Squirrels can be cute to some people, but as a home inspector, this is not something I want to find while inspecting a home. On a recent home inspection in Downingtown, I caught a glimpse of a squirrel peaking out from the eaves. I knew this would not be good news for the homeowners. I had to tell them about the 3 big dangers of having squirrels in the attic.
3 Big Dangers of Squirrels in the Attic
- Your Home is not Sealed from Pests
The squirrel either created or got into your house through an opening that probably shouldn’t be there. If you have wood rot on the exterior of the home, you should have that rotted wood replaced and/or capped and sealed. However, if it wasn’t rotted wood and your home just happened to be the unlucky target of this pest, make sure to act quickly before the issue worsens. Otherwise, you can get not only squirrels but other pests like mice, bats, wasps, etc.
- Fire Hazard
Having a squirrel or family of squirrels in your home can create a fire hazard. These pests have been known to chew through wood, plastic and wires! Why? They have to keep the length of their teeth in check and, therefore, find materials to gnaw on that give them the proper friction to grind down their teeth. If they chew through your wires, this can cause an electrical hazard. You might have exposed wiring that could ignite materials close by on fire! Or it could create a short in the wire and cause a fire at the panel.
- Health Hazard
Other dangers of having squirrels in your home? They have to go to the bathroom somewhere! If they defecate and urinate in your attic, this can cause odor problems, introduce dangerous pathogens into your air space, and be a breeding ground for mold. Their urine also contains pheromones that can attract even more squirrels into your home and compound the urine and feces issue!
Once you have one of these intruders, it’s imperative to have them evicted as soon as possible. You want to minimize damage to your home and get rid of these 3 big dangers! Don’t try to remove the squirrels yourself. For instance, they can bite and some may carry rabies. You definitely want to contact a wildlife expert to have them removed.
After the pests are gone, it’s a good idea to have your home inspected to make sure entry points have been identified and properly sealed. You want to ensure there are also no damaged wires in your attic. If so, have a licensed electrician rewire the damaged sections so you can avoid a fire hazard.
The other thing you will want to do is sanitize your attic. This involves getting rid of the feces and could mean replacing affected insulation in the attic. Even after the feces is gone and depending on the area affected, this doesn’t mean bacteria and fecal particles are completely gone. An enzyme based cleaner can work well. However, you might have to bring in a professional with a fogging machine to ensure the sanitation is done properly.
That’s why it’s so important to act swiftly once you know you have pests in your home. The quicker you can minimize the damage they do, the less expense and hassle you’ll have!
If you need a home inspection, contact David Artigliere with ARTI Home Inspections. He’s been a home inspector since 2001 and has experience identifying pests in homes!