How many times have you been in your crawl space since you moved into your home? Just because you don’t spend a lot of time down there doesn’t mean that nothing is happening in your crawl space. If your foundation hasn’t been protected, it may have become a home to various creatures, from insects to rats.
If you hear strange sounds at night, such as scratching or gnawing, you have a pest problem. When you go to sleep is usually when the day for the pests and rodents begins. At night they come out of their hiding places to feed and breed. Unfortunately, along the way, they cause all sorts of damage. If they are not properly addressed, they will quickly multiply and the level of damage they cause will escalate. Apart from leaving droppings everywhere, causing pungent smells, and digging tunnels, pests can also damage your wooden beams, destroy your insulation and cause a wide variety of problems in your Columbia, SC, home.
Unless you use proven methods to remove these uninvited guests from your crawl space, pests will make it their second home. So, how can you keep your crawl space protected from these nasty creatures?
When talking about protecting the crawl space, it is impossible not to mention encapsulation. While this solution is a great line of defense against water damage, it also creates a barrier that makes it difficult for pests to enter the crawl space and cause any damage. Crawl spaces with dirt floors are extremely attractive to pests. They allow rats and other rodents to create tunnels they can use to enter and exit the space underneath your home. Encapsulation will also keep moisture levels from skyrocketing and causing mildew and mold growth. Apart from these benefits, encapsulation has another one: it can help make your home energy efficient. Since the hot or cold air from the outside will no longer be able to infiltrate your crawl space, your heating and cooling system won’t be forced to work so hard to keep the temperatures in your home at a certain level. Therefore, you won’t spend so much money on your utility bills.
Keep Your Crawl Space Tidy
A crawl space with a lot of debris, rocks, and belongings is a perfect hideout for various pests. Therefore, hire a professional who will remove any sticks, branches, rocks, and other items that can be used as a place to hide by pests.
Hire an Exterminator
A professional exterminator can place mouse traps at every access point to and from your crawl space. To make the traps more efficient, they use food as bait. If you are looking for a more effective solution, contact an exterminator who will use pesticides. An exterminator will lace pest food with poison and place it around any tunnels and nests.
Don’t Store Any Food in Your Crawl Space
While your crawl space can be used for storage if it is properly encapsulated, you shouldn’t keep any edible things down there. Things like sugar will attract ants, rats, and other pests from a mile away, and they will devour your supplies. Even worse, they won’t go anywhere later on. Instead, they will inhabit your crawl space, continuing to cause damage.
Seal the Vents
If you have a vented crawl space, make sure you seal those openings. In the 1950s, it was thought that these vents are a clever way to keep this space ventilated and prevent mold growth. However, since then, it has been established that vents not only let moisture-laden air in but also create convenient openings for pests. Having these vents sealed with vent covers by your local crawl space expert can make your foundation less accessible to pests.
Remove Water and Damaged Insulation
As mentioned, piles of trash make a great hideout and create a place for pests to breed. If you have damaged crawl space insulation, hire an expert to remove it from your crawl space. They can also clean out any stagnant water from this area. Pools of water make your crawl space humid and attract pests that are looking for a way to quench their thirst.
Install a Dehumidifier
When your crawl space has been encapsulated, your foundation expert can install a dehumidifier that will bring moisture levels to 50% or thereabouts. Since store-bought ones often do not have enough power to keep the whole crawl space dry, your local crawl space expert can recommend a professional dehumidifier suitable for such a large and damp space.
Trim Your Bushes
Your shrubs and bushes can harbor pests, so make sure you trim them regularly. This way, they won’t overgrow and create an ideal hideout for rats and mice. In addition, make sure you don’t plant any bushes too close to your home.
Keep Your Crawl Space in Good Condition
It is not enough to encapsulate your crawl space, install a dehumidifier and call it a day. You will need to schedule annual inspections with your crawl space expert who will carry out routine maintenance. It is only then that you won’t have to worry about nasty surprises.
If you are not sure about the state of your crawl space, contact Mount Valley Foundation Services and schedule a free crawl space inspection with a trusted local foundation expert.