Choosing a Thermostat? Don’t Make These Mistakes

Why a thermostat is one of the most important investments in your home

As summer days heat up throughout San Antonio, you rely more and more on your home’s HVAC system to keep you cool. A well-maintained air conditioner or heat pump can help you beat soaring temperatures and stay comfortable in your own home. You can make the most of your AC unit’s potential by choosing a thermostat that’s prepared to meet your comfort demands.

Thermostat Basics: More Than Temperature Control

Also known as comfort controls, thermostats allow you to monitor and control the operation of your HVAC system. A wide variety of thermostats are available to residential and commercial customers. Both central air and ductless cooling systems rely on comfort controls.

Many homeowners don’t put much thought into choosing a thermostat for their San Antonio AC unit. You might think that all thermostats are alike or that a thermostat can’t have a … Read Full Post »

The Best Tips for Battling Mosquitoes This Summer

Keeping your family safe from mosquito borne diseases

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 30,000 people have contracted West Nile virus in the U.S. from a mosquito. Additionally, there’s a long list of other diseases that mosquitoes can pass to humans and animals, so it’s definitely a good idea to take preventative measures to keep your entire family safe.

Tips for Avoiding Mosquito Bites

1. Stay Indoors During Dawn and Dusk

Mosquitoes can bite you at any time of the day, but they’re most active at dawn and at dusk. Due to this, it’s best to avoid being outside during these time periods, especially if you’re not wearing a mosquito repellent.

2. Wear Long Sleeves and Pants

It can be uncomfortable to wear pants and long sleeves in the San Antonio area during the summer, but it’s better to take this step than to become a buffet dinner for a swarm of … Read Full Post »

Where There’s One Ant, There’s 100 More

How communication leads to an infestation

If you see even one ant in your San Antonio area home, the reality is that there are probably hundreds more that you haven’t spotted yet. Fortunately, scouting ants are the first to enter a new dwelling, so you do have the opportunity to prevent a major infestation by contacting a professional pest control company at the first sign of an issue.

Do Ants Talk?

Research indicates that ants begin communicating with each other from the late pupae stage, and it’s an imperative aspect of community safety. As soon as each ant matures enough to develop a hardened exoskeleton, they’re able to make noises by using one of their hind legs to strike a spike located on their abdomen. The most interesting aspect of this form of communication is that entomologists believe it’s used primarily to receive assistance during an emergency. For example, if an ant encounters … Read Full Post »

When Good Water Heaters Go Bad

Water heaters are one of those things that we tend to not think about until there’s a problem. We take a constant supply of hot water for granted, and as soon as that supply is interrupted, we panic. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to head off any issues with your water heater before they become big problems. Here are a few common reasons why water heaters go bad.

Listen, Smell and Taste

Although water heaters make some noise while they’re running, it’s not hard to distinguish between a good noise and a bad noise. Listen for loud cracks and pops during operation; they usually indicate that the heating elements are interacting with each other. This happens for a variety of reasons, but often because of mineral deposits or scales building up on moving parts.

Another quick test is to smell or taste the hot water at any faucet. If there’s a … Read Full Post »

Say Goodbye to Dry Hair With Water Softeners

Want your hair, skin and everything else to shine like it should?

At some point in your life, you’ve probably taken a shower that just didn’t make you feel very clean. It’s possible that the soap didn’t lather properly. Maybe your hair felt dry and frizzy as soon as you shook out the excess water. Whatever the effects of this unsettling experience, it’s likely that it was due to hard water. Many homes in the San Antonio area have hard water, but there’s a relatively easy fix that can preserve your sanity.

What Is Hard Water?

According to chemistry experts, hard water is any type of water that contains dissolved minerals. Just like there’s a pH scale to determine the concentration of oxygen and hydrogen ions in water, there’s a gradient scale that measures the “hardness” of water. Although municipal water is rarely as mineral-rich as water that occurs in nature, even small … Read Full Post »

How Composting Increases Grass Health

Providing the best in nutrients for a beautiful lawn

A beautiful lawn or garden is a point of pride for your home. Adopting good lawn care practices is the best way to ensure that your grass will be beautifully green all summer long. Among the best lawn treatments you can choose is composting, or the application of beneficial organisms and organic matter to the soil.

How Composting Helps Your Lawn

When you choose compost for your lawn, you’re choosing one of nature’s most powerful nutrients. Compost is made from a wide variety of organic matter that’s allowed to decay and produce organisms and nutrients that are beneficial to the soil. This powerful, nutrient-rich mixture can be applied directly to the soil before planting or can be spread across the top of the grass.

One of the chief benefits of composting is that it adds nutrients to the soil, creating a rich growing medium for … Read Full Post »

10 Things You Should Never Put Down the Garbage Disposal

Save them for the trash bin—and save your garbage disposal’s motor

If you were fortunate enough to have a garbage disposal when you were growing up, you probably weren’t very careful about what you threw into it. After all, that scary motor seemed to take care of just about anything. Over time, though, you may have learned that garbage disposals are just as susceptible to clogs and breakdowns as other appliances. Now that you’re older and wiser, take care not to throw these 10 items down yours.

1. Non-Organic Trash

It might seem obvious, but plastic and metal can seriously damage your garbage disposal blades. Even smaller items like paper and cigarette butts can wreak havoc.

2. Grease and Animal Fat

Once it passes through the disposal, this stuff can congeal in your pipes. This often has devastating effects for your plumbing system.

3. Rice, Pasta and Other Starches

This stuff expands dramatically when soaked and is … Read Full Post »

Fleas and Ticks: Bugs With a One-Two Punch

Protecting your home, family and pets from an itchy situation

If the thought of fleas and ticks makes you itch, you’re not alone. These common parasites appear on dogs, cats and wild animals and can wind up on you or in your home. Fleas jump or crawl from host to host; ticks wait for a potential meal to walk by. In addition to being irritating, these bugs are a potential source of disease.

Flea-Borne Diseases

Fleas feed on the blood of both animals and humans, sometimes resulting in the transfer of bacteria between hosts. Certain diseases are passed through the bite itself while others may be transmitted through flea feces. Cat scratch fever, tapeworms, typhus and even the plague have been known to be spread by fleas.

Tick-Borne Diseases

Though they’re often associated with deer, ticks feed on a variety of hosts from dogs and cats to lizards and mice. There are different types of … Read Full Post »

Hair Balls and Bath Toys and Dirt Clods, Oh My!

Keeping your drains free and clear

Nothing is more annoying than a slow-moving drain or a drain that just won’t clear at all. Whether you’re stuck with a slow-running toilet or are trying to figure out why it takes so long for your kitchen sink to clear, it pays to think about common causes of clogged drains. Figuring out what’s slowing down your drains is key to addressing the issue and preventing future problems.

What’s Stuck Down Your Drains?

Almost all San Antonio homeowners will experience plumbing problems at some point in time. Among the most common of these problems are clogged or slow-moving drains, which can cause inconvenience and seriously impact the performance of your plumbing system. The first step in treating and preventing such clogs is understanding what causes them. Some of the most common causes of clogged drains are:

• Fats and greases that make their way down the kitchen sink
• … Read Full Post »

Eat Your Way Through the Seasons With Homegrown Produce

What’s easiest to grow and when to eat it

Sick of the produce selection at the supermarket? Grow your own fresh fruits and veggies this year and enjoy fresh, delicious food all season long.

Zucchini

Also called courgettes, zucchini are a variety of summer squash that taste delicious in soups, salads, curries and baked goods. They can be grown in the garden or in a pot on your porch. Each plant produces a large amount of zucchini, so you don’t need very many to get a good crop. The only trouble you might have with these little green powerhouses is figuring out what to do with all of them once they’re fully grown. Expect to start harvesting in June and not stop until September.

Green Beans

Another high producer, green beans will grow just about anywhere. There are many varieties, including bush beans, pole beans and broad beans, not all of which are green. You … Read Full Post »