectively.  Helpful link – https://youtu.be/qSPENd-XTPo

 

 

  1. Changing a furnace filter – If a home/apartment has central heat or central air, the system has a furnace filter.  This filter collects dust and debris from the vent system and stops it from getting on the heating and cooling system’s sensitive equipment.  If the filter is left in too long, it will get clogged.  Over time, a clogged furnace filter can cause the system to overheat and eventually break.   A furnace filter costs between $1 – $20 per filter.     Per any Seminary Properties apartment lease, the filter should be changed monthly.   This helps protect the heating and cooling system, which helps to keep electric and gas bills lower.   For help finding and changing your furnace filter, you can consult an HVAC specialist, the owner’s manual, speak to the landlord, or review the Seminary Properties Frequently Asked Questions page.   In most cases, the replacement process is as easy as sliding out the old filter and sliding in the new filter.  (https://www.seminaryproperties.com/faq/#maintenance-q8).  Helpful Link –  https://youtu.be/SGYrVgFSzV4

 

  1. Replacing a light bulb – Seminary Properties makes sure every light bulb in an apartment is working at the start of the lease.   As the lease continues, light bulbs will burn out.   The traditional incandescent bulbs have an average lifespan of 750 hours, or 30 days, of being on full-time.  This is an average, so bulbs can last for less time or for much longer than that.   Different types of bulbs, such as florescent, halogen, or LED bulbs, can last months or even years.    If the bulb goes out, replacing it is as easy as turning it righty tighty or lefty loosey to remove and replace them.  Oftentimes, the hardest part is accessing the bulb from within light fixture covers.   If you are unable to figure out how to remove the cover yourself, feel free to consult with your landlord.  Helpful link – https://youtu.be/KQJALywkB4U

 

  1. Dishwasher – Dishwashers are a very popular invention that has become a very common sight in many apartments.   However, it is also common for tenants to say that the dishwasher is not cleaning dishes fully.   Sometime these maintenance requests can have a legitimate cause; however, roughly around 80% of the time, Seminary Properties finds that tenants are not rinsing food debris from their dishes before loading the dishwasher.   Any items on plates, cups or other utensils that enter the dishwasher will slow, damage or clog the pump and drain.   This will result in dishes not getting cleaned or standing water in the bottom of the dishwasher after it completes its cycle.   Dishwashers are wonderful and hard-working appliances, but they are not intended to remove food from items.

 

  1. Locking a door – Seminary Properties operates in the City of Chicago.   Chicago is an amazing city with boundless opportunities; however, it is also a city with a criminal element.  Every apartment door that Seminary Properties manages has a knob lock and deadbolt.   Frequently, it is found that tenants only use their knob lock to secure their homes.   While these locks are easier to lock, they are not as strong as a deadbolt and are much easier to open without a key.   For the safety of your family and home, you should always engage every lock available on a door or window.   Why have the second or third lock and not use it?

 

  1. Windows – A home or apartment without a window is a rare sight indeed.   In fact, in the City of Chicago, a home or apartment is required to have a window by law.   These windows are great for light and air, but they also provide security, which is why all windows are also required to have locks.  These locks are pointless if they are not used.   There are many types of locking mechanisms on windows, but no matter what type of lock is present, make sure the lock parts line up and are engaged.   In addition to safety, this also helps to ensure that inclement weather stays outside your home.  It is common for residents to open their windows in the summer and close them during the winter; however, we often find that they do not take the time to line up the locking mechanism and lock the lock.   Over time, gravity can pull the top window pane down allowing outside temperatures open access into a home.   Why heat a home to 70 degrees, only to leave windows ajar, bringing in frigid winter temperatures?     Take the time to make sure the lock mechanism lines up between the two window panes and lock the window for safety and comfort.  Helpful link – https://youtu.be/430UvsgjwVc

 

 

These are the eight most common work requests or contributing factors to resident concerns that Seminary Properties encounters.   Even though Seminary Properties feels these are all situations most tenants can handle, we do offer the service to resolve them.   It is up to the individual to address the problem at the time of discovery, or to take the longer option of submitting a maintenance request so that Seminary Properties can address it.

An Amazing Experience in Lakeview!

Some people consider Lakeview to be Lincoln Park’s little brother, but this charming neighborhood has always been able to stand on its own and is definitely worth living in or visiting.

 

The area of Lakeview is confusing to some because it is comprised of many smaller neighborhoods that have their own names and reputations.   Over the past 30 years, the larger community of Lakeview has come to be defined by the many smaller locations inside of it.  These areas include Wrigleyville, Southport Corridor, Lakeview East, Boystown, Lakeview West, Graceland West, Belmont Harbor, and more, and each is appealing in its own special way. No matter what part of Lakeview you find yourself strolling through, however, there’s sure to be plenty of wonderful options for shopping, dining, and entertainment.

 

Lakeview is popular in part due to its accessibility.  The “L” runs its Purple, Red and Brown lines through the neighborhood with multiple stops for residents and visitors alike.   Lakeview also has numerous bus lines that make it a breeze to quickly travel north, south, east, or west.   If you prefer to travel by car, Lake Shore Drive (US Route-41) is a convenient way to travel north or south.  Lakeview is also accessible to the Edens (I-94) and I-90 (Kennedy) expressways, so it’s easy to get around no matter which way you choose to do so.

 

Convenience is only one of the many attributes that makes Lakeview a wonderful neighborhood.  The area is also home to hundreds of dining options.  The plethora of restaurants on Broadway St., Clark St., Halsted Ave., and Southport Ave. are easy to walk to and ready to serve up delicious food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Even picking any of these streets at random is sure to lead you to a variety of dining options featuring various styles of cuisine – or, if you aren’t hungry, you can check out the streets’ shops, theaters, and bars and cafés.

 

While it’s true that most communities in Chicago offer access to transportation, dining and shopping, Lakeview is a special neighborhood with unique opportunities for its visitors and residents.   Lakeview is home to over ten street festivals every summer that include art, music, parades, food, and LGBTIQ representation.  There’s plenty of fun and excitement to be had when you’re visiting any of Lakeview’s fantastic festivals.

 

Lakeview is also home to the Chicago Cubs, and it is their presence that has created the area known as Wrigleyville.  Wrigleyville has changed significantly over the past ten years; today, it includes not only the stadium, but also bars, eateries, and Gallagher Way (https://www.gallagherway.com/), a lawn outside the stadium that host summer movies, yoga, events, winter ice skating, and Christkindlmarket (http://www.christkindlmarket.com/).

 

Lakeview is also home to its own section of Lake Michigan.  The lakefront is full of running and biking baths, 9-hole golf, green space, a dog park, the marina, tennis courts, sports fields, and artwork.   The benefits of this incredible amenity cannot be fully appreciated until they’re experienced firsthand, so it’s definitely worth visiting the lakeshore for a day of fun and leisure.

 

Lakeview’s Belmont Theater district has nearly 20 independently-owned theaters.   The area offers movie theaters on Southport (https://musicboxtheatre.com/) and additional theaters for comedy and other shows.

 

Lakeview is a proud community of Chicago that is more than capable of standing toe to toe with its so-called “big brother”, and it is well worth experiencing as a guest or resident.  A visit to Lakeview is a quintessential Chicago experience.

What Can a Drain Handle?

Indoor plumbing is an overlooked amenity that most of the world has come to take for granted.   People everywhere drain or flush items and liquids with little appreciation for the engineering marvel they’re making use of.   Over time, it has become expected that drains can tolerate being filled with all kinds of items and subjected to many situations for which they are simply not designed.   This entry will be taking a look at several different appliances with plumbing in most households and breaking down what they can and cannot handle.

 

Kitchen sinks – Amateur chefs, home cooks, and microwave experts all have one thing in common: they will eventually need to put dishes into their kitchen sink.  A kitchen could have a single basin sink, double basin sink, or multiple sinks.  Some sinks have garbage disposals; others do not.  Generally, however, kitchen sinks are designed to handle water and other liquids only.   Small food particles that can fit through the drain grates are fine, but food items that need to be pushed through the grate are beyond the drain’s intended use.

 

Some people may believe that, because they have a garbage disposal, they can put anything they want down their drain.   This is wrong.   Garbage disposals will jam and break when forced to slice up larger items, seeds, meats, skins, and non-foods.  If a garbage disposal fails, the sink will no longer drain.

 

In the case of a sink without a garbage disposal, any food items that go down the drain will eventually clog it and require a plumber to fix it.   That can result in a period of time where the sink is not functioning properly or at all.  In a worst-case scenario, the food can clog the drain stack, the vertical drain into which each individual drain feeds its waste.   If this happens, any water from apartments or water-using rooms above will flow into the stack, into the obstruction, and back-up into the nearest opening – which is likely the kitchen sink. It is not fun to have black water with debris rising up into your kitchen sink and possibly overflowing.

 

To avoid these problems, always clean plates, utensils, and cooking devices of all food debris in the trash before rinsing them in the sink.

 

Dishwasher – Historically-speaking, the dishwasher is a relatively new appliance that often suffers its fair share of abuse at the hands of users who may be unaware of its capabilities and limitations.  A dishwasher is designed to clean and sanitize an item.  The appliance will rinse and clean items and use a pump to push the dirty water into a drain, which leads into a plumbing stack.   If items being placed in a dishwasher are not clean of food debris, these items get rinsed and flow into the pump.  The pump is not built to push anything but liquid through itself.   As a result of debris being left on items, the pump will jam and even break, leaving standing water in the dishwasher.   The appliance can be repaired, but it requires a specialist who may be unable to resolve the issue for days at a time.   Why get a home with a dishwasher, abuse it, and have to resort to washing dishes by hand?   Instead, clean items of food debris and rinse them before putting them in the dishwasher.   The dishwasher is made to sanitize items, not clean them of leftover mashed potatoes.

 

Bathroom sink – Bathroom sinks are the least-abused drain in a home.  They are made to drain liquids and, luckily, people don’t clean their dishes in them.   Instead, they get build up from makeup, soap, shaving foam, toothpaste, and toiletries.   All of this is fine for the drain, but it will eventually cause a build-up that will cause the sink to drain less effectively, or even back up.  If this happens, do not use Drain-O products.   Again, DO NOT USE DRAIN-O PRODUCTS IN ANY DRAIN!  Drain-O is a kind of acid that cannot remove physical blockages from your drain, and only damages the drain over time.  Instead, just remove the drain cover and use a long screw driver and drain-clearing device to clear the debris.     If you are lucky enough to have a landlord, they should be able to resolve any problems with the drain very quickly.

 

Bathtub or shower drains – We cannot advise you strongly enough to NOT USE DRAIN-O PRODUCTS IN ANY DRAIN! Shower and tub drains are intended to drain the water, soap, shampoo, conditioner, skin flakes, and other grime and dirt from your body.   These drains will slow over time due to hair and the other, previously-mentioned items.    If a drain is clogged with hair and other build up, Drain-O products will not dissolve or remove the hair.   The only way to resolve the problem is to remove the blockage, which can be accomplished with products readily available at your local home improvement or hardware store.   If you have a landlord, they should be able to resolve most problems from these drains easily and quickly.  In severe cases, a plumber may be needed, but 80% of the time, a drain can be cleared without the assistance of a professional.

 

 

Toilets – What’s not to love about toilets?  There’s no other item in your home that so efficiently collects and disposes of the human body’s most disgusting byproducts, whether that’s “number one”, “number two”, or the messy aftermath of food poisoning or a stomach virus. What’s more, the toilet is also designed to flush the toilet paper used to clean up after these messes.  The aforementioned items are the only things that should ever be flushed down a toilet.   It is not designed for thick paper like wet wipes or paper towels.   It cannot flush cleaning products, hair extensions, nails, bottles, caps, or toys.  All people should have a plunger and know that it takes 10 to 30 seconds of vigorous plunging to clear a blockage from too much toilet paper or human waste.   If paper towels, bottles, toys, or any other item falls in the toilet, most of the time that means a new toilet is needed.   A person can try to plunge or auger to clear the toilet obstruction, but it will only fix the problem 20% of the time. Replacing a toilet can cost hundreds of dollars, so it’s always worthwhile to avoid dropping anything into a toilet that shouldn’t be there.

 

Only put human waste and toilet paper down a toilet.   Don’t put feminine hygiene products, sponges, paper towels, wet wipes, or anything else down there.   This will keep the toilet functioning, which is essential now that the age of outhouses and chamber pots is, thankfully, well behind us.

 

 

Plumbing is a wonderful invention that will serve you well if your plumbing appliances are treated with care.

Seminary Properties and Management, Ltd.

Seminary Properties and Management, Ltd. is an apartment management company that strives to give fast, attentive service to all our residents and the properties we serve.  We feel it is our mission to provide equal and fair treatment to all tenants.    Accessibility, service, and fairness are the core tenets of our customer service philosophy.

 

Accessibility: Seminary Properties understands that a modern property management company needs to keep pace with the constant growth and development of new technologies, so we always strive to offer new options to tech-savvy tenants while retaining some classic business qualities.   We offer our tenants online mobile access so that they can review their account, sign and renew leases, submit maintenance requests, pay rent, and update their information anytime. However, for those times when speaking to a human being is necessary, a full-time office team is accessible by phone from 8:30am to 6pm, Monday through Friday.    Seminary Properties also offers our tenants a 24-hour emergency phone number. Dialing this number connects our tenants to a Seminary Property staff member who is on-call and able to respond to emergency situations.  It is important for our team to be accessible in person, by phone, e-mail or via communications by tenant portal so that any issues can be promptly addressed.

 

Service:  Seminary Properties is ready and able to provide service to our tenants via our office and maintenance teams.   Our office team is available to answer questions and provide assistance to tenants, including the submitting and assigning maintenance requests.     The maintenance team works from 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday, to address as many works request possible each day.   Even outside of the workday, our emergency contact number can reach on-call staff 24-hours a day for true emergencies.

 

Fairness:   Seminary Properties goes to extreme lengths to treat all tenants equally and fairly.  This can result in residents being upset that special requests are not agreed to, since these requests cannot be offered to all tenants.  Seminary Properties has an extensive lease that outlines what can be expected by tenants from Seminary Properties.   Seminary Properties will not agree to requests from tenants if they are not requests that Seminary Properties would grant to all of their residents.

 

These three categories are the foundation of Seminary Properties’ customer service ethos.  We will honor the terms of our lease to provide our residents a wonderful living experience.

 

For more information regarding Seminary Properties please visit us at www.seminaryproperties.com