As an essential service provider in the state of Washington I am still working to make sure peoples homes are safe and pest free. I’m not sure we’ve ever had so much time at home and the little things we have neglected on a daily basis are becoming more and more evident. Since my schedule has been cut in half and my kids are home from school and sports and extracurricular’s, I’m definitely spending more time staring at the walls. One thing is for sure…. I have some home maintenance that needs to be done.
It’s easy to forget about maintenance when we’re all going a million miles an hour. It occurred to me in the midst of this Covid-19 pandemic that one area that is often totally neglected in peoples homes is the crawlspace; The area underneath our homes where our water, sewer and HVAC systems are often located. Here in the Pacific Northwest we see a significant increase in rodents nesting in our crawlspaces in the winter. This year has been particularly bad when it comes to rats and I am still finding rats nesting in crawlspaces as of April (They often move back outside in the warmer months). Since many of our heating ducts travel through the crawlspace it’s particularly troubling to have rats nesting down there. Crawlspaces aren’t perfectly sealed spaces so some of the air that is circulating underneath can enter our homes. That’s super troubling if the air in the crawlspace is impacted by rodents. Even worse, when rats and mice nest in crawlspaces they can actually chew into the plastic heat ducts that carry the heat from our furnaces up into our homes and nest inside of them. I don’t tend to be an alarmist but having rats or mice in your ducting system is a serious health concern. There is nothing to filter that air and it is blowing right up into the living space. When I see this happening in homes (It happens quite often actually) I become quite concerned about what exactly is blowing up in to the house. Typically I recommend replacing flexible/plastic ducts and cleaning sheet metal ducts as well as sealing the whole system with mastic putty so it can’t pull air in from the crawlspace. Additionally, the crawlspace needs to be treated to get rid of the rodents and remove and replace all of the rodent contaminated materials. Not a fun project but an essential one nonetheless.
It’s always important to have clean healthy homes but now more than ever we want the air inside our homes to be as healthy as possible. When in doubt, check it out… Stay safe and stay healthy out there! -Jess (The Rat Girl)