While many homeowners take measures to prevent pests from coming indoors, they usually focus on the obvious points of entry, such as windows and doors. We typically don’t think about our HVAC systems, which are inviting to various small animals, birds, and insects. As larger pests choose to make your HVAC unit their home, smaller pests can crawl all the way inside your house through its various holes and crevices.
Damages Caused by Pests
While infestation by some pests could be simply inconvenient, having other types of pests in your HVAC system could damage the equipment or even threaten the wellbeing of your family. Pests can destroy certain components of the HVAC unit, leading to costly repairs or replacements. When larger pests build nests inside your HVAC system, they increase the risk of electrical fire or power shortages and surges. The nesting materials can also cause blockages, lowering your unit’s efficiency.
Pests contaminate the system with various debris — such as fur, rotten food, and carcasses — which affect the quality of the air inside your house. You may get exposed to pesticides that can irritate your eyes, nose, and throat. Pests can also trigger respiratory conditions and allergic reactions.
7 Common Pests in Your HVAC System
- Mice and rats: These rodents are notorious for chewing through duct materials, refrigerant lines, and other components. They can also cause damage by scratching, urinating, and leaving droppings inside the unit.
- Cockroaches: Although cockroaches don’t usually cause damage to HVAC systems, they can fit through the smallest of places and crevices and travel inside your home easily. As carriers of various diseases, cockroaches pose an immediate threat to your health and must be exterminated as soon as possible.
- Spiders: Just like cockroaches, spiders can get inside your home with ease. Your HVAC system won’t suffer from spiders, but certain types of spiders could be poisonous to humans.
- Snakes: Snakes are usually fond of condenser units due to the generated heat. The fan blades and other components often get damaged when the blades start turning and kill the snake.
- Squirrels and raccoons: These critters are capable of even more damage than mice and rats. They can chew through ductwork, creating large holes that allow air to escape. When the holes decrease the efficiency of your unit, you will notice a significant increase in utility bills.
Ways to Protect Your HVAC System From Pests
To prevent various problems with your HVAC system and with your health, be proactive and incorporate the following tips for keeping pests away:
- Regularly inspect and clean your ducts, vents, and flues.
- Keep the area around the unit clean and clear of vegetation and debris.
- Install air-vent screen and clear outdoor units.
- Change the filters regularly.
To stay on top of things and catch any pest issues before they get out of hand, don’t forget to schedule professional inspection and cleaning of your system at least once a year. Also, get professional help immediately at the first sign of infestation.