Since I mentioned last week that you need to regularly check your attic for pests, I thought I’d show some examples of where and how they can get in, as well as some of the damage they can do. Squirrels, in particular, are clever little buggers and will find, exploit, and/or create ways into attics.
These guys found small holes and enlarged them by chewing and clawing:
|On the left, just watchin’ the world go by.||On the right, you can see the hole next to the downspout.|
|Here, a different squirrel’s front door.||This one even has a nice screen door and an electrical-wire walk-up.|
Once inside, squirrels can do considerable damage. Squirrels’ front teeth grow continuously throughout their lives, so they have to find ways to wear those teeth down (or else they end up hurting themselves). As such, they chew…on everything…everywhere…I’ve seen chewed up wood, wires, plastic, stored items (Christmas decorations), etc.
The insulation has been chewed off these wires in the attic. This is a real fire hazard. In both of these cases, most, if not all, of the attic wiring needed to be replaced.
These are squirrel nests. If you find nests, you need to have them removed, both to discourage the squirrels from coming back as well as to remove any waste or bio material that could be hazardous. In general, when looking up in your attic, watch for light coming through in places it shouldn’t and for nest material. Your attic shouldn’t have straw or leaves in it; that’s typically a dead give-away. Also look for droppings; since squirrels and mice like to burrow into the insulation to stay warm, some times droppings are the only visible sign that they’ve moved in.
All told, if they are not guests, pets, or paying rent, make them move out.
Hurlbert Home Inspection