The last thing you'd expect this winter is for your heating system to become the temporary home of an outdoor creature. However, the likelihood of a critter taking up residence in your heating equipment becomes greater as temperatures plummet. Mice, squirrels, raccoons and other small animals can do serious amounts of damage to your heating system, so here are a few things you can do to keep those critters out.
Keep Your Ducts Under Wraps
It doesn't take much for an animal to get inside of your ducts, especially if there's a crack or hole in a section of ductwork. Disconnected ducts are also an open invitation to a small animal in need of shelter. Small animals aren't just capable of chewing away flex ducts and damaging metal ductwork -- the droppings and other debris they leave behind can also create odors and make your home's indoor air less safe to breathe.
It's crucial to have an HVAC professional carefully inspect your ducts for any tears, cracks, or broken sections. These problem areas should be patched and sealed as quickly as possible to prevent pest intrusion.
Cover Up Those Vents
Exhaust vents and air intakes are also popular places for birds and other small animals to nest during the winter. The problems start when those vents become clogged with nesting material and other debris. A plugged exhaust vent prevents combustion gases from escaping your home, increasing your family's risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
In addition to periodically checking exhaust vents and air intakes for blockages, you should also have vent covers installed on every exterior vent. These covers not only block small animals from getting into the vents, but they also prevent rainwater from getting inside.
If you can't get a cover for your vents, then you can try steel wool as an alternative. Although most rodents can chew through just about any material, none have evolved to chew through steel wool just yet.
Keep Your Heating System Clean
A clean furnace is also a healthy furnace, so it's important to keep your furnace and its nearby environment as clean as possible. That means keeping anything that could possibly attract pests away from your heating system. Anything that could be used as nesting material, including old newspapers and stray debris, should be cleaned up and stored away from the heating unit.
You should also refrain from spilling any food or drinks near your heating system, as this can inadvertently lure pests to your unit.
For more information and help with repairing and maintaining your heating system, contact professional heating installation services.