No one likes having pests in their home. Insects can make holes in your linens, contaminate your food and damage your fixtures, while rodents leave feces wherever they go, can destroy your wooden beams, and even compromise the structural stability of your home. In addition, once pests are in your home, it is very difficult to get them out. This is why it is always better to be preventative. If you are worried that pests could inhabit your crawl space and affect your home or they already have, here are some practical ways to address the problem.
Encapsulate the Crawl Space
If you own a home with a crawl space, consider encapsulating it. When covered with a plastic vapor barrier, your humid and dirty crawl space will transform into a dry and clean area you can even use for storage. When it is properly installed, a 20-mil vapor barrier can last for years, keeping not only moisture out, but also making it hard for various critters to enter your home.
But why would they decide to enter your crawl space in the first place? Pests are drawn to dark and humid places, which makes a crawl space without encapsulation an ideal home for them.
Encapsulation can also lower your energy bills by up to 25%. Since moist outside air will no longer be able to enter your crawl space, your heating and cooling system won’t have to work so hard to keep your home warm during the winter or cool on hot, summer days. In addition, since encapsulation and dehumidification will keep the moisture levels in your crawl space under control, you won’t have to worry about mildew and mold growth.
Seal Vents and Openings
Around the 1950s, it was determined that homes with crawl spaces should have vents. Their purpose was to lower the humidity levels in the foundation and prevent mold growth. However, since then, it was determined that these vents are a bad idea. Instead of letting stale air out and keeping the crawl space fresh and dry, they were an entryway from moisture, as well as various pests. To make it more difficult for pests to get inside, it is better to seal the vents. Various critters can squeeze themselves in through the vents or loose door seals. Therefore, make sure there aren’t any holes that can let pests into your crawl space and your home.
If you have tried to get rid of pests and nothing is working and the number of pests in your crawl space seems to be growing by the day, it is time to take drastic measures. Since there is no way you can track down every uninvited guest, it is better to use pesticides to get rid of them. Hire professional exterminators who will spray their nests and hiding spots with pesticides and mix their food with poison. They can also use mouse traps such as snap traps, glue traps, electronic traps, and humane traps which they will place near nests, potential entryways, and hideouts, as well as tunnels. This way you can drastically lower the number of pests in your crawl space, and eventually, get rid of them completely.
Keep Food Away
Storing food in the crawl space is never a good idea since pests can smell bags of sugar or flour a mile away. However, even if you avoid keeping food down there, you should also make sure that you keep your kitchen clean as much as possible. After every meal, put leftovers in the fridge and wipe the counters, so you don’t attract pests.
As mentioned, pests are drawn to moist places so you will have this problem until you solve the moisture issue. Apart from encapsulating your crawl space, you can invest in a dehumidifier. However, store-bought dehumidifiers are often not strong enough to regulate moisture levels in the crawl space. Instead, call your local crawl space experts and see what they have to offer.
Telltale Signs of Pest Infestation
Sometimes, homeowners are not aware that they have a pest problem on their hands. As time goes by, the number of pests multiplies, and the damage they cause quickly escalates. Most homeowners realize they have pest infestation only when the pests have already taken over the crawl space.
If you notice scratch marks anywhere or you hear gnawing sounds, you probably have a pest problem. Droppings and fur are also telltale signs that you have a pest infestation. Also, keep your eyes open for holes and tunnels.
If you are worried that pests have damaged your foundation or you wish to encapsulate your crawl space and keep it protected against unwanted guests, contact professionals who serve the Washington, DC, area and schedule a free inspection. JES Foundation Repair specialists can come to your home and help you with any crawl space issue.