As the leaves change color and a chill creeps into the air, our homes become sanctuaries from the outdoor elements. However, amidst the comfort and warmth lies an unsettling truth: your plumbing and HVAC system might harbor a surprising array of creepy critters seeking refuge. These uninvited guests can wreak havoc on your home’s infrastructure and pose health risks.
Let’s dive into the types of creatures that might find their way into your pipes, ducts, and vents, the reasons behind their intrusion, and the steps you can take to prevent such unwelcome encounters.
Creepy, Crawling Critters
Nature’s curious creatures have a knack for infiltrating our homes’ inner workings. Small openings in your home’s exterior, uncapped chimney flues, damaged roofing, and gaps around pipes and vents serve as gateways for critters to enter. Squirrels and mice, seeking shelter from the cold and in search of water, might find solace in your attic, inadvertently navigating their way to plumbing or HVAC systems. Snakes and lizards, lured by the warmth and safety of ductwork, may slither into the picture. Even insects, such as mud daubers, with their ability to sneak through tiny crevices, can amass and nest within your plumbing and HVAC infrastructure.
However, your HVAC and plumbing systems weren’t designed for animals to reside within them–they can cause harm to both your systems and themselves in the process.
- Squirrel cage fans can flatten a small animal effortlessly, destroying the fan assembly with it.
- Electric heat strips found in electric furnaces can effectively “cook” these pests if they cross it and leave a horrible smell.
- Larger animals can demolish your ductwork and leave biohazardous waste–making your home unlivable.
- Rodents and reptiles can easily clog your pipes if they find their way in your plumbing.
All of our professionals at North East Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing have their fair share of horror stories surrounding animal infestations. Though we’ll spare you the gory details, the unexpected places you may encounter these creatures and the smells that can come from them (dead or alive) are experiences we hope to help you avoid.
- Seal Entry Points: The first step of the prevention process is to limit the entry points these pests might use. Regularly inspect your home’s ductwork, plumbing, and exterior for openings. Seal gaps and repair damage promptly to deny critters access. If you’re not sure what to look for, a pest control professional can help.
- Secure Vents and Chimneys: Cover vents and chimney flues with mesh guards, screens or caps to prevent animals from entering. Your local handyman should be able to help install hardwire cloth to vents and flues should you need assistance. Although vent pipe caps for furnaces, water heaters, and other gas burning appliances are required to have “bird proof” caps that won’t allow animals in, they’ve only been required in residential construction for the last 30 or so years. If your home is older than that, you may need to call an HVAC company to run new vent pipe with bird proof caps or install these caps for you.
- Regular Maintenance: Even with the prevention methods above, smaller pests may still sneak their way in and nest in places like unused furnace vent pipes. Schedule regular HVAC and plumbing inspections. Your technician should be able to spot them and handle it before a more serious issue occurs.
Think your home may already be harboring unwelcome critters? Calling a pest control specialist to handle the pests and having an HVAC or plumbing professional to take care of repairs is the best option.
Maintaining a Harmonious Home
While the idea of creepy critters invading your plumbing and HVAC systems might send shivers down your spine, knowledge is your most powerful tool. By understanding the types of creatures that might infiltrate your homes and the reasons behind their invasion, you can implement proactive measures to prevent unwelcome encounters. If you’d like to bolster your pest prevention for your HVAC and plumbing, North East Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing can help. Give us a call or visit our website to learn more about the services we offer.