ABC Blog

What Causes Power Surges in a House?

a lightning storm which can cause a power surge

A power surge in a house is a spike of high voltage. These surges last for only a short amount of time. But, they can ruin your electrical appliances and parts of your electrical system. Electronics can handle a specific amount of voltage and can only manage slight changes in voltage. For example, appliances in the U.S. are usually rated to run off of 120 volts of power. Power surges can deliver many more volts than most household equipment can stand.

Power surges in your home can happen due to internal factors, such as from the appliances in your home. They can also happen from external factors, such as when there’s a lightning storm. Let’s dive in a little deeper.

Power Surges From Inside Your Home

Situations inside a home cause around 60% to 80% of power surges in a house. One of the most common causes is any device that switches on … Read Full Post »

GFCI Outlet Is Not Working: What Happened?

A red light coming from the outlet which indicates the GFCI outlet is not working

It’s frustrating when you plug something into an outlet and it doesn’t work. Sometimes it’s a small issue that homeowners can easily fix. In other cases, it could also mean you have a bigger problem.

There are a few reasons why GFCI outlets stop working. The outlet might have tripped, there may be a poor electrical connection, the outlet may be defective or the outlet has failed. It’s typically best to contact a licensed electrician to troubleshoot these types of problems. That said, there are some basic steps you might take to try to find out why your outlet isn’t working.

The first step you can take is to check to see if the outlet has tripped. “Tripping” is a built-in safety feature to protect homeowners from electrocution. Each GFCI outlet has a reset and a test button on it. If the reset button has popped out, press the button … Read Full Post »

Electrical Safety Tips To Protect Your Family At Home

Electrical Safety Tips

You’ve dealt with electricity in your home before. We all have. Say the power goes out and you need to flip the breakers. A much more common experience is the countless times you’ve had to change a light bulb. No big deal.

So, when you decided to put ceiling fans around your house, you opted to do it yourself. After all, you’re a smart person. How hard could it be?

Most homeowners soon discover that dealing with electrical tasks around the house isn’t as straightforward as we’d imagine. Using the example of installing ceiling fans, perhaps you flipped off the breakers in the places where you were putting the fans. You got the right tools. You hung the fans up, one by one. Boom. Done. Except that when you flipped the power back on, two of them didn’t work. Sigh.

So, you went back and forth, turning off the power, working on the fans, then turning the … Read Full Post »

Should I Upgrade My Electrical Panel?

Do I need to upgrade my electrical panel

Owning a home has many benefits. Unfortunately, one of the disadvantages is that things break. Sometimes, you have no clue why something isn’t working. Diagnosing the problem is only half the battle. When it comes to electrical issues, most homeowners have little idea what exactly the problem is, much less how to fix it.

If you’ve had trouble with electricity or appliances working properly, this post will shed some light on if you need to upgrade your electrical panel, how to determine your panel’s capacity and why hiring an electrician is the best way to go if you are thinking about how you can change your electrical panel yourself.

What Is a Breaker Panel?

Before we discuss how and why your electrical panel might not be working, let’s talk about the breaker panel itself. An electrical panel is the central point that connects the wires from outside to the wires inside your home … Read Full Post »

Thermostat No-Nos

When you live in San Antonio, needing to run the AC isn’t a matter of if so much as when. However, running your HVAC system all summer long can put a lot of wear on the unit and leave you with a bill as likely to raise your temperature as the Texas heat. Fortunately, there are a few tips you can practice with your heating and cooling system that will have you saving energy and saving dollars all year long.

Don’t Freeze the Ghosts

If you’re not at home, there’s no reason to run your AC. Before you leave in the morning, turn the thermostat into the high 80s to keep it from cooling off your empty home. If you have pets, you might want to set it to turn on in the mid-80s just to keep the critters more comfortable. Program the thermostat to begin cooling your home about a half hour before you … Read Full Post »

Five Ways a Hidden Rodent Infestation Can Impact Your Home—and Your Pocketbook!

damage caused by rats

Of all the unexpected costs that homeowners face, pest control is often the most unwelcome. Pests enter your property looking for food and shelter, and can often stay hidden for long periods of time. Rodents, in particular, are experts in squeezing through small openings, and just one female rat can have up to 15,000 babies in just one year! If you have an infestation, damage caused by rats and mice could cost you thousands of dollars or more to fix, not to mention the time and hassle to take care of the problem.

Damage Caused By Rats and Mice

Rodent dens that go unnoticed are more expensive and dangerous to remove than infestations that are uncovered quickly. Crawl spaces, attics and voids surrounding water pipes are prime real estate for rodents seeking a new home. Places that homeowners don’t inspect often are more likely to harbor unnoticed residents. Here are a few costly … Read Full Post »

Hidden Dangers in Your Home: Outdated Breaker Panels

Most homeowners know where to find their circuit breaker panel or box, but not everyone is aware of how important this box is in your home. All of the electricity that is supplied to your home runs through that panel. The breakers are designed to automatically shut off in dangerous situations like an electrical short or overload. But some older panels may not have the same safety features that newer models have and can even make some electrical issues worse.

Most concerning is the fact that older panels can actually be a fire hazard. If an older panel is overloaded, it may generate enough heat to start a small fire. Electrical fires are notoriously difficult to put out, and a small fire can spread rapidly. Since most breaker panels are in garages or other remote locations in the home, a fire can get out of hand before it is even detected.

Older … Read Full Post »

Pests in the Attic

Animals and other urban wildlife are always looking for places to breed, store food and hide from predators. Unfortunately, some creatures may choose to take up residence in your attic. They use vents and other small openings to gain entry. Some of them stay inside the attic; others leave during the night to search for food.

An assortment of pests live in attics. They include various insects, rodents, birds and bats. Some raccoons and opossums also appreciate the shelter that an attic provides. Most of these creatures are nocturnal and can carry small parasites, such as fleas and ticks.

Pests often damage the attic and eventually harm other parts of the home. Rodents may chew on telephone or electrical wires. Some animals destroy insulation or air ducts. Raccoons can even tear holes through the roof. This kind of destruction may cause major water leaks or a fire.

Pests can also defecate and urinate … Read Full Post »

Home Invaders: Which Species of Roaches Infest the Indoors?

The hot, humid environment in Texas provides an ideal breeding ground for many insect species, including one of the most hated pests, the cockroach. Several roach species live primarily outdoors and go unnoticed due to their nocturnal habits, but some of these creepy insects enter the home and establish populations within walls or other dark hiding spots. Pest control in Houston is important for residents to eliminate and control these bugs that harbor inside buildings.

Common Roach Species in Houston

German cockroaches are the small species that cause the most problems indoors. Due to their ability to eat anything, hide in tiny crevices and breed at a rapid rate, Houston pest control companies utilize several tactics to eliminate these insects. German roaches live exclusively indoors while contributing to germ distribution, allergies and asthma. American cockroaches are startling when spotted because of their large size. Living both inside homes and outdoors, they are … Read Full Post »

Landscape Lighting Meets Efficiency and Practicality

Landscape lighting can add an elegant touch to an outdoor space, but many homeowners are unaware that this aesthetic feature can also offer functional benefits. Choosing lighting with high-tech features can boost the practicality of lighting and offer energy efficiency.

Energy Sources

Homeowners have a variety of lighting sources to choose from when shopping for outdoor lighting that can highlight beautiful landscaping. Buildipedia.com explains that there are three main energy sources when it comes to outdoor lighting: solar power, electricity and gas.

  • Solar power is energy-efficient because it uses the power of the sun instead of requiring a homeowner to pay for a power source. However, solar power is only reliable in areas that receive a lot of sun during the day on a regular basis.
  • Electricity is hard-wired to the home to provide reliable power, but this option can be expensive.
  • Gas is reliable and provides an aesthetic bonus by making outdoor lighting appear … Read Full Post »