Winter Rodent Pest Control Inspection Checklist

Winter Rodent Pest Control Inspection Checklist: The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) recognizes November 16-22 as Rodent Awareness Week. Why devote an entire week to educating the public on rodent awareness? And why in late November?

Winter rodent pest control becomes an issue beginning in later November when rodents are likely to be seeking a warm place to ride out the Winter, and that warm place may be your home!

Winter Rodent Pest Control Inspection ChecklistWhy Winter Rodent Pest Control?

Winter rodent pest control is important because rodents are carriers of a vast array of diseases, such as Salmonella, murine typhus, infectious jaundice, rat-bite fever and the potentially fatal Hantavirus. They can also chew through drywall, insulation, wood and electrical wiring, increasing the potential risk for fires. 

 

Winter Rodent Pest Control Inspection ChecklistYour Winter Rodent Pest Control Checklist

Check your home for these 5 signs of a possible rodent invasion:

  1. Droppings: A trail of rodent droppings is typically found in kitchen cabinets and pantries, along walls, on top of wall studs or beams, and in boxes, bags and old furniture.
  2. Noises: Rodents often make scurrying sounds, especially at night, as they move about and nest.
  3. Gnaw marks: New gnaw marks tend to be rough to the touch and are light colored.
  4. Burrows: Inside, rodents often nest in various materials such as insulation, and they are drawn to areas that are dark and secluded.
  5. Damaged food packages: House mice prefer to feed on cereals and seeds, while Norway rats prefer meat, fish and dry dog food. Credits: Hulett Environmental Services encourages public awareness of

House Mouse Pest ControlWinter Rodent Pest Control Most Wanted List

House Mouse

House mice are gray or brown rodents with relatively large ears and small eyes. An adult weighs about 1/2 ounce and is about 5 1/2 to 7 1/2 inches long, including the 3 to 4 inch tail.

Although house mice usually feed on cereal grains, they will eat many kinds of food. They eat often, nibbling bits of food here and there. Mice have keen senses of taste, hearing, smell and touch. They are excellent climbers and can run up any rough vertical surface. They will run horizontally along wire cables or ropes and can jump up 13 inches from the floor onto a flat surface. They can slip through a crack that a pencil will fit into (sightly larger than 1/4 inch in diameter).

Your Winter rodent pest control most wanted list begins with the house mouse because in a single year, a female may have five to 10 litters of usually five or six young each. Young are born 19 to 21 days after mating, and they are mature in six to 10 weeks. The life span of a mouse is about nine to 12 months. This breeding activity can continue throughout the Winter.

Roof Rats Pest ControlRats

Norway rats are husky, brownish rodents that weigh about 11 ounces. They are about 13 to 18 inches long including the 6 to 8 1/2 inch tail. Their fur is coarse and mostly brown with scattered black on the upper surfaces. The underside is typically grey to yellowish-white.

Rats will eat nearly any type of food, but they prefer high-quality foods such as meat and fresh grain. Rats require 1/2 to 1 fluid ounce of water daily when feeding on dry food. Rats have keen taste, hearing and sense of smell. They will climb to find food or shelter, and they can gain entrance to a building through any opening larger than 1/2 inch across.

Your Winter rodent pest control most wanted list contains rats because, like the house mouse, they are active breeders. Rats have litters of 6 to 12 young, which are born 21 to 23 days after mating. Young rats reach reproductive maturity in about three months. Breeding is most active in spring and fall, and the more abundant the Winter food source, the more energy they have to breed. The average female has four to six litters per year. Rats can live for up to 18 months, but most die before they are one year old.

Exterminate Moles - ApolloX Pest ControlVoles

Our Winter rodent pest control list has a final character, the vole. Most people go their whole lives without ever so much as hearing about voles, let alone controlling them. Voles are sometimes referred to as “meadow mice” or “field mice.” They construct well-defined, visible tunnels, or “runways” at or near the surface, about two inches wide. Vole runways result from the voles eating the grass blades, as well as from the constant traffic of numerous little feet beating over the same path. And if any lawn and garden pest can literally “beat a path” through the grass due to their sheer numbers, it’s the voles. Rabbits don’t have anything over this prolific rodent! They can cause a lot of damage to your landscape. Credits: Mice, Rats and Voles – Omaha Pest Control, Inc

Why not celebrate Rodent Awareness Week this year by initiating a Winter rodent pest control program.

Call ApolloX Pest Control

(888) 499-7378

 

Winter Pest Inspection Checklist

Here’s a quick Winter pest inspection checklist. If you have not yet covered all of these items, now is the time to make sure nothing has been neglected.

The results for you are a safe pest-free Winter, prevention of visible and unseen pest damage to your home, elimination of additional entry points in your home for bacteria and disease and a head start on a pest-free Spring.

Since the busyness of the holiday season is upon us, you may want to have a trusted professional make this inspection.

Call ApolloX Pest Control 

(888) 499-7378

pest-control-018Winter Pest Inspection Checklist – 9 Exterior Items to Check

Inspect your home’s exterior to locate and remove potential pest and insect habitats. Typically, insects seek areas that offer moisture, food and shelter – places to rest, reproduce or hide from predators:

  1. Clean out gutters and downspouts. Accumulated debris can provide habitat for insects.
  2. Check downspouts to ensure they direct all water away from your home.
  3. Eliminate debris resting against or near the house, including rock or compost piles, old boards, or bricks.
  4. Store firewood outdoors and away from the house.
  5. Pull mulch back so it’s not resting against the house.
  6. Store trash cans away from your home. Trash offers a food source that’s appealing to insects and other vermin. Keep cans tightly closed at all times.
  7. Shift plantings so they’re not directly touching the foundation. Prune tree limbs that overhang gutters or roof lines, and trim shrubs that rub against a wall, porch or deck.
  8. Remove autumn leaves that collect against the house, porch and other outside structures.
  9. Replace exterior lights. Trade traditional bulbs, which lure insects, with yellow or sodium vapor bulbs 

Winter Pest Inspection ChecklistWinter Pest Inspection Checklist – Seal Openings

Inspect your home’s exterior carefully and take steps to seal any openings you find. This not only can help keep insect pests out, but also can help keep the heat in and cold air out.

  1. Replace screens with storm windows. If you leave screens in year-round, make sure they fit tightly and don’t have holes, tears or other openings.
  2. Check seals around entry doors and crawl space openings. Replace worn weather stripping and caulk or repair as needed.
  3. Inspect basement windows. If concrete is chipping or broken, replace it.
  4. Examine the foundation. Seal cracks and crevices with caulk or concrete. Stuff steel wool into holes.
  5. Look at eaves and facia boards carefully, and examine flashing. Damp wood is an invitation to insect pests. Replace any rotting wood.
  6. Double-check attic vents to ensure seals are tight. 

Credits: Winterize Your Home and Keep Pests Out – Guarantee Pest Control

Wishing you a safe Winter and a pest-free Spring this year.

Give yourself a holiday gift. Have the experts at ApolloX Pest Control climb the ladders, crawl into the corners and make sure there are no pest entry points into your home.

Call ApolloX Pest Control 

(888) 499-7378

Winter Pest Control Top Activities

Winter pest control top activities are much easier than in the Spring and Summer. However, if you don’t accomplish the easier Winter pest control actions, pests may get a foothold in your home making pest control much more difficult the rest of the year, not to mention need to repair the damage to your home.

Winter Pest Control Top Activities – 5 Major Pests

Winter Pest Control Top Activities Image Credits: Pest Control Do’s and Don’ts For Winter Pests | AAA Pest Control

Five of the common pests that are encountered in winter are: 

  1. mice
  2. rats
  3. raccoons
  4. cockroaches
  5. spiders 

Winter Pest Control Top ActivitiesWinter Pest Control Top Activities – 9 Actions to Take

  1. Seal any visible and hidden cracks, gaps, and even small openings on the outside of your homes, windows, walls, and doors. Use caulk and steel wool for sealing.
  2. If you store your summer and fall decorations, clothes, toys, and other seasonal gears inside boxes and containers, organize these boxes and containers on the shelves. Keep them off of the floor at all times to reduce potential hiding places for pests.
  3. Inspect your crawl spaces and basements and make sure there are no sources of moisture or damp areas. These damp and moist areas are common hiding places of pests.
  4. Vacuum the entire house frequently, most especially in the kitchen area where there are often crumbs and small pieces of food that have fallen on the floor. Keep your counters, cabinets, and shelves clean and sanitizes as well. Make sure there are no crumbs of food in these areas.
  5. Pest control experts also suggest disposing your garbage regularly. Do not let it overflow and spill over to the floor.
  6. Always keep the areas under your sink both in the kitchen and in the bathrooms clean. Also make it habit to sweep and/or vacuum under appliances frequently.
  7. Trim shrubs and trees and make sure there are no branches or limbs overhanging your roof or near your windows. Keep in mind that squirrels, spiders, and rodents can use these branches to get inside the house.
  8. Before placing your unused shoes and clothing inside boxes and containers, it would help if you place them inside plastic containers or bags that you can seal. Some pests like to hide in between sheets of clothes or inside shoes so you want to keep them tightly sealed while in storage.
  9. If you have a shed, consider storing your trashcans or recycling bins inside them. Lock your shed and make sure no pests can get inside.

Credits: Pest Control Do’s and Don’ts For Winter Pests | AAA Pest Control

How do you know if you’re covering all the bases effectively during the Winter? Pests are in hiding and not easy to detect.

Schedule a mid-Winter pest inspection. Gain the peace of mind that comes with knowing your home is free of pests that could breed and emerge this Spring in greater numbers!

Call ApolloX Pest Control

(888) 499-7378

Termites In Your Firewood Pile?

Mid-Winter Pest Control TreatmentsWinter is the time we enjoy the warm glow and dancing flames of a roaring fire. However, the material for that lovely fire can be a welcome mat for termites to enter the home. One of the primary ways termites get into a home is via the firewood pile. What are the chances of having termites in your firewood pile?

This problem becomes larger the warmer your climate. In the Northeastern U.S. you won’t find termites entering a home through the firewood pile, but other dangerous pests may gain an entrance. If you live in the Northeastern U.S., see our article: “Termites In Northeastern Firewood Piles.”

Termites In Your FirewoodTermites in Your Firewood Pile: Just the beginning…

Pests like termites, stink bugs, and Boxelder bugs can take up residence in wood piles during the winter. From there they can migrate into your home, where they can cause even more annoyances or, in the case of termites, severe structural damage over time. Strictly speaking, termites aren’t actually any more active in winter than they are in summer, but using firewood brings an added risk to your home.

Termites In Your Firewood PileTermites in Your Firewood Pile: A Homeowner’s Experience

We heard the story of a home owner who created a huge stack of firewood in his garage–enough to heat his home through the winter. Weeks later he noticed a little motion in the pile, examined it more closely and discovered chunks of wood infested with termites. He had no idea the extent of the infestation, and needed to have his entire home treated. The treatment was better than the consequences of ignoring the problem. Termites have been known to bring an entire structure down!

Termites in Your Firewood Pile: What to do?

Have you noticed bugs in your firewood pile? Don’t let the problem go. The presence of any bugs can indicate the possible presence of termites.

Call ApolloX Pest Control

(888) 499-7378

Termites In Your Firewood Pile: Don’t let them get there in the first place.

To keep termites, stink bugs, and other bugs out of your firewood, be sure to store it off the ground and away from the house. Placing your pile of firewood on a raised, plastic platform will prevent most bugs from entering the wood in the first place. If you keep your firewood outside all year long, storing it under sheets of plastic can help kill any bugs by raising the temperature underneath and overheating the insects.

When it does come time to bring firewood inside, be sure to inspect it carefully. While other, non-termite insects can burrow and leave tunnels, they’re a good indicator of whether or not any bugs have infested your wood.

Credits: How to Manage Your Winter Pest Problem – Lifehacker

Preventing Termites In Your Firewood Pile: Easier than removing them.

Know that preventing an infestation is much easier than removing one!

Credits: How to Manage Your Winter Pest Problem – Lifehacker

Remember, if you see insects in your firewood pile, and your firewood pile is stacked against your home–or inside your garage:

Call ApolloX Pest Control

(888) 499-7378

Don’t risk a termite infestation!

Mid-Winter Pest Control Treatments

Mid-Winter Pest Control TreatmentsMid-Winter Pest Control Treatments: Carpenter Ants

Regular treatment of building foundations remains important during this season, to keep warmth-seeking, crawling pests from gaining access. If you’ve ever had a mid-winter ant invasion in your home, you know what we’re talking about. Carpenter and other ants can and do invade buildings in winter and when they do they tend to take up residence inside wall voids, making control slower and more difficult. It’s much better to keep them out in the first place.

Ants don’t die at the end of the fall – they hibernate in their nests all winter long until spring. Many ants die over the winter, but most will live to help the colony get back on its feet.

termite-subterranean-termite-020Mid-Winter Pest Control Treatments: Termites

Mid-Winter pest control treatments are important for termite control. Termites also remain active during this time, continuing to move about, feeding on any wood they find, including our homes. Efforts to keep them in check should continue the year around. Credits: Pest Control in Winter? | Pest Control Center Inc

Mid-Winter Pest Control Treatments: Wet Weather

Each winter some customers express concern regarding treatments during wet weather. During this time of the year most treatments are performed in the areas around the foundations of buildings. Around buildings with eaves and overhangs these areas tend to be sheltered, don’t usually receive large amounts of moisture and are usually ok for treatment during light rain. However, should there be no eaves or overhangs or heavier rain becomes a concern, the treatment can be rescheduled for a different day. Once pest control materials have been applied and have had a chance to dry in place, subsequent precipitation will not usually affect the treatment. Credits: Pest Control in Winter? | Pest Control Center Inc

Mid-Winter Pest Control TreatmentsMid-Winter Pest Control Treatments: 3 Reasons Why One Treatment Won’t Work

1) Short Pesticide Life-Span

Store-bought and commercially used pesticides for homes have a short residual life, meaning they break down and become ineffective in a short amount of time (1-2 months depending on weather). Once the material breaks down, your home is open for ants and other pests. One treatment will knock down an ant population, but queens constantly lay eggs, and the population will rebound in no time.

2) Pheromone Trails:

When a worker ant finds a source of food or water, that ant will return to the nest and leave a pheromone trail behind that tells the other workers where to go. These pheromone trails last much longer (up to a year) than any residual pesticide you or a professional will apply around your home. Once the pesticide breaks down, ants can follow these trails back into your home unharmed.

3) Cryptic Nests:

It’s not always easy for a pest management professional to find ant nests. Carpenter ants sometimes give us clues (piles of sawdust), but this is only if we’re lucky. If there are one or more ant nests inside your home, then a single treatment may help with one nest, but have little or no effect on a nest on the other side of your home.

 Credits: Is One Treatment Enough to Get Rid of Ants? « Modern Pest Control

With regular visits, your Apollx Pest Control experts can monitor pest activity, give you expert advice to prevent future infestations, and actually save you money in the long run from unsuccessful DIY treatments and pest damage.

A single treatment only offers immediate gratification. If you want a long-term solution against ants and other pests, regular visits with preventative treatments is your best option.

Call ApolloX Pest Control

(888) 499-7378

 

Inspect Replace Insulation: Top 3 Reasons

Inspect Replace Insulation: Novel Idea

Inspect and Replace your InsulationMost people see insulation as one of those items like sheetrock, framing and siding, that you install in your home and then forget.

Inspect Replace Insulation: Just Like Your Appliances

Perhaps we’d do better to think of insulation like we think of paint, or appliances. We’re used to repainting our home at regular intervals. Just like the paint on your wall and the appliances in your kitchen, insulation experiences wear and tear that can severely curtail its effectiveness. Credits: Should I Replace My Insulation before winter? | Home Heating & Air 

Why Inspect Replace Insulation? Reason #1 – Lower Your Heating Bills

The entire purpose of insulation is to isolate your home from outside temperature changes as much as possible. Good insulation will keep your home warm in winter because it will prevent heat from escaping through the walls and ceiling of the house. Poor or worn out insulation will allow more heat to escape. This will not only make your house colder, it will cause an increase in your heating bill as your heating system struggles to replace the heat that is being lost. The worse off your insulation is, the more energy your heating system will have to consume to keep the house at the proper temperature.

Why Inspect Replace Insulation? Reason #2 – Helps Ensure Even Heating Across Your Home

Inspect and Replace your InsulationInsulation doesn’t usually experience wear and tear at the same rate across the whole house. If one room wears down faster, it can lead to some very uncomfortable heating variance between rooms. As mentioned above, your heating system will have to work harder to reach the same temperature in areas where the insulation needs replacing. Since central heat affects the entire house, this can lead to one room being freezing while another is stiflingly hot.

Why Inspect Replace Insulation? Reason #3 – Stuff Happens When You’re Not Watching!

Inspect and Replace your InsulationInsulation, as has been mentioned, is designed to retain warmth. That makes it an ideal substance for a great many animals and insects, whom prefer the warm environment of your attic to the harsh elements outside. Over time, you can almost have an entire mini-ecosystem living in the walls and ceiling of your house, which of course will cause damage to the insulation.

Credits: Should I Replace My Insulation before winter? | Home Heating & Air …

Of course, if you’re concerned that you might have a “mini ecosystem” in your insulation make a quick call:

ApolloX Pest Control

(888) 499-7378

Gutter Ice Dam Prevention: Quick Checklist

Gutter Ice Dam Prevention: Understanding the problem.

gutter-ice-dam-preventionIce dams form when your home’s gutters get clogged, trapping water, which in turn freezes when cold front hovers over the area like we all expect this Northeastern Winter. Ice dams force water behind the siding into the home causing rotting wood and other invasive damage. They also tug away at your gutters, pulling them away from the home and worsening damage. In addition to the damage to the structure of your home, the water also creates a great breeding ground for pests. Credits: Ice Dams and Gutter Maintenance – Punch List

Gutter Ice Dam Prevention: Have a maintenance strategy.

One good way to avoid ice dams and the damage they cause is good, solid gutter maintenance and care. Gutters should be cleaned at least twice a year. But they should always be watched for leaks and wear and tare.

If your gutters are above the first level roof of your home, you should probably call a professional. There is considerable danger when climbing a very tall ladder and working your way around a gunky, stubborn gutter clog. So if there’s any doubt about the safety of the height of your home’s gutters, call a pro.

Gutter Ice Dam Prevention: Equipment Checklist

  • Sturdy ladder with a stabilizer so that you avoid denting your gutters.
  • Gloves
  • Garden trowel
  • Mask and goggles (if your gutters are particularly filthy

Gutter Ice Dam Prevention: Inspection Checklist

  • Check the gutter’s spikes, which fasten through the fascia behind the gutters. Replace any spikes that have worked their way loose.
  • Check entire gutter system for rust. Treat or replace any rust-damaged gutters.

  • Check the entire gutter system for leaks and holes. Once cleaned, you’ll want to fill those holes and reapply sealant where necessary.

Gutter Ice Dam Prevention: Cleaning Checklist

gutter-ice-dam-preventionEnsure your ladder is sturdy and has proper footing at all times.

  • Scoop any mud, leaves and other gunk out of the gutter
  • Rinse thoroughly aiming toward the downspout with a garden hose sprayer. Be sure to avoid spraying near the shingles of your roof so as to avoid upending them with the water pressure.
  • Clean the downspout by washing thoroughly with a water hose. If there is a clog deep down where you can’t reach, try using a simple auger to loosen it up.

Gutter Ice Dam Prevention: Post Cleaning Checklist

  • Once cleaned thoroughly and dry, you can replace loose caulk behind the gutter and seal up any leaks you noted while cleaning.
  • Rust should be sanded and then primed and painted over with rust-resistant paint.

Gutter Ice Dam Prevention: Frequency

  • Check your gutters periodically for leaks and clogs, especially after rain storms.
  • Do a thorough deep cleaning twice a year, at least: In the spring is a great time and just before the winter hits to avoid those ice dams.

Credits: Ice Dams and Gutter Maintenance – Punch List

Gutter Ice Dam Prevention: Take Action

Know that if you have a gutter ice dam this Winter, chances are your gutters and possibly siding have become a perfect breeding ground for pests this Spring.

ApolloX Pest Control regularly inspects gutters and siding for moisture and rot in our mission to create a pest-free environment for your home.

We’ll climb the ladder if you need to know the condition of your gutter system, and we’ll see that your gutters never create an ice-friendly/pest-friendly environment.

Call ApolloX Pest Control

(888) 499-7378

Top 6 Home Insulation Tips for Winter

Are you prepared for the cold Northeastern US Winter this year? We found these top 6 home insulation tips on the nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) website and thought we’d pass them along.

Home Insulation Tips: Frozen pipes top the list.

winter-insulation-tipsHome insulation tips instantly bring to mind frozen pipes: Frozen pipes are the second most common cause of home insurance claims in the US, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Pipes that are either inadequately insulated or exposed to outside temperatures can freeze, rupture, and cause costly damage. 

The nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) recommends the following six inexpensive tips to ensure your home is well insulated. These steps will protect your home, save energy, and save you money too.

Home Insulation Tips: Water Pipes

winter-insulation-tipsPrevent Pipes from Freezing

1. Foam: Insulate pipes exposed to the elements or cold drafts. For as little as $1 per 6′ of insulation, you can stop pipes from freezing and save energy.

2. Dome: Placing an insulating dome or other covering on outdoor faucets and spigots also reduce the likelihood of the water in your pipes freezing, expanding and causing a costly leak.

3. Drip: Drip your faucets, to reduce the build-up of pressure in the pipes. Even if the pipes freeze, you have released the pressure from the water system reducing the likelihood of a rupture. If you are going out of town, and suspect that temperatures will drop, turn off water to your home and open all of the taps to drain the water system. This way you won’t return to a frozen, soggy mess.

Home Insulation Tips: Windows and Doors

winter-insulation-tipsInsulate Your Windows and Doors

4. Check for air leaks around windows and doors using a lit incense stick. If the smoke is sucked out of an opening, seal the leak with caulk, spray foam or weather stripping.

5. The easiest place to insulate that will generate the biggest results is your attic. The US Environmental Protection Agency suggests at least 12 – 15 inches of insulation on the floor of your attic (more if you are in a colder climate).

6. If you don’t have energy efficient windows, consider using a shrink film window insulation kit from a local hardware store.

Credits: Nonprofit offers affordable home insulation tips for winter weather

If you’re totally successful in insulating your home against the cold, you might gain a few furry refugees. Mice and rats love to make nests in warm cozy home insulation.

The experts at ApolloX Pest Control are here to ensure that you and your family are not joined by smaller uninvited guests in your well insulated home this Winter!

Call ApolloX Pest Control

(888) 499-7378

Winter Home Protection Essentials

winter home protectionWe came across this Winter home protection punch list and thought we’d pass it on to our readers. Every Winter your home faces the very same forces of nature that gradually wear down mountains. Following the actions on this quick list will slow down that erosion process when it comes to your home so that you can enjoy many years of comfort and at some point realize a higher resale value.

Winter Home Protection Top 3:

  1. Watch for snow accumulation on the leeward (downwind) side of a higher-level roof, where blowing snow will collect. 
  2. Remove snow from basement stairwells, window wells and all walls. Melting snow can lead to water damage and moisture intrusion.
  3. Keep your attic well ventilated to maintain a temperature close to that of the outdoors to minimize the risk of ice dams forming. A warm attic melts snow on the roof, causing water to run down and refreeze at the roof’s edge, where it’s much cooler. If ice builds up and blocks water from draining, water is forced under the roof covering and into your attic or down the inside walls of your house.

Winter Home Protection: Post-Storm Action Items

Water intrusion and flood damage from melting snow and ice can threaten homes and businesses, but you can take these steps to help minimize the potential damage.

Immediately after the threat of physical danger has passed:

  1. Make sure the building is structurally safe to enter or reoccupy.
  2. Turn off electrical power. Do not use electricity until it is safe to do so.
  3. Ensure that natural gas sources are safely secured.
  4. Secure the exterior to prevent further water intrusion. This can include boarding up broken windows, making temporary roof repairs, sealing cracks or tacking down plastic sheeting against open gaps in walls or roofs.

Winter Home Protection: Storm Clean-up

When it’s safe to begin cleanup:

  1. Disconnect all electronics/electrical equipment and move it to a safe, dry location.
  2. Remove as much standing water as possible from inside the building.
  3. Begin to remove water-damaged materials immediately.
  4. Ventilate the home as best you can with fans and/or dehumidifiers.
  5. Contact a water extraction company, if necessary, for assistance. 

By taking immediate action, you will reduce the amount of damage and increase the chance of salvaging usable materials. You’ll also reduce the amount of rust, rot, mold and mildew that may develop, and lower the likelihood that the water will lead to structural problems.

Winter Home Protection: Reducing Ice Dam Risk

Ice dams are an accumulation of ice at the lower edge of a sloped roof. When interior heat melts the snow, water can run down and refreeze at the roof’s edge, where it’s much cooler. If the ice builds up and blocks water from draining off the roof, water is forced under the roof covering and into your attic or down the inside walls of your house.

To help reduce the risk of ice dams:

  1. Make sure your gutters are clear of leaves and debris.
  2. Keep the attic well ventilated so snow doesn’t melt and refreeze on the roof’s edge.
  3. Make sure the attic floor is well insulated to minimize the amount of heat rising through the attic from within the house.

Winter Home Protection: Frozen Pipes

Bursting pipes occur when frozen water causes a pressure buildup between the ice blockage and the closed faucet. Pipes in attics, crawl spaces and outside walls are particularly vulnerable to extreme cold. To keep water in your pipes from freezing:

  1. Fit exposed pipes with insulation sleeves or wrapping to slow heat transfer.
  2. Seal cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations near water pipes with caulking.
  3. Keep cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate around pipes.
  4. Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets connected to pipes that run through an unheated or unprotected space.

Source: Institute for Business and Home Safety. IBHS is a national nonprofit initiative of the insurance industry to reduce deaths, injuries, property damage, economic losses and human suffering caused by natural disasters.

At ApolloX Pest Control, while we’re inspecting for pests we regularly watch for the Winter home protection issues from the above list, and notify the home owner where action is needed.

Call ApolloX Pest Control

(888) 499-7378

Credits: Winter Weather Home Protection Tips – Storm Master Inc.

Installing Plywood Window Storm Shutters

Winter storm home protection is no longer simply a discussion topic–it’s a necessity. Do you live near the water in the Northeastern US? In recent years we’ve faced some surprisingly devastating hurricanes, reminding us what’s possible, and the need to prepare.

When it comes to winter storm home protection, the weakest, most exposed entry point for damage are windows and sliding glass doors.

Installing Plywood Window Storm Shutters: Better than tape.

“Don’t bother taping your windows” says Paul Craig, owner of Shade & Shutter Systems,

“That’s a waste of time,” he cautions. “It may keep glass from flying across the room, but it won’t stop tree limbs and other objects from crashing through the window as winds hit 80 miles per hour and higher.”

Installing Plywood Window Storm Shutters: One broken window can bring the house down!

A broken window can mean more than water and wind damage in a particular room. Once your windows are breached, the wind can create upward pressure on the roof, which might be enough to send it flying. If this happens, you are likely facing a total loss.

If this reality motivates you to protect your home, the options are plywood, shutters constructed from metals or new lighter technologies such as VuSafe, a see-through polycarbonate hurricane storm panel.

Installing plywood Storm Window Shutters: Plan Ahead

Plywood covers are relatively cheap and can adequately protect a home. Boards should be five-eighths to three-quarters inch thick and 8 inches wider than the area being covered. Credits: Protecting Your Windows and Sliding Doors in a Storm | Luxx Cape

One obvious advantage of planning now is simple availability of materials. When a storm is already on its way and everyone is frantically trying to prepare, the normal supply system is quickly overloaded. You may not be quick enough to buy the materials you need, you may not get enough material to do the job properly and, quite possibly, you may end up paying far more than the standard price.

Taking the time to start buying plywood now offers many advantages: you can spread your purchases out to make them more affordable and convenient, take advantage of any lumberyard sales, and ensure that, if you don’t already own a pickup truck or similar vehicle, you can borrow one to transport your materials. Obviously, it also ensures that you can actually get the materials you need.

Buying ahead also means that you can work ahead. One of the many effects of major storms (and other potential disasters) is their effect on electrical power. And since the operative word in “power tool” is power, cutting plywood to fit your windows properly is a task best done well in advance of a disaster.

 Credits: Installing Improvised Window Shutters | American Handgunner

Installing Plywood Window Storm Shutters: Best Type of Plywood

Installing Plywood Window Storm ShuttersTo make plywood hurricane shutters, first make sure that you buy exterior-grade plywood that is at least 5/8″ thick. Then, take a close look at the windows of your home and determine the best way to install the shutters. If you’re lucky, the windows will be set in from the surface of the exterior wall at least 2″. If so, you can cut your shutters to fit inside the window recess. This keeps the high winds from getting under the edges of the plywood and tearing it off the house.

Installing Plywood Window Storm Shutters: Cutting Plywood to Fit

To cut your plywood to fit, measure both the top and bottom and both sides of the window recess and check the corners with a carpenter’s square. Most windows are not perfectly square, so adjust accordingly to replicate its actual shape. Transfer that shape to your plywood and cut it out with a table saw or jigsaw.

Installing Plywood Window Storm Shutters: Bolting the Plywood

Installing Plywood Window Storm ShuttersWith the panel cut to size, the next step is to install barrel bolts (the latch hardware that operates like the bolt of a rifle) about every 18″ around each panel. The ends of the bolts should be flush with the edges and the protruding end of the bolt facing outboard. Place the panel in the window, mark the spots where the barrel bolts touch the window recess, and then drill holes into the recess to allow the bolts to extend into them. If the wall around your window is brick, concrete, or stucco, you’ll need a masonry bit to do this — and a fair amount of time. That’s another reason to start now.

Installing Plywood Window Storm Shutters: Mounting the Plywood

If you don’t have recessed windows, you’ll have to mount your plywood shutters flush to the surface of the outer wall. You’ll also have to anchor them very securely into the framework of the wall to keep them from being torn off by the wind. To do this, it’s best to cut the panels at least 8″ larger than the size of the window so you’ll have 4″ overlap on all four sides. Drill a series of holes 2″ from every edge about 18″ apart. Then, center the shutter over the window and mark through the holes onto the wall. Installing Plywood Window Storm ShuttersWith those marks as guides, drill holes into the wall to receive lag bolts. For windows 3×4′ or smaller installed on a wood frame house, use 1/4″ lag bolts and plastic-coated permanent anchors. The lag bolts must penetrate the siding and frame surrounding the window at least 1-3/4″. For larger windows, use 3/8″ lag bolts that penetrate the wall and surrounding frame at least 2-1/2″.

Installing Plywood Window Storm Shutters: Finishing Touches

Installing Plywood Window Storm ShuttersTo finish your panel, drill four small holes in the center of the panel to equalize air pressure and, if necessary, attach handles to it to make it easier to maneuver. You’ll also want to waterproof it with exterior paint or weatherproof sealant. Finally, do a basic sketch of your house and number every window that receives a shutter. Then, as you complete each panel, number them to match to prevent confusion when installing them. Credits: Installing Improvised Window Shutters | American Handgunner

Installing Plywood Window Storm Shutters: Safe Plywood Storage

Safely storing all this plywood you’re prepared against a potential hurricane brings to mind the issue of termites. Imagine in those frantic moments of hurricane preparation that you go to the plywood, all carefully pre-cut and staced, only to find it discintegrating and useless due to termite activity!

Installing Plywood Window Storm ShuttersAvoid this potential disaster by…

Calling ApolloX Pest Control

(888) 499-7378

We’ll make sure your plywood shutters, and additionally all the wooden structure of your home is protected against termite invasion!