ABC Blog

Common Zoysia Grass Problems

zoysia grass that is turning yellow

Many types of grass go through seasons when they are greener and others when they are brown and dormant. Zoysia grass is a versatile type of grass that homeowners can use in a variety of different climates and soils. This means that while zoysia grass will usually go dormant in drier and cooler periods, it should perk up again when seasons change.

However, if you have zoysia grass and your lawn has turned completely brown, has some dead spots or is starting to thin out, then you might have a problem. Here are some of the most common issues homeowners with zoysia grass may come across.

Fungal Diseases

Zoysia grass is typically less vulnerable to diseases than some other types of grass. However, it can sometimes fall prey to fungal diseases like “large patch.” This kind of disease is most common in the spring, but it can also happen in the fall when … Read Full Post »

How To Spot Signs of Termites in Your House

winged termites which are a sign of termites in the house

The thought of having termites on your property is alarming. After all, these pests are extremely destructive. So, what are the signs of termites, and how can you catch these earlier, rather than later?

It starts with knowing the different kinds of termites you may find on your property. In the United States, there are three main varieties of termites: the subterranean termite, the drywood termite and the dampwood termite. It’s unlikely you’ll find dampwood termites on your property, as this species prefers wet, decaying wood and must maintain close contact with water. Typically, dampwood termites are found in subtropical woodlands or mangrove forests—probably not the environment homeowners in the United States have in their backyard.

If there are termites on your property, they are most likely either drywood termites or subterranean termites. The names of these termites give you some information about where you might find them. Drywood termites prefer to … Read Full Post »

My Heater Is Making Noises: What Is Going On?

a home where the heater is making noises

Heater making noise? If so, it may or may not signal a problem that needs attention from a heating and cooling specialist. Heaters can make all kinds of funny, unexpected sounds in the winter, like rattling, whistling, humming, chirping or banging noises. If your heater starts making a strange sound, what might it mean?

Any strange noise coming from your heater should be investigated since there’s a chance that it means something is wrong. If you wait instead of having the issue diagnosed, it could become a bigger and more expensive problem down the line. To avoid this, it’s almost always best to go ahead and address the issue as soon as possible.

Here’s what may be happening when your heater is making unusual noises.

A Rattling, Clanking, Knocking or Banging Sound

Rattling, clanking, knocking or banging sounds can indicate a loose or broken part somewhere in the heating system. A loud banging sound … Read Full Post »

What Causes Power Surges in a House?

a lightning storm which can cause a power surge

A power surge in a house is a spike of high voltage. These surges last for only a short amount of time. But, they can ruin your electrical appliances and parts of your electrical system. Electronics can handle a specific amount of voltage and can only manage slight changes in voltage. For example, appliances in the U.S. are usually rated to run off of 120 volts of power. Power surges can deliver many more volts than most household equipment can stand.

Power surges in your home can happen due to internal factors, such as from the appliances in your home. They can also happen from external factors, such as when there’s a lightning storm. Let’s dive in a little deeper.

Power Surges From Inside Your Home

Situations inside a home cause around 60% to 80% of power surges in a house. One of the most common causes is any device that switches on … Read Full Post »

Tankless Water Heaters vs. Tank: Which is Best?

tank water heater

When your water heater starts making knocking noises or stops providing adequate hot water for your home—or, worse, it bursts—it’s time to decide on a replacement model that will best fit your needs. When you start looking into the options, however, you might feel overwhelmed by all the choices that are available. Which are better—tankless water heaters or tank water heaters? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each type, and which kind is right for your particular home?

If you’re considering making the switch from a traditional tank model to a tankless water heater, it could seem especially daunting to decide whether this is the right move. Tankless heaters typically have higher price tags than tank heaters, though their operating costs over time are lower. Even knowing they’ll likely save money over time, many people balk at the prospect of spending so much money up front.

Of course, there are other … Read Full Post »

How To Identify a Rat’s Nest

Three dark-colored immature rats sleeping in a nest made of torn paper and other materials

Spotting a rat’s nest might be the first sign of an infestation in your home. But how do you know if what you’re seeing is the home of one of these hard-to-spot rodents, particularly if you don’t observe the rat itself? Rodents tend to nest in more protected areas that homeowners don’t usually frequent. In addition, different species of rats build nests that typically vary in appearance and can be found in different spots on your property. Generally speaking, a rat’s nest looks like a ball that is 4 to 6 inches in diameter that is loosely woven.

Norway rats, also called sewer rats or brown rats, are stocky rodents that often dig burrows in moist areas, such as under woodpiles or trash, along home foundations, fields or in gardens. They line these nests with fibrous materials, such as cloth or shredded paper. If these rats come into a building, they … Read Full Post »

How Do Mice Get in My Attic? Rodent Proofing 101

A mouse scurrying around in an attic

If you’ve noticed signs of mice in your attic—such as droppings, piles of shredded paper or insulation, scratching or squeaking noises coming from within the walls or actual mouse sightings—you’re probably wondering how the mice got there.

Mice, rats and other rodent pests normally get into attics, garages and homes through gaps in exterior walls that lead to interior spaces. Even a seemingly tiny gap around a dryer or bathroom vent, for example, can be a good entry point for a mouse, since mice can squeeze through holes as small as the size of a dime. Yes, you read that right! These creatures are incredibly well-adapted to contort their bodies to fit through extremely small holes.

The reason why mice infiltrate people’s homes is the same as that of any animal trying to get inside: They are seeking warm, dry shelter; food and water and a good place to build a nest … Read Full Post »

How Far Should Tree Branches Be From a House?

A house surrounded by oak trees that have been trimmed back

Surrounding your house with trees can lend visual appeal to your entire property. Unfortunately, this gorgeous greenery can spell disaster. When trees are too close to your home, the roots can destroy your foundation, and branches hanging over your roof can cause a whole range of problems.

As a general rule, trees should be at least 10 to 20 feet from your home, but the exact distance depends on the size of the tree, its canopy and its root system. Ideally, no part of a tree should touch your home, and branches that hang over your roofline should be trimmed regularly. These limbs can be responsible for serious damage if they break and fall. Not only can your roof or other property surrounding your house be impacted, but your family or houseguests could be put at risk for injury.

At the very least, any branches that hang over the house should be … Read Full Post »

Do Christmas Lights Use a Lot of Electricity?

A home that has been decorated with multiple strands of lights, which may make the homeowner wonder if Christmas lights use a lot of electricity

Do you dream of creating a holiday wonderland at home at Christmastime, complete with lights galore to capture the warmth of the season? Many of us do, but that heartwarming vision of twinkling lights might immediately be followed up with questions about what your electricity bill will amount to if you go with an extensive festive display. After all, with people coming and going, and running your heater during the wintertime, you may not know exactly how much electricity Christmas lights use.

With the holidays already being an expensive time of year, a high electric bill can certainly dim the festive cheer of an extensive lights display. Fortunately, a home Christmas lights display might be more affordable than you think, and there are several ways to limit your electricity use while still putting on a show the neighbors will remember for years to come.

It’s to be expected that a few weeks’ … Read Full Post »

Why Is My Furnace Blowing Cold Air?

A furnace blowing cold air through open air vents

If you turn on your heater on the first cold night of the season, only to discover that it’s blowing cold air, you have every right to be concerned. It’s even worse if your heating system fails when you have a home full of children, grandchildren or other guests, who might have trouble spending time at your home because it’s so cold.

Thankfully, there are some things you can try to troubleshoot furnace issues. There are also some preventative steps you can take to reduce the chance of your heater malfunctioning at the worst possible time or creating a larger and possibly dangerous issue.

Whether a furnace issue is something you can fix on your own depends on the root cause. Many complex heating matters, such as problems with the burner, flame sensor, oil tank, thermocouple, gas valve, ignition, oil filter, duct or computerized controls, require the help of a professional.

However, homeowners … Read Full Post »