Cooler Weather Won’t Deter Termites

Why wintertime doesn’t mean you’re safe from infestations

Winter may bring cooler temperatures to the Austin area, but that’s not enough to stop termite activity. Even in the chilliest months of the year, your home may be vulnerable to damage from these pests.

Termites in Winter?

Climates where winter is on the warmer side are more likely to see termite activity throughout the year. Termites don’t hibernate, so if it gets too cold outside, they’re likely to seek shelter indoors. Subterranean termites simply burrow deeper under the ground. Drywood termites live inside anything made of wood including support beams, walls and furniture. If you already have either type of termite in or around your home, the extent of the infestation won’t diminish come winter. That means you have to be on the lookout for signs that suggest you’re cohabitating with wood-eating pests.

Wintertime Termite Damage

The only common sign of termites you probably won’t see … Read Full Post »

Beautiful Blooms That Defy Texas Winters

Four Garden Favorites That Don’t Mind the Cold

If you have a USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map handy, you’ll see that Austin enjoys a comfortable spot in Zone 8b. Our mild climate is a joy to area gardeners, and local green thumbs especially love these four favorites that always help bust the winter blues.

1. Prized Pansies – They’re not the biggest blossoms on the block, but these pretty flowers are tough enough to survive snow and sleet. Their distinctive five-leaf blooms come in a rainbow of hues, and the monkey-faced variety sports contrasting dark areas on each petal. Pansies are happiest with at least six hours of sunlight each day, so give them a bright spot to soak up the rays, and enjoy their color all winter long.

2. Winter Jasmine – While some gardeners consider these willowy vines old-fashioned, there’s nothing wrong with an heirloom bush that bursts into bloom in … Read Full Post »

Inside the Bug-Busting World of Integrated Pest Management

Preventative Austin Area Pest Control Service

Many people are concerned about the damage that pests can cause to their property, and they’re also worried about the environmental impact of unnecessary pest control products. Luckily, ABC Home & Commercial Services provides an effective preventative program known as integrated pest management (IPM). Taking this approach enables us to reduce pest control product usage without compromising the effectiveness of dealing with an infestation of unwelcome pests in your home.

What is Integrated Pest Management?

IPM is an innovative preventative method that involves an analysis of the bugs on your property to determine which of them present an actual threat. After all, there are some pests that are necessary for the ecosystem, and it’s also possible to experience a small quantity of certain species without developing an actual issue. Therefore, our trained technicians will carefully assess your specific situation, and they’ll also factor in the time of … Read Full Post »

Easy Ways to Ward Off Rodents

Kick mice and rats to the curb with these handy household tips

Nobody wants to share their home with rats and mice. They get into food, leave droppings everywhere, and can carry potentially dangerous diseases. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to keep rodents from deciding that your house is an ideal place to live.

Keep Them Out

Grab a pencil and take a walk around the outside of your house. Whenever you find a hole or gap, stop and measure it with the pencil. If the pencil fits, so will a rodent. After identifying all potential entry points, break out the weather stripping, caulking, insulation, and anything else you need to seal up those holes. Be as thorough as possible since even the smallest gap can be an open doorway for a mouse or rat.

Ditch the Rodent Buffet

If you could go to a delicious buffet any time and eat … Read Full Post »

Before You Bake: Is Your Heating Element Healthy?

Check your oven’s health before the holiday season

Austin families are preparing for the holiday season, which often means cooking and baking for parties and family gatherings. Before you head into the kitchen this winter, it pays to be sure that you have all of the ingredients you’ll need to make dazzling cakes, cookies, and party foods. Of course, it’s also important to be sure that your major appliances are doing their part in your holiday preparations.

Is Your Oven’s Heating Element Causing Baking Woes?

There’s no doubt that baking is a science. After all, it takes the perfect combination of ingredients to make stellar baked goods. Excelling as a baker also means having the right appliances. While many professional bakers swear by convection ovens, most homeowners still use standard electric or gas ranges in their homes. Thankfully, you can still get great results with these types of ovens.

However, you do need to … Read Full Post »

Deck Out Your Landscaping for the Holidays

Let your great outdoors celebrate the season

Austin knows how to turn Christmas into a dazzling season, so why not put a special glow in your landscape this holiday season? Think beyond inflatable snowmen this year and turn your front yard into a holiday fantasy land.

Wrap the Trees

Threading lights through the trees always adds seasonal cheer to the front yard, but why stop at a few strings? Simple silhouettes of trunks and branches come alive when you wrap trees with brilliant strands of LED lights. Bottom-to-top trimming takes a little time, so you might opt for the easier effect of glittering icicles created from drapes of fairy lights. These tiny LED cousins are the size of rice grains, and their sway on an evening breeze brings magical life to the smallest saplings. Give tall evergreens and pines the full treatment with big, beautiful bulbs.

Trim the Shrubs

Shrubs might be short, but don’t … Read Full Post »

ABC and Dietz Memorial Team Up to Help Grieving Family

When Tragedy Is Compounded by Opportunism

Every week, hundreds of Austin-area families welcome a new child into the world. The vast majority of these families experience unbridled joy at the occasion. Unfortunately, one family’s birth story recently ended in tragedy. After the death of Jessica Rodriguez, a young mother with deep roots in the area, her husband and extended family experienced a second pang of heartbreak when a scam artist made off with thousands of dollars in donations for a memorial to Jessica.

The Rodriguezes’ Story

Recently, an optimistic Austin family – the Rodriguezes – welcomed a beautiful baby into the world. Although the baby was healthy and vivacious, the young mother fell ill and died from complications of childbirth shortly after the delivery. Determined to persevere, the surviving family members banded together to raise funds for a memorial in her honor.

The Rodriguezes turned to Fallon Mouton, a local woman, to assist them … Read Full Post »

The True Cost of Home Insecurity

Why a home security system is a sound investment for your property

You should feel that your home is secure whether or not you’re in the house. Without a home security system, however, your Austin property may be vulnerable to break-ins. Professional installation of a state-of-the-art system offers many benefits for you and your family.

Keeps Possessions Safe

The number one reason for a security system is to prevent break-ins and theft. Burglars who hear an alarm when they enter a home know it’s only a matter of time before the police arrive and will usually make a quick getaway without taking anything. Simply having a sign or a sticker outside your home declaring it’s protected by an alarm can help deter potential thieves.

Cheaper Insurance

Safeguarding your home with a security system means your insurance company won’t have to worry as much about potential burglaries. Thus, you can enjoy as much as a 20% … Read Full Post »

Winter Ahead! Is Your HVAC System Ready?

Ensuring that your heating system makes it through the Austin winter

When the chilly days of winter roll in, you don’t want to be worrying about your heating system. Keeping your home’s HVAC in top condition for the coldest months helps guarantee that you and your family stay warm throughout the season.

Getting Your HVAC Ready for Winter

There are several things you can do to prepare your heating system to tackle winter temperatures. One of the most important is to make sure that all components are clean. Start by cleaning or replacing the filter if necessary. Check the air vents to make sure that they’re allowing for proper flow. Blockage or restriction anywhere in the system reduces efficiency and can negatively affect the air quality in your home.

Blower doors should also be checked to determine if the seals are sound. This component of your HVAC system is designed to keep gasses from … Read Full Post »

Simple Guidelines for Selecting a New Water Heater

How to find the right model without paying too much

When properly maintained, your home’s water heater can provide a decade or more of dependable service. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. If your water heater is on its last legs and needs to be replaced, you’ll need to determine which type and brand of heater is right for your home. Here are a few guidelines that you should follow as you make your decision.

Selection Criteria

According to the Department of Energy, you need to base your water heater selection on several key factors:

•    The upfront and ongoing (annualized) cost of the device
•    The size and heating power of the device as it relates to the size and water use of your house
•    The overall efficiency of the device
•    The type of fuel used by the heater

Fuel Types

On the matter of fuel, it’s important to note that not all … Read Full Post »