As the temperatures turn colder, homeowners—and many wild animals—are preparing to weather the long winter months.
By taking a little extra care in winterizing your home, you'll not only save money on your heating and cooling bills, but you'll also keep your wild neighbors from becoming seasonal houseguests. Here are ten tips for preventing wild animals from moving in.
1. Inspect! Inventory holes or cracks larger than 1/4 inch around could allow animals to enter.
2. Check for loose siding or holes at the roofline. Hire someone if you are unsure about inspecting it yourself.
3. Inside, use a bright light to inspect areas you don't use often: attic, basement, crawlways, and closets. Then shut off the lights and look for places where you can see daylight.
4. Look behind appliances and anywhere pipes enter the building for potential entry points.
5. To make sure no animals are inside before you seal entries, plug holes loosely with insulation, paper, or cloth, and wait a few days—longer in bad or really cold weather.
6. If the plug has been disturbed, contact a wildlife rehabilitator for humane methods to encourage animals to leave.
7. If there's no sign of wildlife, caulk small holes, staple hardware cloth over larger ones, or make a permanent repair. Fill holes around pipes with copper wire mesh and use expanding foam on cracks and along leaky windows and doors.
8. Inspect your chimney to ensure it's not home to birds or other animals then install a cap.
9.Secure trash containers with bungee cords, ropes or weights. Cover or secure compost piles.
10. Trim branches away from your house to limit access for climbing wildlife, and clean up any debris around your home's foundation.