ABC Blog

Types of Christmas Lights

christmas lights on a house

Christmas is a time for cheer and togetherness. A time for friends and families to spend time together and enjoy the warmth of the season. A big part of that warmth is the beautiful glow of Christmas lights. If you are looking to have your own display this holiday season, you should know what’s out there.

Mini String Lights

This type of bulb is the type you probably think of when you think of Christmas lights. They offer a couple of benefits over other types. The bulbs are generally the least expensive of all choices, easier to find and offer a brighter glow. On the downside, the mini string lights use more electricity, have a shorter lifespan and pose a larger threat of starting a fire. This type of bulb can also burst when temperatures drop below freezing.

LED Lights

Gaining traction on the mini lights are strings that feature LED lights. You can … Read Full Post »

My Garbage Disposal Is Spinning but Not Draining

a garbage disposal that is spinning but not draining

A garbage disposal is one of the most valuable conveniences in the modern kitchen. Mounted below the sink drain, the garbage disposal uses several blades that spin like propellers to grind solid food waste into bits. These small bits are washed away through a grey-water plumbing system.

The garbage disposal reduces waste odors and makes kitchen clean-up significantly quicker and easier.

Until it stops working, that is.

There are a number of reasons that a disposal might stop working. Luckily, most have simple fixes that a homeowner can troubleshoot themselves. More severe issues may require the help of a licensed professional, who can do so quickly and with minimal disturbance.

A garbage disposal that has stopped working will often prevent your sink from draining. And, unground matter in the unit can clog your system until it has been cleared.

Sometimes a garbage disposal will sound like it’s working properly (you can hear the blades spinning). … Read Full Post »

Why Does My AC Smell Like Vinegar?

air that smells like vinegar blowing through a home

Is there anything better than the fresh cool breeze of an air conditioner on a sweltering summer day? No way.

However, if your AC smells like rotten eggs or vinegar, that pleasant respite from the heat is going to sour. Air conditioners that emit an unpleasant smell are not only a buzzkill to your refreshment and comfort, they are also warning signs of serious functional issues and potentially expensive breakdowns.

In short, that bad smell is your AC’s way of letting you know that something is wrong and needs to be fixed. An off-putting vinegar odor is most typically caused by a build-up of bacteria or mold in your AC system. This can continue to grow and spread throughout your home.

The good news is that this is a fairly common issue and there are some tried-and-true methods to resolve it.

The first step in dealing with a sour-smelling air conditioner is to determine … Read Full Post »

Tree Trimming Tips

a homeowner trimming their trees

Trimming trees adds to the beauty and esthetic value of any property. When it’s done incorrectly though, it can reduce both the appeal and value of the surrounding landscaping and property. In fact, the general rule of thumb is that no trimming is better than bad trimming.

Trimming or pruning, is the process of removing parts of a tree or plant, typically with the goal of improving the plant’s health, beauty or value. Tree trimming is not particularly complicated, but common sense and a handful of basic rules will go a long way. Here are a few things to keep in mind to trim these large trees:

  • “Training” the plant to grow in a specific shape or direction
  • Improving plant health by focusing nutrition on preferred areas
  • Encourage higher-quality growth of fruits or foliage
  • Restricting growth to maintain a preferred height or circumference

Basics of Tree Trimming

Trimming, or pruning, achieves its best results when cuts are … Read Full Post »

Half of My Christmas Lights Aren’t Working

a string of Christmas lights

Decking the halls for the Christmas season fills many people with excitement for the coming celebrations. A huge part of the decorating ritual every year includes festive lights on the exterior of your home. Sometimes when you flip the switch, the twinkle looks a little unbalanced. Or when you pull last year’s spools of shining glory out of storage, half of the lights aren’t ready to shine.

What’s next? The first step is to always plug in your lights and check for issues before you hang them for decorating. You don’t want to hang your lights only to find they need to come right off! If you do have issues, your choices are to try to fix the lights yourself or contact a professional who can bring new LED lights for you and hang them up. Let’s troubleshoot some potential causes for the outage.

Troubleshooting Your Christmas Lights

First off, one of the … Read Full Post »

Why Am I Getting No Power to My Thermostat?

a blank thermostat

Your AC is a complex system made up of many interconnected parts. If any one part fails, the system can’t work at peak efficiency. But if the thermostat isn’t working, the whole air-conditioning system is down. The thermostat is the little box on your wall that controls the AC. No power to thermostat means you can’t turn your AC on or off, or set it to the right temperature.

Simple Fixes

When your thermostat loses power, there are a few simple things to check first. The very first thing to do is to make sure it’s actually turned on. This is especially something to check with older thermostats. As long as they are receiving power, newer digital thermostats will still show something on their displays, even when they are off. If your thermostat is digital and its display screen is completely blank, that likely means it has lost power.

If your home has … Read Full Post »

What Do the Numbers on Fertilizer Mean?

a person holding fertilizer

Figuring out fertilization on your own without the support of a lawn care specialist can be challenging for homeowners. Fertilizers at a home and garden store include a list of numbers that homeowners may be unfamiliar with.

If all this feels a bit too overwhelming, consider reaching out to a lawn care expert. A specialist knows how to fertilize your lawn best and can put in place a lawn care schedule.

What is the N-P-K Ratio, and What Do The Numbers on Fertilizer Mean?

Many homes in the United States do not have soil that is healthy enough to sustain the perfect lawn or garden. For this reason, homeowners usually need to add nutrients to their yards.

Using natural or synthetic (chemical) fertilizer increases the nutrient count of your yard. Fertilizer works with bacteria and fungi in the soil to create an ideal environment for your plants to grow. Natural fertilizers are more effective … Read Full Post »

What Are the Benefits of Water Softeners?

a shower head

So what does “hard” water really mean? 

When rain falls, it is pure water. Once it seeps into the ground, it picks up minerals like calcium and magnesium. Water that has collected a large amount of such minerals is called “hard.” In fact, about 85 percent of water in the United States can be classified as hard water.

Is a water softener worth it? It’s important to first see if you are noticing the signs of hard water. Seeing stains on your sinks and tubs or on your kitchen utensils? It’s a good bet you have hard water. Seeing scale deposits on kitchen appliances and plumbing is another sign. Are you having to use more soap than usual? Hard water doesn’t lather well, so you have to use more. Hard water will also face your clothing and make your skin and hair feel dry after a shower. 

Water also has a continuum of … Read Full Post »

How Fast Do Bed Bugs Move?

two squirming bed bugs

If you notice small, itchy bites appearing on your skin or your family’s skin, you no doubt have questions about what is causing them. Maybe you have seen little brownish oval insects flitting around a bed or a couch. Surely these can’t be bed bugs, can they?

Bed bugs do not discriminate when choosing their meal. They go where the food is, and for these little bugs, blood is their food source. Having an infestation doesn’t reflect housekeeping habits. It simply means bed bugs have found their way to a new meal ticket.

Before assuming that bed bugs are your problem, it’s best to get an inspection from a licensed pest control professional. There are a couple of other insects that look similar, including some spiders, carpet beetles, booklice, cockroach nymphs, fleas and ticks. You want to be sure any treatment you undertake is effective.

One sign that your visitors might be bed … Read Full Post »

How To Make Compost

compost mixed into soil

Are you a homeowner interested in making your own compost? Composting is an easy process to start and maintain, regardless of your size requirements.

It’s also one of the easiest and best first steps for garden fertilization, and healthy lawncare.

Despite what you may have heard, home composting is not complicated, it’s not messy and it doesn’t smell bad when you do it right.

In fact, learning how to compost the right way is super simple. Once you get started, it’s a great, environmentally-friendly way to repurpose food scraps and a variety of other organic materials into a superfood for your plants and gardens.

Types of Composting

First things first, let’s take a look at the various types of composting. The three most popular and widely used methods are cold composting, hot composting and vermicomposting.

Cold Composting

Composting in its most basic form is “cold” composting. This involves collecting plant waste from your lawns or gardens and … Read Full Post »