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Keep Mice From Sabotaging Your Climate Control

A mice
Mice are one of the most common house pests, but that doesn't mean you should tolerate their presence. A mouse infestation can have huge repercussions for your home systems, such as your HVAC system. Ducts and AC units are common hideouts for these pests. Here's why you should care about protecting your HVAC from mouse damage and how to do it.

Mice Can Do More Damage Than You'd Think

For a creature that's often only an inch or two long, a mouse can have a seemingly disproportional impact. Mice can cause many problems for your outdoor AC unit by:
  • Gnawing on and shorting out electrical wires
  • Building nests that jam up moving parts
  • Draining coolant by puncturing coolant lines
If the mice get into your house (often through the ductwork), things can be even worse. For example, the mice can:
  • Gnaw holes in any ducts or parts of ducts that aren't solid metal
  • Shred insulation and create holes by burrowing through it, reducing efficiency
  • Leave waste products that get insulation wet, decreasing insulation value even further
  • Cause bad smells to enter your home (either because of waste products or because of a dead mouse in the duct)
  • Chewing through electrical wires such as the thermostat wire, causing malfunctions and electrical fire hazards
As you can see, mice can pack quite a punch for their size. Therefore, preventing or repairing mouse damage should be one of your top priorities.

Mice Constitute a Hazard to Health

Mice aren't just annoying, damaging, and icky. They also present several concrete health risks. For example, mice are one of the few animals that can transmit Hantavirus to humans. This can even happen through fecal contact when the mouse isn't present.

Mice also carry other pathogens such as several types of smaller pests such as fleas, ticks, and sometimes even lice or mites. 

These health hazards are especially frightening when you consider that kitchens are a favorite place for mice to forage for food. Just because mice start out in the AC system doesn't mean they'll stay there.

Many Infestations Are Preventable

Although pests can happen to anyone, several common elements can make your home more susceptible to a mouse invasion. For example, a house that has unprotected vents near ground level opening out onto tall weeds in the backyard is an easy target for mice and other pests.

Simple steps you can take to reduce your home's vulnerability include:
  • Protect any access points with non-gnawable coverings, such as metal screens rather than hardware cloth. 
  • Avoid anything that might attract mice near your home's exterior (such as an open compost bin, pet food left out, or a birdfeeder).
  • Keep lawn and beds trimmed and neat around your home's entire perimeter and your AC unit.
  • Avoid anything stacked against the house, such as woodpiles, where mice could hide while looking for a way in.
  • Seal up any cracks in the foundation (mice can squeeze in through tiny spaces).
You can also take more active steps if you have frequent rodent problems in your neighborhood. These steps could include spraying rodent repellents or sprinkling repellent pellets around your foundation, setting mousetraps around the foundation in case mice start looking for a way in, and having a pest control expert inspect for pests every year.

Avoiding mouse damage is worth the effort. Although many prevention steps can be DIY projects, once mice have infiltrated your HVAC system, you need to enlist professional exterminators and duct cleaners to minimize the impact of the invasion.

If you need AC repair after a pest incident or if you're considering duct cleaning for any reason, give McGuffee's Air Conditioning & Heating a call today. We serve the Mississippi Gulf Coast region and provide HVAC maintenance and repairs, upgrades, replacements, and duct cleaning.