ABC Blog

How Do Mice Get in My Attic? Rodent Proofing 101

A mouse scurrying around in an attic

If you’ve noticed signs of mice in your attic—such as droppings, piles of shredded paper or insulation, scratching or squeaking noises coming from within the walls or actual mouse sightings—you’re probably wondering how the mice got there.

Mice, rats and other rodent pests normally get into attics, garages and homes through gaps in exterior walls that lead to interior spaces. Even a seemingly tiny gap around a dryer or bathroom vent, for example, can be a good entry point for a mouse, since mice can squeeze through holes as small as the size of a dime. Yes, you read that right! These creatures are incredibly well-adapted to contort their bodies to fit through extremely small holes.

The reason why mice infiltrate people’s homes is the same as that of any animal trying to get inside: They are seeking warm, dry shelter; food and water and a good place to build a nest … Read Full Post »

How To Hang Christmas Lights On A Metal Roof

Lights laid out for holiday decorating, which has led a homeowner to wonder how to hang Christmas lights on a metal roof

Homeowners with a metal roof don’t have to worry when the holiday season comes around. Even though many outdoor lighting systems are designed for typical shingles or gutters, it’s still possible to hang Christmas lights on a metal roof if you do your research and learn what works and what doesn’t.

Before you get started, you’ll need to gather all the tools you’ll need to hang your lights, so you can avoid having to constantly stop and restart to find another essential item. Here are the main steps involved in getting your home adorned with festive holiday lighting:

  • Gather your strands of lights, as well as other electronic items you might need, such as extension cords and timers.
  • Test each string of lights to make sure they’re working before you start hanging them. There’s nothing more frustrating than spending hours putting up lights, only to find that a bulb is out in the … Read Full Post »

How Far Should Tree Branches Be From a House?

A house surrounded by oak trees that have been trimmed back

Surrounding your house with trees can lend visual appeal to your entire property. Unfortunately, this gorgeous greenery can spell disaster. When trees are too close to your home, the roots can destroy your foundation, and branches hanging over your roof can cause a whole range of problems.

As a general rule, trees should be at least 10 to 20 feet from your home, but the exact distance depends on the size of the tree, its canopy and its root system. Ideally, no part of a tree should touch your home, and branches that hang over your roofline should be trimmed regularly. These limbs can be responsible for serious damage if they break and fall. Not only can your roof or other property surrounding your house be impacted, but your family or houseguests could be put at risk for injury.

At the very least, any branches that hang over the house should be … Read Full Post »

Do Christmas Lights Use a Lot of Electricity?

A home that has been decorated with multiple strands of lights, which may make the homeowner wonder if Christmas lights use a lot of electricity

Do you dream of creating a holiday wonderland at home at Christmastime, complete with lights galore to capture the warmth of the season? Many of us do, but that heartwarming vision of twinkling lights might immediately be followed up with questions about what your electricity bill will amount to if you go with an extensive festive display. After all, with people coming and going, and running your heater during the wintertime, you may not know exactly how much electricity Christmas lights use.

With the holidays already being an expensive time of year, a high electric bill can certainly dim the festive cheer of an extensive lights display. Fortunately, a home Christmas lights display might be more affordable than you think, and there are several ways to limit your electricity use while still putting on a show the neighbors will remember for years to come.

It’s to be expected that a few weeks’ … Read Full Post »

There’s a Raccoon in My Attic: What Can I Do?

A raccoon sitting on a homeowner's roof

Are you hearing something going thump in the night? If so, this might mean a raccoon family is living rent-free in your attic or crawl space. Some of the first signs that you might have raccoons in your home include the sounds of an animal moving around in the attic or chimney.

Other ways homeowners often find out these animals have moved in include visible indications, such as pawprints or damage to their house’s shingles, electrical wiring or insulation. They might also notice an accumulation of nesting materials inside the house, a destroyed garden or debris around their property, such as dead birds, feces or scattered trash.

If you spot possible signs of a problem, some ways to check whether you have raccoons on your property instead of another pest include looking at the pawprints and scat the animal left behind. Raccoons leave hand-like prints with their five-fingered paws, and their droppings … Read Full Post »

Why Clogged Drains From Washing Machines Occur

A front-load washing machine filled to the brim with clothes

It’s frustrating to put a load of laundry in the washer and press start, only to wind up a half-hour later with a machine full of wet clothes and dirty water that won’t drain. When this happens, it’s most likely because your washing machine drain has a blockage that needs to be cleared before the water can properly exit the machine. The most common reason for a clogged drain from washing machine is an issue with the filter.

Appliance repair specialists find all sorts of items—most commonly, socks, underwear and baby clothes—that have gotten stuck in washing machine filters during the wash or spin cycle. This happens because it’s easy for small items to slip through, block the filter and prevent the washer from draining properly. If your washer isn’t a front-load type of washing machine, however, the problem is likely due to something else, as only front-loading machines are equipped … Read Full Post »

Why Is My Furnace Blowing Cold Air?

A furnace blowing cold air through open air vents

If you turn on your heater on the first cold night of the season, only to discover that it’s blowing cold air, you have every right to be concerned. It’s even worse if your heating system fails when you have a home full of children, grandchildren or other guests, who might have trouble spending time at your home because it’s so cold.

Thankfully, there are some things you can try to troubleshoot furnace issues. There are also some preventative steps you can take to reduce the chance of your heater malfunctioning at the worst possible time or creating a larger and possibly dangerous issue.

Whether a furnace issue is something you can fix on your own depends on the root cause. Many complex heating matters, such as problems with the burner, flame sensor, oil tank, thermocouple, gas valve, ignition, oil filter, duct or computerized controls, require the help of a professional.

However, homeowners … Read Full Post »

How to Paint Trim Without Tape and Other Tips

a homeowner wearing red and yellow painting gloves with a paintbrush in hand getting ready to paint trim without tape

Updating a room with a new coat of paint is an inexpensive and relatively easy way to redecorate the whole house. Painting is a great home project—with just a roller, a can or two of paint and a few hours of your time, you can freshen up your space. But many people decide to forego painting the trim, since it seems like more of a detailed project requiring lots of precision and attention to detail. The mere idea of taping it all off is enough to turn some people off! The good news is, it’s actually fairly simple to learn how to paint trim without tape and make it look great. All you need is a few simple tips and tricks to make sure you’re doing the job right. If it turns out to be too big of a job, you can call in a professional to ensure that it … Read Full Post »

How to Hang Christmas Lights from Gutters

Christmas lights attached to gutters with plastic clips

The holiday season brings lots of fun, but it also takes quite a bit of planning. You have to make time for family, friends, holiday parties, shopping and much more. Decorating your property so that it looks beautiful and festive for the season takes some forethought, as hanging Christmas lights incorrectly can cause damage to your home and the lights, and even harm a visitor. A popular and attractive method to hang lights is to string them across the top of your garage. This is why it’s important to learn how to hang Christmas lights from your gutters correctly.

The first step to decorating with Christmas lights the right way is to gather your tools and get prepared before you get started. Every homeowner can decide among different types and brands of lights and fasteners. By getting everything ready before you start, you’re less likely to have to run to the … Read Full Post »

Why Do I Have Yellow Spots in My Grass?

A lawn that has brown patch, which is a common cause of yellow spots in grass

After putting lots of hard work into taking care of your lawn and creating a lawn care schedule, you’re frustrated to see that all that effort was for nothing. There are unsightly yellow spots in your grass and you’re unsure of what went wrong and what you can do to fix it.

There are several reasons why you might have yellow spots in your grass, including certain fungal diseases that various types of grass can be prone to, as well as pest infestations like grub worms and chinch bugs that can cause patches of discoloration. If you have pets, particularly dogs, their urine can also cause yellow spots in grass, especially if they typically “do their business” in one area. Fortunately, there are steps you can take in each of these cases to mitigate the discoloration and help return your grass to a thick, green state.

Pet Urine

One of the most common … Read Full Post »