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How to safely handle a prolonged power outage

How to safely handle a prolonged power outage

Keep an extra propane tank in the winter

winter propane tankAccidents and storms can disrupt the electricity that powers everything in homes and businesses. A short-term loss of power can be a nuisance, but extended power outages can cause damage and may even be dangerous.

Widespread power outages are often anticipated during or after severe storms, which can disable entire power grids. Because damaged power lines and infrastructure must be carefully assessed after severe storms, it may take anywhere from hours to several days before power is fully restored.

The Food and Drug Administration says that food spoilage is one of the hazards of long-term power outages. If a storm is imminent, you can be proactive by freezing the contents of the refrigerator when possible so that items can stay at safe temperatures longer, advises the FDA. Food can remain safe for up to two hours at refrigerator temperature before it starts to spoil. Grouping food together in the freezer also can help it stay colder longer. Having extra ice on hand or freezing containers of water also can provide a chilling effect, as well as serve as a water supply if faucet water is unavailable – which can be a concern for those with well-pumped water.

Your barbecue can turn out to be your best friend during power outages. Many stoves, even gas ones, will not light because of electric ignitions. A gas camping stove or barbecue can serve as the primary place to cook food until power is restored. Always have a secondary propane tank on hand.

Keep plenty of bottled water on hand, especially if your water supply is well-fed and requires an electric pump to activate flow.

Stock up on blankets and warm clothing. Power outages during the winter can be especially challenging because of the lack of heat in a home. Family members can huddle together in small rooms to conserve heat. People with wood-burning stoves can use them to keep warm. Fireplaces tend to be more show than ambient heat providers, but they can still serve as a heat source in a pinch.

If you have a generator, run it safely. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says generators should be operated as far away from the house as possible to avoid deadly carbon monoxide fumes. Also, use appropriately-gauged, outdoor-rated extension cords to power up generators.

It is also important to stay put and avoid the road after a storm that causes a power outage. Wires may be down, traffic lights may not work and dangerous debris may be littering the roads. Hunkering down is the best approach until power is restored.

What is a water softener and how does it work?

What is a water softener and how does it work?

Hard water is natural ground water that contains high level of minerals. When it rains the water is soft but it collects minerals from the ground.

The Effects of hardwater:

Lessons the ways soaps and detergents work
Allows Rings in the tub
Leaves spots on glasses and dishes
Allows scale build up in coffee pots & pipes
Causes long term damage to plumbing and appliances

What a water softener does:

A water softener reduces harsh minerals and lessens the effects of minerals throughout your water system, appliances, showers, toilets and tubs.

Water Softeners:

Improves the taste of your water
Removes hard water minerals
Prevents scale buildup

A basic overview of how it works:

Water enter the top of the softener tank and flows through resin beads which are negatively charged and attract the positive ions of the water (like calcium and magnesium). The ion stay on the beads and the soft water exits the tank.

A brine solution is used to clean the resin bed. The salt attracts the minerals from the resin and is flushed through the system through the discharge hose.

Other types of water softeners:

Salt-free water softeners that use potassium chloride salt substitute.

Water conditioners or descalers

Reverse Osmosis

Southern MD Propane Gas grill safety tips

Southern MD Propane Gas grill safety tips

By: Southern MD Propane Gas Delivery Company

Southern MD Propane Gas grill Backyard barbecues are a warm weather tradition. While some brave men and women grill year-round, many reserve their outdoor cooking to those times of year when the weather fully cooperates.

The laid back vibes of spring, summer and early fall can make it easy for grillmasters to overlook safety when cooking outside. But grilling requires that cooks prioritize safety.

Many gas grill-related fires can be traced to leaks or breaks in the hoses. The following are a handful of ways cooks can safeguard themselves, their families, their grills, and their homes against leaks or breaks in their gas grill hoses and enjoy a fun summer tradition.

  • Inspect hoses at the start of each grilling season. Leaks, breaks or cracks in the hoses may occur when moving grills into the garage or shed for the winter. So it’s a good idea to inspect the hoses at the start of each season before using the grill for the first time each year.
  • Employ soap and water if you suspect but cannot find any leaks. Travelers Insurance recommends that men and women who suspect a leak is present but cannot find one apply a light solution of soap and water to the hose. If there is a leak, bubbles will appear.
  • Do not turn on the gas if the grill lid is closed. If the gas is turned on while the lid is closed, gas can build up inside and potentially ignite, causing the lid to blow off. So men and women should always make sure the lids of their grills are open before turning on the gas.
  • Stop grilling if you smell gas and see no flame. If there is no flame, but you still smell gas, turn off the tank and grill immediately. Some leaks may cease, at which time men and women can take their tanks to be serviced. If the leak persists, contact the local fire department.
  • Turn off the grill and cease cooking if you smell gas while food is on the grill. The odor of gas while cooking is another telltale sign of a leak, even if there is a flame and food appears to be cooking. Contact the local fire department if such a situation presents itself.
  • Close the valve after cooking. Always make sure the valve is tightly closed after cooking.
  • Store tanks away from the house. Propane tanks should always be stored away from the house. Near the end of each grilling season, homeowners may want to use what’s left of the gas in their propane tanks so they don’t have to store tanks over the winter.

Grilling with gas can make for delicious meals, but men and women must prioritize safety around their gas grills to prevent fires and other accidents.

When you need to have your gas grill tanks refilled contact SJ Johnson or stop by our propane refilling station.

Stay Safe and Enjoy your summer.





Propane grill tankLet a jerk rub add some kick to your next backyard barbecue

The options are endless when grilling foods. Traditional fare like hot dogs and hamburgers will always be big hits at backyard barbecues, but men and women hosting barbecues need not feel beholden to such traditional fare. Expanding the menu can be part of the fun when barbecuing in the backyard, particularly for those hosts and guests who like a little kick with their food cooked over an open flame.

Jamaican jerks pastes, also called “rubs,” that are made of spices, herbs and onions are the most popular and authentic jerk flavoring method. Rubs are rubbed all over the surface of the raw meat to create a wholly unique and potentially very spicy flavor.

This recipe for “Jerk Rub” from Helen Wilinski’s “Jerk From Jamaica: Barbecue Caribbean Style” (Ten Speed Press) is a medium-hot paste that can easily be made hotter by adding more chilies or hot pepper sauce. Less heat is also doable and simply requires chefs to remove the seeds and ribs of the chilies before grinding them. Whichever route you take, be sure that this rub is only served to those guests with a love and tolerance for spicy food.

Jerk Rub

Makes about 1 cup; enough for

4 to 6 pounds of meat

1 onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup finely chopped scallions,

including green parts

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground Jamaican


1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

4 to 6 Scotch bonnet or

habanero chilies, minced fine

1 teaspoon freshly ground black


Using a mortar and pestle or a food processor, combine all the ingredients and grind to a paste. Store leftover paste in the refrigerator in a tightly closed jar for about 1 month.


SOCIAL MEDIA TEXT: This recipe for “Jerk Rub” from Helen Wilinski’s “Jerk From Jamaica: Barbecue Caribbean Style” (Ten Speed Press) is a medium-hot paste that can easily be made hotter by adding more chilies or hot pepper sauce.

Grilled desserts add spark to Southern MD entertaining

Let grilled desserts add spark to outdoor entertaining

Grilling on a propane grill  immediately calls to mind smoky meats, vegetables and even seafood. However, many people may not know that grills can be an ideal place to cook dessert.

fill your grill propane tankOutdoor grills are relied on to impart flavor and facilitate outdoor entertaining. Yet, when it comes time to serve dessert, hosts and hostesses often turn to store-bought treats or delicacies that must be cooked in the oven. But various delicious desserts can be prepared over an open fire.

  • Grilled fruit: Slice up melon, pineapples, peaches, mangoes – just about anything you can think of. Cook for a few minutes over low heat. The grill will help release the sugars and create that extra-tasty caramelization. Grilled fruit is a dessert without too many extra calories.
  • Grilled s’mores: S’mores are the quintessential campfire food, and they also can be cooked on the grill. If you don’t trust little ones around the hot coals or propane, have them prepare the s’mores and then wrap them in foil. Adults can them toss them on the hot grates for a little while, until the foil packets can be unwrapped to unveil melted chocolate and marshmallow goodness.
  • Grilled cake: Use a firm cake, such as pound cake, and slice into thick pieces. Grill for a few minutes to warm, then top with fresh berries and homemade whipped cream for an easy and tasty treat.
  • Grilled cobbler: Dutch ovens are one of the great tools of outdoor cooking. Dutch ovens are heavy, cast-iron pots that can be lowered into a campfire. However, Dutch ovens also can be placed in the belly of a grill. Line with foil and fill the Dutch oven with a favorite cake mix, the corresponding oil amount, fresh berries and even chocolate chips. Let cook for 30 to 40 minutes on low heat until the mixture is bubbly.
  • Grilled dessert pizza: Ready-made or homemade pizza dough can be oiled and grilled over medium heat for a few minutes until grill marks form and the dough starts to puff and harden slightly. Turn over and cover with chocolate-hazelnut spread or some preserves. Grill for another few minutes until the dough is cooked through. Transfer to a cutting board and add sliced bananas.

Grilled menu options can extend to dessert to make outdoor entertaining even easier.

Protecting private drinking water sources

Protecting private drinking water sources in Southern MD

Many people do not give much thought to their drinking water or where it comes from, only paying mind if the color, taste or pressure is unusual or if warnings are issued in the event of a water main break or flood.

Water for homes and businesses is often sourced from municipal water sources, but private wells also provide water. According to the U.S. Census Housing Survey 2015, 13 million households in the United States rely on private wells to supply their water. Many of these homes are located in hard-to-reach or rural areas where municipal water pipes do not travel.

Public water supplies are typically overseen by a governing body, such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency. However, these organizations may not regulate private wells, nor will they provide recommended criteria or standards for individual wells. As a result, it is up to individuals to make sure their well water is safe for consumption. Private well owners may be surprised to learn that, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, at least 20 percent of private wells contain contaminants, of which 23 percent have levels high enough to be a potential health concern.

Well water is groundwater found in subterranean aquifers. This groundwater comes from rainfall that is absorbed in the soil and slowly seeps downward through the dirt, rock and various underground spaces. Along this path it can pick up contaminants. Common sources of contaminants include farm waste, fertilizers and pesticides, chemical spills, poorly maintained septic systems, and seepage from landfills. Arsenic is also naturally occurring in groundwater, and in some areas the levels are above the EPA threshold for safety.

Unfortunately, many contaminants are undetectable to the eyes, nose and mouth. And unlike public drinking water systems, people with wells typically do not test their water as often as they should. The EPA says that well water should be tested annually for bacteria and nitrates. The environmental medicine experts at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey suggest testing for lead, arsenic, radon, uranium, and other heavy metals every three to five years.

The National Groundwater Association says county health departments can conduct water tests for bacteria and nitrates. Those who want to test for other substances can get a list of state-certified drinking water testing labs. The Well Wise program is administered by the Ontario Ground Water Association and can provide water testing for consumers. This is a good place to start for Canadian residents. Learn more at http://www.ogwa.ca or in the United States at https://water.usgs.gov.

If you want to discuss a water softener for your home call SJ Johnson today.

Make Household Chores Easier With Softened Water in Southern MD

Make Household Chores Easier With Softened Water in Southern MD

Make Household Chores Easier With Softened Water in Southern MDWhat you’ll find in this article:

If you find yourself spending too much time on household chores and not enough time with your family, there’s a simple solution that can make your life easier. The answer is to use softened water.

If you find yourself spending too much time on household chores and not enough time with your family, there’s a simple solution that can make your life easier.

The answer is to use softened water.

Dreary tasks such as washing dishes, doing laundry and cleaning up the bathroom and kitchen are easier and less time-consuming with softened water-and softened water brings added benefits such as softer skin and shinier hair.

Hard water forms when naturally occurring minerals enter water sources. It is also very common in this country. Eighty-five percent of the U.S. geography has hard water, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. As our population grows and becomes more diverse, many homeowners may be feeling the effects of hard water without even realizing it.

The naturally occurring minerals in “hard” water make it difficult for soaps, detergents and shampoos to lather, which in turn forces you to scrub harder when cleaning your home. In fact, the term “hard water” originally referred to water that was difficult or hard to work with.

Having SJ Johnson Company Install a water softener in your Southern MD home can greatly reduce the natural hard minerals found in water. Inside the water softener, salt pellets are used to charge thousands of tiny resin beads with sodium ions. As hard water moves over the resin beads, the minerals are replaced with sodium ions, creating soft water.

After all, wouldn’t you rather spend more time and energy on family fun than tiresome household tasks?



Better Water for Better Living

Before buying a water softener online

Buying a Water Softener System online can be risky business. What to look for…

ordering a water softener system onlineWhile it is possible for you or anybody to get your water softeners on the Internet, you need to be cautious before placing your order online.

No doubt that the Internet is a great place to shop and get any item you want to buy and have it shipped right to your location.

But you should always be careful because there are also many fraudsters on the Internet that set up websites with the sole purpose of scamming people out of their hard earned money.

If you don’t exercise caution before ordering your water softeners online, you might end up losing your money and become a victim of these fake resellers.

Good for you there are also many reputable water softener resellers on the Internet that you can buy from.

How can you find and get in contact with these good resellers?

Search the Internet by typing in the brand of water softener you’re looking for and see which sites turn up on the first page of the search engine results.

If you found a web site you want to buy from do some more research before immediately buying the water softener you found. Check out what reviews they have. What are others saying about them.

Check the website of the water softener thoroughly to make sure it is legit.

Although you can buy a water softener system online it’s always best practice to buy locally from a reputable dealer who will be there to serve you should anything go wrong. SJ Johnsons highly trained professionals have installed, serviced and maintained many water softener systems throughout Southern Maryland and would like to help you with your new system. Give us a call today.



Better Water for Better Living