Have you heard a scattering sound in the attic? Are you concerned you have roof rats or attic mice, and you’re wondering just how bad it might be? If so, you’re in the right place. Wildlife infestations are common, but when left unattended, they can wreak havoc on your home and cause you to spend more on your energy bill.

Keep reading to learn how these infestations can affect your energy efficiency and what you can do to keep those critters out and protect your home.

The Hazards of Roof Rats and Attic Mice

buildpro roof ratAccording to the CDC, rats and mice spread over 35 different diseases. You don’t even have to touch one of those animals to get exposed or infected. You remember the whole “Bubonic Plague” thing, right? While incredibly rare in the states, it’s still possible to contract.

You may have heard some of the horror stories before. Rats and mice can burrow deep into your insulation, gnaw on your drywall, destroy your old sweaters, and even think it wise to chew on your power cables. What do you think rats do to your overall energy efficiency? You guessed it — it’s not great.

Oh, and once they set up shop in the attic, they’ll be sure to take their business elsewhere in  your house if you don’t get a jump on them quickly.

Chewing

buildpro roof rat insulation and wall damageRats and mice are notorious chewers. Imagine what could happen when one (or many) find your electrical lines particularly tasty. We’re talking fuse and wire shortages, as well as fire hazards.

What happens if a rodent doesn’t bite all the way through a wire? That wire could still be feeding power to one of your kitchen outlets. All of a sudden, you realize your toaster isn’t toasting, your blender isn’t blending, or your phone charger isn’t charging. What do you do? Probably assume your gadget is on the fritz and buy a new one.

Then another new one.

And another.

All the while, your gadgets are working just fine. It’s the power source that’s the issue. Your appliances may also pull more power from that failing wire. The outlet will struggle to power your devices, causing it to overheat. You could short the outlet, or it could completely catch on fire. Not exactly something anyone’s looking forward to, for sure!

Reproducing

Roof rats reproduce twice a year: once in the fall and again in the spring. Each litter produces between 12 and 15 pups. So, if you’re thinking, “Whatever. This will go away on its own,” chances are, you’re not only wrong, but it’s going to get worse!

Nesting

Nesting is another big one, especially if your attic is filled with loose-fill insulation. Unnoticed or unattended to, mouse and rat colonies can build up rather quickly and burrow into your nice, warm, soft insulation.

Unfortunately, if you’re hearing scratching in the ceiling, or scurrying through the night in places that shouldn’t be hosting a scurry – the only thing you can do to identify what’s up there is by either plain sight of the beast or…yep, you guessed it — poop.

Locating Roof Rat and Attic Mouse Droppings

Here’s quick detail of what these may look like:

Roof Rats: typically about a half-inch long and are oblong, curved with pointed ends.

Attic Mice: only about a quarter-inch long, and may only have one end pointed.

There is one other way to determine if you have an attic mouse, roof rat, squirrel or other rodentia living in your attic: urine. If you’re having trouble laying eyes on the animal/s or can’t seem to find the nest or droppings, close your eyes and take a deep breath in through your nose.

If you are able to pick up a strong ammonia stench, then you can use that to your advantage. Play the world’s worst idea of a “Hot and Cold” game. The stronger the smell, the closer you are.

Regardless of what kind of droppings you may find, be sure to be as careful and hygienic as possible.

How to Keep Roof Rats Out

The trick here is preventative maintenance. Since roof rats and attic mice are very good at getting into small places, you’re going to want to consider the following:

  • Replace any missing or damaged shingles
  • Replace damaged or missing soffit or siding
  • Install a tight-fitting cap on your chimney
  • Trim back any branches or brush from your roof or home’s exterior
  • Seal or caulk gaps in window frames and door jambs
  • Apply lath screening or metal to cover roof vents or louvers
  • Keep food containers sealed tightly or in the refrigerator

If you stay on top of these things, you should be pretty well protected from furry invaders.

Energypro: Your Post-Infestation Energy Professionals

energypro home efficiency specialistIf you’re coming off the heels of a roof rat problem and are concerned about how they’ve affected your energy efficiency, then we’re your best bet. We provide a free energy efficiency audit and build a plan of action to help remedy some of the problems caused by your tiny home invaders.

What’s more is we’re even best friends with a roofing contractor, our sister company, Buildpro. So if you’ve got questions or concerns about rodent-related access points via your roof, we can hook you up with some of the best in the business to address those issues quickly.

Click here to contact us today to set up your free, no-obligation energy efficiency consultation today.