Fun fact: Did you know that when skunks are scared, they find shelter in a warm area? Most commonly, these outdoor creatures find themselves tucked away underneath your exterior heating unit. Skunks are not the only critters that can call your heating unit home in the winter months. Squirrels, rabbits, raccoons and stray house pets can all navigate their way under there. Harboring these pesky animals can cause problems to your unit and ultimately disrupt your home’s air flow. To avoid this potential problem, here are some of Warner Service’s best tips on how to control critters:

Get rid of incentive. All of these animals are doing what they need to survive, hence why they may use your outdoor heating unit as a makeshift home. To get rid of these pesky critters (without harm), simply get rid of any extra incentive. You can begin by raking up all of your yard’s leaves and fallen tree berries that squirrels and rabbits may see as food.

Tip: For good measure, you should also make sure your trash cans’ lids are tightly closed, so raccoons do not find a late night snack.

Also, because your heater provides enough warmth, stray cats and other animals that climb may see your outdoor unit as the perfect toasty spot near their tree branch homes. To keep these unwanted visitors at bay, make sure you keep up with trimming your yard’s branches. This also means going out during the colder months, but bundling up for an hour’s worth of work can save you a lot of trouble.

Invest in repellent. Feel free to peruse the hardware store for different types of animal and insect repellents, but those pesticides and other chemicals can do more harm than good. Many homeowners can find a lot of the makings for do-it-yourself repellent recipes in your kitchen. A tried-and-true trick is thickly sprinkling powerful spices, such as cayenne pepper, garlic, peppermint or chili powder, around the heater. You can also concoct a mixture of vinegar, water and jalapeno pepper or garlic to spray around your outdoor unit. No harm, no foul – just organic ingredients.

Install some nifty electronics. Animals are typically so alarmed at the sight of flashing lights or sounds at a high frequency that they will scurry away. Homeowners can install small motion sensor lights and sound emitters, which can be found at most local hardware stores, around your exterior heating unit to prevent critters from coming too close.

If you want a green lawn or garden while simultaneously preventing troublesome rodents from making their home in your heater, install a timed or motion-activated sprinkler system. This option can be a bit pricey, but it can save you a lot of concern and money in the long run.

Remove your bushes, and relocate your garden if necessary. Small animals love the comfort of a cozy brush because it serves as a protective barrier. To eliminate this, cut back or replant your shrubbery away from your outdoor unit. This will also help with unwanted moisture in your heater as brushes tend to soften the soil around the area, which can cause costly problems for your home’s foundation and overall unit.

If your wallet permits it, you can also hire a professional to lay concrete around the area. This will help solve both of the above-mentioned problems.

With the fall season upon us, it is important to remember that the seasonal changes affects all living creatures, including some unwelcome guests under your home’s outdoor heating unit. To avoid any pesky critter making its way toward your heater, eliminate their incentives, create your own natural repellent, install some lights and waterworks, and remove your shrubbery. If you need help with any of those tasks or would like to make an appointment, contact Warner Service today.

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