ABC Blog

Texas Evergreen Shrubs: Which Are Best?

A Japanese boxwood shrub which is considered a Texas evergreen shrub

Homeowners often choose to add bushes to their front yards to add height and texture, enhance security and improve the aesthetic appeal of a landscape. If you are considering making this investment and you live in the Lone Star State, you probably want to learn more about Texas evergreen shrubs, particularly since you want to make sure your new plants survive in our hot and dry climate. Usually, your best bet is to consult with a landscaping professional to recommend which species would work best in your yard, given not only our climate, but also your soil type, sun exposure and watering preferences. If you’d prefer to go the DIY route, however, we have a few suggestions for you.

Yaupon Holly

Whether you’re looking for an evergreen hedge or a topiary plant, yaupon holly is a popular choice in residential areas, and for good reason. This evergreen shrub is easy to trim … Read Full Post »

No Hot Water in House: What Can I Do?

A white and beige bathroom that is not getting hot water

When you turn on a faucet in your home, you expect water to come rushing out. When you turn it to hot, you expect the water to heat up—if not immediately, then within a reasonable period of time. That’s why, when there’s no hot water in your house, it’s not just annoying; it’s actually alarming. It can even be considered an urgent problem, especially if you’re turning on your shower to get ready for work. If there’s no hot water in your house, there are several different possibilities for why the water isn’t warming up. Let’s take a look at the various reasons why this can happen and what to do when it does.

The kitchen sink and the shower or tub are the two spots in a home where people most commonly use hot water for hand-washing dishes and for bathing. Many people also use hot water for washing their … Read Full Post »

What Size Water Softener Do I Need for My Home?

There are many benefits to having a water softener, but going through the process of purchasing one for your home can be confusing. What size do you need? What are grains? What type of water softener is best for what you need?

If you live in an area with hard water, you’re probably already aware that a water softener can help get your dishes cleaner, leave your skin and hair feeling softer and extend the life of your appliances. The first question you probably have after deciding to buy one of these appliances: “What size water softener do I need for my home?” The first thing you should know is that the square footage of your home isn’t necessarily the biggest consideration when looking at water softener size. Instead, you should consider how many water outlets there are in your home. The more water your home can potentially be using at … 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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Why Does My Water Smell Like Rotten Eggs?

Water that smells like rotten eggs coming out of a shower head

Whether you turned on the sink to do dishes or started the shower to get ready for your day, if your water smells like rotten eggs, you’re probably concerned. Many questions may be running through your head, including: Is this water still safe to use? Can I fix this myself, or do I need to contact a plumber?

There are a few different reasons why your water smells like rotten eggs and depending on the cause, the water may or may not be safe to use, and you may or may not be able to fix this problem yourself. Generally speaking, water smells like rotten eggs when there is sulfur bacteria present. Paying attention to when you notice the foul smell can help you determine what exactly is wrong and whether the water is safe to consume.

If the smell is constant when you are using water from your tap, it is … Read Full Post »

When to Plant Zoysia Grass and Other Lawn Care Tips

A backyard with newly planted zoysia grass

If you’re planning to lay new sod in your yard and you are considering zoysia for its heat-tolerant and drought-resistant qualities, you need to know when to plant zoysia grass to ensure that it will have the best possible chance to thrive. This grass is popular among homeowners in warmer climates because it can withstand a lot of abuse in the form of hot sun and minimal rainfall, but it’s still important to give zoysia its best start, to make sure your lawn will be lush, green and healthy.

It’s easy to see why zoysia is well-loved by landscapers and homeowners alike. Though it is considered a warm-season grass, zoysia also tolerates cold well, so it can easily thrive in all but the very coldest parts of the country. It loves full sun but can also take moderate amounts of shade, and because its blades grow so densely together, it is … Read Full Post »