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How To Stop Birds From Building Nests In Gutters

How To Stop Birds From Building Nests In Gutters

Most people understand the purpose of installing gutters around the roofline of their homes and garages: to divert rainwater from the roof and house to someplace safe, well away from any structures that could potentially sustain water damage. Pretty simple, right? Yet this standard home-maintenance task is one that many homeowners push to the back burner in favor of dealing with seemingly more pressing problems.

Part of the issue is the old saying about “out of sight, out of mind”. This is especially true with gutters, since they are located well above our line of sight. Most people can’t see the debris collecting in their gutters without going to some trouble to do so. Clogged gutters can lead to big problems down the road, however, including water damage, flooding issues, unwelcome visitors like birds and mosquitoes nesting or breeding in gutters, and more.

Following is the lowdown on how to … Read Full Post »

My Gas Stove Igniter Keeps Clicking: What Should I Do?

Gas Stove Igniter Keeps Clicking

You’re in a rush on a weeknight to get dinner on the table. This is a pretty common scenario.

You put a skillet on your favorite burner to get the process started. Yep, most of us also have one of those.

Then it happens. Ugh. When you move the switch to “Light”, your gas stove igniter keeps clicking, but doesn’t turn on.

If you’re like most homeowners, the last sound you want to hear coming from an object that uses gas and gets blazingly hot is ticking.

What’s going on? What should you do?

This is quite a common problem, primarily with stoves that have a spark ignition system. The most important thing to know is that a clicking stove isn’t dangerous, though you should deal with it promptly.

A normal igniter clicks up to three times before it sparks and lights your stove. Sometimes, however, the igniter will click continuously—even after the stove is lit. … Read Full Post »

Tree Crowning: Is It Good Idea Or A Mistake?

Tree crowning

One of the things that drew you to your home was the beautiful trees. Perhaps you’ve never really had much of a green thumb, so you left the trees to their own devices. So far, that hasn’t been a problem.

Recently, though, you’ve noticed that those gorgeous trees have gotten a bit out of control. Where once they were uniform and well-manicured, now there are random branches jutting out here and there, giving your trees a ragged, lop-sided appearance.

You’ve considered dragging yourself up on your ladder to cut the offending branches. You’ve heard there is a technique called “tree crowning”, but you’re not really sure exactly how to do it—or even whether it would be a good thing to do.

The most important thing we can convey is that tree crowning is very rarely recommended by reputable lawn care experts. Although it may achieve your aesthetic goals, tree crowning will often damage … Read Full Post »

Best Trees For Central Texas: A Homeowner’s Guide

Best trees for Central Texas

If you live in Austin, San Antonio or any of the surrounding cities, towns and rural spaces that make up the vast and beautiful Central Texas region, you already know something about Central Texas trees: In order not just to survive but to thrive, they have to be able to withstand periods of high heat and drought as well as occasional frigid snaps and deluges of water when the rainy season hits in spring and fall. That’s right—Central Texas trees have to be as tough, hardy and resilient as the people who live here. The best trees for Central Texas landscapes include varieties that can withstand all of the above, along with a variety of soil compositions, including plenty of rocks and limestone. Let’s take a deeper look at some of the best trees for Central Texas gardeners and the outdoor spaces they love.

Texas Ash Tree: A Classic Choice For … Read Full Post »

Ironclad Beetle: A Friend Or Foe To Your Plants?

Ironclad beetle

You were doing yard work on a Saturday morning when you noticed a bug unlike any you had ever seen before. What was remarkable was the color. Unlike the typical black or brown coloration that allows insects to blend into their surroundings, this creature was a striking white with black splotches. Your immediate reaction was probably a mix of curiosity and fear. What is this strange bug? Do I need to be worried that it could bite? Does it pose any danger to my plants, pets or family?

Most likely, you’ve had an encounter with an ironclad beetle.

The good news is that you don’t have to worry about the impact this insect has on your yard or household. The strange part? Very little is known about this visually distinct insect.

In this post, we’ll explore everything scientists do know about this bug and other similar insects you may run across in your … Read Full Post »

Solving A Common Austin Plumbing Problem: Clogged Drains

Austin plumbing

You’ve had a long, stressful day. All you could think about for the past few hours is slipping into your bathtub to let all that tension flow away.

That’s your only thought as you come in the door. You’re barely paying attention as you turn on the hot water, grab a towel and step into the bath. That’s when you realize you have a problem.

There are three inches of freezing cold water in the bath. What happened?

The faucet water is steaming hot, so that must mean there is an issue with the drain.

You’d thought it was draining more slowly lately, but you never imagined it would completely stop. Well, you’re not about to sit in day-old dirty water, so your bath is going to have to wait.

Hopefully, unclogging the drain wouldn’t take too long, you think to yourself.

Whether it belongs to a sink, shower, tub or toilet, clogged drains are among … Read Full Post »

Black Fly: Treating And Preventing Painful Bites

Black fly

Imagine this: You’re spending time outdoors in spring or summer when a small, grayish-black flying insect lands on your skin and bites you in order to feed on your blood. You smack at it, but it’s too quick—it zips away, leaving you with a red, itchy, painful welt. Not too hard to picture, is it? Most of us far more familiar with mosquitoes than we want to be, but how much do you know about the black fly?

While mosquitoes are a serious annoyance for those of us trying to enjoy some time outdoors through the warmer months of the year, mosquito bites pale in comparison to the nasty bite of the black fly. Unlike mosquitoes, which typically bite people most in the mornings and evenings, black flies bite all day long.

While not as prevalent in the southern states as they are in other regions of the U.S., black flies have … Read Full Post »

What Causes High Humidity In A House?

What causes high humidity in a house

When the temperatures begin to climb, you may detect some changes around your home. Perhaps you catch a whiff of musty air and notice that your windows are getting foggy. Or, maybe you’re relaxing in the kitchen with a glass of lemonade and suddenly you start sweating even though you’re not exerting any physical energy beyond lifting your glass. You might even spot damp spots on your walls and what looks like mold in your shower.

If any of this sounds familiar, your home may have a problem with excessive humidity because your air conditioner is not controlling the level of moisture in your indoor air. Not only will it make you hot and uncomfortable, but also high interior humidity can cause more serious problems like mold, mildew and rust, along with posing potential health risks.

In parts of the country that have hot and humid climates, homeowners often call AC repair … Read Full Post »

How Often To Water Lawn In Summer

How often to water lawn in summer

As we all know, the official start to summer is in late June.

The truth is, homeowners in Texas and other southern states know that temperatures can start inching up in April or May, depending on the year.

Because of this, many people wonder when and how to adjust their lawn watering schedule to ensure that grass and plants survive our dry and hot summer months.

Do you water a little bit every day? Water only once a week, but leave the sprinklers on for a long time to let the water really soak down? Forgo watering altogether because you had a rainy spring and your plants are looking great?

Then, you may wonder when exactly to set your sprinklers. What time should you water your lawn, if and when you do?

Maybe you have been inconsistent in your watering from year to year, and it’s just not working. Perhaps you have a water-logged … Read Full Post »

What Do Termites Look Like To the Human Eye?

What do termites look like to the human eye

Even though you try to keep your home well-maintained, you’re no stranger to having bugs indoors. Flies buzz in when you leave the door open while grilling. Spiders creep around in the corners and (hopefully) catch those flies. Ants show up every once in a while to remind you that it’s not a good idea to leave out that last piece of pie.

So, while you wouldn’t call yourself an expert, you pretty much know what the most common bugs look like. Right now, though, you’re just not sure. Was that swarm of flying bugs you came across the other day ants? They kind of looked like ants, but perhaps they were another type of insect entirely. You’ve heard that people sometimes mistake termites for ants, so now you’re worried.

How can you tell the difference? Should you be calling someone in?

No matter who you are, the thought of having termites invade … Read Full Post »