As the weather warms and spring brings a return of gorgeous days and greenery, you might (like a lot of Texas homeowners) think your biggest HVAC worry is your annual check-up and filter maintenance before the truly hot days arrive and you fire up the A/C for the first time. But there’s another issue that you might want to think about as you’re conducting your spring cleaning and freshening up the homestead: household pests.
Texas: Blessed (?) with Pests
It turns out everything really is bigger in Texas—including the number of common household pests. A 2015 survey conducted by Thumbtack found that four of the top ten “buggiest” cities (i.e., cities with the most frequent demand for pest control services) were in the Lone Star State.
And in the United States Census Bureau’s 2013 American Housing Survey, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, and Houston were all mentioned in the lists of the top 25 cities in America with serious infestations of roaches, rats, and mice—some even ranked for all three!
These unwelcome guests are seeking food, safety, and a place to call home—which is why they’re so often attracted to the homes humans have made for ourselves. The types of pests we all battle vary by region, naturally, but no matter what sort of vermin you’re dealing with, you’ll find that most need only a small space to start invading yours.
That’s why your HVAC system has such an important role to play in preventing pests from setting up shop in your home.
Pest-Proofing Your Home
In addition to the inconvenience and mess, both insects and rodents can cause serious problems to your home if they invade, including destroying expensive wiring and creating dander and droppings that can negatively impact air quality for everyone—especially folks struggling with respiratory issues.
Your HVAC system is designed to exchange indoor air with outdoor air, and already has numerous features built into the design to discourage pests from traveling the highways and byways of your ductwork to set up shop in your house. But as we also know, pests are persistent, and prevention is almost always preferable to a remedy.
Fortunately, smart choices for your HVAC system often go hand-in-hand with smart pest control choices. Check out our quick tips for helping to keep your home and family safe from nature’s space invaders:
- Seal all vents. Your local pest control professional can usually help you add extra security to your home with a thorough inspection and pest-resistant covers for your vents that allow air in, but keep pests out. (You’ll also want to call on your HVAC provider to make sure these changes are compatible with your system.)
- Destroy drafts with duct maintenance. Your friendly neighborhood HVAC pro is the best choice to help you identify potential leaks in your ductwork that might be allowing creepy-crawlies into your castle. Properly sealed ducts discourage pests and improve your HVAC system’s performance. It’s win-win!
- Keep moisture to a minimum. Pooled or puddled water anywhere near your home can be both a lure and a breeding ground for pests. Outside, keep water from pooling near your HVAC unit; inside, make sure your climate controls are properly configured or use dehumidifiers for extra help in clearing up persistent damp.
- Schedule regular preventative pest control. Depending on your needs, a semi-annual or annual visit from a pest control professional can help you combat pests and ensure you catch any potential issues before they blossom into serious problems.
- Sign up for regular HVAC maintenance. In addition to providing a perfect complement to your pest control efforts, regular HVAC maintenance can catch other issues that might lead to pest or other system issues in the future.