ABC Blog

What Do Mouse Droppings Look Like?

Mouse droppings in a bathroom cabinet

If you spot small, dark-brown pellets in a corner of your garage or in the back of a kitchen cabinet, you may wonder if you’ve found evidence of a rodent infestation. As your blood pressure starts to rise, a series of questions may begin to cycle through your head, including: What do mouse droppings look like? How are they different from rat droppings? How similar are they to cockroach feces? And, perhaps most importantly: What should I do next if I determine that I have mice living in and around my home?

Rats and mice look similar to each other, and so it stands to reason that are similarities between their droppings as well. But there are also marked differences between these two rodents and the waste materials they leave behind. If you do find signs of either rats or mice—or both—you’ll want to take action, as you do not want … Read Full Post »

There’s a Raccoon in My Attic: What Can I Do?

A raccoon sitting on a homeowner's roof

Are you hearing something going thump in the night? If so, this might mean a raccoon family is living rent-free in your attic or crawl space. Some of the first signs that you might have raccoons in your home include the sounds of an animal moving around in the attic or chimney.

Other ways homeowners often find out these animals have moved in include visible indications, such as pawprints or damage to their house’s shingles, electrical wiring or insulation. They might also notice an accumulation of nesting materials inside the house, a destroyed garden or debris around their property, such as dead birds, feces or scattered trash.

If you spot possible signs of a problem, some ways to check whether you have raccoons on your property instead of another pest include looking at the pawprints and scat the animal left behind. Raccoons leave hand-like prints with their five-fingered paws, and their droppings … Read Full Post »

Why Clogged Drains From Washing Machines Occur

A front-load washing machine filled to the brim with clothes

It’s frustrating to put a load of laundry in the washer and press start, only to wind up a half-hour later with a machine full of wet clothes and dirty water that won’t drain. When this happens, it’s most likely because your washing machine drain has a blockage that needs to be cleared before the water can properly exit the machine. The most common reason for a clogged drain from washing machine is an issue with the filter.

Appliance repair specialists find all sorts of items—most commonly, socks, underwear and baby clothes—that have gotten stuck in washing machine filters during the wash or spin cycle. This happens because it’s easy for small items to slip through, block the filter and prevent the washer from draining properly. If your washer isn’t a front-load type of washing machine, however, the problem is likely due to something else, as only front-loading machines are equipped … Read Full Post »

How to Paint Trim Without Tape and Other Tips

a homeowner wearing red and yellow painting gloves with a paintbrush in hand getting ready to paint trim without tape

Updating a room with a new coat of paint is an inexpensive and relatively easy way to redecorate the whole house. Painting is a great home project—with just a roller, a can or two of paint and a few hours of your time, you can freshen up your space. But many people decide to forego painting the trim, since it seems like more of a detailed project requiring lots of precision and attention to detail. The mere idea of taping it all off is enough to turn some people off! The good news is, it’s actually fairly simple to learn how to paint trim without tape and make it look great. All you need is a few simple tips and tricks to make sure you’re doing the job right. If it turns out to be too big of a job, you can call in a professional to ensure that it … Read Full Post »

Why Do I Have Yellow Spots in My Grass?

A lawn that has brown patch, which is a common cause of yellow spots in grass

After putting lots of hard work into taking care of your lawn and creating a lawn care schedule, you’re frustrated to see that all that effort was for nothing. There are unsightly yellow spots in your grass and you’re unsure of what went wrong and what you can do to fix it.

There are several reasons why you might have yellow spots in your grass, including certain fungal diseases that various types of grass can be prone to, as well as pest infestations like grub worms and chinch bugs that can cause patches of discoloration. If you have pets, particularly dogs, their urine can also cause yellow spots in grass, especially if they typically “do their business” in one area. Fortunately, there are steps you can take in each of these cases to mitigate the discoloration and help return your grass to a thick, green state.

Pet Urine

One of the most common … Read Full Post »

How to Clean Gutters From the Ground

A light blue and brick one story home

Cleaning your gutters is a necessary task, but it’s not something the average homeowner is excited to do. From handling dirt and debris to making sure you are using your ladder safely, the whole process can easily turn into a lot more than you bargained for. If you clean your gutters yourself, it can be tempting to put it off for quite some time.

However, it’s possible to simplify gutter cleaning at least a little. Specifically, it’s not always necessary to climb a ladder to clean your gutters, particularly if you recently had gutters installed or do keep up with regular cleaning. In fact, you may be able to remain on the ground the whole time if you have the right equipment. You have a few options for cleaning the gutters from the ground, depending on what tools you already have or are willing to rent or purchase.

Use Your Hose

The first … Read Full Post »

My AC Won’t Run: How Can I Get My Unit Working?

A white and gray kitchen with an ac that won't run

As temperatures start to rise, most people count on having a working air conditioner. Having a fully functional AC system isn’t just a matter of simple comfort; it can actually be a real health issue, especially on the hottest days of summer. When you turn on the AC, you expect it to do its job quickly and efficiently, which is why if your AC won’t run, it’s a big and urgent problem. The cause of the problem might be as simple as a tripped circuit breaker or a blown fuse, but it could be something more complex and potentially costly to repair, such as a bad motor, burned wiring, a broken thermostat or a refrigerant leak.

The trouble is, most people have no idea their air conditioner is broken until they turn the thermostat down to cool down the house on a warm day and discover that it doesn’t run like … Read Full Post »

Why Does My Air Conditioner Smell Musty?

An air register that's blowing air from a musty air conditioner

When we turn on our air conditioners, we expect our homes to become cool and comfortable. In some unfortunate situations, however, homeowners turn on the AC, only to detect an unpleasant odor. If your air conditioner smells musty, you’re probably trying to get to the bottom of the problem and figure out what you can do to fix it.

The most common culprit of an air conditioner that smells less than fresh is the presence of mold somewhere in the system. The other possibility is that your AC unit’s coils have started to corrode. Either way, your air conditioner has likely experienced a buildup of moisture, and the warning sign that that this may be the case is a bad smell.

Not all musty smells coming from your vents start in your air conditioner, however. Identifying the cause of this problem is the first step to resolving it. There are a couple … Read Full Post »

No Cold Air From AC: What Can You Do?

A gray kitchen with white cabinets

When you enter your home after spending time outside on a hot day, there’s nothing quite like the gust of cool air coming from your air conditioning vents. That’s why if you find yourself in a situation where you have no cold air coming from your AC, panic can quickly start to set in. Most likely, you switch into high gear, trying to determine what went wrong and what you can do to get your air conditioner working normally again.

There are several things that could be preventing your AC from blowing cold air, including a problem with your thermostat, dirty filters, a clogged condensate line, a blocked compressor or dirty coils. Your air conditioner is a machine with many parts that need to work together. If any one of these parts isn’t working correctly, you wind up with a system that doesn’t cool anything down or maybe doesn’t blow air … Read Full Post »

When to Plant Zoysia Grass and Other Lawn Care Tips

A backyard with newly planted zoysia grass

If you’re planning to lay new sod in your yard and you are considering zoysia for its heat-tolerant and drought-resistant qualities, you need to know when to plant zoysia grass to ensure that it will have the best possible chance to thrive. This grass is popular among homeowners in warmer climates because it can withstand a lot of abuse in the form of hot sun and minimal rainfall, but it’s still important to give zoysia its best start, to make sure your lawn will be lush, green and healthy.

It’s easy to see why zoysia is well-loved by landscapers and homeowners alike. Though it is considered a warm-season grass, zoysia also tolerates cold well, so it can easily thrive in all but the very coldest parts of the country. It loves full sun but can also take moderate amounts of shade, and because its blades grow so densely together, it is … Read Full Post »