How to Power Wash a Deck and Other Surfaces

A white home with a wood deck that has been power washed

A deck provides you with additional space on your property for relaxing and gathering with friends and family. In many residential areas, these spaces get a lot of use. Unfortunately, dirt, pollen, dust and other grime can build up over time, which can detract from your deck’s appearance. Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem: power washing.

Power washing (also commonly referred to as pressure washing) is a great way to maintain your deck, as it is often the most effective way to make your deck look brand new again. Pressurized water is a powerful force, and it can even loosen up ground-in dirt that’s been there for quite some time. If you’ve never used a pressure washer before, however, you should know that you can damage certain surfaces and that there are risks and dangers associated with these machines.  Once you learn how to power wash a deck, you … Read Full Post »

My AC Is Short Cycling: What Is Going On?

A white living room with a beige couch

When you turn on your air conditioner, you expect your home to become a cool and comfortable reprieve from the outdoors. This is why it would come as quite a surprise if you hear your unit shut off quickly after turning on, even though your home isn’t cooling down. After this happens a few times, you’re probably wondering what is going on and what you can do about it.

Before we get into what might be causing this to happen, it’s important to be able to recognize what is considered short cycling and what is considered normal for a typical cooling system. The cycle on a properly-working air conditioner should be roughly 15 to 20 minutes, and your system will run two to three times each hour. In very high temperatures, the cycle will be longer as the AC tries to get the home down to the correct temperature.

Short cycling, in … Read Full Post »

Why Is My Toilet Overflowing at the Tank?

A toilet with an overflowing tank in a light gray bathroom

When it comes to home repair emergencies, there is nothing quite like an overflowing toilet. The consequences can be quite serious and can include water damage, mold growth and more. Before addressing the problem, you’ll want to stop the water from flowing. Turn off the water supply to your toilet by tightening the valve that is behind the toilet on the wall. If that doesn’t help, remove the lid off your tank and lift the float that’s at the water’s surface up high enough to stop the flow of water.

Then, shut off your main water supply by closing the main valve outside near the street or by your water heater. If water continues to come out of your toilet, you are most likely dealing with a sewage backup, which is a real plumbing emergency requiring the help of a licensed professional.

If you are able to stop the flow of water, … Read Full Post »

Do Bed Bugs Smell? What Homeowners Need To Know

Decorative pillows on a gray bed

Some people wonder if bed bugs give off a particular scent that can signal their presence in the home. Others are wanting to know whether bed bugs themselves possess a sense of smell; if they do, there might be odors that bed bugs find repellent that could be used to deter them from infesting people’s homes.

Bed bugs do give off a certain, unpleasant scent when they’re disturbed, which is related to the pheromones they emit when alarmed. Some people have described it as a sweet or coriander-like scent, while others have said it’s a musty or moldy smell. This scent might not be obvious to everyone, however—some people can’t smell it at all—and it might only be detected when there are lots of bed bugs present, indicating a heavy infestation.

This means that if there are bed bugs present somewhere in your home, chances are, you won’t smell them—and if you … Read Full Post »

Do Cockroaches Bite? Your Questions Answered

A cockroach

If you find a cockroach—or even multiple cockroaches—in your home, it’s only natural to be concerned about the impact these pests can have on you and your family members. Since these creatures often seem to come out of nowhere and take you by surprise, you may have even wondered whether cockroaches bite or if they pose any other dangers.

While roaches are capable of biting us and our pets, this happens very rarely. With slightly cupped jaws that move sideways to chew food, a cockroach can technically gnaw on skin, although researchers argue that this only happens when a person is immobile and there are food particles stuck on hair and skin. These creatures would much rather feast on the food in your pantry, the leftovers on your counter or the scraps in your trash. Roaches are scavengers and omnivores and will consume practically any type of organic matter. As such, … Read Full Post »

Do Termites Have Wings? Identification Tips

A winged subterranean termite

If you have spotted a swarm of small insects flying or crawling inside your home or elsewhere on your property, you might have instantly feared a pest infestation—and then asked yourself, “Do termites have wings?” The short answer here is yes: Certain types of termites in certain stages of their life cycle do have wings.

Not all termites have wings, however, and even those that do have wings don’t keep them forever. Furthermore, there are other winged insects, such as winged ants, that are commonly and easily mistaken for termites. A professional exterminator can determine exactly what type of insect is swarming in or around your home, whether it’s a termite, a winged ant or something else altogether. There are also certain signs and characteristics that homeowners can learn to look out for in order to make an initial diagnosis on their own.

Wanting to know how to identify termites and distinguish … Read Full Post »

Dallisgrass Vs. Crabgrass: Which Weed Do I Have?

A patch of crabgrass

If you’ve ever seen clumps of grass in your yard that don’t match the rest of the lawn and seem to grow faster than anything else around them, you probably realized you have weeds. What you may not have known is what those plants are called or how to get rid of them. Two of the most common weed grasses to show up in most yards that are often mistaken for each other are dallisgrass or crabgrass. Let’s take a closer look at the similarities and differences between dallisgrass vs. crabgrass so you can learn how to identify each type and what steps you can take to maintain a lush, weed-free lawn. For starters, let’s take a look at dallisgrass.

Dallisgrass

Dallisgrass migrated north to the U.S. from its native home in South America. Dallisgrass is a coarse, clumping grass that spreads from short, thick rhizomes. It is identifiable by its grayish-green … Read Full Post »

The Ultimate Guide To St. Augustine Grass Care

St augustine grass care

Homeowners who want a thick, lush lawn that is less vulnerable to weed growth, easy on your bare feet and common in residential areas often choose St. Augustine grass. However, the benefits of this versatile variety are offset by the fact that St. Augustine isn’t low maintenance. If you want to keep your lawn green from spring to fall, experts recommend that your St. Augustine grass care focus on three main areas: mowing, fertilizing and watering.

Mowing

Homeowners are sometimes surprised to learn that cutting your grass is not just about aesthetics, but also helps keep plants healthy. At the beginning of spring, when soil temperatures grow warmer and plants emerge from dormancy, it’s time to start mowing. To encourage the optimal growth of St. Augustine grass, we recommend setting your lawnmower to a height of between two and a half to four inches. As long as you don’t let your grass … Read Full Post »

What To Put In A Mouse Trap To Attract Rodents

What To Put In A Mouse Trap

Finding a mouse in the home—or, even worse, more than one—sends most people into a frenzy of worrying about whether or not there’s an actual infestation. You may be pacing around your home wondering what to put in a mouse trap and where to place these devices, because no matter how small and cute they may seem on TV and in pictures, mice definitely are pests.

When thinking of what to put in your mouse trap, your mind might instantly go to cheese. In reality, a mouse’s favorite things to snack on are fruits, nuts, seeds and other sweet foods, so these will be your best bet when baiting a trap. However, mice also eat anywhere from 15 to 20 times a day, so if they are hungry, they will eat whatever they can get their paws on. In desperate times, they will even eat each other!

If you have reached your wit’s … Read Full Post »

My Furnace Won’t Stay On: What’s Going On?

Furnace Won’t Stay On

You’re freezing, so you get up to turn on the heater to warm things up. You hear your furnace click on and go sit back down, assuming you’ll feel toasty soon. A couple of minutes later, you hear the heat shut off. You repeat this process a few times when you come to terms with the fact that your furnace won’t stay on. So, what’s wrong? And, more importantly, what should you do to get your heat working again?

Your Thermocouple Is Bad

If you have a furnace with a pilot light, then you will have a thermocouple. The job of the thermocouple is to determine whether or not the pilot light is lit. This is a safety device that closes your gas valve when the pilot light goes out so gas doesn’t enter your home. You can check to see if this is your problem by seeing whether or not your … Read Full Post »