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January 2021

Five Ways to Get Rodents Out of the House

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It doesn’t matter where you live, no one likes rodents in the house. Whether you’re in New York City or a rural area where there are a lot of animals around, finding any rodents in the house is annoying for everyone. Luckily there are things you can do to get rid of your rodent problem and work towards keeping them away from you. Read below to find a few tips for rodent proofing your house.

Eliminate Possible Entry

One of the most important things you can do to stop this issue is to eliminate the possible entry points for them. It is an effective way to stop infestations from expanding. Look around your house to find the places that rodents can enter. You’ll need to be diligent because mice and rats can squeeze themselves into small openings. If you can fit something like a pencil into the opening, a rodent can likely get through it too.

You should seal cracks in the foundation and openings in the wall where utility pipes and vents are. You should avoid using plastic, wood, rubber, or anything else rodents can gnaw through. Furthermore, weather stripping for your doors and window gaps create a seal against the threshold so small rodents can’t get under the door.

Use Traps

While it may seem cruel, it is important to use traps to get rodents out of your house and prevent a further infestation. If you already have rodents in the house, traps will provide a way for you to get the ones that have infested your home already.

It can take a lot of traps to get one rodent, you should use plenty to trap them. Some people use a dozen traps to get one mouse. In addition to utilizing wooden traps, utilize bait traps, multiple-capture live ones, and traps that use glue in conjunction with the traditional ones. If you already have a rodent infestation, you should take advantage of all your options to get rid of them because it won’t be easy.

It is also crucial to make sure that your traps are placed in the right spots. Put them perpendicular to the walls, with traps facing the baseboard. You should also be sure to use the right bait, which are sealed plastic packets containing meal or pellets. With these measures, you’ll be able to trap and get rid of the rodents.

Keep your House Clean

If you already have an infestation, cleaning your house won’t get rid of the rodents but it will keep them away. When you get rid of the rodents, cleaning your home will prevent a new infestation. A few crumbs will keep rodents around. Make sure to vacuum and wipe down counters. You should store food in glass jars or airtight containers. Make sure to secure your garbage. Avoid plastic bags because rodents will bite right through them. Reducing clutter and cleaning up after dinner are a few things that will help. You should even keep up on your laundry. In tandem, these methods will help keep rodents away.

Pay Attention to the Outside of your Home

You might not think of it, but you should pay attention to the outside of your home. Removing debris and weeds will help because rodents can hide in them. You can line your home’s foundation with heavy gravel to prevent mice and rats from nesting and burrowing there. When you remove debris around the property, the easier it will be to spot signs of rodent activity and stop them from getting inside.

Get a Cat

A last resort can be to get a cat. Felines love hunting rodents. With a house cat, you have your own little hunter. They can be a great way to keep rats out of the house and to kill them when they do come in. It may sound strange, but if you have run out of options getting a cat could help solve your rodent issue.

Rodents are never easy to get rid of. Once you have an infestation, there is probably more than one living inside the foundation of your home. They can get through small openings from the outside. When you take care to trap the ones inside your home, clean the house inside and out, and take other preventative measures, you will be able to establish a concerted effort to eliminate the problem for good.

 partnered post • cc-licensed image by Jason Saul


The Most Common Winter Maintenance Problems and How to Solve Them

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Article by Rose Morrison: Rose is a home improvement and construction industry writer and the managing editor of Renovated. Follow her Twitter to read more of her content. CC-licensed photo by James Mann.

It’s cold and snowy outside, and you can’t wait to snuggle up with some tea and a book. But suddenly, your heater shuts off — and when you head to your basement to see what happened, you notice a leaky pipe and mold growth. These are just some winter maintenance problems homeowners face every year.

Here’s a look at several seasonal concerns, along with some actionable solutions.

1. Split Window Caulk

It’s 30 degrees during the day, but 15 degrees when you go to bed. This temperature change can cause caulk to separate from windows. As a result, your indoor heat leaves through the cracks and gaps — and chilly outdoor air finds a way inside.

This problem has a simple fix:

  1. Pick up the right caulk for the project. If you need to fix caulk on either side of the window, you’ll need both exterior and interior caulk. Research beforehand to make the best choice.
  2. Remove the old caulk with a putty knife.
  3. Use a leak-free caulk gun to run caulk down the border in segments. Drag the bead down halfway before you readjust your aim. This trick results in a straighter line.
  4. Wet your finger to smooth 6-inch sections at a time.

If you need other tips, you can check out specific guides to help you caulk correctly.

2. Backed-Up Drains and Gutters

Did you clear your home’s drains and gutters in the fall? If not, you should do so immediately. Conditions like rain, snow, and ice accumulate throughout the winter. These elements build up in drains and gutters — and eventually cause leaks and further damage.

Try a few steps to prevent backed-up drains and gutters:

  1. Purchase a small tool like a handheld shovel.
  2. Set tarps on the ground to collect debris.
  3. Use a sturdy ladder to climb up to the gutters.
  4. Remove the dirt and leaves.
  5. Spray the gutters and drains with a hose to flush out any remnants.

This afternoon project will prevent harmful ice dams that could cause roof leaks and deterioration.

3. Damaged Walkways and Driveways

From November to March, you probably head outside daily to clear your walkways and driveway. This process might not seem harmful, but you can damage concrete and asphalt surfaces with certain actions. It’s time to change your habits to prevent cracks and chips around your property.

First, you should always choose de-icing products that don’t include chemicals. These ingredients will deteriorate surfaces. Use a rubber guard on your shovel, too. Repair any damage come springtime to keep walkways and driveways intact for next winter.

4. Heating System Failures

No one wants to handle a broken furnace in the winter. This accident typically requires a professional fix, but you might be able to replace some parts depending on your skill and comfort level. Try to identify the specific issue before you call an expert. Be sure to service your system every year, too.

If you use proper care, you should be able to help your system last for several years.

5. Mold Growth

It’s damp outside, which means you can expect some mold growth in your house. That’s because condensation accumulates when cold and hot air meet — and snow and rain only add to it. If you don’t prioritize air circulation, you can end up with mold-related health issues.

This solution will require you to take several steps:

  1. Identify mold in places like your attic, basement, cabinets, and siding. It’s most common to find traces near water, so look near pipes and windows. Keep an eye — and a nose — out for various types, too.
  2. Wear gloves and goggles for the removal process.
  3. Use either diluted bleach or hydrogen peroxide to scrub the mold.
  4. Address whatever caused the mold. Do you need a dehumidifier? Buy one. This way, you can permanently eradicate the mold.

Maintain a dry home with a moderate temperature to discourage mold growth.

6. Roof Leaks

If your roof has missing shingles, you might have to deal with leaks. As snow and ice melt, you’ll see water accumulate in your attic and walls. It’s essential to tackle roof leaks as soon as possible so you can limit any damage.

Locate the leak before you do anything else. This issue might require a simple sealant application, but you may need to replace several roof shingles or tiles, too. It’s typically best to consult a professional so you don’t make any mistakes.

Remember to repair roof fixes that occur in other seasons so you don’t run into issues come wintertime.

7. Clogged Dryer Vents

There’s a big chance you’re using your dryer more often. Everyone loves warm laundry in the winter. However, you need to be aware that your additional usage could be detrimental. If your vents become too clogged, you could experience a dryer fire like 3,000 Americans do every year.

It only takes a few steps to prevent dryer fires:

  1. Locate the duct system behind your dryer.
  2. Disconnect your dryer from the wall.
  3. Clean everything in that space.
  4. Use a special vent kit to clear out the dust and debris.
  5. Reconnect your dryer.

Be sure to clean your dryer vent at least once a year.

8. Broken and Busted Pipes

Freezing weather means damage to pipes. If you want to avoid broken and busted pipes, you need to ensure water doesn’t freeze inside them. This catastrophe will be less likely to happen when you:

  • Insulate your pipes with foam pipe insulation.
  • Keep faucets at a slow drip while you’re away from home.
  • Keep doors and windows closed in rooms with pipes.
  • Leave your heat on even when you’re not home.

As a result, you should be able to avoid burst pipes throughout the winter.

Avoid These Typical Cold Weather Issues at Home

Don’t let the cold ruin your wallet. It’s sometimes inevitable for caulk to split and mold to grow, but you can use a few quick fixes to get everything back in working order. Be sure to prioritize preventive maintenance, too.