Bugs and critters belongs outside, not in your HVAC unit.
Insects and rodents can wreak havoc on your HVAC system by getting into ducts, vents, and other nooks and crannies.When pests enter your HVAC system and its components, they can lead to a range of problems, including physical damage, air quality issues, and health problems. The good news is that by pest proofing your HVAC system you can keep pests out of your home or business, prevent damage to expensive equipment, and protect you, your family and guests from health hazards.
HVAC systems generally have flue pipes to expel byproducts from the furnace. These pipes need to be in good working order to protect you and your family from carbon monoxide poisoning. If critters, such as birds, chipmunks, squirrels and mice enter the flue pipes and get stuck, their remains can block the flue, forcing these byproducts back into the home. Your home may also have air intakes and other vents on the outside of the house, such as ventilation or exhaust fans for kitchens and bathrooms. Pests can enter the building through these vents, and often find these areas ideal to build their nests or dens.
The first line of defense is to make sure that your duct work is correctly connected and that there aren’t any unnecessary openings. Gaps, cracks, and larger disconnections in the duct system create openings for pests to enter your HVAC system as well as your home or building. Insects, mice, and larger rodents may also enter the duct system, depending on the size of air leaks.
Aside from the obvious physical damage these pests can cause, there’s also the issue of the things they leave behind. Droppings and dander could make its way into the interior of your home as air circulates through the ducts. Decaying carcasses can also spread odors throughout the ducts as well as causing health issues, and locating them comes with its own set of challenges.
Spraying pesticides into the ducts isn’t an option as it will circulate the chemicals throughout the house. In cases where there is an infestation, trapping is the recommended option. Glue traps for insects and larger traps for rodents.
To prevent these scenarios, duct work should be professionally sealed, cleaned and maintained. Regular cleaning can remove remnants of any pests and debris they’ve left behind.
Install vent covers on all exterior flues, intakes, and exhaust vents. These covers will block pests’ access, preventing them from getting inside and keeping your pipes clear of nests. These covers have additional benefits, such as keeping rain water out of your vents. Small animals can be resourceful and may find a way to pull off the covers, so make sure vent covers are installed securely.
While these situations may seem rare, they do happen more often than one would think. In nearly every case a little bit of preventative maintenance would have saved the homeowner money and aggravation. If you’re not sure about the state of your HVAC systems vulnerability to pests, call in a professional for a consultation.
If you are considering buying a new unit, we suggest you consider one from the sponsor of this blog, Allied Air. Units like a Armstrong Air packaged unit come equipped with a built-in pest control feature that cycles the unit periodically to create an inhospitable environment for critters.