ABC Blog

Check The HVAC Unit Before You Buy The Home

buying a new home in Texas

Are you buying a new home? When you’re shopping around for a new house, be sure to consider a home’s HVAC system.

Because heating and air conditioning make up half of your energy costs, and faulty equipment can lead to expensive repairs, it’s a great idea to spend a little time checking the unit before making an offer on your dream home.

HVAC New Home Checklist:

Below we offer a basic checklist for potential home buyers. By reviewing these items, you can get a better sense for whether or not the previous owner properly maintained the unit.

Thermostat

  • Does it turn on and off, and if it’s digital, can you adjust the settings?
  • Turn the unit on and test the temperature against the thermostat settings.

Outside compressor unit

  • There should be no shrubs, vines, or other plants within two feet of the HVAC unit.
  • Check that the unit is level, as a tilt will hurt … Read Full Post »

Mosquitoes: Facts vs. Fiction [INFOGRAPHIC]

tiger mosquitoes carry zika virus in south america

5 Facts and Myths About Mosquitoes

Did you know that only the female mosquito bites and sucks human blood? The male mosquito feeds off of nectar, while the female is the culprit of many an itchy summer evening in hot San Antonio. She feeds off your blood to nourish her maturing eggs prior to laying them.

There are a lot of myths about mosquitoes. Some myths are harmless, while other misconceptions are truly unhelpful and sometimes counterproductive. The biggest myths are those revolving around whether or not diseases are spread by mosquitoes in the US. A hint: wear repellent. One fact we know for sure is that prevention with professional mosquito abatement is the best protection against these pesky summertime pests.

How well do you know mosquitoes?

Test your mosquito wisdom against these 5 common facts and myths.

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Mosquito Bite FAQ’s: Resisting the urge to scratch

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Let’s face it: nobody likes mosquitoes. Or their bites.

But when you live in a city like San Antonio, mosquitos are a part of life. And it doesn’t look like they’re going anywhere anytime soon.

That’s why we compiled a list answering a few popular questions people have about those unwanted pests. From the whys and what’s, to the do’s and dont’s of what to do if a mosquito lands on you.

Top Moquito Bite FAQ’s

Q1: Why do mosquitoes bite people?

Mosquitoes are nearly impossible to eliminate. They can adapt to changing environments and grow steadily in the summer months when temperatures are both hot and humid, or what we like to call mid-July San Antonio weather.

You may not know this, but only a small percentage of mosquitoes bite humans. And while that may come as a surprise to some, it’s because mosquitoes bite to reproduce, not to live.

Female mosquitoes bite people to gather protein … Read Full Post »

What to Do if a Pipe Breaks in Your Home

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When thinking about pipes breaking, most people worry about their pipes freezing in the winter. But what about in the summer? Did you know that in San Antonio, your plumbing can burst in the middle of hot weather too?

When heat and drought return to San Antonio each summer, the ground dries and shrinks, causing our plumbing to shift. In previous years, extended drought conditions caused a spike in the number of pipe failures in Texas.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons your home’s pipes might break, and what you should do if you’re ever unlucky enough to have it happen to you.

Common causes of plumbing failure

Exposure to pressure  If something blocks up a pipe, whether it’s inside your house or in your outgoing sewer line, pressure will build up behind that clog. Common causes of clogged plumbing include pouring cooking grease down the drain and flushing paper towels … Read Full Post »

What to do after a scorpion sting.

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In San Antonio scorpions are no laughing matter. Although we don’t have deadly scorpions in our area, the sting of our local scorpions can pack quite a punch.

What are scorpions?

Both scorpions and spiders are arachnids. Like spiders, scorpions have eight legs, but unlike spiders, scorpions have a pair of pinchers that help them catch and hold prey, as well as a stinger on their tails that delivers a dose of venom to their unfortunate victim.

Scorpions are nocturnal creatures that hide during the hot summer days, as Texas heat is too much for them. They find crevices in logs or wooden structures, hide under rocks, or locate other dark, cool places to hang out during the daytime, and then come out at night to hunt.

In San Antonio, the scorpion that people need to watch out for is Centruroides vittatus, also known as the striped bark scorpion. This is a yellow or … Read Full Post »

Rain and Your Lawn: How Much Is Too Much?

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In San Antonio, we’ve experienced an exceptionally wet spring season, with several downpours over the past few months. While we’re grateful not to be in a drought, and our lawns certainly appreciate the rain, in this case, it is possible to get too much of a good thing.

Below we’ll look at some of the ways heavy and prolonged rains can harm your lawn, and some tips you can follow to avoid most of the potential damage.

Roots

A lawn can get too dependent on rain. If water is abundant, grass and other plants don’t need to develop healthy root systems. When a wet spring is followed by a hot and dry summer (as most of our summers are) the grass won’t have the deep roots it needs to survive.

Furthermore, too much water will actually suffocate your lawn. Most plants can’t stand in water for extended periods of time because waterlogged soil doesn’t … Read Full Post »

Vacation Season is Bed Bug Season

bed bug season

There is a bed bug “season” after all.

Schools out for summer and many families are ready to head out for the busiest travel season of the year. We are all for bringing home vacation souvenirs. But there’s one thing we hope all our customers can avoid this summer: Bed bugs.

Most of us never imagine that we’ll pick up dreaded bedbugs and bring them into our homes after a trip to the beach. Prevalent in the pre-WWII era, bed bugs were nearly wiped off the map in the 1950’s due to increased use of pesticides and better hygiene. They’ve made a comeback starting in the early 2000’s, with a widely publicized epidemic after the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Authorities claim the reasons for the surge in bed bugs are varied – population increases in cities, the ease of global mobility, and pesticide resistance all bare some responsibility.

How do you get bed bugs after … Read Full Post »

Your Summer 2016 AC Health Checklist

Get your AC ready for the hot Texas summer.

As a Central Texas resident, you likely experience only a few short months during which your air conditioner is turned off. We’ve had a pretty mild year so far in 2016, so you could have just turned on your AC within the last few weeks! In any case, heading into our 100-degree days of summer, it’s vital to make sure that your AC is ready to operate at full capacity. We’ve all heard stories of people who have had their AC break down in the heat of summer, or been victims of an AC breakdown ourselves. Take some time before it gets too hot to do some DIY AC maintenance. If you run into any problem areas, you’ll still have wiggle room for an air conditioner tune-up.

Doing any air conditioner maintenance yourself can be intimidating – the thought of tampering with (and possibly breaking) your AC unit is pretty scary. … Read Full Post »

Hot Rebates & Coupons for Summer Maintenance in San Antonio

SAWS rebates

Ah, spring is lovely in sunny San Antonio. The temperatures have hit the 70’s and 80’s and the weather is finally perfect for lounging in the yard. But there may be one thing you didn’t account for: Unsightly weeds, overgrown grass, and hedges and trees that need some work.

You haven’t landscaped your yard in a while and it is not looking so good. Worry not! We have you covered with some great coupons and rebates to get your lawn looking its best for less. To be clear, landscaping coupons are used before the purchase while rebates are money returned to you after the landscaping work is finished or planned.

The very best coupons and rebates from San Antonio Water Saver (SAWS)

WaterSaver Patioscape Coupon: Thinking of changing your backyard into a nice patioscape? Then this coupon is perfect for you! With the WaterSaver Patioscape Coupon you can save $100 or $200 per … Read Full Post »

San Antonio’s Coolest Pools

Coolest Pools in San Antonio

It’s already April, and summer is quickly approaching! With cooler temperatures and regular rain showers, it’s hard to fathom the sweltering summer months ahead. Prepare yourself by learning about the best public swimming pools available to San Antonio residents. The city also boasts many beautiful hotel pools, making it easy to get away and cool down.

For the most current opening and closing dates, fees, hours, and locations check the City of San Antonio’s Parks & Recreation website.

Central

San Pedro Springs Pool, located in the park of the same name, near the intersection of North Flores Street and West Ashby Place. Its claim to fame is its status as the second oldest park in the United States. The land it rests on was designated for public use by the Spanish government, back in the 1700’s. The pool is built on top of the San Pedro Spring, and is full of spring-fed water. … Read Full Post »