ABC Blog

The Signs Your Water Heater Is Going Bad

a water heater

The middle of a shower or load of dishes is a bad time to learn your water heater has stopped working. As unpleasant as that would be, the reality is that a water heater gives signals before it quits working altogether. It’s a good idea to know the signs that your water heater is going bad.

Not Enough Hot Water

If you start having to plan showers around whether you also need to get hot water for other tasks soon after, you probably already know your water heater isn’t producing enough of the hot stuff. The problem might be as simple as a need to turn up the temperature a bit, which you can do and then see if that helps.

If you’re still running out of hot water faster than before, your tank might have a sediment buildup. This often happens in areas where the water contains a large amount of sediment. … Read Full Post »

What Is a HEPA Air Filter?

a homeowner changing out a hepa filter

Studies show that the air inside our homes is often much more polluted than the air outside. That is why many people have started turning to air purifiers to help make the air in their home healthier. However, not all air filtration systems are the same. Some offer a much higher level of protection.

HEPA air purifiers offer one of the highest levels of protection available to homeowners. HEPA stands for “high efficiency particulate air,” and it indicates the product uses a certain type of air filter. For a product to say it is a HEPA air purifier or HEPA air filter, it must meet the standards set by the U.S. Department of Energy.

This means that anything labeled as a HEPA filter must remove at least 99.97% of particles from the air that are just 0.3 microns in diameter. A micron is a unit of measurement used to determine the size … Read Full Post »

Air Conditioning Preventive Maintenance

an AC vent

Anyone living in central Texas knows the importance of having a good, working heating and cooling system. That goes for winter as well as summer. As blazingly hot as it can get outside in July and August, it can get just as bitterly cold during the winter months. But did you know that regular air conditioning preventative maintenance can keep your AC working efficiently for many years?

An efficient AC system uses less energy and fuel to run. That’s better for the environment, and also for your bank account. Regular checkups from an HVAC professional can save you money on your utility bills. Checkups also save you money over the long term by extending the life of your air conditioning system. If you have a home warranty, annual AC maintenance check-ups may even be a requirement for staying covered.

Furthermore, your family will be safer, healthier and more comfortable in your home … Read Full Post »

Ever Heard of Dirty Sock Syndrome?

a vent with an ac that has dirty sock syndrome

It’s never a good thing to catch a whiff of a foul smell coming from your home. It’s even worse when you can’t name it or find it. It seems familiar, like gym socks that fell behind the washing machine. But that isn’t quite it. A quick check of the laundry room finds everything in order.

You know when the cat’s litter box needs changing, or if the laundry has been sitting in the hamper too long. A fragrant trash bin is easily identified. Maybe the house just needs a good cleaning? No, even after the kitchen, bathroom and floors get a good scrubbing, the off-putting scent lingers.

Once you have run through the list of usual suspects and still haven’t discovered the source, you might want to zero in on your HVAC system. Your house might have caught a case of dirty sock syndrome!

Why Is the House So Smelly?

Your home’s heating … Read Full Post »

Do Roaches Come Back After Extermination?

A cockroach on a person's skin.

If you’ve ever successfully treated a roach problem, you’ve probably wondered to yourself, do roaches come back after extermination? It’s a valid question if you are starting to see these nasty pests again after having your house treated. The short answer is, yes, roaches can come back after extermination even after professional treatment. Eradicating the roaches is only one part of an effective pest control plan.

A proficient pest control plan should include treating thoroughly for roaches, but it should also cover preventative measures like blocking roach access to your home from the outdoors. Many roaches that people see inside their homes came in from outside. Oriental and American cockroaches are easily identifiable and are two varieties that often make their way inside. These cockroaches are brown or black, grow from 1.5 to 2 inches long, and are about a half-inch wide. They typically live outside and create nests in damp … Read Full Post »

Are There Squirrels or Rats in My House?

a squirrel on a wooden fence

Squirrels may be cute to some, but they can also cause as much damage as many other pests. Like rats, squirrels are also rodents. Both animals are clever and enjoy chewing on a variety of items. This also means both creatures can leave quite a mess if they get into your home. Nonetheless, there are some differences you can look out for to help determine whether you have a squirrel problem versus a rat problem.

Appearance

While they are both small, furry, brownish or grey-colored animals that have small ears, there are a few differences. Squirrels are generally a bit larger than rats, and their eyes are usually a bit bigger. Squirrels also usually have a more distinct division between their heads and bodies than rats do.

The types of squirrels that are most often found in neighborhoods can grow to around 18 inches to over 2 feet long, on average. Meanwhile, most … Read Full Post »

How Does a Tankless Water Heater Work?

a shower that has been turned on with hot water coming from a tankless water heater

You might have heard your friends and family talk a lot about tankless water heaters lately. These are a newer type of appliance that can have many benefits for your household. But, before you decide to convert to a tankless water heater, it is good to know what you are getting into.

Regular water heaters work by heating water and then storing it until you are ready to use it. Tankless water heaters also heat up your water, but they work a little differently. These appliances are also called instantaneous or demand-type water heaters.

With a tankless water heater, the heating process happens when you turn on the tap. It is at this moment that cold water starts to flow through your home’s pipes to the water heater. This heater is typically located close to the place where you use it, such as near the sink. When water reaches the appliance, it … Read Full Post »

Toilet Tank Not Filling but Water Is Running

a toilet tank that isn't filling but the water is running

It can be confusing to find your toilet tank not filling but water is running. Why wouldn’t the tank fill up when the water is running like it’s supposed to? This is a problem because when the tank doesn’t fill, the toilet can’t flush. If you live in a house with other people, that’s a situation that needs fixing fast. Fortunately, it can be easy to diagnose this type of problem if you have basic plumbing knowledge.

This problem could involve one or several different components. Here are the different components of your toilet that could malfunction and cause this problem.

The Water Supply Line

If there’s a leak in the water supply line that runs to your toilet, the tank will still fill, just slowly. If the leak isn’t fixed, however, the tank will start filling more and more slowly over time. This is something that a plumber should look at as … Read Full Post »

How To Trim a Crepe Myrtle Tree

a large pink crepe myrtle tree

Crepe myrtles can be a gorgeous and relatively low-maintenance tree that will spruce up your yard. Not only are they drought tolerant, but they can also survive through humidity and high temperatures. However, homeowners can accidentally ruin these colorful trees if they are not careful. It is important to follow a few helpful maintenance tips to keep your crepe myrtles healthy and beautiful.

For one, excessive trimming can ruin a crepe myrtle. Only young crepe myrtle trees need pruning, and these saplings should be pruned with great care. Cutting back too many or too few branches when the tree is young can make the tree unhealthy, unattractive and difficult to maintain once it gets older.

The first step is to make sure you are pruning at the right time of year. It is important to wait until late winter or very early spring before new growth begins to cut into your trees. … Read Full Post »

Why Are the Coils Frozen on My AC Unit?

A white kitchen with flowers on the table

If your AC seems to be cycling on and off more often, running longer, blowing warmer air or in general not working well, it’s time to investigate. The sooner an AC problem is fixed, the better. When an AC stops working, it’s not only uncomfortable and inconvenient; it can be downright dangerous. When your AC malfunctions, you may wonder, “Are the coils frozen on my AC unit?” If you fear you have a frozen evaporator coil on your AC unit, it should be diagnosed quickly to avoid bigger and more costly problems.

By now, you might be wondering, what is an evaporator coil and what does it do? The evaporator coil is the part of the air-conditioning system that absorbs heat from the air inside a house. It is a series of U-shaped tubes filled with refrigerant and connected to the indoor components of the AC system.

Depending on the AC system, … Read Full Post »