With the start of a new year, you may have begun to purge your home of unnecessary items or mapped out a major cleanup day. While the most lived in rooms are probably on your radar – the kitchen, bathroom, living room, and bedrooms – areas like your basement and attic can become catch all-areas or forgotten altogether. These neglected spaces are then susceptible to pest invasions and other home issues.
Prevent Pests with these Basement & Attic Pest Control Tips:
Inspect insulation around your basement. Replace weather-stripping, seal any cracks and crevices, and repair any mortar that is found to be loose.
When moving stored items to your basement or attic, consider utilizing plastic, sealed containers that are raised off the floor. Cardboard boxes tend to attract pests while plastic bins will deter them from settling inside your stored items.
To cut down on moisture and areas of standing water, consider investing in a moisture barrier for your crawlspace and a gutter protection system to make sure water is not filtering to your crawlspace/basement area.
Proper attic insulation is key to keeping pests and wildlife out of your home. While sealing any entry points is a great start, investing in TAP Attic Insulation not only acts as pest control, but can also lower your utility costs significantly.
These tips are only part of your healthy home journey. Schedule a pest inspection with a licensed exterminator, who can identify current pest issues, potential pest threats in the future, and provide a personalized pest control plan for ongoing prevention.
As the warm weather winds down and winter settles in, most of us will breathe a sigh of relief that we survived another season of creepy crawlers. Don’t relax just yet! Just because the weather has turned colder doesn’t mean pests have hibernated for the winter. Many pests will make their way into your home in search of shelter, food, and warmth. Mice, cockroaches, and spiders can be found crawling underfoot in the wintertime. These overwintering pests aren’t just a nuisance to have in your home; they can cause significant damage to both your property and your health. Rodents are known to carry Salmonella and Hantavirus and can chew through cables and electrical wires, increasing the risk of fires. Some spiders like the brown recluse and the black widow have bites that can be a serious threat to humans. Cockroaches are known to trigger allergies and asthma. Winter brings ice, snow, and wind, causing enough stress on your home without the threat of pest infestations. So what can you do to reduce this stress and get rid of the last of these creepy crawlers? Check out these winter pest prevention tips to help you have a stress free winter.
Inspect the exterior of your home for cracks and holes. Seal them to keep pests from easily accessing your home.
Replace any loose mortar around foundations and weatherstripping around windows and doors. Repair or replace any damaged screens.
Eliminate moisture by repairing leaky faucets and clearing clogged drains.
Keep gutters clear of debris before the weather gets too cold. Consider installing gutter guards to eliminate the need to clean gutters.
If you’re like most of us you don’t spend too much time inspecting your crawlspace. But did you know that moisture that makes its way into your crawlspace can cause significant problems not only for your home but for your health, as well? Dampness in your crawlspace is a common problem in homes without a proper moisture barrier system. Without a proper barrier, your crawlspace carries humid air that condenses and settles on the pipes, walls, and even the subflooring. This moisture provides the ideal environment for mold, mildew, and pests. A moisture barrier prevents this moisture from evaporating and seeping into the air beneath your home. Moisture barriers are composed of either foil or plastic material that helps prevent moisture from penetrating your crawlspace air.
So why should you have a moisture barrier installed in your crawlspace? Check out these 7 benefits of moisture barrier installation.
1. TEMPERATURE CONTROL
The moisture that gets into your crawlspace affects the temperature in your home. It can make your home too hot, too cold, too stuffy, or too dry depending on the weather, the season, and other factors. The moisture either absorbs the warmth from your house or keeps it from escaping. In turn, this causes your HVAC unit or furnace to run too long trying to maintain a steady temperature indoors. Installing a moisture barrier seals those spaces and keeps the moisture out of your crawlspace, helping to regulate the temperature inside.
2. ENERGY CONSERVATION
As we mentioned above, the moisture in your crawlspace can affect the temperature inside your home. As your HVAC unit or furnace runs longer to help maintain the temperature inside, it uses more electricity which, in turn, increases your electricity bill. This also puts additional strain on the HVAC unit, causing them to wear out faster and need costly repairs and/or replacement. A moisture barrier acts as a sealant, controlling the moisture levels and easing the strain of your HVAC system, making your home more energy efficient and saving you money on your energy bills.
3. MOLD AND ODOR PREVENTION
High moisture levels in your crawlspace provide the ideal environment for mold and mildew growth. Mold and mildew in your air system can be detrimental to your and your family’s health. Mold can also cause significant damage to your home. Installing a moisture barrier greatly reduces these moisture levels, preventing mold and mildew from forming. Mold and mildew are often the cause of foul odors in your home, as well. A moisture barrier can also help eliminate these stale, musty odors from your house.
4. PIPE PROTECTION
Your crawlspace is home to a number of pipes that supply both water and power to your home. When moisture infiltrates your crawlspace, it can cause rotting inside and around these pipes, leading them to burst or break. Moisture barrier installation helps keep your pipes dryer, which increases their lifespan and decreases costly repairs.
5. ELECTRICAL HAZARDS
As we mentioned above, many of the pipes in your crawlspace house electricity that runs to your home. Moisture and electricity don’t mix! Moisture in and around these pipes can lead to electrical shorts, rusted wires, and even fire. Installing a moisture barrier eliminates the moisture that can infiltrate these pipes, keeping your home safer from electrical hazards.
6. STRUCTURAL PROTECTION
The foundation of your home is vital to its structure and soundness. Moisture in your crawlspace can lead to wood rot, especially on joists and beams. Rotting wood can lead to significant structural damage to your home which can, in turn, stick you with a huge repair bill. Moisture barrier installation reduces the amount of moisture in your crawlspace which helps prevent wood rot, protecting the structural integrity of your home.
7. PEST CONTROL
Your unsealed crawlspace is an open invitation to pests and wildlife in search of shelter, food, and water. Once inside, these pests can cause significant damage to your home and your health. Rodents and other wildlife can chew through wood and electrical wires. Roaches and other insects can use the crawlspace to gain access to your home, posing potential health risks to you and your family. Installing a moisture barrier completely closes off your crawlspace, eliminating this entry point for pests into your home.
Even though the calendar says September, the thermometer still reads summer! Summer is the time of year when we see a surge in our energy costs and utility bills. As the temperatures increase outside, we spend more time inside. Kids are home from school all day running the air conditioner, using electronics and appliances, and leaving the lights on. There is also a bigger gap between the temperature outside and the temperature inside our homes – causing our air conditioning units to work harder to keep our homes cool. Summer is also a time to utilize swimming pools to have fun and cool off. Electric pool pumps, however, use a lot of energy. In fact, they can add an average of $80-90 per month to your energy bill if they run 24 hours a day. As the demand for energy increases and the supply of energy decreases, the market price of energy will inevitably go up. This helps explain why our energy bills are so high in the summer months.
So what can you do to help stay ahead of this surge in energy costs? Two options available are TAP insulation and Complete Crawlspace Enclosure.
TAP or thermal acoustical pest control insulation can help protect your home and your wallet from those increasing summer energy bills. TAP insulation:
Is energy start rated and reduces the amount of energy needed to heat and cool your home, which can lower your energy bills by 20-38%
Is made of 87% recycled newsprint so you can insulate your home while saving landfill space
Is treated with borates (a natural pest control product) to help control roaches, ants and other pests
Is treated with a fire retardant that limits the spread of fire
Allows you to keep more consistent temperatures inside your home year-round
Complete Crawlspace Enclosure
Complete crawlspace is an enclosed crawlspace solution that includes high quality vapor liner, taped seams, sealed foundation vents, and mechanical drying. Complete Crawlspace provides you with:
A healthier living environment by preventing mold growth and wood rot
Decreased humidity levels
Pest control by completely closing off your crawlspace, eliminating an entry point for pests
Decreased HVAC repair costs by decreasing the workload of the HVAC unit
Decreased utility bills by up to 18% with increased energy efficiency in your home
Fall is the perfect time of year to prepare your home for winter. While prepping your yard and storing away your summer things are usually at the top of the list, don’t forget to protect your home from pests this winter also! Fall is prime time for pests to make their way into your house in search of food, shelter, and warmth over the cold winter months. Rodents will make their way indoors in search of a warm place to shelter for winter. Flies will often be found on the south and west facing walls of your home in search heat. Many stinging insects like yellow jackets, bees, and wasps will become more hostile in the fall as their food supply dwindles. Cockroaches are attracted by the moisture found in and under your home. Other pests like ants, stinkbugs, ladybugs, and box elders will come inside looking for a place to overwinter.
Now that you know what kinds of pests to expect this fall, what can you do to protect your home from these often unseen invaders? Check out these 6 tips to prevent pests this fall.
Keep Them Out. Inspect the inside and outside of your home for possible entry points that pests can use. Seal any cracks and crevices on the outside of your home with caulk and steel wool, especially around utility pipes. Screen your attic vents and install chimney sweeps. Screen any other openings to the outdoors like mail slots and pet doors. Repair loose mortar around your foundation and windows. Check screens for holes and repair or replace them as needed. Check for any gaps around doors and windows. Install or replace weatherstripping as needed and install door sweeps.
Keep It Clean. Wipe down your counters and sweep your floors often. Clean up spills immediately. Take out your trash on a regular basis. Don’t let fruits and veggies get overripe on your counters. Keep food, including pet food, stored in airtight containers. Avoid leaving pet food dishes out for prolonged periods of time.
Dry It Out. Mosquitoes breed in standing water and cockroaches are attracted to moisture. Walk your property on a regular basis to check for any standing water. Be sure to check your gutters and rain spouts for clogs and consider installing gutter guards to help prevent them. Check for leaks near your air conditioning unit. Pick up any toys from your yard that may hold water. Keep basements, attics, and crawlspaces dry and ventilated. Consider enclosing your crawlspace. Use dehumidifiers in attics and garages.
Don’t Forget Outside. Maintain your landscaping and keep grass trimmed and mowed. Trim any bushes and shrubs away from your home. There should be at least 2 feet between any landscaping and the walls of your house. Rake up any debris from your yard and be sure to pull weeds. Store firewood at least 20 feet from your house and store it in racks above the ground.
Inspect Before Bringing It In. Thoroughly inspect any items like boxes, packages, and even grocery bags before bringing them indoors. Thoroughly inspect luggage after traveling before bringing them into your home and store them in plastic bags or in external buildings like sheds or garages instead of in your home.
Call The Pros. Call a professional pest control company who can provide you with a thorough evaluation and comprehensive treatment and prevention plan.