ABC Blog

Do Termites Die in the Winter?

a house in winter

Termites are extremely destructive and can damage your biggest investment—your home. You may be wondering, when the weather cools down, are you still at risk of a termite infestation? Should you still be on the lookout for signs of termites or do termites die in winter?

The reality is that termites like things warm. In warmer climates, these insects will be active all year long. In places where it gets cold for at least part of the year, it is a bit of a different story. When temperatures hit about 25 degrees Fahrenheit, a termite can die within minutes. So self-preservation means that when temperatures get to around 50 degrees, termites start moving farther underground, where the soil is warmer.

One of the most common types of termite in the U.S., the subterranean termite, not only loves warmth, but also prefers wetter conditions. Just after a rain is a prime time … Read Full Post »

Signs of Bad Electrical Panels

Open breaker box with switches

Much like our brains function by sending electrical impulses to control the various parts of our bodies, your home’s electrical panel sends electricity to various parts of your house.

The electrical panel (often referred to as the “breaker box”) is a vital part of keeping the electricity flowing properly through your home. Unfortunately, problems can arise and these issues can be especially dangerous and expensive. In addition to the fire danger, electrical panel issues can lead to damage or even destruction of any plugged-in appliances or electronic devices.

Due to the hazards that come with dealing with electricity, you should always contact a licensed electrician when facing power issues in your home.

Common Issues in Bad Electrical Panels

There are several subtle (and not-so-subtle) hints that your electrical panel might have a problem.

Here are four of the most common signs of an electrical panel issue.

I Found Dead Termites On My Windowsill

dead termites on a windowsill

Spotting dead termites on your windowsill is an unpleasant experience as a homeowner, and it means you have a bigger termite problem. Why do dead termites end up on your window sill, and what does it mean for the rest of your home?

Dead termites on your windowsill are a sign that swarmer termites were trying to mate and start new colonies on your property. It also means that there may be a pre-existing colony in your home.

Along with seeing termite swarms, there are other common signs of termites in your home. It’s important for homeowners to understand the signs so that they can act quickly to control a termite infestation.

Termites can cause costly damage to your home, and one of the worst species is the Formosan termite. This article will break down how to identify these pests, how to prevent them from getting inside your home and what to do … Read Full Post »

Common Signs of a Carpenter Ant Infestation

a carpenter ant

If you’ve seen what look like ants with black tails and reddish-brown heads around your home, you may be dealing with a carpenter ant infestation. Carpenter ants are annoying pests in homes because they chew through wood. This causes structural damage that can be a nuisance to fix. If you have a carpenter ant infestation, it should be addressed quickly.

Signs of Carpenter Ants In Your Home

What are the common signs of a carpenter ant infestation? First, you might notice ants themselves. Their bodies are reddish-brown or black in color and up to a quarter-inch to a half-inch in length. Most people see carpenter ants in places with a ready water source, like the kitchen or bathroom. Carpenter ants swarm in spring, usually after a warm rain. Swarmers are reproductive ants with wings. You might see the winged ants or the wings they shed after swarming out of the nest to … Read Full Post »

What Size Tankless Water Heater Do I Need?

A home with a tankless water heater

Tankless water heaters have become popular as more homeowners look for energy savings and more sustainable appliances. Compared to traditional tank water heaters, tankless units save homeowners about 30 percent or more on their energy usage for such a unit.

Traditional tank water heaters use energy–whether fueled by electricity or gas–in standby mode. They hold the hot water in reserve, waiting for someone to need it. How does a tankless water heater work? Tankless models heat the water as needed. You will have a momentary delay while the hot water runs through your pipes, but generally, no more heating, depleting and waiting. But, how do you know what size water heater you need if you go tankless?

If you have a tankless unit that is too small for your needs, you will run out of hot water when you might need it the most. If you purchase a unit that is too … Read Full Post »

How Does a Furnace Work?

a home with a working furnace

A furnace is one of the most important elements of any home, providing heat and comfort throughout the colder months. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the appliances in a home that homeowners don’t understand all that well.

Understanding at least the operational basics helps you understand how your heating system, and even your larger HVAC system, works. This gives you an educated head start if and when a heating situation arises.

Understanding your heating system can also help you evaluate the need for professional HVAC assistance.

How A Furnace Works 

There are many different components of a heating system that work together to heat your home. Here are the steps involved in how a furnace heats your home.

  1. Air is collected from the return register and passes through an air filter to remove particles.
  2. The furnace starts when the thermostat signals that the home has dropped below the desired temperature.
  3. The ignition starts the burner and flames … Read Full Post »

Pavers Versus Concrete: Which Is Best?

paver

As the seasons change, you might be looking to complete landscaping projects. One popular project is building a patio, perfect for spending time around a fire pit or lounging in patio chairs. There are a couple of ways that you can build a separate outdoor area for such activities, with either patio pavers or concrete as a base. But which one is better? Each one has its pros and cons.

Concrete Appearance

First, let’s look at concrete. You can get concrete in one of several ways: poured, in premade slabs or in prefabricated blocks that have the look of pavers. You can also choose different options for finishes, from smooth to lightly textured to a stamped concrete that looks like anything from pavers to stone to wood and has texture that provides traction. A landscaping professional can show you all your options and help you choose what is best for your space … Read Full Post »

When to Mow New Grass

freshly cut gras with landscape outlining fence

A lush, green lawn is a goal for most homeowners. Beautiful, thickly growing grass improves curb appeal. It also makes you want to spend more time outdoors. As springtime nears, you may be thinking more about lawn care. It’s important to know when to mow new grass, so you can maximize its healthy growth.

When your existing grass gets thin or damaged, it makes sense to lay new sod or plant new grass. But how should you care for the new grass once it starts growing? If you mow it too early, its roots can be damaged. The mower blades can actually yank the young grass right out of the ground. The new grass blades can also be damaged by being cut, unless they’ve had time to get thicker and stronger.

This is why it’s so important to mow new grass at the optimal time, to keep it as healthy as possible. … Read Full Post »

Why Do I Have Low Hot Water Pressure?

a bathroom with low hot water pressure

You go to wash dishes or take a nice, hot shower—only to realize when you turn on the water that the pressure is low. Having low hot water pressure is annoying, but it can also be a sign of a real problem that needs attention. It’s often best to resolve the issue as soon as you can. Otherwise, it could become an even bigger problem that is harder and more expensive to fix.

Before you start troubleshooting the cause of your low hot water pressure, it’s a good idea to check in with your neighbors. Is your house only affected, or are your neighbors experiencing the same thing? If the low pressure seems like a sudden problem, instead of something that has developed gradually over time, it could be something affecting the whole neighborhood.

Sometimes there is a larger-scale issue like a break in a nearby water main. Other times, the city … Read Full Post »

Should You Fertilize Before or After Mowing?

Green wheelbarrow spreading fertilizer

When you get a little rain it seems like the perfect time to get your lawn growing. But, there are a few things you need to consider before going all out on your landscaping, especially when deciding if it’s better to fertilize before or after mowing. 

Before you fertilize your lawn, understand that you will need to wait 24 hours until you water. That gives the fertilizer time to settle into the lawn before you give it a solid soaking. If you aren’t getting much rain and still want to fertilize your lawn, give it a good soaking one or two days before you plan to fertilize. Then, lightly water again after the fertilizer settles. It’s possible to do all this yourself, but hiring a professional can be much easier. An expert knows exactly how much fertilizer to add to your lawn and how much to water after application. 

If you choose … Read Full Post »