EEEK! The sight of a rodent scuttling across your floor can be enough to send anyone running. With the cooler weather approaching in the UP now is the ideal time to learn about a major problem I find when conducting a house inspection – rodents. 

In this blog, I will be revealing:

  • How rodents can damage your property
  • How to seal your home to keep rodents out
  • What to do if you suspect you already have a rodent problem
  • And finally, why getting a house inspection is a good idea if rodents have done a number on your wiring, insulation, and more

What Kind of Damage Can Rodents Do to Your Property?

I can’t tell you the number of times I find rodent damage during a house inspection in Marquette, Ishpeming, and Harvey. Older homes inherently need regular maintenance. If not properly kept up, your real estate investment in the UP can go from being a wise move to a whole lot of trouble.

Here are the top 5 ways in which rodents can damage your property:

  1. Wiring. According to the US Fire Administration, faulty or damaged electrical wiring accounted for 6.8% of residential house fires in 2019. Rodents like mice, rats, and squirrels are known for chewing on electrical wiring. Once your wiring has been compromised, your home becomes at greater risk for electrical fires.
  2. Insulation. Because rodents love to gnaw on anything in sight, I often find compromised insulation during a house inspection. New insulation can cost thousands of dollars to install. Protect your investment by keeping rodents out.
  3. Strange smells. If you have a suspicious odor coming from electrical outlets or near your wall, it may be due to a rodent that has passed away inside your house. With a decaying animal comes flies, and that’s a whole other problem you don’t want to deal with.
  4. Illness. Rodents are known disease vectors that carry and spread illness through their droppings, urine, and bites.

According to Orkin, mice can carry the following diseases:

  • Salmonellosis
  • Hantavirus
  • Leptospirosis
  • LCM

And the scary thing is, scientists are now finding evidence that some mice may now carry antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

5. Damage to your things. Many of us keep cherished heirlooms in our attics and basements. If you end up with a rodent infestation, their destructive nature may ruin those important mementos.

How to Seal Your Home to Keep Rodents Out

Now that you’re aware of the potential havoc rodents can wreak on your home, you may be asking yourself…” how can I keep rodents out of my house?”.

Exclusion is the best way to deal with rodents. If they don’t have a way to get into your home, they won’t be a problem. Take a walk around the outside of your property to look for any opening dime-sized or larger (roughly ½ inch). If they can get their head through, they can get in.

When you find any openings, fill them right away with caulk, expanding spray foam or steel wool. Make sure to especially pay attention to the following areas (these are the places I look for signs of rodent damage during a house inspection):

  • Garage door. Ensure the door seals nicely and there are no gaps.
  • Door jambs. If you find any rot at the bottom of your doorjambs, caulk and paint over it.
  • Basement. Pay attention to the area around any windows and any plumbing lines going into the basement. Another surprising place they can get in is through loose dryer exhaust vents.  
  • Attic. Look for signs of nesting in your attic, like visible droppings and chewed up insulation. Squirrels mainly are known for bedding down in attics during the fall and winter.
  • Roof. If you have a dormer, examine where it meets the roof. Rodents can get right into the soffit and then your home.

To learn more about Pest management in the UP, please read my blog here. In it, I discuss several other species that can be a problem on your property, including opossums, skunks, and deer.  

Also, take it from me. If you get a rodent living in your car, get them out immediately. Don’t ask why I know this – that’s a whole other story…

What To Do if Rodents Have Already Breached Your Property?

Despite our best attempts, rodents are clever little buggers and always seem to find a way. If you find yourself in a situation where mice, squirrels, or other animals have made your home their personal place of refuge, it’s time to act.

I never recommend using poisons to deal with a rodent problem. They are dangerous to children, pets, wildlife, and the environment. Not to mention the awful smell that decaying rodents can give off in your walls once they eventually pass away. My favorite way to eradicate rodents is with live traps.

A mouse caught in a live trap.
Live traps are the way to go if rodents have set up shop in your home. Avoid using poisons as they are unsafe for pets, children, and the environment.

Do You Suspect rodent Damage in Your Home? Schedule a House Inspection Today!

Do you suspect rodent damage in a house you are considering buying? In that case, I encourage you to schedule a house inspection today to get the facts. After all, our homes should be a place of comfort, safety, and refuge – for HUMANS, not pesky rodents.

Schedule your house inspection with Rich Beasley, owner of UP Home Inspection LLC, Today