ABC Blog

My Ceiling Fan Stopped Working: What’s Wrong?

a bedroom with a ceiling fan that stopped working

It is a pain when your ceiling fan stops working. This is especially frustrating if it happens when it is hot or muggy outside. Sometimes, ceiling fan problems are easy to fix. But, this might also be a sign that there is a more serious issue.

One thing that can keep your fan from working correctly is the reversing switch. Make sure to press the switch fully to one side or the other. If it is stuck in the middle, then your fan might not run. A stuck fan blade can also block the fan from working. This kind of problem is most common with new fans because packing materials can get stuck between the gears. If this is causing your issue, then removing whatever is blocking the blades should fix it.

Another common reason a ceiling fan would stop working is that the power to the fan is off. This can … Read Full Post »

What Does Rat Poop Look Like?

rat poop

What does rat poop look like? This is a question that pest control specialists answer a lot. Unfortunately, it’s common to find something in your home or garage that looks like rat poop. Rats are hardy animals with lots of tricks for getting into people’s homes, attics and garages. When you find what looks like rat poop, you might wonder what type of rat it came from. Is it from a Norwegian rat or a roof rat? Could it actually be from some other pest, like a mouse?

Finding rat poop on your property can indicate a nearby infestation, so it’s important to know how to identify it. Fortunately, there are several characteristics that can tell you if what you’ve found is likely to be rat poop or something else. That way, you’ll know when it’s time to call in a pest control professional.

The two main types of rats that commonly … Read Full Post »

Your Guide to Holiday Activities in Austin

The trail of lights which is a longstanding holiday activity in austin

Looking for holiday activities in Austin this winter? Central Texans love getting in the holiday spirit! There are plenty of activities and events to help you and your loved ones enjoy a bright and cheery holiday season.

It’s smart to get started on planning early, since many of the most popular and traditional events fill up or sell out quickly. Fortunately, there are plenty of holiday activities in Austin that don’t require tickets. And no matter what you’re looking for, there’s truly something for everyone. There are dazzling holiday lights, family-friendly events, outdoor activities and longtime local traditions.

If you’re looking for local holiday performances and events, A Christmas Carol at ZACH Theatre is a great option. And, it is a family-friendly holiday tradition here in Austin. It’s a “musical sleigh ride” that promises to inspire dancing in the aisles. Another longtime local holiday favorite, Ballet Austin’s The Nutcracker is a true … Read Full Post »

Why Do My Light Bulbs Keep Burning Out?

a burnt out light bulb

It’s frustrating when your light bulbs keep burning out, and it can be expensive to keep replacing bulb after bulb. But what’s really going on? If your light bulbs keep burning out in the same fixtures, it’s a sign that there’s an issue that needs fixing. It may even be a problem for a licensed electrician.

The issue might be with:

  • the electrical wiring or power supply in your home,
  • the bulbs you’re using,
  • the insulation that surrounds recessed lighting or
  • something else altogether.

Some of these issues are simple ones to address. Others present real danger in the form of a fire hazard. So, if your light bulbs keep burning out, it’s a good idea to figure out what’s going on so you can get it fixed.

Using the Wrong Type of Bulb

Sometimes, the reason why a light bulb keeps burning out is as simple as using the wrong type of bulb for the fixture. If … Read Full Post »

Why Is My Water Softener Leaking?

a kitchen with stainless steel appliances

A leaking water softener is an irritating problem to have in your home. Not only can the leak cause quite a mess, but it can also impact the appliance’s ability to do its job. Without a properly working water softener, you may start noticing signs of hard water again. For example, your home’s water might leave spots and residue on your glasses and faucets, and start to dry out your skin and hair. This is why it is important to identify the source of the leak before it becomes an even bigger problem.

As with any kind of appliance, water softeners only last for a certain amount of time. Their typical lifespan is around 10 to 15 years. At this point, the water softener can start to have issues like leaks or could stop working altogether. However, having a leak does not necessarily mean that it is time to buy a … Read Full Post »

Why Is My Water Bill So High?

a home with a slab leak

When homeowners notice a spike in their water bill, it can often lead to finger-pointing and frustration. Maybe you’re just noticing that your water pressure isn’t as great as it used to be or your toilet won’t flush all the way. Most homeowners find that an increase in their water bill is due to a leak or change in water use. If you have kids home from college or a new garden that you’re watering more, you also may see an increase in your water bill. And, did you know something as simple as a dripping faucet can waste more than 20 gallons of water a day?

Other common high water bill culprits include:

  • A leaky toilet
  • Filling or topping off a swimming pool
  • A leaking or malfunctioning sprinkler system
  • Malfunctioning humidifiers attached to a furnace
  • Hosting guests
  • Large leaks, … Read Full Post »

Why Is My Tankless Water Heater Not Heating?

a cold shower because the tankless water heater is not heating up

In normal circumstances, tankless water heaters usually have many benefits. These types of heaters are known for saving homeowners money and providing hot water more quickly than other kinds of water heaters. But, when your tankless water heater is not heating properly, it can make for a really bad day—especially if it stops working when your friends or other guests are visiting.

There are several different reasons why a tankless water heater would not be heating.

Sediment Buildup

Over time, mineral sediments can build up in your water heater and throughout your plumbing system. This holds especially true if the water supply in your area is “hard” or has a high concentration of minerals. When this happens, water leaves behind particles of magnesium, calcium and other minerals wherever it goes. This includes your water heater, pipes, water filter and other parts of your home’s plumbing system.

If a thick layer of minerals builds up, … Read Full Post »

Should I Add Insulation to My Attic?

a homeowner calculating whether they should add insulation to the attic

Having insulation in several areas of your home is a great way to make it as comfortable as possible. While many of these places can be hard to reach, it is usually easy to access the attic. This means adding insulation in this space can often give you the biggest bang for your buck.

There are many benefits of having insulation added to your attic. For one, it can increase the energy efficiency of your home, which can help you save money on your heating bill. If your attic is insulated, this usually means that your energy bills will be lower than if your home was not protected in this way. Plus, this can also make your home more comfortable by helping you keep your space cool when you want it cool and warm when you want it warm.

Additionally, insulation can help make your home a more pleasant place to live … Read Full Post »

What Can I Do About Cockroaches in My Kitchen?

a kitchen with a cockroach infestation

It’s late evening and you’re feeling hungry. You head to the kitchen for a snack and flip on the light. Then, your heart starts hammering as cockroaches scatter to the nearest hiding spots. Finding cockroaches in the kitchen is annoying, not to mention disgusting and upsetting. After all, this could mean you have a roach infestation you didn’t know about. Roaches often infest kitchens because these rooms have everything cockroaches need to survive. This includes water, food and plenty of places to hide.

If you find cockroaches in your kitchen, it’s time to do something to keep these pests away. How you address the problem depends partly on which type of cockroach you find. Depending on the type, you may or may not have an infestation. Let’s learn more about the types of cockroaches most commonly found in American homes.

Identifying the Cockroach Species in Your Home

Finding one of the bigger types … Read Full Post »

What Is Compost and How Do I Use It?

A shovel of compost used to fertilize a garden.

You have probably heard of compost, but you might not know exactly what it is or what its benefits are. You are not alone. Many homeowners know very little about compost and the ways this material can be useful around their yard. 

Basically, compost is organic material that has decomposed. It is typically made from plant-based kitchen scraps and waste from your lawn. People sometimes also include materials like shredded newspaper, fireplace ashes from natural wood, sawdust or cardboard in their compost pile. Some of the most common items that people use to make compost include:

  • coffee grounds,
  • tea bags,
  • fruit peels,
  • vegetable skins,
  • eggshells,
  • leafy tops from carrots,
  • nut shells,
  • uneaten vegetables,
  • grass clippings,
  • twigs,
  • houseplants,
  • untreated wood chips,
  • hay,
  • trimmings from bushes and
  • dead leaves.

Many people question the difference between topsoil and compost. Mature compost looks like crumbly, dark soil and it smells earthy. When you compost, it should only benefit you and your yard—not create further problems. Compost should not be made from … Read Full Post »