Squirrels, rats, mice, and other wild animals can be big-time pests during the winter season. Mainly because of the cold temperatures outside forcing them to find the warmth and comfort in your home. It’s not like you have an entrance made for all the wildlife to welcome them into your home. Instead, wild animals are notorious for damaging the structure of your home, and can even spread dangerous diseases. For the safety of your home and the people inside it, it’s essential to seal up any openings that they could use to get inside.
Here are a few ways wildlife could break into your home, and the entry points they could use:
Wild animals (like squirrels and raccoons) are excellent climbers. They can easily get down your chimney and into your home. It’s also easy for bats to live inside your chimney.
Chimney caps are stainless steel mesh barriers that cover the top of your chimney and are ideal for keeping the wildlife out. If your home doesn’t have a chimney cap, there’s nothing stopping wild animals from sneaking inside. In addition, chimney caps can get damaged over the years—so even if you have one, it may no longer be keeping critters out.
Doorways are great entry points for animals into your home because they open so frequently. To help keep animals away from your door, make sure there aren’t any plants or bushes really close to it. It’s easy for an animal to hide in the plant or bush and then make a dash into your house when the door opens.
Keep plants and bushes one to two feet away from any doorways. This will give a clear line of sight to your door, and help keep animals at bay.
- Roof Vents
Roof vents are another possible entry point for wildlife. During the winter months, curious critters will feel warm air leaving the vent. This makes them want to go inside and stay warm through the cooler months. If there are any gaps around the vent, mice and other small animals can sneak inside. Even if the vent cover fits well, a determined squirrel can chew their way through a plastic cover.
During the summer months, your attic is likely to become too hot for squirrels. This is the perfect time to have professionals inspect and repair your roof vents (as it’s less likely that squirrels will get trapped during this time).
Fascia refers to the finished boards that support your home’s gutters. Water damage can weaken this wood, and that makes it easier for a squirrel to chew their way through the fascia and into your roof. If this wood is water damaged or rotting, it needs to be replaced to keep wildlife out. Even if the wood is in good shape, a determined squirrel can chew their way inside. To prevent this, seal your roofline with custom-fabricated galvanized metal.
- Damaged Shingles
When your shingles are in good shape, they help keep animals that want to live in your attic out. When your shingles get damaged (due to age, heat, wind or other factors) — they don’t offer as much protection. They may curl, blister or even fall right off the roof. This makes it easier for wildlife to make your house their house.
It’s important to have your roof inspected to make sure the shingles are still in good repair. If any shingles are damaged, they need to be replaced promptly to keep critters out.
- Construction Gap
The construction gap is a common entry point for gray squirrels. Other small critters (like mice and rats) can also get into your house through the construction gap. When a home is built, there’s sometimes a gap left along roofline. If you can see light shining through your attic from outdoors, you could have a construction gap.
Construction gaps are sealed with galvanized metal flashing. This durable material blocks the entry point and keeps squirrels and other animals outdoors where they belong.
Cracks and gaps in your home’s exterior need to be sealed to keep critters from crawling inside. While it’s possible to find and seal the gaps on your own, it’s best to trust experienced experts to get the job done.
This winter, your attic is one of the biggest points of entry for rodents like rats, mice, and squirrels to invade. If your home is under pest invasion, or you’re afraid it might be, check out our free informative guides on protecting your attic from these pesky invaders.
- Crawl Space
If your home has a crawl space underneath, a critter can find its way into a vent or chew their way through sewer exhaust pipe gaskets. Make sure these areas in the crawl space are secure and plugged up.