ABC Blog

Does Lavender Really Repel Bed Bugs?

Does lavender really repel bed bugs

Waking up in the morning to find yourself covered in itchy, irritated red bumps is a shocking experience. If the bumps are situated in lines along your skin instead of in more random clusters, you might be even more concerned, as that is a common bite pattern associated with bed bugs. Instantly, you may wonder if these unwelcome pests are infesting your mattress or other areas of your home. If you’ve ever heard about natural repellents alleged to be effective in controlling these insects, you might wonder, does lavender really repel bed bugs?

Unfortunately, lavender is not an effective method to keep bed bugs away. Public health officials recognize the significant psychological toll an infestation can have and advise against DIY bed bug control methods and in favor of enlisting an experienced pest professional to deal with the problem. In order to completely eliminate bed bugs from your home, entomologists recommend … Read Full Post »

Grass Spiders In Texas: Can They Hurt Me Or My Lawn?

Grass spiders Texas

Most of us who live here in the Lone Star State are familiar with the saying “Everything’s bigger in Texas”. When it comes to our size and our state pride, that’s usually a good thing. In some other situations, however, this phrase can extend to other topics which can easily evoke feelings of pure terror. Depending on your level of comfort with these eight-legged creatures, grass spiders in Texas could certainly fit into this category.

Why is that, exactly? There are probably several reasons many homeowners are frightened of any spiders they may run across on their property. First of all, there two types of Texas spiders that are venomous: the black widow and the brown recluse. While neither of these species is aggressive, and the risk of getting bitten is low, most of us can’t quickly identify whether what we saw in our grass or our closet was dangerous or … Read Full Post »

How To Save A Dying Tree: A Closer Look At Tree Health

how to save a dying tree

Homeowners with mature trees typically love them for their shade, majestic beauty and the enhanced curb appeal and property value they provide. But if you have a tree that seems to be ailing, you may wonder how to save a dying tree. Many homeowners also wonder how to recognize the symptoms of a tree that is diseased or otherwise in need of help, so they can provide care before it’s too late.

There are a number of different diseases that can infect a tree’s branches, roots or foliage. So many, in fact, that you may need the help of a professional who specializes in trees to give you an accurate assessment of your tree’s health. The good news is, most tree diseases cause a range of visible symptoms that can serve as warning signs, enabling homeowners to intervene on behalf of the tree’s health. The not-so-good … Read Full Post »

How Long Do Garbage Disposals Last: Appliance Repair 101

how long do garbage disposals last

Garbage disposals are the backbone of your kitchen. These electric powerhouses shred away food waste within a matter of seconds, making clean up a much easier-to-complete task. But if these machines are so important, why do many of us go blank when someone asks “how long do garbage disposals last?” And what should we do if we wake up one morning to find puddles of water under the sink? Or perhaps even worse, what if our garbage disposal was not working with no noise at all indicating that you flipped the switch to the “On” position?

While garbage disposals are part of our daily routine, their operation remains foreign to many of us. This not only makes garbage disposal troubleshooting difficult, but also can make it harder to know how to properly care for and maintain this important kitchen appliance.

If you came to this post to find out how long disposals last, … Read Full Post »

Water Heater Making A Popping Noise? What You Can Do

water heater making popping noise

One of the last sounds you want to hear when you’re in the garage or laundry room is your water heater making a popping noise. While anything audible coming from your unit is a cause for concern, you should know that this sound often indicates a sediment buildup in your tank—something you’ll want to take care of sooner, rather than later. Once you troubleshoot what your issue is, you’ll be faced with a decision: whether to try to fix the problem on your own, or call in a professional.

Similar to when you take your car in for a suspicious sound and a mechanic asks you to describe it, you’ll discover as you do your homework that different noises can indicate different problems. Maybe you’ve noticed your water heater making a noise like running water, or you hear something coming from your water heater only when the hot water is turned … Read Full Post »

AC Compressor Not Working: What’s Going On?

AC Compressor Not Working

It’s a hot day, and you’ve just returned home after a long afternoon out in the grueling Texas heat. The first thing you probably want to do is plop yourself down on the living room sofa and enjoy a refreshing rush of cold air. Except that today, of all days, you realize that something seems to be wrong with your air conditioner. How could this be? You hear the machine powering on and the familiar sound of air whirring through the system. Maybe it’s because of your AC compressor not working or another component that’s broken. Perhaps it’s another problem entirely.

Understanding how HVAC systems work can help you diagnose the problem you are having and determine what to do next. In this blog post, we’ll explain some of the common air conditioner problems, including why your air conditioner compressor might be turning on, but not cooling, and why an important part of … Read Full Post »

How Many Mice Is Considered An Infestation?

How many mice is considered an infestation

So you’ve found mouse droppings, gnaw marks on your furniture, cardboard boxes and plastic storage bins that have been chewed through and other signs that point to the presence of mice in your home. Maybe you’ve even seen an actual mouse somewhere inside your house, or at least heard the telltale scratching and squeaking sounds of rodent activity within your walls.

Whatever signs you’ve spotted, something has alerted you to the possibility that mice are living in your home, and now you’re wondering whether you’ve got just one or two of the unwanted little rodent pests or a full-blown infestation. How many mice is considered an infestation? It’s a good question to ask, as the answer will inform you as to the scope of your mouse problem and what you need to do next.

The question “How many mice is considered an infestation?” is a bit complicated to answer. If you … Read Full Post »

Does Dog Pee Kill Grass? How To Protect Your Lawn

does dog pee kill grass

A homeowner with pets and a brown, patchy-looking lawn might wonder: Does dog pee kill grass? Maybe you’re not even a dog owner, but your neighbor’s pet has a habit of using your yard to do its business. Could this be a contributing factor?

The short answer is that it’s certainly possible. Due to the high protein content of most dogs’ diets, these animals’ urine contains a high concentration of nitrogen and salts, which can have a burning effect on grass and can cause yellow or brown spots in an otherwise healthy-seeming lawn. People with female dogs may notice even more concentrated spots of discoloration in their grass, since female dogs tend to squat to urinate in a single location, rather than relieving themselves in shorter spurts onto trees, bushes and fire hydrants, as male dogs typically do. Also, larger dogs pee in larger volumes than smaller dogs, so their daily … Read Full Post »

Garbage Disposal Humming: Quick Fix Or Big Problem?

Garbage Disposal Humming

We tend not to think much about our appliances. That is, until something goes wrong.

One evening, as you are going about your normal routine, you scrape your leftover food from your dinner plate, turn on the disposal and wait for that familiar and gratifying noise of food heading down your garbage disposal.

But something’s not quite right. What’s that humming sound? There’s supposed to be roaring. Grinding. Not a soft little purr.

But that’s all you’re getting.

What does it mean? Is there some kind of quick fix? Or is your disposal ruined?

We rely on our garbage disposals after pretty much every meal. We expect these appliances to take whatever we throw at them and keep on going, even when you don’t notice and a spoon slips down your drain or your children put eggshells in the garbage disposal.

Unfortunately, these kinds of common plumbing mistakes—as well as just general wear and tear—can cause … Read Full Post »

Closing A Pool For The Season: Tips From The Experts

Closing a pool for the season

Closing your pool for the season? Why would you? Sure, the weather gets colder in the south over the winter, but it’s not freezing like in northern states. Even if you don’t plan on really using your pool, “closing” it seems like a lot of unnecessary work.

That’s what you thought—until last year.

This past winter, you neglected your pool in the off-season, and in the spring you paid for it—literally. Your backyard oasis sustained damage and cleaning that needed to be addressed before you could swim again.

You don’t want that to happen again this year, but you’re not quite sure exactly how to winterize your pool.

In this post, we’ll share expert advice with you on closing a pool for the season so you can dive in when the temperatures heat up again.

Why Maintain Your Pool During Winter?

Before we go into more detail about what pool owners need to do during the … Read Full Post »