Your home's ductwork is designed to deliver air to every room to control the temperature and keep your family comfortable. However, your ducts can also serve as a convenient passageway for insects, small animals and other pests looking for a place to live.
Hiring a pest control company is the best way to remove the threat, but theses companies don't always include clean up and repairs of the damage caused by the infestation. Skipping a thorough duct cleaning, along with other clean up tasks, could leave your family at risk for serious health problems. Discover how cleaning your air ducts, after the pests are removed, will keep your family healthy.
How Do Pests Access the Ducts?
You might think that your ducts are sealed and secure, but pests are inventive and can find their own ways in. Insects can fit in through very small gaps and vent openings, while pests generally enter through broken ducts or chew their way through flexible materials.
Ducts can sag, crack or break open, over time, as the mounting equipment loosens and the house settles. A thorough duct inspection is the best way to determine why pests are getting into the ducts, especially since the same gaps and damage increase your energy bills by wasting heating and cooling power as the air escapes.
Ductwork is attractive to all kinds of pests because they want a private and dark place to travel between nesting areas, sources of moisture and feeding stations. In the winter, the warmth of ducts provides pests with an ideal nesting place as well.
What are the Health Risks of Pest Residue?
You might think that eliminating the pests stops the source of health hazards and property damage. However, the droppings, exoskeletons, fur, bodies and other debris are all left behind after even the smallest infestation.
Rodents are some of the riskiest pests that like to take up residence in air ducts, or at least travel through them leaving trails of droppings behind. Direct risks include the life-threatening hantavirus, Lassa fever, and even the bubonic plague.
Insects tend to trigger allergy symptoms, especially when there's a large amount of shedding material and eggs left behind by cockroaches. Pests like termites don't cause direct health risks, but they do prefer wet wood which tends to create mold as well.
Who Should Handle the Duct Cleaning?
Even if your pest control company offers you a package that includes duct cleaning, you should hire a specialized service instead. Duct cleaning companies have the advanced equipment to completely disinfect your ducts without damaging them. They also inspect the ducts after they're done cleaning it to ensure there's no debris left behind.
A pest control company may miss access points in their efforts to rid your ducts of pests. Luckily some duct cleaning companies, like Carolina Ductmasters, have specialized in finding and repairing cracks in ducks. If their professionals notice another access point for pests, they can fix it while cleaning.
How Can You Prevent Pests from Coming Back?
Of course, the money you spend on both pest control and duct cleaning is wasted if the pests come back just to make another mess. Duct repairs are the most important place to start. When you discover pests are slipping through vent covers, try installing a fine mesh hardware cloth inside the vents to prevent their invasion without interrupting the air flow.
If you have flexible ducts, you may need to protect them with insulation and pest deterrents so rats and squirrels don't chew through them. Let Carolina Ductmasters handle the cleaning and we'll suggest a full plan of repairs and adjustments to make sure no other pests will get into your HVAC system.