We’re One of Only Eight AC Contractors in Austin to Receive the Energy Star Century Club Award

Prestigious award announced by the U.S. Department of Energy

ABC Home & Commercial Services in Austin has been providing our valued customers with HVAC repairs and a diverse selection of other services since 1949, and we’re pleased to be one of the recipients of the 2013 Century Club Award. This award is indicative of our dedication to providing our clients with the absolute best eco-friendly options. We believe that educating our customers about Energy Star-rated AC products is a critical aspect of enabling them to save money and reduce their negative impact on the environment.

What Is the Century Club Award?

The Century Club Award is intended to honor businesses that meet specific criteria established by the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Home Performance with Energy Star Program. In order to qualify for this award, ABC Austin needed to be able to demonstrate that we had improved … Read Full Post »

Austin’s Climate Affects Your Budget in a Big Way

Hot summer days bring oppressive electric bills

The city of Austin is known for its beautiful parks, thriving economy and exciting music events. Unfortunately, it also has a seasonal climate that produces costly and unpredictable utility bills. High temperatures regularly exceed 100 degrees during the summer, yet they can fall below freezing in December and January.

Hot Weather

Austin’s lengthy summer persuades just about everyone to use air conditioning. During 2011, some parts of the state capital reached 100 degrees on 90 separate days. Extremely hot weather seldom occurs before June or after September. Nonetheless, the Bergstrom International Airport once reported a 100-degree reading in February!

Central Texas summers aren’t just hot. This area also endures greater humidity than the Lone Star State’s more arid locales, such as El Paso and Lubbock. Austin’s skies often remain clear in July and August, adding extra heat to the upper floors of many buildings. The local power … Read Full Post »

Savvy Strategies for Creating the Ultimate Backyard Oasis

Easy landscaping options that work

It’s fun to sit on the deck and imagine converting the backyard into a peaceful, personal retreat. If those daydreams include minimum work, natural beauty and creative touches, why not turn them into realities? With a few smart strategies, you can easily upgrade that simple backyard into the ultimate Hill Country oasis.

Keep Plans Simple

The secret to a successful backyard makeover is simplicity. This strategy lets you design an inviting getaway that doesn’t require constant upkeep. Start with a plan that breaks that square yard out of the box. Create colorful corridors with bright containers that define space and raise your gardening above ground level. Soften fence corners with feathery shrubs like aromatic Texas sage and fast-growing artemisia. Plant paving stones in that shady spot under the live oak, and turn it into your favorite outdoor reading room. Work with what you have, and enjoy the path … Read Full Post »

Put Down the Bleach: How Cleaning Compounds Can Kill Your Dishwasher

You count on your dishwasher to cut down on your workload. If your dishwasher doesn’t seem to be providing the same level of service as it did before, it’s time to evaluate the products you’ve been using. After all, some dishwasher problems are caused by using the wrong types of detergent or cleaner. Thankfully, avoiding these issues is as simple as making sure that you’re selecting the right products to care for your dishwasher.

Are You Using the Right Cleaners in Your Dishwasher?

No matter how new or old your dishwasher is, using the right types of detergents and cleaning products is key to ensuring its efficiency, performance and longevity. When choosing a detergent, you should always look for a product that’s clearly labeled for use in dishwashers. These may take the forms of liquids, gels, powders or self-contained packs. All of these types of detergent are completely safe for use in … Read Full Post »

Austin, We Have a Problem: Urban Animals Are Currently on the Prowl

Everyone enjoys observing wildlife in action. Unfortunately, wild critters can become a lot less entertaining when they move in and take over your home. Thanks to increased urban expansion, many Austin homeowners are starting to notice that urban wildlife is causing major infestation problems. If you’re suffering from a pest issue, it’s essential to understand what types of wild animals can cause problems and how you can prevent them from taking over your property.

Are Urban Animals Taking Over Austin?

Thanks to its warm climate and surrounding lakes and rivers, Austin is a popular destination for many travelers. Of course, not all of these travelers come in on two feet. Many four-footed members of the animal kingdom have also started calling the area home. Urban wildlife found in the area include:

• Deer
• Raccoons
• Opossums
• Squirrels
• Bats
• Birds

Urban coyotes are also a major nuisance for some Austin homeowners. While these animals don’t generally … Read Full Post »

Bug Myths That Are Totally False (and a Few That Are Shockingly True)

Debunking common hoaxes and exploring interesting bug facts

Everyone has heard so-called facts about bugs that have made their skin crawl, but the reality is that most of this information is completely false. Fortunately, we have the proper pest control knowledge and experience to help people in the Austin area determine which common sayings are myths and which are actually facts.

The Most Popular Bug Myths

We Swallow Spiders in Our Sleep

Almost everyone has heard some version of this story. The amount of spiders that we swallow in our sleep every year supposedly ranges from 8 to 15. This is a terrifying thought, especially for those who suffer from arachnophobia. Well, we’re pleased to announce that there’s absolutely no truth to this myth. The reality is that it would be extremely unlikely for you to end up swallowing one spider while you’re asleep during your entire life.

Bed Bugs Are Caused by Poor Sanitation

Some … Read Full Post »

Struggling With Arachnophobia? A New App Can Help!

Conquering spiders with your amazing digital powers

Your gender doesn’t matter when you scream like a little girl. Don’t feel shy about your pounding heart and sweating palms. You share that fear of spiders with 7% of the world’s population, but there’s a new weapon for conquering your phobia, and it’s just a quick download away.

There’s an App for That Arachnophobia

When was the last time you considered downloading something to help you with a little systematic desensitization? This form of phobia therapy has been around for more than 50 years, and the process is much simpler than its fancy name implies. Gradual exposure to something frightening gives you the power to control that irrational reaction and wrestle it into submission. Combine this straightforward approach with a touch of digital magic, and you have Phobia Free. This clever smartphone app is produced by Virtually Free and based on their dedication to universal … Read Full Post »

Meet the Mosquitoes: Strangest Facts About These Seasonal Insects

Itchy spit, smelly breath and standing water—they’re all part of the strange world of mosquitoes.

It’s a familiar scenario: You’re outdoors enjoying some beautiful weather when suddenly you feel a tickle on your arm. You slap the spot instinctively only to discover that you just swatted a mosquito. Do you know what attracted it in the first place? How about why you’re just starting to itch? Read on for some fascinating facts about these annoying bugs.

It’s All About Your Breath (and Body Odor)

Mosquitoes can detect the carbon dioxide people exhale from as far as 75 feet away. Sweaty people are also a major draw for them. However, there are some smells that dull or stun their carbon dioxide sensors, including mint, certain fruits, and chocolate.

Beware the Aggressive Female

If you get bit, don’t blame the males. Female mosquitoes are the ones that bite, and even then it’s only to get nourishing protein … Read Full Post »

What Would Happen If We Didn’t Have Pest Control?

In today’s world, it’s hard to imagine what life was like before modern pest control was available. What if everyday cockroaches and termites were allowed to multiply freely, feed on our homes, and munch on our vegetable gardens? How awful would it be if bedbugs were our cuddle buddies every night? Here’s a taste of what a world without pest control would be like.

Consequences of Not Controlling Insects

• More people would get sick. Bubonic plague, also known as the Plague of Justinian, killed millions of people during the sixth century. The spread of this disease is blamed on rats, but technically it was spread by bites from fleas who fed on infected rats. Whether you want to blame the plague on rats or on fleas, both problems are managed through routine pest control.

• In a world where mosquitoes are uncontrolled, you’d find it difficult to have an outdoor barbeque without … Read Full Post »

How Our Least Favorite Critters Made It Through Winter

Insects are an inevitable part of warm weather. Every year, the very same bugs appear, buzzing and bumbling where you don’t want them. Even a long Texas winter can’t deter these persistent pests. Have you ever wondered how they manage to make it through the same weather that had you shivering in your boots?

Migration

Perhaps the most obvious way to avoid freezing is to skip winter entirely. Like birds, some insect species simply take a vacation and come back when the warm weather returns.

Freeze Tolerance

Some insects have a unique protein in their bodies that acts almost like antifreeze. These “cryptoprotectant” compounds serve to lower the freezing temperature of the insects’ bodies and are triggered by the environmental changes that signal an oncoming winter, such as shorter days and cooler temperatures.

Lying “Dormant”

Insects can weather the winter in a variety of forms. Some snuggle up in cocoons, spending the season as pupae. Others … Read Full Post »