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Why a broken vent screen could cost you $10,000


It’s Fall time here in Portland and this is the time of year when rodents start seeking shelter inside of homes and other structures where they might have previously nested inside in bushes and trees during the Spiring and Summer. 

Here are the top 3 reasons to keep your crawlspace vents SEALED, why it’s so important, and what items tend to rack up the highest cost to fix. 


Rodents (both rats and mice) carry diseases as well as parasitic bugs like Rat Mites, Fleas, Bed Bugs, Ticks, and others. Diseases carried by rodents include: hantavirus, leptospirosis, lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCMV), Tularemia, Salmonella, and others. Many of these diseases can be life threatening and very serious. This is something to consider when dealing with the rodent infestation – make sure that you have the proper protective equipment including, a mask or respirator, safety glasses, gloves, and a tyvek suit or jacket as needed. 

Damage to vapor barrier and insulation

Once rodents (and other wildlife) gain entry into your home they tend to nest inside the insulation, which is a perfect hiding spot providing warmth and security for the animals. As they infest a crawlspace rats can tear holes in vapor barrier to provide access to tunnels underneath, and they often can litter the vapor barrier with droppings, debris, and urine. Infested insulation is also often saturated with urine and droppings from years of rodent infestations. 

Damage to pipes and wiring  

A rat’s teeth are always growing, sort of like finger nails or hair, so they are constantly gnawing and chewing on surfaces, sometimes for a productive purpose such as gaining entry or accessing food/water, but sometimes just to keep their teeth sharp and trimmed down (maybe they do it because they are bored, who knows). Rodents often chew through water lines underneath homes, inside dishwashers, refrigerators, etc. This water can cause flooding, excess water bills, mold, rot, and structural damage over time if not addressed. Insulating casing around electrical wires are often chewed away by rodents. This is a common cause of house fires as well as more mundane problems like appliances going out, lights not working, breakers flipping, etc. 

Although replacing appliances can get expensive fast, the primary cost that homeowners need to look out for is the cost to remove and replace the insulation and vapor barrier in their crawlspace or attic if it gets infested. The cost on this type of service can easily go over $5,000 and will often exceed $10,000 depending on the size of home, and the scope of the job. This is obviously something every homeowner should take seriously and seek to protect against. 

DIY Rodent Inspection Tips

Make sure that your home is sealed. Check your crawlspace vent screens, especially around AC and cable lines going into the crawlspace, check door weather seals (including garage doors), check for holes and burrows around the foundation, check for vines and bushed touching the home exterior, and ensure that your crawlspace door is tightly sealed if it is outside. Lastly, make sure that the area around your HVAC unit (if in the garage) is sealed where is leads into the crawlspace. Knowing that your home is sealed will provide you with peace of mind, and can save you thousands of dollars.

If you ever need pest control help or if you’d like any guidance on these matters please call or text us anytime at 503-985-6523 or send us a contact form and we’d be happy to help. 

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