ABC Blog

Please choose a city to view local blog posts:

How to Power Wash a Deck and Other Surfaces

A white home with a wood deck that has been power washed

A deck provides you with additional space on your property for relaxing and gathering with friends and family. In many residential areas, these spaces get a lot of use. Unfortunately, dirt, pollen, dust and other grime can build up over time, which can detract from your deck’s appearance. Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem: power washing.

Power washing (also commonly referred to as pressure washing) is a great way to maintain your deck, as it is often the most effective way to make your deck look brand new again. Pressurized water is a powerful force, and it can even loosen up ground-in dirt that’s been there for quite some time. If you’ve never used a pressure washer before, however, you should know that you can damage certain surfaces and that there are risks and dangers associated with these machines.  Once you learn how to power wash a deck, you … Read Full Post »

My AC Won’t Run: How Can I Get My Unit Working?

A white and gray kitchen with an ac that won't run

As temperatures start to rise, most people count on having a working air conditioner. Having a fully functional AC system isn’t just a matter of simple comfort; it can actually be a real health issue, especially on the hottest days of summer. When you turn on the AC, you expect it to do its job quickly and efficiently, which is why if your AC won’t run, it’s a big and urgent problem. The cause of the problem might be as simple as a tripped circuit breaker or a blown fuse, but it could be something more complex and potentially costly to repair, such as a bad motor, burned wiring, a broken thermostat or a refrigerant leak.

The trouble is, most people have no idea their air conditioner is broken until they turn the thermostat down to cool down the house on a warm day and discover that it doesn’t run like … Read Full Post »

What Colors Are Mosquitoes Attracted To?

A mosquito that landed on someone who is wearing jeans

Swimming, yard work, grilling out—these are just a few of the hallmark activities of warm weather. But when these pastimes switch from fun outdoor time to itchy battles with mosquitoes, many people start to wonder what they can do to prevent those obnoxious bites. For example, is there a color of clothing you could wear that would offer you protection against mosquitoes?

It’s a smart possibility to consider, since research has shown that mosquitoes do seem to bother people wearing light-colored clothing less than those wearing darker colors. Is this because dark clothes retain more heat, causing us to sweat more than lighter ones? Or is it because dark clothing provides a greater contrast against daytime skies, helping mosquitoes close in on their targets and hide more effectively once they land and start to feed?

The answer to these questions is still up for debate, but many scientists agree that blue or … Read Full Post »

My AC Is Short Cycling: What Is Going On?

A white living room with a beige couch

When you turn on your air conditioner, you expect your home to become a cool and comfortable reprieve from the outdoors. This is why it would come as quite a surprise if you hear your unit shut off quickly after turning on, even though your home isn’t cooling down. After this happens a few times, you’re probably wondering what is going on and what you can do about it.

Before we get into what might be causing this to happen, it’s important to be able to recognize what is considered short cycling and what is considered normal for a typical cooling system. The cycle on a properly-working air conditioner should be roughly 15 to 20 minutes, and your system will run two to three times each hour. In very high temperatures, the cycle will be longer as the AC tries to get the home down to the correct temperature.

Short cycling, in … Read Full Post »

Compost vs. Mulch: What’s Best for My Yard?

A homeowner holding a handful of compost

Many homeowners don’t understand the differences between compost and mulch, which makes it hard to know which would be more beneficial for their yards. It can be tricky to determine which one you should use, not to mention where and when, especially since both compost and mulch play important roles in helping grass and plants become part of a flourishing landscape. People also sommetimes use the terms compost and mulch interchangeably, although these are actually two very different things with distinct benefits and potential applications in your yard. By taking a deeper look to learn more about what each one is and what it’s best used for, you’ll better understand what to use for your particular situation.

Let’s start with compost. This is the stuff that starts out looking something like food waste and winds up looking a lot like dirt, once nature has taken its course and the compost has … Read Full Post »

What Do Cockroach Droppings Look Like?

Droppings next to cockroach that are similar to coffee grounds in size and appearance

Finding strange, dark brown pellets in your kitchen or bathroom cabinets can be an unsettling experience. You’re pretty confident that what you have found is cockroach droppings, but you’re hoping that your hunch is off. So, what do cockroach droppings look like and, if these are roach droppings, how serious is the problem?

In general, roach droppings look like little black or dark brown pellets, very similar in appearance to coffee grounds or crushed pepper. When fresh, these pellets are usually round or oval and, unlike coffee grounds or pepper, these pellets stick to surfaces and might smear. Older droppings may start to become flattened out as cockroaches continue to move around and walk through their own feces.

The bigger the infestation, the more obvious these droppings will become. Cockroaches don’t care about cleanliness—they are more than willing to excrete where they live and eat, so droppings tend to be more prominent … Read Full Post »

My AC Is Blowing Warm Air: What Is Going On?

AC blowing warm air into a white kitchen

There’s nothing quite like the cool relief our air conditioners bring us on hot summer days. After running errands, playing with the kids outside or taking the dog for a walk, we expect to open the door and enter a nice, cool atmosphere. This is why it can come as quite a shock when you step through your door only to find that your house is warm. After some investigating, you may realize that warm air, and not a cool blast, is blowing out of the vents throughout your home.

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer as to why your unit might start blowing warm air. While some of these issues warrant professional help, there are certain steps some homeowners may feel comfortable doing on their own, especially those who are familiar with how HVAC systems work. Before we dive into the more serious issues, let’s touch on those smaller problems … Read Full Post »

Why Are My Sprinkler Heads Not Popping Up?

Sprinkler heads not popping up on an irrigation system can rob your grass of water it needs

If you want a yard full of lush, beautiful grass, you need to supply plenty of what it needs most: water. Of course, that can be easier said than done, especially if you’ve ever turned on your yard’s irrigation system only to discover that your sprinkler heads are not popping up. So, what should you do when you encounter this problem?

While there are several different types of sprinkler systems, pop-up sprinklers are very common in residential areas because they lie flush to the ground a majority of the time, so they don’t detract from your lawn’s visual appeal. The top of the sprinkler has a nozzle coming from a piston that comes up when your system is on and retracts when not in use.

When you turn on the sprinklers and one or more sprinkler heads don’t pop up, the first possibility to consider is also one of the simplest to … Read Full Post »

How to Trim Large Trees and When To Hire a Pro

The underside of an oak tree on a sunny day

Trees can add great beauty, curb appeal and value to a home, but when their branches grow so long that they begin to scrape against the house or become a falling hazard during a storm, many homeowners want to know how to trim their large trees. There are many benefits of pruning a mature tree, including removing dead or diseased branches, increasing light and airflow to the tree’s inner canopy and reducing the risk of a branch falling and potentially causing harm. Trimming large trees involves working with specialized tools and demanding physical labor, which is why many homeowners have their trees professionally trimmed regularly. If you want to know the steps involved or think you might be up for the job, you’ll want to do your homework.

Here are the basics of how to trim large trees:

  • Once you’ve identified a limb that needs to be cut, you would need to … Read Full Post »

No Cold Air From AC: What Can You Do?

A gray kitchen with white cabinets

When you enter your home after spending time outside on a hot day, there’s nothing quite like the gust of cool air coming from your air conditioning vents. That’s why if you find yourself in a situation where you have no cold air coming from your AC, panic can quickly start to set in. Most likely, you switch into high gear, trying to determine what went wrong and what you can do to get your air conditioner working normally again.

There are several things that could be preventing your AC from blowing cold air, including a problem with your thermostat, dirty filters, a clogged condensate line, a blocked compressor or dirty coils. Your air conditioner is a machine with many parts that need to work together. If any one of these parts isn’t working correctly, you wind up with a system that doesn’t cool anything down or maybe doesn’t blow air … Read Full Post »