How to Keep Critters Out of the Home
A home presents a number of entry points for animals. Having an animal nest or live in your home can be unsanitary and potentially dangerous -- especially if you startle an animal or if they block the release of smoke or exhaust from the house. Examining potential entrances and closing them up is key to keeping animals out.
Chimney: A professionally installed chimney cap or a mesh hardware cloth can keep animals out of the chimney -- a common entry place. Animals can transmit diseases through their droppings and block the release of smoke in a chimney, which are two potential hazards. A securely fitting cap or mesh covering can keep animals outdoors. Do not use window-screening material as it will clog with soot and other debris causing a fire hazard.
Attic exhaust fan opening: Many attics are equipped with an exhaust fan to vent hot air from under the roof. Animals can scurry through the opening of the exhaust pipe and into the attic itself. Attics are very attractive to animals because they tend to be warm and infrequently visited -- a perfect place for a nest. Again, use a wire mesh hardware cloth securely fastened over the venting can keep animals out.
Roof and soffits: Over time weather and water can soften wood and create places where animals can gnaw or dig through. Routinely inspect the roof and wood areas of the home to check for weak areas that may need repair. Pay close attention to areas where gables or dormers meet the roof line.
Drainage pipes: Homeowners with a sump pump or other drainage system may have pipes extending from a basement to the outdoors. Burrowing animals may find the exposed end of the pipe and enter the home through the drain. Wire mesh coverings secured to the end of the pipe will allow water to drain out, but not let an animal in.
Window wells: Basement window wells offer areas where animals can spend time unnoticed gnawing away at loose trim or caulking to sneak past. A plastic covering or commercial grate can usually do the trick of securing the window well area.
Fences and decking: Animals can dig under fences and take up roost in the yard, or they may live under decks. While not exactly inside of the home, they're certainly sharing close proximity with homeowners and can be a nuisance. Dig a trench at least 10 to 12 inches deep and place wire mesh inside. Attach the mesh to the bottom of the fence or deck. This may help keep some burrowing animals out.