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 »

Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Cockroaches

Important tips for preventing and dealing with an infestation

Cockroaches are a nightmare for homeowners because they can be so difficult to get rid of and often cause a disgusting odor. In some cases, a cockroach infestation will cause allergic reactions in people. With this in mind, it’s important for all San Antonio homeowners to have a firm understanding of what factors will put them most at risk for experiencing an infestation.

What Attracts Cockroaches?

The single best way to avoid dealing with cockroaches in your home is to keep everything clean at all times. After all, they’re attracted to dirty dishes and counters, and they also look for an environment where they can easily find crumbs on the ground. Cockroaches are fond of foul smells such as those that can be found in garbage bags, and they prefer to spend their time living in a dark habitat. Unfortunately, these pests are omnivores, … Read Full Post »

Don’t Make These Home Security Mistakes

If your leaving routine consists of nothing more than turning off the lights and making sure the doors are locked, you might be unknowingly setting yourself up to become a burglary victim. With plenty of time to work their way inside and load up on valuables, burglars much prefer to break into homes when the owners are away. Remember that thieves steal for a living. Just as you think of yourself as an expert at your job, small-time criminals know every trick in the book for targeting the right homes and getting in undetected. Learning how to avoid the common mistakes that make some properties more attractive to burglars than others is the key to keeping your home safe and sound from afar.

Piles of Old Mail

Nothing says that you’re not home more clearly than stacks of paper scattered all over your porch. From daily newspapers to regular mail, it’s a … Read Full Post »

Natural Ways to Whack Weed Invasions

Whoever said that a weed is simply a plant out of place obviously never tried to maintain their own landscaping to keep it weed-free. Rather than relying on one strict plan of action, it’s best to use a combination of methods to prevent aggressive weeds from outcompeting your lawn and landscape plants for water and nutrients.

An Ounce of Prevention

Keeping your soil healthy will go a long way toward preventing weed Armageddon in your yard. Using a natural pre-emergent herbicide such as corn gluten meal can have some effect on certain types of weeds. Planting ground covers and using mulch, whether carbon-based or inorganic, will certainly prevent weeds from sprouting. Companion planting and choosing landscape plants that are hardy in your area and can actually compete with weeds for resources can help tremendously.

Watering only in areas directly around existing landscape plants can starve weeds in open areas, especially during drought conditions. … Read Full Post »

What to Consider When Making Energy-Efficient Cooling Updates

Keeping your San Antonio home cool during the hot summer months can be a real challenge. Like many homeowners, you might worry that keeping your cool will simply cost too much. Thankfully, new options in energy-efficient cooling can help you stay comfortable all summer without breaking the bank.

Understanding Your Energy-Efficient Cooling Options

When it comes to energy-efficient heating and cooling options, you have several types of systems from which to choose. Before you start shopping for a new system, you’ll need to understand that you can choose from:

• Ductless systems, which rely on outdoor HVAC units connected to indoor air handlers via a small refrigerant line.

• Central air systems, which use HVAC units paired with ductwork to move treated air throughout a home.

An HVAC specialist can help you decide which type of system is best suited to your needs. Many homeowners now prefer ductless systems because they don’t require any structural … Read Full Post »

Pruning Pointers for Healthy, Happy Trees

Smart tree grooming starts with great pruning

Your trees don’t ask for much. They’re content with a well-fertilized lawn and regular watering during our hot San Antonio summers. They also enjoy annual pruning, but they hope you don’t confuse that with a trim. While both should always be on your landscaping to-do list, it’s important to understand the difference. A trim lightly shapes your trees, but pruning keeps them strong and beautiful.

Why Your Trees Care

Shape counts, but pruning is an important part of healthy tree maintenance. Making the right cut frees your shady friends from dead branches, and it helps control disease. That backyard crop of apples and pears depends on your lopper to encourage blooms for an abundant harvest. Most area trees appreciate their pruning from February through early spring. However, midwinter is the best time to work on live oaks because the cold weather discourages the spread of wilt … Read Full Post »

May Is Lyme Disease Awareness Month: Is Your Family Safe?

According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 300,000 people in the United States alone will be diagnosed with Lyme disease this year. Since May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month, now is a great time to learn what you need to know to protect your family from one of the country’s most widespread infectious conditions.

Despite being one of the most frequently reported infectious diseases in the country, most of us know surprisingly little about Lyme disease, its prevention, transmission and treatment. In honor of May being the official Lyme Disease Awareness Month, we’re sharing some of the most important facts you need to know to keep your family safe and healthy all year long.

What Exactly Is Lyme Disease?

Known as the most prevalent tick-borne illness in the United States, Lyme disease is spread through bites from bacteria-carrying ticks. If you’re completely unfamiliar with Lyme disease, take a … Read Full Post »

Beyond Gnomes: Unique Lawn Ornaments That Make Your Home Stand Out

Personality in the yard doesn’t need a pointy hat

The short ones with beards are cute, but they’re reaching retirement age. Those graceful, pink flocks have seen better days. If you’re not ready to give up your gnomes and flamingos, move them to the shed and dress up your lawns with something fresh. Revive forgotten classics, create a little magic, or let nature do the decorating.

Complement With Traditions

Whether your San Antonio home reflects the grace of Spanish influence or sports classic lines and contemporary styling, a touch of tradition gives the yard special appeal. Stately gazing globes are the latest trend from an earlier time. These lovely mirrored spheres reflect the beautiful Texas sky, and their stands vary from marble pillars to wrought-iron sculptures. Old-fashioned whirligigs replicate the relaxing spin of windmills or the flight of your favorite birds. Pathways add an inviting look around the garden when you opt for … Read Full Post »

Chill More, Pay Less: How AC Maintenance Can Help You Save

Without your air conditioning system, you’d be stuck suffering through the extreme heat of Austin summers without any relief. Your AC unit goes a long way toward keeping you comfortable and sane during warmer months when you rely on it to provide efficient, effective service. One of the best ways to ensure that you can always stay cool inside is to take care of regular AC maintenance tasks. Keeping up on maintenance helps protect your system and boost its efficiency so that you can enjoy cooler temperatures and lower utility bills.

Is HVAC Maintenance Really Important?

When you first purchased your air conditioning system, it was calibrated to provide for the very best service possible. Ensuring that your system provides for the same level of service as it did when you first had it installed means tackling maintenance tasks. Much like your personal vehicle, your AC unit needs to be cleaned, lubed … Read Full Post »