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Beware Counterfeit Christmas Lights!

As the holiday season approaches, many Texans will buy new Christmas lights. Sadly, there are a number of serious risks associated with purchasing and installing these decorations. Counterfeit holiday lighting products can cause fires and electrical shocks. Faulty power cords and slippery roofs add to the danger.

Dangerous Lights

Counterfeit Christmas lights usually have poorly manufactured wiring. Although the lights may function properly, the wires can overheat, melt or catch fire at any time. It is often difficult for shoppers to identify counterfeit Christmas lights. Fraudulent brand names, certifications and seals of approval appear on many of the packages.

A variety of retailers sell counterfeit Christmas lights. Some store owners aren’t aware that counterfeiters produce the lights. Such items remain common at discount shops, flea markets and online auctions. Occasionally, they also turn up at yard sales and thrift shops. Some vendors sell them on the street.

Non-counterfeit Christmas lights can also be dangerous. … Read Full Post »

Beat the Heat and Cold with San Antonio Landscaping Choices

You may know of ways to use windows, drapery and insulation to boost heat in the winter and keep the home cool in the summer, but did you know that you can heat and cool the inside of your home with the help of outdoor landscaping?

Methods of Cooling with Landscaping

Placing trees and other plants in the right location around your home could help shield your home from the sun during summer months. Keeping out harsh rays while the weather is warm means that your home will stay cooler and your air conditioning bills could be lower.

Use tall trees that lose leaves during cooler months to shade windows during the summer. Although the majority of heat that enters a home can be attributed to the beating of the sun’s rays through uncovered windows, a significant amount of the heat that is absorbed by a home when the weather is warm enters … Read Full Post »

A Bug-filled Business Will Soon Be Out of Business

Pests are the natural enemies of homeowners, but pests can put a serious damper on a business’s success and reputation. Visible pests are an obvious issue, but business owners should not underestimate the full impact of pests in the business place. For the reasons outlined below, it is important that local businesses seek appropriate pest control options in Dallas.

First and foremost, pests can lead to swift and certain negative attention. Some customers will only make a scene on the premises, but many customers will take their disgust straight to the public. With the overwhelming presence of review websites, social media, and other internet outlets, it is extremely easy to spread a negative review. Since internet review sites are so popular, this could seriously impact potential customers, and many businesses with bad reviews know that those reviews are basically permanent. Additionally, the prevalence of smart phones and camera phones means that … Read Full Post »

Use Federal Energy Tax Credits for Solar Energy Systems

Converting your home to rely on solar energy helps reduce your impact on the environment while lowering the cost of your electric bill. In the long term, solar power will help save you money and secure sustainable and independent power for your home. It can be expensive to install, however, and this up-front cost is a deterrent for many people who are considering alternative power.

Fortunately, the federal government is helping to reduce the financial impact of Austin solar panel installation by offering tax credits. Until December 31, 2016, all homeowners who make the switch to solar power can enjoy a 30% tax credit with no upper limit. This tax credit applies to both newly constructed homes and upgrades to existing homes. In addition to photovoltaic panel installation, the tax credit applies to other solar upgrades, such as solar water heaters. Any energy-efficient change you make to your home can potentially … Read Full Post »

Empty Nesters: Now is the Time to Think About Remodeling!

The kids are off to college and the house is starting to feel empty. With the kids gone and a house that belongs to the adults again, now is the time to start on an Austin remodeling project that will make the vision you have for your home become reality.

Transforming an Empty Bedroom

If your kids aren’t planning on spending any long periods of time at home after leaving for college, you’re probably wondering what to do with their empty bedrooms. Many couples have visions of dens, libraries or a personal home gym. The best option may be to combine one of these ideas with a guest bedroom that welcomes family and friends to visit overnight.

Be sure to integrate the design so that you can use the room for personal purposes and maintain its functionality as a private space for guests. For a guest bedroom design, ABC Home & Commercial Services … Read Full Post »

Don’t Let Your Home Become a Winter Refuge for Pests

With fall knocking on your door and winter just around the corner, you put a lot of effort into making your home nice and comfortable. Well not only does that make it warm and inviting for friends and guests, but for those UN-invited pests as well. Pest invasion is not exclusive to warm weather; the autumn and winter season has just as many nuisances as the spring and summer.According to the NPMA (National Property Management Association), rodents alone invade an estimated 21 million homes in the U.S. each winter. While rodent control is a concern to homeowners, that estimation does not include snakes and various insects. All types of creatures will find that cozy little house of yours to be the perfect home away from home during the autumn and winter weather.

Rodents like mice and rats are burrowers, which means that warm, soft insulation in your attic and between your … Read Full Post »

Prevent Pests from Wintering in Your Home

Looking forward to the winter months when pests may hibernate or find a warmer place to live? Unfortunately, a warmer place to live could include inside your home. Read on to learn how you can prepare to maintain rodent control in Austin and deter other pests over the winter months.

Start Outside

You may think that keeping pests out of your home involves preparing your home on the inside, but focusing your attention on the outside of your home may actually be the best method of prevention.

Eliminate comfortable, inviting habitats for pests to discourage them from settling near your home. For example, many insects seek out moist, dark places that contain a food source. Keep areas around the home dry, well-lit and free of food sources in order to keep pests away. Insects typically eat leaves, fruit and other insects.

Trash piles and garbage cans attract pests, so keep trash cans as far … Read Full Post »

Are Bugs Interrupting Your Time on the Playing Field?

Spending time outdoors playing sports can be a great way to stay in shape and have fun with friends and colleagues, but pests on the playing field can distract players and take away from the enjoyment of the game. Read on to find out more about the pests that can ruin an outdoor sports game.


Mosquitoes interrupt a game by buzzing around players, but the distraction may last into other games if a bite ends up causing significant itching. Repellents can help deter mosquitoes, and players should remember to take precautions because of the possibility of these pests spreading diseases such as West Nile.

Stinging Bugs

Insects that can sting are typically the most disruptive to a sports game. Players may be nervous about the possibility of being stung, and attention is shifted from playing the game to avoiding the insect in question.

Flies and Gnats

Flies are attracted to people because they like to … Read Full Post »

Houston is a Prime Target for Solar Power

During the summer, Houston can hit triple-digit temperatures. Homeowners spend hundreds each month cranking up their air conditioners. Instead of purchasing electricity from the power company, homeowners can eliminate their utility bills by switching to solar power and upgrading their homes with energy-efficient upgrades.

Cheaper Prices and Bigger Savings

Manufacturing costs associated with solar panels are dropping fast, and homeowners are reaping the rewards. Adjusted for inflation, solar panels in 1989 cost $8.78 per watt in 2010 dollars, but the average price per solar panel in 2010 dropped to just $2.79, its lowest price ever. In that same period, photovoltaic panel shipments increased 100-fold.

Photovoltaic technologies offer a reliable and future-proof energy source compared to fossil fuels. Since 2002, coal has nearly doubled in price, while petroleum costs five times as much. If current trends continue, solar panels will cost about $1.00 per watt by the decade’s end, but coal and oil will … Read Full Post »

How to Handle Mystery Bugs

Several mysterious insects can be found in Houston. Many unfamiliar bugs are harmless, but they can also signify the beginning of an infestation. Most people only have the expertise to identify common bugs. More than 25,000 insect species live in Texas, according to Texas A&M University. It’s essential to handle mystery bugs carefully and take steps to keep them out of your home.

If you find an unfamiliar insect outdoors, photograph it for identification. You may want to catch the bug if it is inside your home. Be cautious–wear gloves and use an implement such as long tweezers to move the insect. Store it in a glass container with a tight lid. Remember that some bugs can chew through cardboard, wood, or plastic.

Keep children and pets away from the insect. Some bugs may trigger allergies or cause serious illnesses when they bite or sting. For example, the Lone Star tick spreads … Read Full Post »