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Tag: rodent proof insulation

Dealing with Rodent Damaged Insulation in Seattle

Rats in the attic or crawl space are common problems Seattle homeowners know all too well. And as the cold Seattle winter sets in, these pesky critters are in search of a warm cozy place to nest. Don’t let rodents ruin your home. In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about rodent damaged insulation and effective pest-control

Replace Vs. Refresh your Rodent Damaged Insulation

In the wild, rodents, be it mice or rats, will seek soft fibers for their nests. And unfortunately, insulation found within our crawl spaces, walls, and attics appear to be their favorite nesting material. As a result, rats and mice can damage the insulation in your home by either collecting insulation fibers for a nest elsewhere or directly making a nest within the insulation itself. 

Effective Rodent Control: Crawl Space and Attic Hygiene

In the wild, rodents, be it mice or rats, will seek soft fibers for their nests. And unfortunately, insulation found within our crawl spaces, walls, and attics appear to be their favorite nesting material. As a result, rats and mice can damage the insulation in your home by either collecting insulation fibers for a nest elsewhere or directly making a nest within the insulation itself. These can gradually lead to long-term problems which can affect both your home and health.

Effective rodent control in your Seattle home is essential when it comes to preventing the spread of disease. The feces and urine produced by rodents accumulate over time, leading to an increased risk of spreading zoonotic diseases. According to the CDC rat infestation guide, rats and mice in Washington spread diseases (viral and bacterial) directly and indirectly. Some of these zoonotic diseases include:

  • Leptospirosis: which spreads through urine and waterways.
  • Hantavirus: is a virus that spreads through rodent urine and feces.
  • Salmonella: A bacteria that spread via the fecal-oral route.
  • Rat-Bite Fever: A bacterial disease that spreads through bites and scratches caused by rats. It can also spread through the oral-fecal route (i.e., consuming food or water contaminated by rats).

Do You Need to Replace Insulation After a Rodent Infestation?

replacing rodent damaged insulation in crawl space, Washington

Rats have damaged the insulation in your beautiful Seattle home. What do you do? Replace, refresh, or remove? We completely understand that removing and replacing insulation from your crawl space and attic is time-consuming and extremely expensive. 

If the damage to the insulation is minimal, then our team at Park Eco Pest Control will choose to refresh the existing insulation material. Now, refreshing existing insulation simply entails that only sections (damaged) insulation are replaced. We only ever completely replace insulation from a crawl space or attic when the damage caused by rodents is extensive due to long-term uncontrolled rodent destruction, or if you’d like to increase the energy efficiency of your home.

How to Keep Rodents Out of Insulation in Seattle

Keeping rodents out of your crawl space, attic, and insulation will require some time and effort. And since these pesky critters pose a risk to human health, we recommend reaching out to a professional pest control service in Seattle for an initial first clean.

When it comes to cleaning and refreshing your damaged insulation, our team at Parker Eco Pest Control will:

  1. Locate and seal up any holes, burrows, vents, and gaps that allow rats and mice to enter your crawl space.
  2. Do some dirty work and safely remove all dead rats and mice from your crawl space or attic. We will even humanely remove any active nest sites present in your attic or crawl space. 
  3. Our Seattle pest-control team will most importantly remove and dispose of all rat feces and droppings present in the attic or crawl space.
  4. Sanitize and disinfect the entire area with an eco-friendly, enzyme-based product that actually eats the organic material left by feces and urine. It leaves behind water and CO2 as an odorless, harmless bi-product. 
  5. Replace the vapor barrier in your crawl space if it’s damaged. 
  6. Finally, depending on the degree of damage and contamination, we will either refresh or replace the insulation.

Attic and Crawl Space Cleaning by Parker Eco Pest Control

rodent control services in seattle

Winter is on its way, and so are the rats! Getting a good rodent control regime is crucial in preventing rats and mice from damaging your insulation. Parker Eco Pest Control provides excellent and professional pest control services all the way from Seattle through to Marysville. So, talk to us today about rodent pest control and crawl space cleaning in Seattle. 

Should I remove insulation from my crawl space?

Deciding whether or not to re-insulate your crawl space after a rodent problem depends on a few factors. Dirt crawl spaces are incredibly common in Seattle and it’s estimated that 40% of new construction in the area still relies on this type of foundation (per the NAHB, 2013).  Crawl spaces make accessing your plumbing and wiring for repairs simple and they’re ideal for Seattle’s hilly terrain. These benefits aside, they are extremely vulnerable to rodent problems.

When to leave a crawl space un-insulated

  • If rodents are tunneling into the crawl space (as opposed to chewing in).
  • If your crawl space lacks a permanent rodent barrier such as a rat slab, trench and screen, or rodent-proofed joists to protect insulation (keep reading for more info).

Don’t spend money on new insulation only to have another infestation next winter!

When to re-insulate a crawl space

  • If rodents are chewing into the crawl space and you’ve done a good job sealing off the entry points you could gamble with re-insulating. They may begin tunneling sometime in the future so this is still a calculated risk.
  • If you invest in permanent rodent barrier like a rat slab, trench and screen, or rodent-proofed joists to protect insulation you’ll have peace of mind that your insulation and your living space is safe for the long haul.

What is a permanent rodent barrier?

Exactly what it sounds like! There are three main long term solutions for protecting a dirt crawlspace from rodents:

Rodent-proofing insulation with wire mesh

Traditional fiberglass insulation is by far the most common type we find in crawl spaces. It is also a perfect place for rodents to nest. Protect your new or existing insulation from nesting by installing galvanized steel mesh to the underside of your joists. You’ll get end-to-end protection for your insulation and your living space if a rodent tunnels back into the crawl space.

Rodent proof insulation diagram

Trench and screen

To install a trench and screen the soil around your foundation is dug away and galvanized steel mesh is buried against the house to prevent animals from burrowing into the crawl space.

trench and screen digram to block rats

Rat slab

A rat slab is a non-structural layer of concrete that completely seals the dirt floor of your crawl space off from tunneling.

Rat slab diagram
Diagram courtesy of energy.gov

Are rodents chewing or tunneling into the crawl space?

We find that rodents are most likely to access a crawl space by chewing a hole or pushing their way in through a vent. Builder-grade crawl space vents use flimsy mesh that doesn’t stand up to a determined rat. Rodents are also incredible chewers since their teeth grow constantly. They will find a small gap around a gas line and gnaw the opening until they can squeeze through. Sealing off openings and setting poison-free traps are your go-to solution.

Tunneling into the crawl space is also very common. Norway rats are aggressive diggers and they will burrow under the side of the house and pop up in the crawlspace. You’ll need a permanent rodent barrier to stop them from entering once and for all.

Need some help with a rodent issue at your house? Give us a call or book an inspection online!