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How To Identify Termite Holes

A termite hole in a baseboard

If you spot tiny holes in wood or drywall somewhere in your home or garage, you might suspect termites as the culprit. It’s important to learn how to identify termite holes so you can determine whether that is what you are seeing, and if so, decide what steps to take to remedy the problem. It’s also smart to learn how to identify termites themselves, as well as common signs of termite activity, so you’ll know as early as possible when a problem is developing. Termites are known to cause extensive, not to mention costly, structural damage to people’s homes—to the tune of over two billion dollars’ worth each year in the United States alone.

Termite holes, also known as termite exit holes or kick-out holes, are tiny openings created when termites tunnel through wood, mud or drywall to the outside. These holes are usually no more than an eighth of an … Read Full Post »

Do Mice Come Out During the Day?

A mouse out during the day eating a piece of food

People often think that mice are only active at night because they usually spot them or hear them at night. In reality, you can see a mouse any time of day. Mice have just evolved to be more active at night because there are typically fewer dangers for them after the sun goes down. For example, in the wild, mice learned there were fewer predators out when it was dark, so this was the ideal time to go searching for food. This same principle can be applied to mice that are living inside your home. Once you turn off the lights and everyone heads to bed, including your pets, there’s a better chance for mice to find food and build their nests without putting themselves in harm’s way.

However, there are reasons that you might see a mouse out during the day. These rodents may be traveling to a place where … Read Full Post »

Signs of Rats: Identification and Control Tips

a rat coming out from underneath a deck

Have you noticed signs of rats living somewhere in your home, attic or garage? If you suspect you have a rat infestation, it’s unsettling—and trying to address it on your own can quickly lead to frustration, as you learn that setting out a few traps won’t be enough to resolve the problem. Like mice and other wild rodent pests, rats are opportunists. They are also wily, clever animals. They enter people’s homes (and other buildings on the property) in search of food and shelter. If they find an opening, they’ll use it to get inside. Rats are also prolific breeders, so if they have a chance to build a nest, their population can expand quickly.

You may notice signs of rats in your home, but you’re even more likely to find them in your attic, garage, shed or some other less-visited place on your property. Since rats are nocturnal, they’re most … Read Full Post »

What Are the Early Signs of Bed Bugs?

two bed bugs with a bed bug egg, which are some of the early signs of bed bugs

You go to bed one night feeling fine, but wake up the next morning with itchy bites on your skin and disturbing concerns about bed bugs running through your mind. Especially if you’ve recently traveled, you’re wise to wonder about the early signs of bed bugs. Bed bugs hitchhike from one home to another—and even one city to another—by stowing away in luggage, or hiding out in blankets and quilts or in the crevices of used furniture. Fortunately, if you know what bed bugs look like and what some common signs of a bed bug infestation are, you can make a treatment plan so you won’t have to worry about the significant emotional toll that a bed bug infestation can have on your household.

Bed bugs are small, six-legged insects about the size and color of an apple seed, except flatter. They are so flat, in fact, that they can hide … Read Full Post »

Tankless Water Heaters vs. Tank: Which is Best?

tank water heater

When your water heater starts making knocking noises or stops providing adequate hot water for your home—or, worse, it bursts—it’s time to decide on a replacement model that will best fit your needs. When you start looking into the options, however, you might feel overwhelmed by all the choices that are available. Which are better—tankless water heaters or tank water heaters? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each type, and which kind is right for your particular home?

If you’re considering making the switch from a traditional tank model to a tankless water heater, it could seem especially daunting to decide whether this is the right move. Tankless heaters typically have higher price tags than tank heaters, though their operating costs over time are lower. Even knowing they’ll likely save money over time, many people balk at the prospect of spending so much money up front.

Of course, there are other … Read Full Post »

Causes of Low Water Pressure in Kitchen Sink

low water pressure in a kitchen sink

If you begin noticing that the water coming out of your kitchen faucet doesn’t have as much pressure as it should, the first thing to check is whether it’s a whole-house issue. Are all the taps affected, or only the kitchen sink? If the kitchen is the only tap with low pressure, it’s time to consider the potential causes of low water pressure in a kitchen sink so you can determine what might be causing it, and fix it.

The most common causes of low water pressure in a kitchen sink are a clogged aerator or a clogged cartridge. The aerator is the part of the faucet that is at the very end of the spout; it is the last thing the water touches before it comes out into the sink. Most aerators become clogged over time due to mineral deposits in hard water. Fortunately, they are simple to clean when … Read Full Post »

Rats Won’t Go Near Traps: What Am I Doing Wrong?

a rat that is staring at a trap but won't go near it

It’s stressful enough to discover there might be rats in or around your home. It’s downright maddening to spend valuable time and money to set traps—only to find that the rats won’t go near your traps. If this kind of infuriating situation is happening to you, don’t panic. And know you aren’t alone. Rats are much more intelligent than many homeowners realize. For example, studies have shown that rats recognize when foods result in harm to another rat in the colony, and then actively avoid these foods in the future. They also notice when an object like a trap is a new addition to their environment, and they avoid it.

One way to get around this hurdle and convince rats to approach the trap is to trick them into thinking the trap is a safe object. Start by placing bait on your trap, but don’t set it quite yet. Once you … Read Full Post »

Heater Is Not Turning On: Troubleshooting Tips

A chilly, white kitchen because the heater is not turning on

Heater not turning on, no matter what you do to try to get it to work? On a cold day, it can be worrisome to crank up the heat in your home, only to find you’re still feeling chilly. Fortunately, there are a few things a homeowner can do to try to figure out what’s gone wrong. Be forewarned, however—chances are, the problem may be too involved for a simple fix. When this happens, it may be necessary to call in a professional who can diagnose the issue and determine the right way to resolve it. It may turn out to be a small repair, such as a broken part that can be replaced. If it’s a more extensive problem, the entire heater may need replacing, especially if yours is an older model.

When your heater is not turning on, the first thing to check is whether the thermostat on the … Read Full Post »

How To Identify a Rat’s Nest

Three dark-colored immature rats sleeping in a nest made of torn paper and other materials

Spotting a rat’s nest might be the first sign of an infestation in your home. But how do you know if what you’re seeing is the home of one of these hard-to-spot rodents, particularly if you don’t observe the rat itself? Rodents tend to nest in more protected areas that homeowners don’t usually frequent. In addition, different species of rats build nests that typically vary in appearance and can be found in different spots on your property. Generally speaking, a rat’s nest looks like a ball that is 4 to 6 inches in diameter that is loosely woven.

Norway rats, also called sewer rats or brown rats, are stocky rodents that often dig burrows in moist areas, such as under woodpiles or trash, along home foundations, fields or in gardens. They line these nests with fibrous materials, such as cloth or shredded paper. If these rats come into a building, they … Read Full Post »

Landscape Lighting Around Your Pool: Expert Tips

A yard where a homeowner has recently updated their landscape lighting around the pool

Well-placed lights around your pool area can enhance the beauty of your backyard and help you get the most out of your investment, day or night. In addition, installing landscape lighting can illuminate walkways to help your swimmers find their way from your back door to your pool more safely. Some common options include lights next to a patio, pergola, seating area, walls or perimeter. Additionally, lighting on water features, trees, plants, garden beds, decorations or statues can help create a welcoming atmosphere and accent certain areas of your property.

If you’re considering adding to the aesthetics and function of your pool area through lighting, you’ll want to keep some other considerations in mind. For instance, if you choose lighting that’s too bright or harsh, then you can inadvertently ruin the casual and serene atmosphere you’re probably trying to achieve. In some situations, low-voltage LED lighting can effectively provide the extra … Read Full Post »