As winter approaches, the days we spend outside basking in the sun begins to reduce. The temperature starts to drop, so we are forced to head indoors to live out the winter. Conversely, we are not the only ones that seek warmth during the winter periods. Certain wildlife animals also reside in our homes during winter, as it is the perfect place to stay. Bats, rats, skunks, raccoons, and squirrels are common overwintering pests that live in attics and basements. Learn more about common household invaders here.
These animals cause several damages to buildings in a bid to create entry points. Furthermore, once they set up residence inside your home, they begin to destroy wires, pipes, wood, and insulation.
You can prevent your attic and basement from turning into an animal nesting ground. All you need to do is take some precautionary steps, and your attic and basement will be free from pest infestations. However, you first need to understand how they get access to these places. That way, you will know exactly where their entry points are, what sort of destruction they cause, and how to get rid of them if the situation grows worse.
How Do They Access Attics and Basements?
The majority of these critters gain access through cracks and crevices in the roofing system. They make their way into the attic through holes on the roof as well as ventilation areas. They can also enter your basement through cracks in your foundation. Other common access areas include:
- Open vents and windows
- Broken or missing shingles
- Destroyed or missing roofing gutters
- Open chimney
Damages They Cause
The physical damage caused by pests living in your attic and basement varies. Some animals cause minor property damages, while others can slowly destroy your entire roofing system. Aside from that, these critters leave behind a large amount of fecal matter. Animal droppings can cause severe health conditions for yourself and your family. For example, bat droppings can lead to several health issues, including lung disease. Other damages include:
- Damaged Wiring and Pipes
Raccoons, rats, and mice are notorious for chewing through electrical cables, wires, and pipes. Air conditioning pipes are also not safe from their jaws. Ultimately, it can lead to power outages, short-circuiting, and fire outbreaks.
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- Chewed up wood
Squirrels, rats, mice, and bats can chew through an entire roofing system in a couple of years. Not only will you have to worry about a possible full-scale infestation, but you also have to worry about your roof collapsing. If that happens, it is going to cost you a lot to get a new roof.
- Chewed up Insulation
That is something every homeowner wants to avoid. Chewed up insulation can leave your home prone to moisture damage, lower energy efficiency, and increase your electricity bills.
How to Prevent Them from Entering Your Attic and Basement
Preventing pests from entering your attic and basement might seem like a difficult task, but in reality, if you utilize the proper precautionary measures, it is fairly easy. The first thing to do, which is also the most important, is routine roof maintenance. Find a professional roofer near you to inspect your roof for entry points; repair damaged gutters, fix damaged vents, and install a secure chimney cap. Other preventive measures include:
- Regular Landscaping
Carrying out routine landscaping will ensure that most wildlife pests do not have the means to access your roof. Trim tree branches, shrubs, and bushes near your home. There should be about 10 feet between the perimeter of your building and the nearest tree branch.
- Building maintenance
Apart from hiring a professional roofer to inspect your roof for entry points, it would be best if you also examine your building’s foundation and sides for possible cracks and holes. If you notice any holes, gaps, and breaks, quickly seal them up using either silicone-based caulk or any suitable material. You should also make sure to install proper insulation in your attic.
- Install a Fence
By installing a fence, you keep all unwanted guests outside your property. At the base of your wall, you can add chicken wire to keep them from crawling under. You can also fill the ground with concrete before installing your fence to stop them from digging underneath to access your property.
- Traps and Repellents
Traps and repellents work well against pests. You can place natural repellents in strategic places to ward them off or use traps to secure and displace larger vermin.
Overall, prevention is better than trying to tackle a full-scale infestation. Not only is it easier to do, but it is also cost-effective. Repair all damages as soon as you notice them. The sooner you fix these damages, the less likely you will have an infestation to deal with.