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What Type of Maintenance Does My Heating and Cooling System Need?

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency and its affiliated programs, the average American household pays approximately $2,200 per year on energy. Nearly half of this amount, they report, is put toward the cost of heating and cooling homes. That unbelievable number, however, can be significantly lowered with proper HVAC maintenance and service throughout the year.

Higher energy bills aren’t the only consequence of infrequent maintenance work. The primary cause of equipment failure and diminished performance in heating and cooling systems is neglect. The buildup of dust and fine particles of debris that gather within ducts and equipment can cause irreparable damage to the entire system. Changing your unit’s filter regularly, particularly during the winter and summer, can help to prevent this type of damage, but filter replacement is never intended to stand in the place of professional checkups and maintenance.

Hiring an experienced San Antonio HVAC specialist is the first … Read Full Post »

How to Make Your Home Unappealing to Cockroaches

Cockroaches are a fact of life in Texas. Due to the mild weather in Austin, roaches are active year round and can work their way into homes very quickly. Fortunately, you can take some steps to avoid an infestation by making your home less appealing to these unwanted guests.

Primarily, cockroaches are looking for three things: food, water and shelter. If your home provides these things, insect pests are likely to invade. The key to keeping roaches out of your home is to limit their access to these things, which will make your home less appealing thus encouraging the cockroaches to go elsewhere. Here are some tips for keeping your home roach-free:

  • Keep all food in sealed plastic or glass containers.
  • Address any faucet leaks and avoid having standing water anywhere in the home.
  • Wash dishes after every meal instead of letting them pile up.
  • Avoid keeping piles of papers or cardboard on the floor … Read Full Post »

The Pesky Silverfish: A Bug Profile

You get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and find a long, silver-colored bug slithering in the sink. The next day, you rummage through a box in the garage and are horrified to find the same type of creepy crawler feasting on the binding of your favorite book. What are these pesky creatures that somehow manage to make your skin crawl as much as cockroaches? They’re silverfish, and although they are harmless to humans, they can cause considerable damage to your possessions and contaminate your food supply if you have an infestation.

Appearance, Habitat and Diet

Silverfish are insects that are long and shaped like a teardrop, and their color varies from brown to silver. Adult silverfish can grow up to an inch in length, and they have two antennae on the head and three projections on the tail end. While they can survive for long periods … Read Full Post »

A Quick Guide to Year-round Edible Gardening in San Antonio

There’s nothing quite like a fresh salad of homegrown, handpicked vegetables or a main dish sprinkled with fresh herbs just cut from the garden. One of the benefits of living in San Antonio is that there are edible plants that can be grown at any time of the year. Knowing what to grow and when to grow it is a matter of doing some research on gardening in the region.

San Antonio is considered to be in Hardiness Zone 8 according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac. The information listed below is based on the season during which the plant will be ready for harvesting.


  • Broccoli can be started in the winter and transplanted to the garden by February. The timing of the planting season for broccoli makes it the perfect vegetable to be enjoyed in the spring.
  • Cucumbers are sown in warm weather and harvested quickly. If you start as soon as frost … Read Full Post »

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 experienced pest control companies.

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 customers can … 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 »