ABC Blog

What Is EM Heat On A Thermostat?

frozen leaves hanging from a tree

If you take a look at the thermostat that controls your home’s heating and cooling systems, you might notice a switch or button labeled “EM heat.” If you see this, your home probably has a heat pump. The first part of the phrase “EM heat” stands for emergency. The emergency heat setting on your thermostat controls your heating system’s auxiliary heat source, which can be tapped into when outside temperatures drop below a certain threshold—usually anything colder than 35 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Now that you understand the answer to the original question—What is EM heat on a thermostat?—let’s learn more about this setting and why it comes on.

When functioning properly, the heating system’s heat pump pushes warm air from inside your home to the outside during hot weather and moves heat to the inside during cold weather. When outdoor temperatures drop into the thirties, however, it can become too … Read Full Post »

Texas Weeds: Identification And Control Tips

Yellow nutsedge

Our yards are often the first impression visitors have of our home. One thing all of us can agree on: Texas weeds are a nuisance, as are these unsightly plants in any other parts of the country. Better understanding how to keep your grass free of weeks starts with knowing common weeds in the state, which are divided into three different categories: broadleaf weeds, sedges and grass-like weeds.

Broadleaf Weeds

These weeds are actually relatively simple to locate in your yard, as they don’t resemble grass and most varieties develop flowers. As their name suggests, these types of weeds have broader leaves than grass.

Common broadleaf weeds homeowners may find in their lawns across the state include:

  • Henbit: This is a winter annual weed with greenish-purple stems, purple flowers that develop in the spring and egg-shaped leaves.
  • Chickweed: Chickweed is an annual flowering plant that develops white blooms from February until September, but can bloom … Read Full Post »

Why Is My Furnace Short Cycling?

Furnace short cycling

If you turn on your furnace and discover it’s not heating your home properly, you probably realize how much you take your heater for granted. In some cases, it may seem as though your furnace shuts off just about as quickly as it turns back on. If this has ever happened to you, you probably have asked yourself: Why is my furnace short cycling?

Homeowners in this situation can usually blame one (or more of the following) culprits for this issue: a clogged air filter, a dirty flame sensor, an oversized unit or a malfunctioning thermostat.

Clogged Air Filter

When your system’s filters are caked with dust particles, pet hair, pet dander and other debris that make it into your indoor environment, this buildup restricts airflow. The warm air becomes blocked in your furnace, raising its internal temperature. This warm air sends a signal to your system to shut off.

A furnace that turns … Read Full Post »

Possum Out During The Day: Is It Rabid?

Possum During The Day

It can be somewhat shocking to look outside and notice a possum out during the day. The first question that probably pops into your mind is: “Is it rabid?” After all, many of us have heard that raccoons that are active during daylight hours are more likely to have rabies, so it would make sense for the same logic to apply to a possum, another nocturnal animal. Right?

The truth is, while rabies might cause normally nocturnal animals like raccoons and skunks to behave in strange ways, including venturing out during daylight hours, possums aren’t actually likely to contract rabies. Furthermore, possums (as well as raccoons and skunks) can be active during the day even when they are perfectly healthy. For example, it’s possible that a smaller possum out during the day is immature and has been separated from its mother or even orphaned. Or, a larger adult possum venturing out … Read Full Post »

Your Guide To Christmas Events In San Antonio For 2019

Christmas events San Antonio 2019

As the weather starts to drop (even if ever so slightly), our city begins to transform. Before you know it, your calendar will quickly be filled with holiday and Christmas events in San Antonio in 2019. As a matter of fact, the list of happenings in and around town can almost be overwhelming! There are sporting events, holiday festivals, Christmas food vendors and amusement parks—more than enough to please everyone.

While the holidays are a very special time of year, it can be hard to keep track of everything going on, especially when most of us also need to find time to put up holiday decorations and choose holiday recipes for family gatherings. Check out our picks for 2019 so that you can make some new traditions while revisiting local annual favorites which make the holidays in our area truly magical.

San Antonio Riverwalk Events

The Riverwalk is a perfect place to get … Read Full Post »

Do Skunks Hibernate? What Homeowners Need To Know

Do skunks hibernate

When cooler weather arrives, homeowners have to be extra cautious about wildlife and rodents coming to nest on their property. While skunks usually won’t nest in your home, you could find them nesting around your property, especially in the wintertime. But, why is that? Don’t skunks hibernate?

Skunks don’t necessarily hibernate, but they are considered dormant during the winter months, meaning that you likely won’t see these creatures in your yard during the coldest months of the year. This time period is scientifically known as torpor, and skunks will fall into this state as the temperature drops and food starts becoming scarce. A skunk’s body temperature will lower and their metabolism slows. Unlike an animal that is in hibernation, these creatures will remain inactive for short periods of time—typically during the day.

You may be wondering: If skunks are essentially asleep for the majority of the winter, why do I need to … Read Full Post »

Why Your Gas Water Heater Is Not Hot Enough

Gas water heater not hot enough

Many homeowners have experienced that same unfortunate situation: You’ve been waiting for the shower to heat up for ten minutes and it’s still lukewarm. No one else has used the shower recently, and no one is doing the dishes or otherwise using up all the hot water. What is the issue? Is your gas water heater not hot enough?

If you find yourself in this situation, there are usually three common culprits: a broken dip tube, a buildup of sediment in your tank or a malfunctioning heating system.

Broken Dip Tube

The dip tube is the part of your water heating system where cold water enters the heating tank. Usually, your dip tube will deliver cold water to the bottom of your tank where it can be easily and quickly heated for your use. If your dip tube is broken, cold water will stay at the top of your tank and will not … Read Full Post »

Where Do Skunks Live? Keeping Skunks Off Your Property

Where do skunks live

You may have noticed signs of an unwanted critter on your property. Then, one night you spot it: a skunk. You had never seen one in person before, so you assumed these animals didn’t live near you. But in reality, you realize that you don’t know much about these creatures. Where do skunks live? If you ignore them, will they just go away?

Unfortunately, skunks probably won’t just disappear on their own. As a matter of fact, if they’re wandering around your property, skunks are more likely to be looking for either food or shelter, and if they find either or both of these things, they’ll be sticking around for a while. When that happens, your lawn and garden can get torn up, your pets can get sprayed by their characteristic foul odor and worse still, your family can be exposed to rabies and other diseases. So where are skunks most … Read Full Post »

Why Is My Air Conditioner Turning On And Off Repeatedly?

Air Conditioner Turning On And Off Repeatedly

Our air conditioners are complicated appliances which serve a vital function in our homes. When they are working properly, we hardly think about them at all. When they aren’t, we realize how much we take our cool, comfortable living spaces for granted. When you notice your air conditioner turning on and off repeatedly, you probably realize something is wrong, but you likely have little clue as to why this is happening, much less what to do about it.

There are a few reasons your air conditioner could be cycling on and off. The first and most likely is that your AC unit is too large for your home. When it comes to choosing an air conditioner, you may have fallen victim to a common misconception: the bigger the better. Unfortunately, unscrupulous contractors have an incentive to add extra capacity “just to be safe”, even when you really don’t need it, since … Read Full Post »

Best Grass For High Traffic Backyard Dog Owners

grass for high traffic backyard dog

No matter the size or breed, dogs benefit from a good outdoor space. Your furry companion can get exercise and fresh air, and most breeds love having a dedicated area where they’re free to run around, chase toys and play. But homeowners have their own ideas about what makes an inviting and comfortable outdoor space. So what is the best grass for high traffic backyard dog owners?

The most resilient types of grass are Kentucky blue grass, perennial rye, Bermuda grass, tall fescue and Zoysia. While these grasses are tougher than most, keep in mind they are still at risk of getting trampled on and turning brown when subject to high traffic or other stresses.

If you’re considering replacing your grass with one of the species mentioned above, it is extremely important to look out for a grass that will grow well in your climate. For example, while Kentucky blue grass is … Read Full Post »