ABC Blog

Why Do My Lights Dim When the AC Turns On?

a gray living room with a white couch

If the lights dim when the AC turns on in your home, it may not be cause for alarm. Your home’s electrical wiring is a limited circuit, so when one appliance draws a lot of power, it’s taking it away from anything else that you have plugged in. It’s also possible, that the dimming lights are a sign of a problem.

Of everything in your home that uses electricity, your heating and cooling system use by far the most. The AC needs a lot of power when it first turns on. In some homes, especially older ones with dated electrical wiring, the lights dim slightly when the AC turns on because a lot of power is being drawn momentarily. In this case, the lights dimming briefly is normal and doesn’t signal a problem.

However, in other homes, the dimming lights do signal a problem. It could be within the AC system or … Read Full Post »

Are There Any Foods That Repel Mosquitoes?

a mosquito biting someone

Many people have heard there are certain foods that repel mosquitoes. The idea is that if you eat lots of these foods, your body will give off a scent that naturally repels mosquitoes. But is there any truth to this claim? Unfortunately, there is no solid scientific evidence to back up this theory.

On the bright side, adding healthful foods to your diet is never a bad idea. The foods that most people claim will repel mosquitoes include garlic, onions, beans, lentils, tomatoes and apple cider vinegar. These are overall nourishing foods that can have a very healthy place in many people’s diets.

Furthermore, there are several types of foods that some say will draw more mosquitoes to you. These include beer, salty foods and sugary foods—all types of foods that many of us would benefit from reducing in our diets. If cutting down on these foods also helps keep mosquitoes away, … Read Full Post »

Air Conditioner Not Blowing Cold Air But Running

a home's ac vent

If you find your air conditioner not blowing cold air but running, there is a problem in your AC system that needs to be fixed. The exact problem depends on whether the AC is blowing warm air or no air at all. If there is no air getting through the system, there may be a blockage somewhere or a bad blower motor. If air is getting through but it’s not cold, there is another issue.

Before you try to figure out what’s going on, it’s a good idea to turn off the AC. Letting it run while there’s an undiagnosed issue could lead to bigger problems. That might mean even more complicated and expensive repairs. After turning off the AC, you can do some troubleshooting. Keep in mind that in the majority of cases, the best course of action is to call a professional to diagnose and repair the problem.

Diagnosing the … Read Full Post »

How To Identify Bed Bug Casings

bed bug casings and feces in a corner of a dresser

Bed bugs…just thinking about them is enough to make most folks itchy. Cimex lectularius, or bed bugs, are small insects, about the size of an apple seed. Typically, they are brown in color with a flat and oval shape. Like ticks, bed bugs are parasites. They feed on blood and can swell to considerably larger sizes when feeding, which can last up to ten minutes.

Part of what makes these pests difficult to eradicate is their ability to go months at a time without feeding. In the right conditions, bed bugs can go for months without a meal. Additionally, these pests have become resilient to many of the products on the market. To make matter worse, females can lay hundreds of eggs over their lifetime. And, they begin reproducing after only a month, laying eggs three or more times per year.

If you think you may be dealing with bed bugs, look … Read Full Post »

The Best Ornamental Grasses for Texas Yards

muhly grass which is one type of ornamental grass in Texas

Temperatures are inching up, and spring is on the way. That is the time when homeowners’ minds turn to freshening up their landscaping. Maybe you’re considering new plants or shrubs to make your yard look like new. In years past, creating the perfect landscape meant crafting a carefully manicured lawn with trimmed and shaped shrubs and blankets of flowers in neat sections. All this took a lot of time and water to maintain. But there is a new way of landscaping these days.

Before you go out and buy a lot of things that might work in our climate, you could think about the trend of using native plants. Instead of fighting the Texas climate, homeowners are planting things like ornamental grasses. These grasses are suitable for the soil and temperatures here and don’t require an excessive amount of watering. As a bonus, these grasses add a natural beauty to your … Read Full Post »

How To Get Rid of Mosquitoes

a mosquito biting someone

Getting bitten by mosquitoes over and over again makes enjoying your yard in the spring and summer almost impossible. No matter how many times you spray repellents, you keep being bitten by these invisible intruders.

Mosquito bites can be annoying, painful and can even make you seriously sick. Mosquitoes can spread diseases to you, your family and your pets. Dangerous diseases like the Zika and the West Nile Virus make the presence of mosquitoes an issue that needs addressing right away.

However, having too many mosquitoes in your yard is a very common problem. Homeowners across the United States, particularly in warmer, southern states like Texas and Florida, deal with these pests all the time.

But, how can homeowners get rid of mosquitoes? In summary, you can prevent mosquitoes on your property and prevent mosquito bites by:

  • Eliminating sources of standing water
  • Keeping your yard well-maintained
  • Repairing window and door screens
  • Regularly changing the water in dog … Read Full Post »

How To Identify Formosan Termite Swarmers

termites in dirt

Subterranean termites may be responsible for the most damage to U.S. homes each year, but Formosan termites come in at a close second. In fact, Formosan termites are sometimes called “super termites” because they destroy wood faster than their subterranean cousins. If you spot Formosan termite swarmers in or near your home, it’s a sign of an infestation. That means it’s time to take action before they destroy your property any further.

One thing to understand about Formosan termites is that they are actually a type of subterranean termite. Subterranean means underground, and that’s where these termites build their colonies. Just like the termites we more commonly call subterranean, Formosans also build mud tubes along foundations, walls or support beams. They use these tubes to connect their colonies to their food source—wood.

The problem that all types of termites pose in our homes is that they chew through wood for its cellulose. … Read Full Post »

Common AC Noises and What They Mean

an air conditioning vent

Learning about normal AC noise versus AC noise that signals a problem is important. This knowledge comes in handy for anyone wanting to know what to do if their AC breaks. After all, there are several noises AC systems commonly make that are perfectly normal. Knowing what isn’t normal is key to keeping your AC in good working order and extending its life as long as possible.

There are a few normal sounds that any well-running AC might make. There’s the humming, starting-up sound the AC makes when it first kicks on, for example. There’s also the gentle whirring noise the outdoor condenser unit makes while it runs. The metal ductwork that connects your AC to the vents in your home might also make noises over time. These sounds come from normal expansion and contraction due to temperature changes through the seasons.

Other noises, on the other hand, can mean the AC … Read Full Post »

What Do Flea Bites Look Like?

flea bites on a man's arm

Fleas can cause lots of problems for both humans and animals. It’s no fun to deal with red, itchy bites on your own skin, and it’s no better to see your beloved pet scratching and suffering. Sometimes it’s hard to know whether you’re dealing with fleas or some other pest. What do flea bites look like? How can you tell if you have a problem with fleas, mosquitoes, bed bugs or something else? Here are some ways to tell what you’re dealing with, so you can get rid of them as soon as possible.

Flea bites look like small red dots on the skin, about a quarter-inch in diameter. There might be a tiny bump in the center of the bite, or it might be flat. Depending on your body’s reaction to the bites, they could also develop into larger, raised welts. Whatever size they are, flea bites are usually itchy.

Flea … Read Full Post »

The Signs and Causes of a Broken AC Unit

a white kitchen

It’s a big inconvenience when you have a broken AC unit. It could even be a dangerous situation if your AC breaks when it’s very hot or cold outside. That’s why it’s so important to get the problem fixed as quickly as possible. Of course, that requires determining what the problem is, so that it can be properly addressed.

It’s important to note that sometimes, AC units have problems that don’t cause obvious symptoms. The main thing you might notice is a gradual increase in your monthly utility bills. This is because an AC with worn-out or broken components can’t run efficiently. It may keep limping along, using more and more electricity as it struggles to keep up with demands on the system until it finally breaks completely.

Some AC problems are simple enough to figure out and fix on your own. Others are more complex and need fixing by a professional. … Read Full Post »