ABC Blog

Signs of Bad Electrical Panels

Open breaker box with switches

Much like our brains function by sending electrical impulses to control the various parts of our bodies, your home’s electrical panel sends electricity to various parts of your house.

The electrical panel (often referred to as the “breaker box”) is a vital part of keeping the electricity flowing properly through your home. Unfortunately, problems can arise and these issues can be especially dangerous and expensive. In addition to the fire danger, electrical panel issues can lead to damage or even destruction of any plugged-in appliances or electronic devices.

Due to the hazards that come with dealing with electricity, you should always contact a licensed electrician when facing power issues in your home.

Common Issues in Bad Electrical Panels

There are several subtle (and not-so-subtle) hints that your electrical panel might have a problem.

Here are four of the most common signs of an electrical panel issue.

Common Signs of a Carpenter Ant Infestation

a carpenter ant

If you’ve seen what look like ants with black tails and reddish-brown heads around your home, you may be dealing with a carpenter ant infestation. Carpenter ants are annoying pests in homes because they chew through wood. This causes structural damage that can be a nuisance to fix. If you have a carpenter ant infestation, it should be addressed quickly.

Signs of Carpenter Ants In Your Home

What are the common signs of a carpenter ant infestation? First, you might notice ants themselves. Their bodies are reddish-brown or black in color and up to a quarter-inch to a half-inch in length. Most people see carpenter ants in places with a ready water source, like the kitchen or bathroom. Carpenter ants swarm in spring, usually after a warm rain. Swarmers are reproductive ants with wings. You might see the winged ants or the wings they shed after swarming out of the nest to … Read Full Post »

When to Mow New Grass

freshly cut gras with landscape outlining fence

A lush, green lawn is a goal for most homeowners. Beautiful, thickly growing grass improves curb appeal. It also makes you want to spend more time outdoors. As springtime nears, you may be thinking more about lawn care. It’s important to know when to mow new grass, so you can maximize its healthy growth.

When your existing grass gets thin or damaged, it makes sense to lay new sod or plant new grass. But how should you care for the new grass once it starts growing? If you mow it too early, its roots can be damaged. The mower blades can actually yank the young grass right out of the ground. The new grass blades can also be damaged by being cut, unless they’ve had time to get thicker and stronger.

This is why it’s so important to mow new grass at the optimal time, to keep it as healthy as possible. … Read Full Post »

Why Won’t My Heat Turn On?

A home where the heat won't turn on

When it’s cold out, the last thing you want is to deal with a malfunctioning heater. Unfortunately, there are several reasons why your heater won’t turn on or won’t stay on.

The good news is that homeowners can try easy at-home solutions before contacting professional help. Sometimes the problem is as simple as replacing air filters.

However, the problem can become more serious and require repairs or replacement parts. If that’s the case, don’t hesitate to contact a licensed heating professional to look at your system. Scheduling a yearly maintenance check is the best way to ensure your heater will keep you warm all winter.

Why Won’t My Heat Turn On?

There are several reasons why your heat won’t turn on. Luckily, most of them are easy to identify and fix, so you don’t have to stay cold for long.

Regular Maintenance Issues

The leading reason heaters won’t turn on is that they weren’t properly maintained, … Read Full Post »

Why Does My Garbage Disposal Smell?

A garbage disposal that smells

Your garbage disposal is one of the most important appliances in your kitchen. It helps send any leftover bits of food left on plates or in containers down the drain smoothly. However, your garbage disposal can sometimes smell pretty bad.

So, what causes these smells, and how can you make them go away?

Common Reasons Garbage Disposals Smell Bad

When a garbage disposal is turned on, its blades spin and grind down food waste. This process produces small pieces of refuse and water that are pushed down a pipe to the drain. Over time, these small particles can accumulate and create an unpleasant smell in the garbage disposal.

The most common cause of this smell is grease or food particles gathered around the drain opening. If the disposal is not properly cleaned, this residue can also cause corrosion to the metal parts inside the unit.

There are a few other common causes of garbage disposal … Read Full Post »

What Is a Water Softener Salt Bridge?

a water softener

Hard water contains high levels of dissolved minerals in the form of ions, most often magnesium and calcium. These hard water minerals seep into our water supplies from the ground, and that water leaves behind mineral deposits known as scaling.

If you find a stubborn, whitish build-up on your faucets, drains or other areas that come in contact with your water supply, like shower doors or toilets, it’s likely to be mineral scaling left behind by hard water.

To help prevent issues from these mineral deposits, many homeowners install water softeners or water conditioners to treat the incoming water and reduce the impact.

What is a Water Softener Salt Bridge?

A salt bridge is a hard, crusty layer of salt that forms in your brine tank. What makes this problematic is that it gives the appearance that the tank is still full when, in fact, you may be low or even completely out of … Read Full Post »

House Mouse: Identification & Control Tips

a mouse in a house

A house mouse may look cute and fluffy, but an infestation in your home is not something to take lightly. House mice carry dangerous diseases that can harm humans and pets. They can also cause severe property damage both indoors and outdoors.

It’s important to know how to identify a house mouse from other mice species so that you can deal with the problem correctly. This guide will break down their appearance and how they differ from other types of mice species.

Additionally, let’s discuss how to control a house mouse problem and prevent the annoyance from returning. Since house mice can cause outdoor property damage and destroy your gardens, this guide will also go over how to keep them out of your beds.

Finally, you’ll learn about an interesting method that mice use when they feel threatened: playing dead.

As a homeowner, learning about the behavioral patterns, appearance, and dangers of the house … Read Full Post »

Why Is My Washing Machine Leaking Water?

a washing machine with clothes in it

It’s never a good thing to find water on the floor around your washing machine. Whether it’s a puddle or a rushing flood of water, you’re facing the risk of expensive water damage. Plus you know that something is broken in one of the most necessary appliances in your home.

The average American household washes up to 400 loads of laundry every year. That’s more than a load a day! With this heavy usage, it’s no surprise that the occasional mechanical problem arises. The loss of a washing machine, even for a few days, can be a huge inconvenience.

A washing machine houses an intricate system of valves, hoses and belts that allow it to fill and drain the water necessary for the washing process that cleans our clothes. When one or more parts of that system stop functioning correctly, gravity takes over. Then all that pressurized water, up to 500 gallons … Read Full Post »

My Christmas Lights Aren’t Working But the Fuses Are Good

a string of christmas lights

Ah, ‘tis the season! Pretty packages, mistletoe and the aroma of cider. And, of course, the annual untangling and testing of last year’s snarl of Christmas lights.

As usual, you’re probably going to find a few burnt-out bulbs, half-lighting strands and possibly even a string or two that don’t light up at all.

What to do?

Run to the store and brave the crazed holiday crowds to buy even more lights? Learn to live with the dead spots in your otherwise perfectly decorated tree or home? Risk electrocution by trying to fix them yourself?

Every year, millions of holiday homeowners ask themselves these questions while trying to complete their Christmas decorating to-do list.

Before you decide, let’s take a look at some of the common reasons why single or multiple Christmas lights might not be working even if the fuses are good.

Why Aren’t My Christmas Lights Working?

The first step to answering the question, “Why aren’t … Read Full Post »

Where To See the Best Austin Christmas Lights

the Austin trail of lights

As the holiday season approaches, many Central Texans wonder about where to find the best Austin Christmas lights displays. Everyone loves the holidays, and they’re even better with festive, twinkly lights to warm up the chilly evenings as you spend quality time with family and friends.

Best of all, Austin has a wide variety of places and ways to enjoy Christmas lights. From small, intimate neighborhood displays to ticketed events boasting spectacular winter wonderlands, there’s something for every Central Texan. Just remember that a little advance planning goes a long way. Austin’s most popular ticketed holiday events sell out quickly. Even the free, smaller neighborhood lights displays can draw nightly traffic and crowds of revelers, so be sure to plan accordingly.

Here are some of the best Austin Christmas lights displays, from incredible neighborhood displays to spectacular ticketed events with millions of sparkling LED bulbs: