True story: I was recently staying at my mom’s home, a small townhouse in a well-cared for urban neighbourhood. We were visiting to attend a family event, and several of us had gathered around her backyard fireplace to unwind for the evening. The kids settled into the basement to watch a movie as everyone took a big exhale.
Suddenly, there were screams of terror coming from inside, and the kids started racing up the stairs and tumbling into the backyard, a ball of energy and fear and more than a few tears. It took several minutes to unpack what had happened but it turned out that we had a rather unwelcome visitor at our family gathering: a wee little bat had taken up residence in my mom’s basement and awakened to find her usually solitary space cluttered with noisy kids. It turns out that neither of the basement squatter parties cared much for each other, and after launching an attack by swooping near the kids’ heads, the bat was now once again alone in the basement.
We leapt into immediate action, which is actually quite difficult to do when everyone has a different opinion about how to handle an unprecedented situation. Eventually, the bat was found and relocated, but the calls we made to various wildlife organizations proved that it wasn’t such an unprecedented situation after all. Not only are our homes welcoming to mice, but birds, bats, and other wildlife are also common cohabitants, finding their way into our homes through cracks, crevices, and even ductwork.
It turns out that that’s exactly how this little bat had come to be quite a comfortable resident in my mom’s laundry room. She’d been making herself right at home, creating a cozy nest inside a small section of insulation and apparently coming and going at will. A quick call to a duct cleaning company and some immediate action to seal up any potential openings will hopefully mean that the welcome mat isn’t out for her return anytime soon.
What to do if you discover a bat in your ductwork
Rodents and pests are remarkably resourceful when it comes to finding their way into your home. They’re quick to exploit uncapped chimneys, gaps or openings in your crawlspaces and attic, and unsealed openings in outdoor exhaust vents. They can even chew through vent covers or find their way through damaged ducts that connect to these openings. Too often, they’re able to find a direct path right into your home.
If you’ve found yourself with an unwanted visitor, the first thing you’ll need to do is relocate your little guest. A local wildlife centre can usually offer advice or support. Next, turn your mind to preventing it from happening again. Keep reading to find out how.
Prevention is key
It’s best to simply prevent this situation in the first place. While it’s easy to look back on that night and have a good chuckle now, it was anything but funny at the time. Not only were the kids traumatized, but it ended up being a lot of work to correct the issues—she had to have nesting removed, ducts cleaned, openings sealed, and her laundry room deep cleaned. Droppings from bats and other rodents can be harmful to human health.
It was both time-consuming and costly to remove any trace of her tiny squatter. Plus, she wanted to make sure everything was thoroughly inspected so that we didn’t overlook anywhere the bat may have had friends living nearby.
If you want to avoid this situation, there are several steps you can take to prevent unwelcome pets from taking up residence inside of your home:
- Seal any gaps or leaks in your ducts with proper HVAC sealant. It’s also a good idea to insulate ducts in unconditioned spaces like attics and crawl spaces.
- Install secure vent covers and caps on outdoor exhaust vents, chimneys, and other openings that lead to your ducts.
- Keep your home clean and well-maintained. Clutter and food debris can attract pests and make your home inviting to them.
- Schedule regular professional duct cleaning services to improve your air quality and help to address any pest-related issues.
Why duct cleaning matters
Having a bat flying around your basement is unsettling, to say the least. But pests and critters who live in our homes can also cause health issues for our families. Regularly having your ductwork inspected for openings that could allow rodents to enter is critical to safeguarding your home, and clearing your ducts of any leftover debris will help to keep your indoor air quality pristine.
At Whyte Ridge Furnace & Air Duct Cleaning, we use specialized equipment to clean and sanitize your ducts, removing contaminants and potential nesting sites for pests. Our professionals can also identify any signs of pest infestations or damage to your ductwork, and provide recommendations to prevent future pest infiltration.
Professional duct cleaning significantly improves indoor air quality by eliminating dust, allergens, and contaminants, giving you peace of mind. You’ll know that your home is protected against unwanted visitors, and that your family’s health is protected against the potentially harmful contaminants that can hide in your ducts.
Don’t wait until pests invade your ducts—although we hope our story gave you a laugh, it’s not a situation we want anyone else to experience. Schedule your next duct cleaning today, and relax with the confidence of knowing that your home is a clean, healthy, and bat-free environment.