ABC Blog

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:

My Fridge Is Leaking Water: What’s Wrong?

water on hardwood floor from a fridge leaking water

When you find your fridge leaking water, don’t ignore it. Beyond the simple annoyance of the mess on your floor, a leak is a sign of a problem with your refrigerator that needs attention. The leak could also damage your floors, cabinets and baseboards, which can be very expensive to fix.

Fortunately, there aren’t many different causes of a leaking fridge. Many common reasons why fridges leak are actually relatively simple and inexpensive fixes.

Leaky or Frozen Water Supply Line

One of the most common causes of a refrigerator leak is a leaky or frozen water supply line. If this is the issue, you may also notice other symptoms besides the leak. The fridge’s water dispenser may not work right, or the ice trays might not fill completely.

If you pull the fridge out from the wall, you’ll see the plastic hose running between the refrigerator and the wall. This is … 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 »

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 Is Compost Used For?

a shovel in a pile of compost

Today, knowledge about the at-home composting process is spreading, thanks to the internet and how-to articles and videos. Composting has never been more accessible for homeowners all across the United States.

Composting can help you reduce your household waste while fertilizing the soil in your lawn. As long as you have a yard, you can compost, regardless of whether you live out in the country or in a suburb.

Keep reading to discover what compost is used for, the differences between compost and loam and the best compost for a vegetable garden.

Composting Basics for Your Yard

At-home compost is a valuable resource for your lawn maintenance. Compost is used to nourish your lawn or garden with crucial nutrients.

Composting is often more popular in rural areas where people grow their own food. Farmers have always understood the importance of using compost. But you don’t have to have a large garden to benefit from composting.

What … Read Full Post »

When Do Crape Myrtles Bloom?

a crape myrtle with blooming flowers

Crape myrtles make a beautiful ornamental addition to any yard or garden. There are small, medium and large crape myrtle varieties that can fit almost any space or aesthetic. They boast delicate bloom clusters in colors ranging from white to pink, red, lavender or purple. Best of all, once established, they do just fine in hotter, drier areas without a lot of extra coddling. So when do crape myrtles bloom? They bloom during the hotter months, and can bloom again and again throughout summer.

Many types of crape myrtles bloom first in May, while others wait until mid-summer to show their first flowers. It depends on the type of crape myrtle, but other factors also come into play. Crape myrtles that are planted in too much shade won’t bloom as soon or as often. These trees do best in full sun. They also do well in partial shade. Crape myrtles in … Read Full Post »

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 »