FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. -- There's nothing like home-cooked food during the holidays. Now is the time to ensure your appliances are clean and operable, and you know how to dispose of excess oil and grease.

Mountain Vista Communities' (MVC) residents should schedule an appointment with the MVC Maintenance Office now before the big day if maintenance is required. As always, an MVC maintenance technician is available for housing emergencies on holidays and weekends and can be reached at 520-458-5885.

You can avoid making that call by following these important reminders.

Stove & Oven Maintenance/Cleaning
• Test all burners to make sure they are working and that your oven holds heat. You can test the oven temperature for accuracy by using an oven thermometer, this temperature should be within 10 degrees of the set temperature.
• Allow the stove parts to soak in ammonia for 24 hours.
• Wash all stove parts in warm soapy water. Use a sponge to wipe down each piece. Rinse the pieces with hot water.
• Allow all the parts to dry fully before reassembling your stove top.

Oil & Grease Disposal
The holiday season usually means more cooking than normal, which can lead to more oil and grease waste. When oil and grease are poured in the sink or flushed down the toilet, it causes damage by sticking to the walls of your pipes. Below are some tips to follow to prevent any blockages:
• DO NOT pour oil or grease down the drains.
• Wipe residual oils or grease from pans with a paper towel.
• Pour used oil and grease into a lidded container.
• Residents are able to take their containers of oil and grease to the Cochise County Transfer Station located on Highway 90 in Sierra Vista. Free drop off Monday through Saturday, 7:30 am until 3 pm.

Garbage Disposal Maintenance
Garbage disposals should last several years before the blades start to wear down or the motor burns out. Below are some tips to ensure that your garbage disposal works properly and ways to prevent any damage.
Keep your garbage disposal clean and run it regularly to prevent rust or corrosion. If at any time your garbage disposal stops running, press the reset button located under the sink. When grinding food waste, use a strong flow of cold water.
Do not use your garbage disposal for anything other than food. Foods to avoid when using your garbage disposal include rice, pasta, potato skins, large bones and coffee grounds.

Kitchen Energy Conservation
This holiday season keep the kitchen cooler by finding crockpot friendly recipes. Using the stove and oven will warm up the house, causing strain on the A/C unit.
If using the oven is unavoidable, reduce the length of time by cooking foods at the lowest temperatures together first, then increasing the temperature for foods that need more heat.
All that cooking leads to dishes! Use the air-dry setting on your dishwasher instead of the heat-dry setting to reduce up to 15-50 percent of energy. If there is no air-dry setting, turn off the dishwasher after the final rinse and open the door to allow the dishes to dry.