ABC Blog

Avoid Injuries while Hanging Christmas Lights this Season

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a three-year study reporting that nearly 18,000 individuals were treated in emergency rooms for falls alone while hanging Christmas lights. It is important to note that this number only includes people who sought medical treatment at an emergency room. It is estimated that the true number of injuries is substantially higher; perhaps two or three times this number.

Common Injuries Include:

Every year, hospital emergency rooms treat roughly 12,500 people for injuries such as falls, cuts, and shocks related to holiday lights, electrical decorations, and Christmas trees. {U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)}

Nearly 6,000 emergency room patients are seen each season due to holiday decorating falls alone (CDC).

Over 200 fire-related fatalities and injuries happen during the two days of December 31 and January 1.

Design the look you want for your home this Christmas season safely from the ground with a free quote from … Read Full Post »

Fall & Winter Seasonal Home Maintenance Guide for the South

Certain home maintenance tasks should be completed each season to prevent structural damage, save energy, and keep all your home’s systems running properly. These maintenance tasks are most important for the South in fall and winter.

Key maintenance tasks to perform

• Get your heating system in order. Consider adding programmable thermostats to your home; they can help save around $180 a year on your energy bills. If you have a heat pump, make sure you install a programmable thermostat especially designed for heat pumps. Programmable thermostats for heat pumps are specially designed to keep these systems working at peak efficiency. Schedule your fall HVAC checkup promptly. Make sure you have all electrical connections checked, all moving parts lubricated if necessary, and the condensate drain and trap inspected.

• Clean your gutters. In the South, you’re less likely to have ice form in your gutters than in other parts of the country. Nevertheless, debris in your gutters can … Read Full Post »

Possum Control

Opossum are frequently considered a nuisance in and around the garden, especially when they feed on or trample plants. They can also rummage through garbage cans or “steal” your pets’ food. How to get rid of an opossum can be tricky but with a little perseverance, the backyard possum may be convinced to move elsewhere.

Backyard Possum Control

The best way to combat opossum problems is to understand their habits. While they prefer wooded areas or open fields near streams, they will take up residence in abandoned burrows; tree crevices; brush piles; or areas beneath steps, decks, and outbuildings.

These animals are also nocturnal, meaning they’re typically active only at night, sleeping throughout the day. This can make it somewhat difficult to “see” the intruder attacking your garden. However, they will usually leave some telltale signs of their presence through droppings, tracks, over turned pet food dishes or garbage cans, and plant damage. The … Read Full Post »

Tips for dealing with Drought

We’re experiencing a drought that is close to becoming a record setter for this time of year in the Houston area. Here are some of ABC’s tips for keeping your outdoor environment in good shape.

Watering and Irrigation

-If you have an irrigation system, make sure that all zones and sprinkler heads are operating correctly and covering adequately.

-For most lawns, watering a couple times weekly is adequate.  Plant beds may need additional watering, especially if they drain well.

-Over-watering is detrimental, contributing to a number of root damaging diseases and yellow, weak plants.

 

Mowing

– St. Augustine needs to be mowed weekly. Higher mowing helps St. Augustine conserve moisture.  Shorter mowing heights shock St. Augustine, forcing it to expend energy and moisture growing new blades, and ultimately weakening and thinning it.

-Bermuda and Zoysia lawns are healthier cut much shorter and more often.

-Make sure your mower blade is sharp, reducing moisture loss.  Dull mower blades fray the … Read Full Post »

Tips & Secrets to Buying a New Heating & Cooling System

Are you in the market for a new heating and cooling system?  Authorities say, be careful.  Many homeowners who have invested in new high efficiency heating and cooling equipment didn’t get the comfort and energy efficiency they paid for.

Information is the key to making a wise decision.  This report will teach you what you should know before talking to contractors, and it will let you in on some little known facts about heating and air conditioning. Unfortunately, even many contractors aren’t aware of this important new knowledge.

This report is based on important new research undertaken by the federal Department Of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and electric and gas utilities nationwide.  It also draws on the training resources of heating and cooling equipment manufacturers and trade associations.  And it shares advice from consumer protection groups, publications and TV investigative news stories.

This report will teach you the three common reasons most new heating and cooling systems don’t … Read Full Post »

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs feed on blood, principally that of humans, by piercing the skin with their elongated beaks. Although they inflict misery on their victims, it has never been proven that bed bugs carry disease-causing pathogens in the United States.  Bed bugs are spread chiefly by the clothing and baggage of travelers, secondhand beds, bedding, furniture and laundry.

 

A mature bed bug is a dark brown, wingless insect.  Its size and color depend on the amount of blood that the body contains.  An unfed bed bug is between 1/4 and 3/8 inch long.  The upper surface of the body has a flimsy, crinkly appearance.  When engorged with blood, the body becomes elongated and swollen, and the color changes from brown to dull red.  Bed bug eggs are white and about 1/32 inch long.  Newly hatched bugs are translucent and nearly colorless, but similar in shape to the adults.  As they grow, they molt … Read Full Post »