Pest HVAC Damage and Winter Protection Methods, Part 1

Recently in this space, we went over some of the general tips we can offer on preventing a number of different pests from invading your home this upcoming winter. Winter pest issues often come back to pests looking for warmth and food, and these various pets can risk both health and comfort within the home if they aren’t controlled.

At A-1 Exterminators, we’re proud to offer a variety of winter pest control and exterminator services, from spider control and other insect prevention to rodents and other larger pests. One particular area we’ll help you pay close attention to during the fall and winter, and one that touches on other high-value areas of the home: Preventing HVAC damage caused by pests who nest in or otherwise occupy various heating or cooling components. This two-part blog will dig into the common pests found in HVAC areas during winter, plus how you can spot them and prevent them from becoming a consistent issue.

pest HVAC winter protection

Common HVAC Pest Invaders

There are a few specific pest types that are most known for invading the HVAC system, particularly areas of the AC unit. They include:

  • Rodents: The most common pests to be concerned about here are rodents like mice, rats, opossums, racoons and squirrels. Rodents are a risk to the HVAC system due to their chewing capabilities – they can chew through just about anything, and can also fit into very small openings when needed. They often nest in the walls or the attic, using your HVAC system’s ductwork to move around. This can create holes and cracks in the ducts, leading to air loss issues. Rats and mice also enjoy chewing your insulation for nests, plus electrical wires that risk fires.
  • Snakes: While snakes are a bit less common, they do seek warmth during the fall and winter and may find your AC condenser to be a primary location. They coil up in this area but then may get caught in there when the condenser turns on in the spring, breaking the fan and requiring expensive repairs.
  • Ants: As we get into the later parts of winter, keep an eye out for ants. Ants tend to pool up near AC condensers, in part because a pheromone from other ants nearby may attract them.
  • Wasps: Another spring pest to look out for is the wasp, which may try to establish nests around the AC unit in the late winter or early spring. Do not try to remove wasp nests without professional assistance.

Signs of HVAC Pest Infestation

Here are some of the telltale signs of a pest infestation that could be damaging your HVAC system:

  • Foul odors
  • Animal droppings inside or around the outdoor condenser unit
  • Skittering, squeaking or grinding sounds in the home
  • Increased allergy, asthma or other respiratory symptoms
  • Sudden loss of heating or cooling power

For more on preventing pests from damaging your HVAC system this winter, or to learn about any of our Bird Barrier products or other pest control services, speak to the staff at A-1 Exterminators today.