Congratulations on purchasing your first home! Now that you’ve moved in and gotten settled, it’s time to think about making sure the place does not become home to a certain type of unwelcome guest. In other words, you need to learn some of the essentials of pest control and the safety measures that go along with this type of home protection. Here are several ideas that will help you minimize the potential for an infestation and keep the house pest free.
How Well Do the Doors and Windows Fit?
If you didn’t check all the doors and windows before buying the house, now is a good time to take a close look. Your goal is to make sure that the doors are flush in the frames and that there is no air seeping in around the threshold. While this type of check is usually aimed at making it easier to heat and cool the interior, a snug fit in the door frame means that many types of pests won’t be able to enter using the front or back door. This one action will help reduce the chances of larger pests from gaining access.
Do the same type of check with each window. Ideally, the sashes should fit perfectly and allow no room for the tiniest insect to crawl through. If the windows happen to be the roll out type, examine the mechanisms and confirm that they will shut completely. If not, it’s time for repairs or possibly the installation of brand new windows.
What’s Happening in the Attic?
A trip to the attic can be an enlightening experience. When you toured the home, your main focus was on how much storage space the attic provided. Now you want to be on the lookout for any points of entry that would allow squirrels and other small animals to get into the space and make a nest in the insulation. Take a close look at the points where the roof frame meets the walls and make a note of any tiny chinks you see. If the attic is outfitted with turbines to help expel hot air, determine if the screens are still in good condition. Those screens also prevent small insects from finding their way into your home.
One of the more common points of entry to an attic is the louvered windows. While they are great for allowing fresh air to flow into the space, they can also make it easier for rodents and similar pests to get into the space. You may not know this, but it is possible to invest in screens that fit neatly on those louvered windows. The screens won’t block air flow, but the sturdy mesh used in the screen design will be enough to discourage different types of crawling pests from attempting to make the attic into a home.
The Basement Deserves Attention Too
Just as you need to check the attic for possible points of entry, it pays to see what’s going on in the basement. All windows need to shut and lock securely. If there’s a door that opens onto the back yard, take a good look at how well it fits in the frame. You may need to make some modifications to improve the fit and eliminate any tiny spaces that invite ants and other insects to come in from the rain.
Checking around Plumbing Lines
A quick look at the plumbing lines is certainly worth the time and effort. What you want to determine is how much space is left open as the lines run through some part of the home frame. That includes the connections to exterior faucets. If there is any open space to be found, it would be in your best interest to fill it in. Along with reducing the chance of an infestation, filling in the spaces will make it easier to protect the pipes during freezing weather.
Taking a Closer Look at the Home Façade
You also want to inspect the exterior walls closely. That includes areas that are hidden behind the shrubbery. The goal is to determine if there are any tiny cracks that would allow roaches or similar pests to get into the home. If you find any cracks, have a professional fill them in as soon as possible.
Cleaning the Grounds
There are a few areas of the landscape that could use some trimming or clearing. While you were already thinking of getting that done as a way to improve the property’s appearance, there’s another reason to complete the project sooner rather than later. That reason has to do with keeping your property pest free.
Depending on what is going on in the yard, there may be areas that are ideal for providing snakes, raccoons, rats, and other unwelcome guests a place to reside. By choosing to remove those elements from the space, the pests have nowhere to settle in.
Having the Home Checked By an Expert
While you can manage quite a bit of the inspection on your own, it never hurts to call a pro and arrange for a full pest inspection. Your efforts were diligent, but an expert is likely to uncover a couple more things that need to be changed in order to prevent pests from getting into the home. In most cases, it will not take much time or money to put those suggestions to good use.
That expert can also talk with you about the importance of investing in a service contract. Arranging to have your home treated on a regular basis further decreases the odds of going for a drink of water in the middle of the night and finding a roach or mouse scurrying across the floor when you turn on the light. Having that contract will also come in handy if you find a larger and more dangerous pest has managed to get into the home because someone left a door or window open.
Remember that pest control is a process and not an event. Between your efforts and those of a professional, it’s possible to keep pests at bay and ensure that you and your family are the only occupants of your home.