From wasp nests in your AC unit to chipmunks in your ducts, pests can wreak havoc on your HVAC system. Not only can they chew through important wiring and components, but their feces and other materials left behind can bring odors and dangerous contaminants into your home whenever the heat or AC kicks on! If you don't want your home to smell like mouse feces or want your ducts to be overrun by cockroaches, follow these tips to protect your HVAC system from pests.
Seal your ducts.
There may be breakpoints between your ducts that are large enough for bugs to crawl through. Mice may even be able to access your HVAC system this way if the gaps are large enough. Hire an HVAC company to come seal your ducts. They will either weld these areas together to eliminate gaps or use duct tape to seal them off. If you can see some of the ducts in your home (such as those in a basement or attic) don't hesitate to seal off any cracks you see yourself by applying duct tape.
Keep all vents covered.
Depending on the age and style of your furnace, it may vent out your chimney or out a smaller PVC duct. In either case, it's important that this vent or chimney is covered so that rodents cannot use it to gain access. For a PVC vent, you can typically purchase a cap at the local hardware store. All you need to know is the diameter of the pipe. The cap slips right onto the end. For a chimney, things can be a bit more complicated. Have your roofer check for a chimney cap the next time they're up there, or if you dare, climb into the roof yourself to check for it. If the chimney cap is missing, you'll probably have to have a replacement ordered though your HVAC company to ensure it's the proper size.
Keep the area around the AC unit clear.
To protect your outdoor AC unit, the best thing you can do is keep any weeds and brush around the unit well trimmed. Don't let leaves or other debris build up near it either. If pests don't have anywhere to hide, they'll be less likely to climb into the AC unit. Use soap and water to keep the exterior of the unit clean, as this will make it less appealing to insects.