How To Deal With Pests Infesting Your Air Ducts
Pests making a home in your ducts can quickly become more than just a nuisance; beyond droppings and foul odors, they potentially pose health risks to everyone who lives in your house. Repeated infestations can be even more difficult to deal with, but with some attention and professional help, they can be taken care of for good. Here's what to do.
Have Your Ducts Examined and Repaired
As ducts get old, they start to lose their tight seals, insulation begins to fall away, and gaps may open up in the ductwork itself. This makes it easier for pests to find their way in, potentially causing more damage on the way. Rodents, in particular, can cause damage by gnawing small gaps into larger ones to make space, or by taking apart insulation to use in a nest. Rodents can fit through very small holes, so minor gaps are still a weakness that should be repaired.
If you're having a regular problem with pests in your ducts, call to have your ducts inspected and repaired if necessary. They may also need to be cleaned, as infestations in your ducts can easily pose risks to your health. Ducts should be inspected every two to five years, which can help catch any issues early on that could lead to infestation problems later, so keep regular maintenance in mind.
Seal Off Access Points
Though your HVAC system is designed to be well sealed to protect itself and its components, there are still plenty of places where pests, especially smaller ones, can find their way inside. One example is your vents themselves; even if pests don't make their way into your ducts from any of your vents at first, they may start using them as they travel through the ducts. Installing wire mesh behind your vents is a good way to keep out pests like rodents without disrupting airflow or being visible.
Another example is your HVAC system's condensate drain pipe. As your HVAC system runs, it pulls moisture from the air, and that moisture needs to be drained safely outside your house. If the pipe isn't protected, it can provide an easy way in for pests looking for a home or access to food. You can also use mesh here to cover the end of the pipe, but check on it every so often to make sure it's clean. A blocked condensate pipe can cause your entire HVAC system to shut down to prevent water damage.
Treat Surrounding Infestations
Pests may get into your ducts looking for a safe place to make a home or search for food, but if there are pests in your ducts, it means they're likely to be nearby on your property, too. Making sure insects and rodents don't start to make homes around your house in the first place can make it less likely that they'll travel all the way to your ducts, and removing nearby infestations can help stop recurring infestation problems in the future.
While you'll likely need a professional's help to find and stamp out pest problems, there are many things you can do yourself.
Keep your compressor clean. Clear away any weeds, make sure the area is kept dry, and don't lean anything against or on top of the compressor. Finally, make sure the fins are all straight and that there are no holes that could let creatures inside the unit.
Get rid of potential pest homes like stacks of wood, piles of leaves, garbage bins, or unused machinery like lawnmowers. The fewer places creatures can find shelter, the better.
Trim any trees near your house to make sure no branches are touching the roof. Branches touching your house provide a "bridge" for pests, giving them much easier access to your house.
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