Is He Looking for a Home in Your HVAC System?
Critters love to make themselves at home in warm and cozy places. Some have dens, or set up housekeeping in safe, quiet spots out of harm’s way. But whether it’s hot outside, or cold, your heating and cooling areas can be a welcoming place for varmints, especially if easy access is available. If you allow this, they can wreak havoc!
One such freeloader, a mouse, went to work stuffing boiler insulation into the burner parts. When it lit, the flames shot out three feet, melting the front of the boiler. The result? A $4,600 new boiler installation.
Some of these house hunters include:
- Ground hogs
- Ants, spiders, bees and hornets
- …and, unfortunately, sometimes a stray cat or pup may crawl in.
For example, here at Abel Heating and Cooling we go through an average of four cases of hornet spray each summer, eradicating nests in the wrong places.
What to Look For
- Loss of heating and cooling due to holes in ducting
- Gnawing, squeaking, and scampering sounds
- Holes in paper and boxes
- The smell of urine
- Foul odor of a dead animal
- Tripped circuit breaker
- Small tracks in mud or snow
If you detect any of the above, call Abel Heating and Cooling and we’ll come take a look.
But how can I have an unwanted guest, you may ask? I keep everything sealed and pest free.
Other than an outright opening leading in from the outside, the ducts in your home or building can be chewed or clawed open. This usually happens in the winter, when a critter is looking to stay warm. And what better place?
Two ways you may discover their presence is when you hear chewing or gnawing sounds, or if you see droppings.
Then what happens? Maybe they set up housekeeping, make nests and raise a family. In the meantime, the holes they create allow expensive heated or cooled air to escape, and you begin to notice the difference.
What if one of these critters has met an untimely demise? You’ll start to smell something putrid. If you’re unable to track it down, you’ll want to call a professional to seek out and remove the poor little guy.
Gaps and Openings
One of the easiest entrances animals seem to find are gaps near utility lines and pipes. In fact, many unnoticed openings will invite a freeloader inside, and not just into the HVAC system. What can you do?
- Seal air leaks around the home.
- Weather strip all doors and windows, including the garage and basement.
- Be sure openings to vents, screens and sealers are tightly in place.
- Check to be sure there aren’t any gaps around utility equipment access areas.
If you are aware of any critters in your home, you might try setting a trap to catch them before they make their way into venting.
Also, you can place ‘live’ traps near HVAC areas you suspect may harbor a varmint. It could be the little guy will exit the way he originally entered, and you’ll have the opportunity to capture and remove him in a humane manner.
With air conditioning, if a condenser unit is switched off, an animal, especially a snake, may like hibernating inside. But, sad for them, once the unit comes back on, they meet their fate from the rotating fan blades. This is usually worse for them than your AC. If the system has been shut down for the winter, before starting it up again, you may want to check it to be sure there are no inhabitants present. Mice are known to enjoy the warmth from the air conditioner’s compressor crank case heater…another hazard.
Rodents, such as rats and mice, are usually the ones to cause the most damage to electrical wiring, although other critters can cause similar problems. Short-circuiting, exposed wires, and other signs, will help you determine what you need to do. Calling in a HVAC expert will help you to trace the damage.
Critters in the HVAC Equipment can be a Costly Problem
In addition to energy loss and higher energy bills, uninvited critters can cause hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in repair costs.
That’s why it’s important to schedule regular HVAC maintenance. Our technicians know how to spot problems with critters early.
Do you think there might be nests, carcasses or other animal byproducts in your heating, air conditioning or ventilation systems? Turn the power off to prevent further damage, and give us a call at 952-472-2665 or Contact Us now.