At A+ Insulation, we’ve installed insulation in a lot of attics in Kansas City. We’ve also seen what wildlife, particularly squirrels, can do to an attic. It isn’t pretty. Here are some issues to be aware of if you have or have had animals in your attic.
Problems Caused by Squirrels in Your Attic
Squirrels are cute when they’re running around outside or playing in trees, but once they get into your home, the only thing you want is to get them out. Squirrels can cause a lot of unwanted damage to your home. They like to make nests in your insulation. This mats it down and makes it less effective. They also leave urine and feces throughout your attic causing unpleasant odors. If the inhabitants have been there for a length of time, it may be necessary to remove old insulation, clean the area, and install new insulation. Besides mess and odor, squirrels have been known to cause serious damage. They like to chew on all sorts of surfaces – lead piping around plumbing stacks, vents, wires, and of course, wood. They can even chew through and burst PVC plumbing piping, resulting in flooding or water damage. But the biggest danger to your home are wires. A chewed upon and exposed electrical wire is a fire hazard. No one wants their house to burn down because of rodent damage.
Physically Removing Squirrels Is Your Best Bet
Physically removing the squirrels is the best way to rid your home for good. There are many tactics such as mothballs, ammonia, fox or coyote urine, high-pitched sound machines, strobe lights, and more, but they aren’t reliable. Find out where they are coming in and set a trap there to capture the squirrel(s). Once removed, make sure you find and close all entrances so they can’t get back in. Make sure that all roof vents have a heavy steel screen intact, all of the plumbing stacks are screened off (sometimes the pipes are open inside the attic), all of the ridge cap plugs are intact, the gable vents are screened, the soffits are intact, etc. All repairs should be performed with steel and bolts, so that the squirrels can’t chew through them.
How to Deal with Baby Squirrels in Your Attic
One problem you may run into when removing the squirrels is that you may find a mother with babies in her nest. If you’d like to do the humane thing, just wait about eight weeks to remove the squirrels. Babies mature quickly and will be able to survive outside by eight weeks old. The only downside is that you’ll have more squirrels to catch in your traps. Of course, if you don’t want to deal with this yourself, you can always call a professional animal control company. Just make sure you get the entrance(s) fixed or you’ll just be removing more squirrels in a few months.
Related Read: Getting Proper Ventilation for Your Attic
Removing Squirrels in a Nutshell (pun intended)
- Find the nest in the attic
- If there are baby squirrels, wait 7-8 weeks
- Trap the squirrels and remove them
- Identify and seal all the entrances so they can’t re-enter
- Find and repair chewed wires
- Clean the biohazard and remove contaminated insulation
- Replace any insulation that had to be removed
- Add more insulation if it has settled low enough to see the floor joists. (According to the Energy Star website, the recommended level for most attics is to insulate to R-38 or about 10 to 14 inches, depending on insulation type.)