Rodent And Animal Control For Your Home

We all like to satisfy our winter needs for a warm, safe place with plenty of food in the pantry. But so do rodents and other animals. When these pests intrude on our property, it becomes a situation much like kicking out the unwelcome kid next door who is constantly coming over and staying past dinner, and insists on using everything in your house for his own purposes. There are three types of animals to watch out for as it gets colder out: rats, raccoons, and opossums.

Rats

The general types of these rodents that exist in your home can include the Norway rat, the roof (or black) rat and the house mouse. Roof rats usually stake out attics or cabinets and can climb quite well. Norway rats choose to live in the ground by digging burrows against foundations, tree trunks, and gardens. Their burrows can lead into crawl spaces and small openings around pipes which can enable them to inhabit your kitchens and bathrooms.

No matter the type of rat that lives in your home, you can be sure that it will be attracted to any food item you have in your pantry, especially high-quality food products such as meat and fresh grain. If you have pets, be extra cautious about foods being left out, because rats will smell and detect dog food that is sitting out.

Rats need one-half to one fluid ounce of water everyday when consuming dry foods. They have extremely sharp senses of taste, hearing, and smell. Once they are aware of what is within their reach and given their keen senses, rats will do anything to get to food or shelter. Overall, rats are able to enter a building through openings that are wider than half an inch across. Rats have a very short life span — most die within a year. However, rats can breed rapidly, so even though they die off quickly, their young will survive them. Female rats produce five or six litters of about half a dozen to a dozen young each year.

Now that you know a little about the rat’s habits, how can you tell that you have rats living alongside you in your home? Spotting droppings or visible signs of fresh gnawing should be an obvious indicator of rats. Rat tracks can appear on dusty surfaces or mud. Rats usually build runways and burrows to get into your home and they can be found next to buildings and under debris and low vegetation.

Rodent Treatment

There are many things you can do to prevent rats, but what about the rats you know are already snooping in your attic and dark corners?

Snap traps can be used along with baits to attract rats. However, once other rats see that a fellow rat has been killed from a snap trap, they will avoid it at all costs. The other drawback to using a snap trap is the potential health hazards it can cause when the rat is killed by the trap. Snap traps can also pose a danger to children or pets in your home, as they can break bones or cause an even more serious injury.

Glue-boards are traps that use non-drying glue to capture and hold down rodents. These traps can be placed under tables, furniture, next to walls, refrigerators, or any place where you suspect rodent activity. Glue-boards are designed to get the rodent stuck on the board so that they cannot escape. Like the snap traps, glue-boards can pose health problems if rats’ bodies are pulled apart and exposed in your home.

Live traps are probably the easiest and most inexpensive rodent control out there. The other benefit of live traps is that it poses less risk or danger to animals you are not targeting, such as your pets. They also do not kill rats, unlike all the other methods discussed above. Instead, rats are captured and left in the trap until you dispose of them. Be sure to place enough bait to attract rats. If rats are without food, they may become anxious and eventually die, leaving behind their bodies to decay, as well as a horrible stench. Try to find areas where there are a lot of rat droppings, chewed entry points, and any other place you suspect rat activity or have heard noises from.

Rodent Proofing

Here are some simple rules of thumb you can adopt to prevent a rodent invasion in your home:

Store all your accessible food in rodent-proof containers such as glass or metal
Place your trash in tightly covered metal cans to prevent smells from escaping or potential rodent entry.
Check your faucets to make sure they are functioning properly and to fix leaks as they occur, since gaps or holes around pipes can serve as easy entry points for rodents.
Seal up any unnecessary openings with concrete or sheet metal. For other access points, a 1/4 inch hardware cloth or steel wool should do the trick.
For pet owners, put any uneaten pet food away before you go to bed, as any pet food left out is subject to rodent consumption!
Wipe your floors often! Any bits of food left on your floor may be game for mice.

Commensal Rodents

The most common commensal rodents, raccoon and opossums, are known to many homeowners as troublemakers because of the damage they can cause by hibernating in your attic or wreaking havoc in your garden.

These animals normally hide out in attics, under decks, sheds, garages, crawl spaces, etc. Sometimes, they choose to live in naturally formed holes near foundations. Raccoons and opossums especially have an affinity for digging in yards and garbage. They love to inhabit attics where they can care for their litter in a warm, dark, and enclosed environment. If they are living in your attic, chances are your attic has a strong odor, which can eventually make its way into the living area. Besides odor problems, raccoons can destroy your insulation and chew on any electrical wires present.

Preventing Animal Pests

Here are some ways you can prevent those pesky raccoons and opossums from entering your property:

Spray a non-chemical solution over the areas where these animals are prone to dig or consume food. This will leave a bad taste in their mouths and will discourage it from going to the same place to cause trouble.
Use a non-drying glue when animals are climbing your bird feeder poles. Once the raccoon or opossum gets the glue from the pole on their paws, it will usually irritate them enough to discourage them from climbing the pole again.
Implement a 24/7 motion detector near your fish pond. The motion detector will be able to detect the animal when it is in its range. The detector is non-chemical and will release a three-second spray of water to scare the pest away.

For raccoons and opossums who are already inhabiting your home, trapping with a bait (usually meat) is the most effective and viable way to get rid of them. However, you should only handle raccoons and opossums if you are an experienced handler. If you are not sure what to do, the best idea is to call an animal removal service. Anteater Pest can send a trained professional out to the property to identify, inspect and design a program for you. The Exclusion portion of Anteater’s Rodent Service is designed to:

Identify rodent and rodent damage
Inspect conditions conducive to rodents
Seal/Close entry and exit points
Install traps
Return and remove traps
Include a 1 Year renewable warranty

Once you are armed with the right facts and materials, you should be able to handle rodents quickly and efficiently before they overstay their welcome in your home and ruin your holidays.

Cabinet Hardware – Make it Modern

Whether you have moved into a new home or have just decided that it is about time your home gets a new, and more modern, look, you may be wondering where to start. Look at your cabinet hardware in any room.

One of the easiest ways to change the complete look of a room is to switch out a few pieces of cabinet hardware for new ones. First, you need to take stock of the cabinets you have currently on hand and how much of a change you want to make.

Change the Paint or Finish?

One of the things you may want to consider is whether you like the overall look of your cabinets. If they are painted or stained in a particular color that is no longer one you really want to see in your home, this may be a great time to change the complete look of your cabinets. If you are going to change the hardware out anyways, why not double your effort by redoing the complete look of the cabinets themselves while adding new hardware. One important thing to keep in mind if you are thinking of going this route is to make sure the new hardware you are going to use on the cabinets will go with the new paint or finish you are planning to put into effect. Think modern and contemporary colors such as black, white and red.

Changing Knobs

The first parts of the cabinet hardware you should look at are the cabinet knobs, pulls and any other pieces that are added on to aid in the opening and closing of your cabinet doors. If you currently have more traditional or older looking cabinet knobs and pulls, you may well see how just changing these out can totally redefine your cabinets. Choosing sharp black or chrome knobs to replace your more traditional ones will instantly add a more modern and contemporary touch to your cabinets.

Changing Hinges

The hinges on your cabinets say a lot of about the style of the room they are in. If you want a completely modern and contemporary look, you may want to look towards hinges that are invisible to the eye when the cabinets are closed. These are called European hinges and are very popular in modern decorative trends in cabinet hardware for your home. Additionally, you can decide on hinges that do some of the work for you. Self-closing hinges are a great choice, as cabinets that automatically shut once you are done with them seem to have an extra touch of modern styling.

For the most part, making the rooms in your home look like a different place, through a few cabinet hardware changes, is not a difficult job. For much of this, you will need little more than a screwdriver. Other parts may have you pull out a brush. But all can usually be done in a day, or at the most a weekend, and leave you feeling that you have completely redone your home without all the cost and hassle that a real in-depth renovation would carry.

Bathroom Cabinetry – One Way to Remodel and Make an Investment in Your Home

Your bathroom is a reflection of your style as well as a place for rest and relaxation. Upgrading the cabinetry is a great way to increase both the function and look of your bathroom. This simple upgrade can be done yourself or by a contractor, depending on the size of the job and your budget, and will be a smart investment.

Every part of your home is a reflection of you and your style and the bathroom is no exception. Not only does the look and design reflect who you are, but the bathroom is also commonly a place for relaxation and rejuvenation. Whether you’re relaxing in a bubble bath or taking a steamy shower, this is often the one place in the house where you can retreat for some relaxation and alone time.

Bathroom cabinetry is the best way to give your refuge that finished and refined look. The simple addition of cabinetry can transform your room while also offering increased storage space and shelves to keep your relaxing space stay clean and organized. Cabinets come in any size, color, finish, and material you can imagine to create your dream design. Depending on your space and your budget, you can either buy prefabricated cabinetry or custom design it to fit your specifications.

While custom designed cabinets may be more expensive, they are often worth it for the value it will add to your home. In fact, in most real estate markets it has been shown that remodeling a bathroom has a one hundred percent return on investment. What this means is that simple upgrades like cabinetry are the perfect investment as you will earn every cent back upon the sale of your home.

Remodeling your bathroom can range from budget friendly to extravagant. With options like heated floor tiles and flat screen televisions, the sky’s the limit! However, it is also possible to save money on upgrades such as cabinetry by installing them yourself. Check with your local hardware store for classes on installing cabinets.

If you have a slightly larger budget to work with, or if you plan to do a larger bathroom overhaul, you may want to call in the professionals. By selecting a qualified contractor to install your cabinetry, you can be sure it will be done beautifully and with the least amount of hassle to you.

Choosing the right contractor to install your cabinetry can be a daunting process. However, some simple tips to remember are:

1) be sure the contractor is licensed (required in most states),

2) get a list of at least three references who can vouch for his or her work,

3) get an estimate in writing which details the cost of parts and labor, and

4) check if the contractor you hire will be doing the actual work; if not at least be sure the contractor will be closely supervising and checking the final product.

By following these tips, you can be sure your bathroom cabinetry will be installed properly and efficiently, so you can begin enjoying your new room as quickly as possible. After all, a bathroom is meant to be an oasis, a place where you can forget your troubles and pretend you are in a spa, even if just for a moment before you have to go back to reality. Installing cabinetry can be one way to remodel your home that not only looks great but is also a great investment.

Saving the House Owner Money by Early Leak Detection

LEAK DETECTION: WHAT EVERY HOMEOWNER NEEDS TO KNOW

The first signs of water damage might seem small, trivial, or not worth the effort but early vigilance can save you hundreds of dollars of damage and loss of your valuables. Early warnings like water stains on the ceilings or a leak under the kitchen sink can lead to real problems like a weakened roof or rotten floorboards. A burst pipe can damage your furniture and other personal possessions, and flooding can very quickly lead to problems with mold. But even minor amounts of water can cause major damage.

Where To Look First: Indoors

KITCHEN

Where is a good place to start when you’re trying to prevent water damage? The kitchen is often the first location to start because of the numerous pipes and appliances using hoses with water flowing.

Sink and Dishwasher: Periodically check for leaks under the sink where the hose connects to the water supply. Look around the base of the dishwasher for evidence of leaks, such as discolored, warped, or soft flooring materials, or water damage to nearby cabinets.

Refrigerator: If your refrigerator has an icemaker, make sure the hose connection is securely attached to the water supply line or that the hose line does not have a hole in it. Hoses must be replaces at lest once or twice a year. Also, a wet spot on the floor may be a sign of a crimped icemaker line about to burst.

Sink: Replace deteriorated caulk around sinks, and check the pipes under the sink for leaks. A slow-draining pipe may indicate a partially blocked drain that needs cleaning.

BATHROOM

The next location to check is the bathroom. This is another frequent culprit of water damage. Here’s what you should examine and address:

Showers And Bathtubs: Remove and replace deteriorated or cracked caulk and grout. Water from a broken supply pipe behind the wall can leak through these damaged sealants, causing stains or soft areas around nearby walls and floors. Leaking drain pipes and shower pan leaks are also common sources of water damage.

Sinks: Check under the sink for leaks from water supply lines or drain pipes.

Toilets: Clogs can result from too much toilet paper or objects such as hanging bowl deodorants. Also, some chlorine tablet cleaners may corrode internal plastic or rubber parts, leading to a leak.

LAUNDRY AND UTILITY ROOMS

There are numerous water hot spots in these areas that are frequent sources of problems.

Washing Machine: Check hoses regularly for bulging, cracking, fraying, and leaks around hose ends. Replace the hose if a problem is found or every 3 to 5 years as part of a proactive maintenance program. To help make sure the hose doesn’t kink, leave at least 4 inches (or 11 centimeters) between the water connection and the back of the washing machine. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s installation instructions carefully.

Water Heater: Most water heaters last 8 to 15 years. Wet spots on the floor or a rusted tank may signal a leak. Water heaters should be installed on the lowest level of the home, next to a floor drain, or inside a drain pan piped to the floor drain.

HVAC: Every spring, have the air conditioning (A/C) system serviced by a qualified contractor. Make sure their service includes inspecting and cleaning the A/C condensation pan drain line. Change the air filters on a regular basis.

Windows and Doors: Replace any damaged caulk around windows or doors- both inside and outside. This needs to be done every few years

Possible Culprits: Outdoors

This will be examined in an upcoming article.

NEW HARDWARE INNOVATIONS THAT HELP PREVENT DAMAGE

To help keep an eye on these or other trouble spots, you may want to consider installing a water leak detection system, especially if you’re frequently away from the house. Leak detection systems can be either active or passive. Along with leak detection systems, individual appliance systems can be installed on specific home appliances.

1. Active Leak Detection Systems

These systems usually generate some type of alarm, but they also perform a function that will stop the water flow. They feature some form of shutoff valve and a means to determine that a leak is occurring. Most devices use moisture sensors to detect a leak. Other systems utilize a flow sensor and a timer to determine that something is leaking and the water needs to be turned off. An active leak detection system can either operate for an individual appliance or it can control a whole property.

2. Passive Leak Detection Systems

These systems, sometimes called water alarms, are intended to alert you to a possible water leak. They generally sound an audible alarm tone; some may also feature a flashing light.

Passive systems are frequently battery-operated, stand-alone units. They are inexpensive and easy to install. Some simply sit on the floor while others may be wall mounted. A moisture sensor is located on the bottom of the unit and activates the alarm when it becomes wet. Battery-operated devices need to be tested regularly, and the batteries should be replaced on a periodic basis.

• Individual Appliance Systems

These systems are installed on a specific appliance and will automatically shut off the water supply in case of a leak. Depending on the type of device, you may be able to install this system without any special tools. However, in some cases, a qualified plumber may be needed.

• Whole-House Systems

These systems feature a shutoff valve installed on the main water supply pipe. When the system detects a leak, it will automatically shut off the entire water supply. If you travel often, this type of system could help you rest assured while you’re away from home.

Whole-house systems typically take between four and six hours to install, and a qualified plumber is normally required.

In summary, leaks may occur that it is not easy to understand the source of the problem especially if it is below your flooring or behind walls. The best assistance can be provided by professional water mitigation experts or a plumber both trained and experienced in water damage. The sooner you contact the experts, the less damage will be incurred.

As you begin to learn about the dangers and prevention pertaining to Fire, Water and Mold damage in your home or business, you will better understand what steps to take to protect your family, employees, pets, personal belongings, business records, equipment, building structure, landscaping and surrounding areas. More importantly, in addition to knowing what steps you can take to aide in prevention, many of these same techniques will help you to mitigate risks in case of an emergency related to fire, water or mold damages should they happen to you. As stated earlier in this series, the more you know about the dangers of Fire, Water and Mold, the better prepared you will be when disaster strikes and in addition to mitigating risks, you may one day help save the life of someone you love as well as yourself, because disaster can strike anyone, anywhere at any time and it is up to you to gain the knowledge to protect your family, home and business and know when to call the professionals who can only respond after the emergency strikes.

Kitchen Cabinetry – Essential For Good Design

One of the most important elements of good kitchen design is well designed and aesthetically pleasing cabinetry. And with the aid of the recent housing boom and lots of home improvement reality show, most homeowners are fairly well educated about cabinetry and good design. If you are not one of these cabinet savvy consumers, this article is for you!

Most homeowners are already interested in putting high quality cabinets in their kitchen, but now many are looking to the details to make the most of fair and functional design. For example, cabinets that have pull-out trash bins, pull-down shelves, and even slide-out towel bars are becoming more and more popular these days. With technology today, so much customization is available to make working in the kitchen more comfortable and convenient than ever.

Some other popular trends include cabinet drawers that house the dishwasher as well as warming and cooling drawers to match the professional quality appliances that many people are installing in their homes today. This makes extra appliances like the dishwasher blend in with the rest of the cabinets, not distracting the eye from the continuity of the wood and color.

There are even plenty of homeowners today, choosing to cover their refrigerators and range hoods with cabinet veneers to have a very uniform look as the eye wanders around the room.

One new trend is to add in a few glass front cabinets around the kitchen, although very strategically placed to showcase a few neatly arranged bowls and plates or some kitchen-related collectibles. The key is to choose something that can stay clean and uncluttered even with the bustling of busy, every-day life.

When it comes to the material of most cabinets these days, wood is still very “n.” As of 2002, a study done by the National Kitchen and Bath Association found that roughly 80 percent of all cabinet purchases are wood. Yet that does not mean that everyone is choosing exactly the same look. There are many different styles of wood cabinets, ranging from formal to casual, from dark wood to light, and from glazed to weathered finishes.

In terms of wood choices, some of the favorites today are maple and cherry. Close runners up are beech and alder. Those who are particularly looking to make their kitchen cabinetry “green” and earth friendly are often pointed toward lyptus wood, a tree species that grows quickly to replace itself.

There are also several styles of cabinetry that have come into vogue recently. Among these are American Colonial with raised panel doors and hammered iron hardware. Another one is Victorian kitchen design that features oak wood with glass front panels and beadboard wainscoting. Finally Asian-influenced cabinetry is a great choice that incorporates flush panels and invisible hardware and it works well with modern style kitchens.

There are lots of choices and styles available for kitchen design. It is simply a matter of putting together the right color and detail combinations as well as planning for a perfectly functional space.