ABC Blog

How to Conserve Water

a sprinkler

About 70% of the Earth’s surface is water. Many people want to do their part to use less water, but it can seem like a daunting task is a drop in the bucket. However, saving a little H2O here and there can add up quickly, and it is easier than you might think. You can use less water without much effort or big changes in your lifestyle.

A very simple way to reduce your water use is to switch from baths to showers. A good soak is relaxing, but it can take almost 80 gallons of water to fill your tub! Showers use far less water and are more efficient for getting clean. Teaching your family to turn off the faucet while brushing teeth or shaving also helps more than you might think.

Using Appliances to Conserve

You can also save some water by using less in the toilet. If you have a … Read Full Post »

What Is Lawn Aeration?

a lawn that has been partially aerated

Lawn care includes a list of maintenance tasks, some performed as needed, others monthly and still others every year. One of these annual jobs to get your yard in the best shape possible is aeration.

By definition, aeration as the introduction of air into a material. In this case, the material is the dirt in your lawn. Most lawns could use a good aeration regularly as long as it is done at the right time and in the right way.

Why Aerate Your Lawn?

Over time, the dirt in your yard will pack down due to people walking on it, mowers driving over it and other activities. When the dirt becomes packed down, grass roots can’t get what they need to grow. Even one-quarter of an inch of compacted dirt will block the air, nutrients and water necessary for your grass to be its healthiest.

The situation is even more of an issue if … Read Full Post »

The Best Christmas Lights in Dallas

Looking for the best holiday lights in Dallas? When the holiday season comes around, one of the best ways to enjoy quality time with your loved ones is to take in spectacular displays of twinkling lights. There’s just something about all that sparkly illumination that brings good cheer and inspires a sense of holiday magic.

Planning ahead is crucial if you want to take in the more popular Dallas holiday lights events. This is true for free events as well as ticketed events. A bit of planning goes a long way when it comes to enjoying a fun experience that is as hassle-free as possible.

Here are the best spots in Dallas for taking in holiday lights, from free neighborhood displays to elaborate ticketed events.

  • Holiday at the Arboretum: Anyone who loves the Christmas carol The 12 Days of Christmas should plan a visit to the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden … Read Full Post »

Low Maintenance Flower Bed Ideas

a low maintenance flower bed

Any yard or garden will need at least some upkeep over time. But there are lots of great low-maintenance flower bed ideas that can maximize the beauty of your outdoor space while keeping maintenance needs low. Less time doing yard work means more time to enjoy your yard. Let’s look at some tips for planting a garden that is both beautiful and easy to maintain.

Getting Started

  1. Take care of weeds first, before planting flowers. If you want a low-maintenance flower bed, keep in mind that doing a bit more work up front will save you lots of labor later on. This is especially true when it comes to weeds. When planting a new flower bed, it can take significant time and labor to dig up all the grass, weeds and other vegetation, but it’s worth the effort in the long run. Also, don’t forget the weed-blocking power of mulch! Mulch … Read Full Post »

My AC Is Not Turning On: What’s Wrong

An AC vent that won't turn on

For a homeowner, there are few things as distressing as turning on your air conditioner and nothing happening. This holds especially true when the temperatures start climbing to triple digits. Fortunately, there are a few things that you can check yourself to get that cool air flowing again.

Some Easier Fixes

Let’s start with the basics. Your air conditioner might not be getting any juice. Take a look at your breaker box and see if there is a tripped fuse or a breaker has blown. Those are easy fixes that might get your system up and running.

Ductwork Issues

On the system’s outside unit, you have a condenser that takes the warmer air from your home, cools it and sends it back through your home’s air ducts. It is possible that rodents have chewed through the cord that links your outdoor unit to your home’s electrical system. If rodents are your problem, you may … Read Full Post »

Why Is My Pool Pump Leaking From the Top?

a pool pump leaking from the top

“Why is my pool pump leaking from the top?” This is a question many homeowners with pools ask certified pool professionals when they find their pool pump is leaking. Discovering a leak in your pool pump can be frustrating, but these leaks are actually very common.

Pool pumps have many different components, including a motor and housing as well as various gaskets, clamps and o-rings. If any of these parts breaks or wears out, it can cause a leak. Having too little water in your pool can also lead to a leak, since it can allow air into the pump. Of course, low water levels in the pool can also be the result of a pump leak, not the cause of it. In these cases, it can be helpful to learn your pool’s evaporation rate.

Whatever is causing the leak needs to be fixed as soon as possible. Some pump leaks can … Read Full Post »

Hammerhead Worm in Texas

a hammerhead worm on a driveway

You’re digging in your garden or spending time on the patio, and you spot what looks like a long, weird earthworm. Its head is reminiscent of a hammerhead shark, which is where it got its name. What you have spotted is actually a hammerhead worm. Finding a hammerhead worm in Texas is unfortunate because these pests prey on beneficial earthworms. They can also be tough to eliminate. So what should you do if you find one?

The first thing to know is that you should not try to kill it by chopping it in half with a shovel. It may sound like science fiction, but it’s real: When the body of a hammerhead worm is divided, it will regenerate into separate living worms. This is called fragmentation, and it is actually how this species reproduces. Its numbers multiply when it is cut into pieces.

Another important thing to know is that you … Read Full Post »

Where Do Roaches Come From?

an American cockroach in a home

If you turn on a light in the middle of the night and see a cockroach scurrying out of sight, you may be wondering: where do roaches come from? Why is this pest in my home? Is this a sign of an infestation?

To answer these questions, we must first determine which type of roach is in your home. While there are over 70 species of cockroaches that live in America, there are two types that you’re likely to see in your home. On your property, you’ll most likely see American cockroaches and German cockroaches.

The American Cockroach

The reddish-brown adult American cockroach, which is pictured above, averages a body length of around two inches. This roach has lighter-colored edges along the pronotum. Males tend to appear larger than females. But, this is most often due to the fact that the male’s wings extend past their abdomen while the female’s wings do not.

American … Read Full Post »

My Toilet Won’t Flush: What’s Going On?

a toilet that won't flush

Panic can quickly set in when your toilet won’t flush. What could have gone wrong and is there anything you can do to fix it?

Fortunately, there are some easy fixes for this problem. Unfortunately, others will require the help of a licensed plumber.

Let’s dive into these common issues and their fixes.

The Water Shut-off Valve Is Turned Off

In order for the toilet to flush, the water shut-off valve that feeds water into the tank of a toilet has to be on. Occasionally, something can hit the shut-off valve or it can get adjusted while cleaning. When this happens, the toilet only has one or two flushes before it runs out of water.

To check if this is your issue, look behind the base of the toilet. Your shut-off valve should be a few inches off the floor. Make sure the valve is turned all the way to the left. If it’s not, … Read Full Post »

Pharaoh Ants: Identification & Control Guide

The pharaoh ant is a common household ant that is thought to have originated from Africa. Some scholars speculate that the ant earned its name from a mistaken idea that it was one of the plagues that hit ancient Egypt. Wherever the name began, it is a nuisance that can seem like a plague to people living in the many areas this ant frequents.

The pharaoh ant is found in every inhabited region on the planet, and it nests outside only in places below the equator. However, it has adapted to some of the southern United States. That is because the ant’s favorite home is in places where it is between 80 to 86 degrees, humid (80 percent or more) and is close to food and water.

But that definitely does not mean the pharaoh ant is only in the southern area of the United States. The pharaoh ant has adapted to … Read Full Post »