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What’s in your attic?

This is the time of year that many of us visit an area of our homes we really don’t enjoy going into.

The Attic

Let’s face it. Nobody looks forward to ascending those stairs into an unbelievably hot attic. Storage space in most Florida homes is pretty limited, so holiday decorations are often tucked away above the garage behind the air conditioning unit or wherever there’s a little extra room. Sometimes, the things we find up there are a little, shall we say, creepy.

Rodents and pests of the crawling and flying variety look for warm, dry places to make their nests. One of our customers reported hearing scratching coming from the ceiling and looked up just in time to see a little pink nose break through the ceiling drywall. Needless to say, we got a call pretty quickly after that. What we found was a bit more concerning. Once up in the attic, we found some opossum droppings and really, really old insulation. Rats had gnawed their way through quite a bit of the A/C duct work and the house’s original insulation was tamped down to almost nothing. But it was the opossum poop that was our best find of the day. Many insurance companies cover attic restoration when wildlife other than rats invade a home. We helped this homeowner prepare the insurance claim with photo proof of an intrusion. The entire attic restoration was covered with a small deductible.

Opossums aren’t the only creatures we’ve found hiding in attics. Recently, we removed a colony of bats that had settled into one homeowner’s attic.  Bats can get into a dry, quiet, stable place through a space about the size of your thumb. Since they usually sleep during the day and fly around at night, you may not hear or see them unless you listen and watch closely around dusk. That’s when you may hear a very high pitched squeaking sound and see them exiting from under your eaves. We use humane and safe extrusion devices outside of maternity season, which runs from April to August. Fall is the perfect time to get rid of unwanted bat visitors.

Critters aren’t the only things we find in attics. Usually, when we go out for a removal, we find 30 plus year old insulation that is well beyond its useful life. In northern states, many people pay closer attention to insulation because they don’t want their houses to be cold in the winter. Down south, that’s not really much of a problem. However, a hot house is not necessarily a foregone fact-of-life in Florida. When we do an attic restoration, we not only get rid of the critters and sanitize the area to remove habitat odors that attract more wildlife. We also seal all openings and install TAP insulation.

TAP stands for Thermal, Acoustical, Pest Control.  That means with proper TAP insulation, your home energy bills should reduce significantly. Quality insulation keeps the home a steady temperature even when the thermostat reaches unusually high temperatures or occasional chillier days. Acoustically, we’ve heard from many customers that their homes were much quieter after refreshing their insulation – even homes close to the airport. One additional benefit is the added layer of pest resistance available only with TAP Pest Control insulation. TAP is registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and includes an ENERGY STAR label and UL Classification.  It can help control ants, cockroaches, termites, and silverfish from entering into living spaces.

If your house is older than 15 years, you probably should get your insulation situation evaluated. And if you hear creepy noises coming from the attic, don’t assume it’s ghosts. Let us send out one of our professionals to find out if your home is ready for an attic restoration.

Scott Harding

Vice President Scott Harding is the co-owner of Tempco Pest Control, Inc. He is responsible for field operations, quality control and training. Scott studied history at Western Illinois University and has over 30 years of pest control experience. A proud veteran, he served in the SeaBees Naval Combat Construction Battalion followed by six years in the reserves. Scott holds Florida Certified Operators Licenses in Pest Control, Rodent Control, Lawn Care and Termite Control. A Florida resident since 1985, Scott hails from Illinois and is a die-hard Cubs and Bears fan. His interests include playing Roy Hobbs competitive baseball, fishing and golf.