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Few things feel as good as walking into a cozy home after being out in chilly weather. Unfortunately for homeowners, small pests and wildlife share in that sentiment. These tips are key to keeping your home rodent-free.

Why You Want to Keep Them Out
Few homeowners feel confident with the thought of vermin or roaches seeking solace from the cold. While these creatures can carry germs and disease that have damaging effects on health, some can cause measurable damage to your home as well. 

However, even wildlife like squirrels or stray animals can pose the same damage. Vermin can chew through walls, water lines and electrical wiring, causing costly damage or a dangerous fire hazard. Furthermore, vermin or squirrels in the attic can chew through insulation, which can cause ice damage to your roof. Stray animals and vermin can get trapped causing odors from urinating or decaying in walls, ducts and flooring.

How to Prevent Vermin and Wildlife From Entering
The Humane Society recommends that homeowners look for any existing wildlife before sealing any points of entry. Check for entry points in the form of open chimneys, small or large holes and cracks or crevices. Use caulking in conjunction with copper mesh or expanding foam to stuff into and seal any holes smaller than a few inches. Consider hiring a handyman to repair the larger openings. Install a chimney cap on open chimneys. In attics, consider making permanent repairs or installing 16-gauge 1×1-inch steel mesh (if you’re facing raccoons) or solid aluminum flashing (for keeping out squirrels).

Keeping Pests At Bay
Caulking small holes can do wonders for preventing bugs, but many are surprisingly nimble. Roaches, for instance, can fit through surprisingly small gaps under the door. Declutter to prevent pests from finding easy hiding places, clean dishes and crumbs to keep food sources to a minimum, and consider using plants or essential oils to repel insects. Remember, preventative measures like these can only work before an infestation occurs.

Keeping pests, vermin and other wildlife out of your home is a chore to take on as soon as you notice a problem. While these minor repairs may seem like a burden, they could save you thousands by preventing undue costly damage to your home.